25 Random Things

I was reading The random beauty of “25 Random Things” in Salon. I’m not that great a Facebook participant, I guess, since I have not been “tagged” to do this. Yet the article made it so appealing, I thought I’d do it here and crosspost in Facebook. I’m trying not to repeat myself, but I make no guarantees.

1. I lived in the Binghamton, NY house I grew up in for 18 years. I’ve spent nearly the last nine years in my current home. In the intervening 28 or 29 years, I moved at least 20 times.

2. I couldn’t tie my shoes until I was nine; I wore penny loafers, with real pennies in them.

3. I received, for one marking period, an F in handwriting in third grade.

4. Conversely, I received a 100 in the fifth grade spelling final.

5. In elementary school, some kids were playing keep away with my hat. I got annoyed, hopped a Crowley’s milk truck and went home.

6. The first girl I ever kissed, when I was 13, is in one of the same social network things as I am, but I’ve had no contact.

7. I was reading the op/ed pages of the local newspaper when I was 10. I was much older before I realized that not every 10-year-old read the op/ed pages.

8. My paternal grandmother taught me to play canasta when I was about seven; I then taught it to my great aunt.

9. I took apart the door lock to my home to see how it worked, but couldn’t get it back together; my father was annoyed but not particularly angry, and I think my curiosity pleased him more than the need to get a new lock bothered him.

10. There was this novelization of an I Spy TV episode that I used to read all of the time as a kid. It’s where I learned the term “hoist by his own petard”; in the case of the story, this was literally true.

11. My father used to come to my classroom every semester and sing to the class. One of the songs was “Goodnight, Irene”, and everyone thought I had put my father up to this, assuming I had a crush on the girl named Irene in my class; to both parts, I did not.

12. My fifth grade teacher taught us to count to 10 in Russian; I can still do so.

13. I used to read the Encyclopedia Americana and the World Almanac from the time I was 9 or 10, including those EA annuals.

14. There was this girl in 7th grade who had a major thing for me. Her friend was always passing me notes and everyone assumed the friend was the one with the crush on me. About four years later, the young woman with the crush moved next door to us, with two babies in tow. Yikes.

15. My father, sister and I used to sing in the Binghamton area. The best-paid gig was also the worst one, at a VFW hall in front of a bunch of drunken guys. Someone requested The Battle Hymn of the Republic, not generally in our repertoire, which my sister and I sang, and my father sang as a counter-melody, “what a hell of a way to go.”

16. I was student government president in high school. The principal was throwing people into detention for walking on the school lawn. So I held a meeting on the sidealk, and the body voted to have its meeting on the lawn. Later, I walked passed the principal’s office, and he growled, “I hope you’re satisfied.” Actually, I was.

17. I had a button that read, “Kiss me – I’m germ free”. I lent it to a friend of mine and it was confiscated. He wore it on the seat of his pants; I never did get the button back.

18. I used to go to parties in high school. Sometimes when I was not having a particularly good time, I’d hide in the attic or basement or a closet to see if anyone would miss me. It wasn’t intended as attention-getting, it was insecurity; I had my doubts that they actually WOULD miss me.

19. I applied to only one college, which is where my high school girlfriend was going. But by the time I got to college, she had broken up with me.

20. The husband of a friend of mine had committed suicide and she had asked not to tell the means of his demise because she had young children. I concocted an elaborate story which I told so often to our mutual friends that I was convinced it was true, until the point she released me from my bond of secrecy. Then I had to remember who I had told the lie to so that I could tell them the truth.

21. I went to a number of antiwar demonstrations, mostly in DC and NYC, in the early 1970s. One NYC rally my friends I I lleft after a number of hours, turned on the radio miles away, but still within the city limits, and discoverded that John Lennon was speaking at the rally we had only recently left. Bummer.

22. I went to grad school in public administration at UAlbany in 1979-80. I was immediately disadvantaged because for the whole first week, I was bedridden with an infection that was running from my toenail up my leg, which might have killed me. So I was always behind, it was extremely competitive (cf the cooperative vibe of library school a decade later). It was a disaster and I dropped out, ending up working at a comic book store for 8.5 years instead.

23. On at least three occasions, I quit jobs with no new job lined up.

24. I’m terrible remembering names, and it’s not just at parties. I might see a teller at a bank for three years, then she’d leave and I’d see her six months later. More often than not, her name is gone. SHE’S not gone; details about her life I’d recall, but her name: gone. Worse, the other person almost always remembers MY name.

25. About the only thing I truly covet right now is one of those turntable combos that would turn my vinyl into CDs.


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