March 10, 2011: I recently came across what I assume was a stupid regular column in some magazine. (The column was, in fact, stupid, but it's only my assumption that it was a regular column.) The title was something like "27 Things About Me That May Surprise You," and it was written by Martha Stewart, about whom I knew next to nothing, despite having cut her lawn one summer. I can say I still don't know much about her, and even that's enough (although I found it somewhat interesting that she likes to bring her own lemons on planes).
Anyway, I thought it might of some value -- to me, of course, and not you -- to share some of the lesser known facts about myself -- so I present: "27 (if I can think of that many) Things About Me That May Surprise (or even Shock!) You" (although in actuality there's a good chance they may not even interest you).
--For starters, did you have any ideas how much I hate when men wear loafers without socks. I think I reference it in both of my novels. I really just find it incredibly irritating and I'm convinced that we, as a society, will never really start unraveling all the problems that face mankind until people stop doing that.
--I can't ever remember how to count in Spanish. Not that I ever took Spanish, but you'd think after all this time living in America -- and being able to count in Russian, German and French -- I'd have it down. Yet whenever I'm faced with the challenge, it always baffles me.
--As well as being convinced that both the two Kennedy assasinations and 9/11 were government conspiracies, I don't believe the moon landing ever took place. Saying that outright sounds somewhat funny in itself, but the evidence is ridiculously clear and I'm baffled that more people don't see it. (Our government is also responsible for both Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus, by the way, but that's a whole other story.)
--At age three I fell in Paul Newman's pool. (That's another whole other story.)
--While I originally wanted to be a professional baseball player, by fourth grade I wanted to be an actor, and then by junior high I thought seriously of being a writer ... Interestingly, at age 21 I gave some serious thought to trying to play minor league ball. Also interestingly, I'm still thinking seriously about being a writer ...
--My official favorite food is eggplant parmegian (but I can never spell it), and my favorite dessert is cold pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
--I don't drink, although I still have a fondness for sex and gambling.
--I don't technically have a middle name, although I have two first names, the second of which I almost never share with anyone. (My wife thinks it's Bernard, but it's not!)
--I had my first grey hair in sixth grade. (I remember Andy Cameron lovingly plucking it out at recess; he recently died and now I'm feeling guilty.)
--I literally enjoy the company of my two children more than anyone else in the world. They accept me just as I am, (not like you people).
--I've spent time in every continental U.S. state except North Dakota. Despite the urging of one friend, I'm not dying to go ...
--Though I've never received a journalism award, both Walter Cronkite and Nat Hentoff have shared with me their individual admiration for something I'd written.
--I struggle with tea constantly staining my teeth. I've never worn braces, but pride very straight choppers, which have literally been admired by strange orthodontists who've crossed my path.
--I once found a dead body.
--I can play banjo, along with guitar, piano, drums and xylophone. (I bought my banjo in a pawn shop in Spokane, Washington, which is actually known as the Lilac City (as least out there).)
--One of my great regrets in life is that I wasn't born in England. I love the weather there, as well as the accents and fish. I'm hoping someday someone will invite me to come and live in London ... or Manchester (ahem!)
--I hate computers, and find the Internet a colossal time-waster. Despite the handiness of having an online Blah-ugh! I'd much prefer a newspaper column, or a hard-copy newsletter ... or perhaps a TV show!
--I still like to collect comicbooks, and while I stupidly sold my once-vast collection years ago, I continue to pick them up here and there. (I've always loved collecting things and have, at one time or another, collected coins, stamps, beer cans, bottle tops, baseball cards, books and rocks.)
--I'm long-winded. Despite my considerable skills as an attentive listener, I love nothing better than to talk. (My wife, who used to listen to me, will concur.) A large part of why I write is because I just can't shut up.
--I greatly prefer rainy days, and will often go for long walks. I find my meditative bliss on walks, but prefer quiet suburban streets to isolated wilderness.
--I used to love dogs, but now they mostly annoy me. Our cat annoys me too, especially at night, but I don't drown her in the bathtub because it would hurt the kids. (Perhaps when they're older and would understand.)
--I like to stay up late and sleep late into the day. I often do my best writing late at night, and sometimes I just write crappy Blah-ugh! posts about eggplant, England and strangling cats.
Next time I'll tell you more about Martha Stewart and her lawn!