Friday, October 14, 2011

25 Random Things About Me

1. I have a tendency to reveal too much information, which can be a little embarassing and offputting. If I were you, I'd stop reading now before things get weird.
2. What!?! Are you still reading this? RE-read number 1 above and heed the warning.
3. OK. It's your own damn fault. Don't say you weren't warned. If you end up trying to claw your eyes out and wishing you could UN-read something, you have no one to blame but yourself.
4. I have a mild case of Asperger's syndrome. That's my description. My friends (both of them) would swear there is nothing mild about my Asperger's.
5. I don't do very well in social situations. I am really awkward as hell. (see #4)
6. When I was in the first grade, I was being bullied on the school bus by an older boy who threatened to beat me up if I didn't tell him his name. After several minutes of increasing stress and terror, I finally blurted out "Little BoPeep!" ...Fifty years later, his nickname is still BoPeep.
7. I was recently part of a drug trial, testing a drug to treat persistent developmental stuttering in adults. The drug trial ended in November 2010. After the trial was over, I found an alternative herbal regimen that may actually work at least as well and possibly better than the trial drug (which was discontinued).
8. I went to high school with Harry Carson (NFL Hall of Fame, former linebacker for the NY Giants. It was Harry (#53) that Joe Theisman was trying to elude when Lawrence Taylor ended his career). Harry kept me from getting beat up once (though I really didn't deserve it) by announcing: "You leave him alone. That's my friend." I am forever endebted to Harry.
9. I met William Christopher (Father Mulcahy from the TV series M*A*S*H) and Temple Grandin (who was the subject of an HBO bio-pic) at an Autism Society of America conference in Albequerque (July 1992).
10. I have a fairly significant auditory memory deficit which nearly dereailed my persuit of a BA degree. I was able to complete the foreign language requirement (I took French, I could read and understand it, but not speak, write or understand the spoken language) by reading a book (printed in France) with questions at the end of each chapter and writing my responses to the questions in English. I passed it with an A.
11. Playing church league basketball in high school, in one game I was tied for the leading scorer on my team and led the team in assists. We lost 119-4. Honestly. We had 5 players and no coach when the game began and we faced a team that had 15 players and 2 coaches. I was one of (maybe) two players on our team who were not stoned. (I don't think my brother was stoned that night.)
12. I didn't date (not actually my choice) during high school. Had my first "real" date (and first "real" kiss!) near the end of my freshman year of college.
13. I used to really enjoy walking in the woods at night without a flashlight or weapon. Especially during a new moon.
14. I taught myself to play guitar as a teenager. (Actually started teaching myself... I've almost got it figured out now. I'm a thumb-picker. Most of what I play nowadays are hymns from the old Broadman Hymnal and a few traditional tunes. The thumb-picking is why the thumbnail and index fingernail on my right hand are longer than the others.)
15. As a freshman in college, I wrote a play for my church youth group with about eight songs included.
16. I wrote songs for about 10 years. The song writing tapered off after I married my muse. That didn't turn out to be nearly as great as I thought it would be.
17. I drove a van for a cigarette vending route for about a year. I was a non-smoker, but became very knowledgeable about cigarettes. Especially the closed date freshness codes.
18. I have shovelled sheep shit. Seriously. The real poop, not some metaphorical crap.
19. I was 22 when I had my first beer. And my first Bourbon, and my first Scotch. (Cue George Thorogood and the Destroyers "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" now.)
20. President Nixon announced to the nation the end of the military draft for Vietnam the night before my 18th birthday. I registered for the draft, took my draft card home, and burned it.
21. I once sold shoes at Thom McAn. (Well, not too many.)
22. I graduated from a Baptist university and a Baptist seminary and was ordained as a Baptist minister. I never served as a Baptist pastor, however, I did serve for a time as a United Methodist pastor. (I was raised in a very religious, very conservative, Southern Baptist family.)
23. I wore a black armband to seminary for a week after the presidential election of 1980. That did not make me popular with the overwhelming majority of my peers. (I dared to blaspheme Reagan their savior).
24. Prior to 1996, I had been continuously employed for over 30 years and never worked more than 36 months in one place. I have been with my present employer for almost 15 years.
25. I met my wife on America Online shortly after the ending separation of my first (muse) marriage. We met IRL about 3 weeks later. It was magic then, and it still is now.
26. I worked one spring (1986) grading writing samples from standardized tests. I worked scoring 3rd grade papers from Texas and 5th grade papers from South Carolina. I also worked on a short project, scoring punctuation on samples from Baltimore City Schools. It may have been the most eclectic and most fun group of people I have ever worked with. Everyone (except for me) either had an MA or MFA in English or writing or an MAT or MEd with certification to teach English. I have an MDiv (with languages), but talked them into letting me take the qualifying exam (that everyone had to pass anyway) and agreeing that if I passed the exam, I should be sufficiently qualified to do the job. I passed the exam and ended up being a "third reader" (each paper was read and scored twice and the scores had to agree... if not, it was read a third time by someone whose scoring accuracy was in the top 10%).
27. I have reduced my coffee consumption to only one pot a day now. There was a time (see above) when I drank about two and a half pots of coffee a day. (I like my coffee strong, hot and black.)
28. I got my driver's license on my sixth attempt to pass the road test. I now teach Defensve Driving.
Yes, I know there 28 things on the list. You will notice, however, the first 3 are not really "about me," so there are only 25 random things about me.