Five Things

FIVE THINGS….Dan Drezner suggests that I should entertain the blogosphere by listing Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me, the latest meme making the rounds. I’ve escaped this game until now, and I suspect it’s largely because the people playing it figure I probably don’t really have five interesting things to tell about myself. This intuition is shockingly correct: I’m a very boring person. Hell, I’m not even enough of nerd to have funny ultra-nerd stories to tell. Still, these games are interesting, even for those of us who don’t enjoy talking about ourselves all that much, so here it is: Five Not-Very-Interesting Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Me:

  1. My first job out of college was managing a Radio Shack store. I hated it, though it turned out to be an excellent education in raw capitalism that served me well later in life. (Actually, I managed three different stores in Orange County, and for the two or three of you who know what this means, here they are: 3179, 3181, and 3169.)

  2. Remember Norm Johnson, the field goal kicker who’s the #4 all-time scorer in the NFL? We went to high school together! Sort of. I mean, he was two years behind me and we didn’t actually know each other or anything, but still. We were at the same school. And I remember watching him kick, like, a 50-yard field goal in a game during my senior year and thinking, “Damn, that was a long field goal for a punk sophomore.”

    BTW, the history page from my high school notes two other famous Mariners who I did know: Terry Kubicka, a U.S. champion ice skater who was in my graduating class (and the first man to do a legal backflip in competition), and Kevin Lauver, who eventually became a member of the Blue Angels. Kevin was an ambidextrous tennis player (served left handed, played right handed, as I recall) who once threatened to slug me if I didn’t do my share of tennis team fund raising for the year. He didn’t, though.

  3. Speaking of tennis, I was the #8 man on an 8-man varsity team in my junior year of high school. I went 3-21 during the first half of the year. In retrospect, my coach was surprisingly cool about this, though he did pretty much line up the entire JV team at the midway point and tell them that anyone who could beat me had a varsity slot for the rest of the year. Oddly, none of them could. I did much better my senior year.

  4. I’m very bad at distinguishing faces, something that makes watching movies a far more enigmatic experience than it’s supposed to be. Basically, if a movie has, say, two guys with black hair and even roughly similar facial features, I have trouble telling them apart for the first half hour or so. I’m the same way with voices, which leads to periodic bouts of embarrassment on the phone.

    Oh, and ditto with names. Believe me, the combination of these three things is a gigantic pain in the ass, sociability wise.

  5. When I was seven years old I gave a testimony about the healing power of God to my local church. My text: God had cured my allergy to peaches. Unanimous reaction: That’s adorable! Sadly, God did an incomplete job. I don’t break out in hives or anything when I eat a peach these days, but they do make my mouth itch something crazy, and I generally avoid them.

Other fun facts that you might, or might not, already know: I dislike all green things that grow out of the ground except for avocados. My parents are the authors of the only English-language biography of famed Danish film director Carl Dreyer. I won fifth place in an 8th grade math contest in my school district. (Mathwise, it’s all been downhill since then.) We once had a cat named Tippy, because she had a white tip at the end of her tail. We continued to call her that even after I slammed the door on her tail, forever lopping off its alabaster glory. In fourth grade we studied Greek gods and for dressup day I chose to come as Zeus, much to my mother’s (continuing) surprise. What was a shy little boy like me doing as Zeus? According to family legend, my grandfather created the Pegasus logo for Mobil Oil. Family legend is wrong, though granddad’s ad agency did handle the Mobil account for many years and might have been responsible for resurrecting the Pegasus logo after years of disuse. I had a darkroom in our garage when I was in high school. I met my wife at work thanks to matchmaking interference from her sister. Thanks, Ginny! I once wrote a program to automate dungeon mastering tasks for a TRS-80 Model 3. It worked pretty well, but the damn computer was just too big to make this a useful idea.

Speaking of TRS-80s, does anyone remember the old Decathlon game for the Model 1/3? Now that was a computer game! I wish someone would code an emulation for Windows. There are probably literally dozens of people who would buy it.