100 Things about Me

Herewith 100 things about me. Inspiration from tequila mockingbird and MyLifeStory.org (defunct).

  1. I have been very, very fortunate in my life.
  2. I have stacks and stacks of magazines stored in my basement. It doesn’t look like the Collyer brothers’ place yet, but I’m working on it.
  3. I have an ugly blue plaid shirt that I picked up on a sale rack that I might never part with.
  4. When I was in high school, I would amuse and disgust my friends by eating an entire Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in one bite.
  5. For a few years I did small cross-stitch projects. The big ones I never finished, and they’re down in the basement with the magazines.
  6. I am a trifle acrophobic. Flyovers, any sort of overpasses that take a turn in the middle, like the Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson River or the Bay Bridge over the Chesapeake in Maryland, make me nervous.
  7. I can manage almost three verb tenses worth of French,
  8. and two cases worth of German.
  9. I don’t really have any Spanish, but I used to pretend that I did, just to irritate my girlfriend.
  10. Here are some words that I think are interesting: stanchion, flivver, sap, beleaguered, rowel, vexed, syrinx, phlogiston, beezer, bruise, Merovingian, pylon, tendril.
  11. I am a geek of many colors. I am a fan, not a fanatic.
  12. I kept a TV diary for Scarborough Research for a seven-day period in 1998. I was performing over the weekend, so I didn’t fill up too many of the diary lines.
  13. In eighth grade, I was on the wrestling team. My coach put me in exactly one match, at the end of the season, and I was pinned in about 45 seconds.
  14. I joined the chess team after that. I was better at chess than wrestling, but not by much.
  15. Once in a noisy bar, I said something to a stranger that was taken amiss. It wasn’t until days, weeks later that I realized that what had been heard was not what I’d said. I will always regret that I will never have a way to make amends.
  16. I was married for about six years. We met in graduate school, and split up a few years after we moved to D.C.
  17. After that, I shared a house with a darling girl for a couple of years, and that didn’t work out. That one was my fault.
  18. I have never owned an 8-track player, but my girlfriend in college did.
  19. Four things that I wish I understood better: foreign exchange rates and international monetary policy; how electrical and electronic circuits work; how to produce and direct a movie; differential equations.
  20. Five: what goes on in my mother’s head.
  21. My cream cheese goes on a sesame seed bagel. I’ll suffer with poppy seed if they’re out. But those E.T. things are something for Steven Spielberg.
  22. I met the publisher of Rolling Stone magazine with my fiancée’s lipstick on my collar.
  23. In the 1980’s, I affected button-down shirts with a polo shirt underneath, as if I were reliving the preppie upbringing I’d never had.
  24. Now I wear loud Hawaiian shirts. Improvement?
  25. John S. told me a dirty joke in high school, and I still don’t get it.
  26. It makes me crazy when people misspell minuscule.
  27. I cannot roll my tongue,
  28. but I think I remember tasting that nasty chemical that they feed you as part of the high school biology genetics unit.
  29. Some people say that I look like Bill Gates.
  30. The older I get, the more like my mother I become. Not necessarily a good thing.
  31. After never living in one place for more than five years at a time, I have now lived here in the same house for fifteen years. Hunh.
  32. I find the combination of brown eyes and blonde hair absolutely intoxicating.
  33. I once had a four-day holiday weekend in college with nothing planned, so I rode the bus from Chicago to Flagstaff, Ariz. and back. The bus station in Oklahoma City is a happening place.
  34. I was most active politically in 1972, when I did a little door-to-door work for George McGovern.
  35. My wife and I went to a caucus in 1980 for John Anderson. I probably still have the t-shirt somewhere.
  36. Now, mostly I just sit and fume.
  37. The two words that defeated me in spelling bees in the fourth grade were beneficent and misdemeanant. The first one caught me completely by surprise; the second one I knew how to spell but my mouth got ahead of my brain.
  38. My wife and I were married in Philadelphia City Hall by Judge Lisa Richette, who had been instrumental in keeping the polls open against shady election practices.
  39. My first theater gig was running lights for a show in a church basement. I was put in a situation where I couldn’t say no.
  40. About a year or two later, my wife put me in the cast. And that was the beginning of that. She hasn’t done theater herself in almost 20 years, I reckon.
  41. I have resided in six states and two commonwealths. No, there really isn’t any difference.
  42. I have owned five automobiles. I had a 1983 Honda Civic Si named Algernon, a 1993 Ford Explorer (Alberta), and a 2007 Honda Accord coupe (Della). These days, I get around in Dr. Hardtacks, a 2021 Toyota Prius.
  43. I was a two-pack-a-day smoker for fifteen years; I quit more than 30 years ago.
  44. I can’t swim.
  45. I would like to go whitewater rafting some time. Go figure.
  46. My porn star name is T. Petey Williams.
  47. My favorite typeface is Gill Sans.
  48. I love fresh berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries. I feel sorry for people who are allergic.
  49. I think the tissue box holder built into the countertop in motels is the coolest thing.
  50. Cindy Sherman is my favorite photographer.
  51. If I had to do it all over again, I would: Skip the expensive, useless job search counseling that I went through when I lived in Minneapolis.
  52. I don’t have a favorite pre-20th century novelist, and I have too many favorites from the 20th century.
  53. My favorite short story is “The Topaz Cufflinks Mystery,” by James Thurber.
  54. I share a birthday with Alfred Hitchcock, Bert Lahr, and (as Leta likes to point out) Danny Bonaduce.
  55. By the way: favorite film director? Sir Alfred, by a mile.
  56. I am not a success with facial hair. I grew a beard for one show, and the results were a scraggly mess.
  57. I had a mustache for a while, and then when I shaved it off, my girlfriend didn’t even notice.
  58. I’ve had one broken bone set, a bone in my left arm when I was about nine.
  59. I’ve had stitches taken twice that I remember, maybe more.
  60. I have a tiny scar on an eyebrow from a childhood accident that I don’t remember,
  61. and an inch-long one on my hand. Oh, I remember that one.
  62. I have never spent the night in a hospital (technically I was not admitted), nor in jail.
  63. There is one two-hour period during a party senior year in high school that I can’t quite account for.
  64. No more eggplant for me, thanks!
  65. Favorite active playwright: Tom Stoppard. Hm, need an update here.
  66. For business, I have travelled to: Newport, R.I., to a shipyard, which closed in the middle of my trip because of a snowstorm;
  67. Bartlesville, Okla., to a federal agency; I discovered Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower;
  68. Irvine, Calif., for training; I got caught by a rolling blackout;
  69. a bunch of other places in New England;
  70. Tidewater Virginia, to a government contractor; day trips by puddle-jumper;
  71. Hartford, Conn., to two different customers, for two different employers;
  72. Toronto, Ont.; when you’re a consultant, you learn how to explain yourself to immigration officials.
  73. Though each was a possibility, I did not travel to Paris, Korea, or Detroit.
  74. For pleasure, I have traveled to: Fort Collins, Colo.;
  75. Key West, Fla.;
  76. Seattle, Wash. The best trip I’ve ever taken was those two weeks in the Pacific Northwest.
  77. The closest I’ve come to being directly threatened by disaster was living in Philadelphia downwind of the ruined reactor at Three Mile Island.
  78. I am a minor subway nut. When I was eight years old and I visited the New York World’s Fair with my mother, I tried to convince her to take the 7 train instead of the non-scary bus that she put us on.
  79. Since then, I have used the subways in New York (including the PATH trains), Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Update: And Baltimore (both heavy and light rail). Of the commuter rail systems, check off MARC, Metra (back in the 1970s it was just the C&NW), Septa, Metro-North, and LIRR. Updates September 2018-October 2023: Add St. Louis MetroLink light rail; Charlotte, N.C. LYNX Blue Line; Sacramento RT Light Rail; Cleveland RTA Rapid Red Line.
  80. My favorite National Park is Shenandoah, maybe because it’s so easy to get to.
  81. Reality television is neither.
  82. I inhaled.
  83. I regret: That I never had a chance to see the Dodgers play at Ebbets Field.
  84. These days, my favorite color is aluminum. Expect that to change.
  85. If my mother could do it over again, she would: Pay for piano lessons for me; and Make sure that I confirmed in the Lutheran church.
  86. I was looking through a file drawer and found three videotapes that I’d saved. These were profiles of creative people that I thought might turn into web page project of some sort: Ernie Kovacs, Ida Lupino, and Björk.
  87. I love other people’s pets, especially cats.
    I don’t like cleaning up after them, so I don’t have any pets of my own.
  88. I have a three-shelf bookcase that is always half-filled with the backlog of books I mean to read. Books come and go from it, but Angela Carter’s Wise Children has been was stuck there for seventeen years. (And I finished The Twenty-Seventh City!)
  89. If I’m learning to do something new and I don’t meet with almost immediate success, however modest, I lose interest quickly.
  90. Would you like my share of the artichoke and spinach dip?
  91. Andrew Lloyd Webber or Stephen Sondheim? Sondheim, emphatically. I took my fiancée to the Uris Theatre to see the preview of Sweeney Todd for Valentine’s Day.
  92. When I was very small, I would read the road signs on I-75 in Dayton, Oh., on which were posted MINIMUM and MAXIMUM speeds. I was a little fuzzy on the concept of a “maximum,” so I figured this was the sound your car made when you were going 65 mph.
  93. Yes, I do have a favorite active painter: Gerhard Richter.
  94. I wish that I had paid more attention in shop class.
  95. When Roz Chast or Chris Ware has a New Yorker cover, it’s an extra good week.
  96. My first act as benevolent dictator will be to establish mandatory remedial workshops on the concept of sharing.
  97. I hate those oversize cupholders that movie theater seats have sprouted. I’m always banging my knees into them.
  98. I love fruitcake. Yes, really!
  99. I think that writing meta items (like this one) to pad the list out to 100 is cheating.
  100. Briefs.

Last updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2023 14:51