If you’re on Facebook (which I am), no doubt you’ve been tagged to share 25 Random Things about yourself. This chain tag is so prolific that Time Magazine has actually covered it. It has all the charm of a chain letter except that a) you know exactly who sent it to you, b) there’s no promise of good fortune if you complete it and c) there’s no veiled curse if you don’t.
What most people don’t know is that Facebook sells access to your profile and information to advertising firms who use the information to better target their marketing. But the fact is that most people don’t care; they’re just happy that someone is interested in them.
Because I have a website of my own, I decided to publish those 25 Random Things here instead of giving the website hits to Facebook. I also won’t tag anybody else.
1. For the better part of my character-building childhood, I had long hair and was mistaken for a girl.
2. We had a blue Chevy truck/van without a middle seat, so my parents would sit me in a wooden chair and belt it to the chassis. Don’t believe me?
3. We were pretty poor so most of my clothes were hand-me-down. Case in point:
4. However, for my first day of sophomore year in High School (1985), I wore black parachute pants, a black and blue striped button-down and a thin leather tie. Sorry, no photos exist of those heady days.
5. Also as a boy, I was attacked by a (herd?/flock?/pride?) of pigs.
6. Again as a boy, I thought that bears lived in the septic tank so, when I had to go #2, I was quick about it. Lifting the lid alerted them to my presence, while I went they were organizing to come up through the pipes and when I flushed, it sent them back down from whence they came.
7. I had a subscription to Ranger Rick Magazine. While other kids had pages from Tiger Beat on their walls, I had pictures of actual tigers.
8. I did stand up for the first time in fifth grade. It was supposed to be a puppet act, but I was so terrified that the puppet (a snake named “Clyde”) glommed onto the microphone while I told one joke. Exhibit A:
9. I learned to read at a very young age and subsequently wanted to be a writer. My first gig was re-writing the Story of Star Wars album verbatim on an old typewriter.
10. I have an extra tendon in my left arm.
11. I ran away from home several times and when I was 17, it finally stuck.
12. As a child, I was allergic to cow’s milk, so I had to drink goat’s milk.
13. According to my grandmother, we were descended from the same line as Anne Boleyn. Not Anne herself of course as her failure to produce a male heir to Henry VII famously cost her her head.
14. I saw my first professional baseball game at Wrigley Field in 1979. The Cubs played the (then) Montreal Expos. I got one of those mini, souvenir bats and hit marbles with it because I thought the sound was just like that of a real bat hitting a baseball.
15. Like a dog, I’ve always been kind of scared of vacuum cleaners.
16. I’ve never come in first place for anything. Ever.
17. The first album that I bought for myself was a 45 of Styx Too Much Time on My Hands.
18. I skipped kindergarten so I’ve always been the youngest person in my class.
19. I’m a sushi fiend.
20. I was once Employee of the Month at Wendy’s on east Capitol Drive. Had my name on the sign and everything.
21. I was once an A.B.O. Certified Optician. While I’m sure my certification has lapsed, I still know what I’m doing.
22. I have owned some fairly exotic pets including several snakes, anoles and a tarantula. I ended up leaving the tarantula with my grandmother and, when it died, not wanting to hurt my feelings, she told me (God as my witness, this is true) that she gave it to a nice farm family. A Tarantula frolicking in a rolling pasture! Awesome!
23. The first play I was in was Stone Soup. The reviews were stellar.
24. I actually ordered Sea Monkeys off the back of a comic book. Guess what? They’re not monkeys at all but rather Brine Shrimp. They also don’t wear bikinis.
25. In middle school, I built a “tornado machine.” To be fair, it was technically a “hurricane machine,” but it was still pretty cool.
So there you go. 25 Random Things. Coincidentally, there’s absolutely nothing else interesting about me.