I am Tagged

I have been tagged by Drama Mama. I think that means I have to come up with obscure tidbits about myself in answer to her own tidbits. So here they are.

1 I too was in a play, back in Junior High School - West Side Story. I ran the lights. The lights were operated from a panel that was bigger than me, with huge levers the you swung up to brighten each bank of lights. This was before the age of solid state light dimmers. This was also before the age of intercoms, so the kid running the follow spot was just out there, on his own, with a script.

2 Unlike some of my fellow students, I never got drunk and wrestled girls. I did wrestle some guys in Mr. Crowley's gym class, but I was never very good at it. We called Mr. Crowley "Old One Ball," but I never knew if it was in fact true that the other one had been shot off in the Korean War, or if it was just a kid legend.

3 I was always thin as a child, and I was not put on a diet until I got hooked up with this wise-ass trainer who continues to criticize my penchant for cake and treats.

4 I have played at a few reputable and famous theatres. The Schubert in Chicago. The Palladium in New York. The Orpheum in Boston. I'll tell you a secret . . . these glamorous theatres are just grey, dank, places in the hard light of day. That's why the windows are all blacked out, to conceal the truth. It is very hard to admit sunlight into any of those facilities. When the performance is on, it can be hard to move around, too, because the management hires thugs to restrict access to certain areas. In one of the theatres, back in 1978, it proved necessary for me to handcuff an overly excited member of a local motorcycle club to a pipe in order to go through a door he was blocking, and in the confusion of the show, I forgot and left him there. He became very angry, but the Smith and Wesson cuffs were strong, and so was the pipe. I gave the key to one of my associates, who released him uneventfully later that night.

5 I am six feet four, and I have always felt tall. I have, on occasion, associated myself with very short people, and the contrast may have struck passerby as funny or even ridiculous. However, my large size and serious demeanor always dissuaded people from making disparaging comments, and nothing ever came of it.

6 Unlike Drama Mama, I do not have a fish phobia. However, I do not eat snake, snails, slugs, or chocolate dipped insects. In the past, I have known other people with fish phobias, and they ate some pretty strange things.

I do not have the skills to cook food in an attractive manner, but I am a very talented EATER. A person like me, with a gift for eating, will do very well to align himself with another person whose particular skill is cooking. I wish I could say that I've accomplished that, but sadly, I have not. My mate has many skills but world class cooking is not among them. She is a talented graphic artist, and you can see evidence of her work in my websites, but you can't eat them.

7 I do not own any lipstick. In fact, I do not own any makeup of any kind. Reading Drama Mama's post, it is clear that some people treat the exterior of their bodies with a staggering variety of chemical compounds. I do not. I apply sparing quantities of soap, shampoo, and underarm deodorant. That's pretty much it.

I do wash daily, to prevent the accumulation of filth. I also wash to deter the growth of pests and parasites. For the most part, I am successful.

8 I do not kickbox at all, nor do I fence. I try - and usually succeed - in avoiding physical combat. When I do have to fight, though, I believe my safety is enhanced by bringing the battle to my opponents when they are at a distance. To that end, when I was a teenager, my friend Jim and I made a catapult that could throw a brick or an old starter (scavenged from the junkyard) for a full quarter-mile.

A Ford starter had enough momentum to penetrate the roof of a home, and shell an opponent within. Imagine Young Thugwald's surprise when a greasy car part smashed though his ceiling and collapsed his dining table as he sat with his parents, eating dinner. A strong deterrent, indeed.

And we will not even speak of Better Living Through Chemistry, or Experiments With Electricity.

As if that wasn't enough . . . I will offer two entirely new tidbits, neither of which is in response to Drama Mama's list:

9 I have a garden around my house, with over 500 perennial plants and shrubs that I have personally planted and maintained. In addition to shrubs, I have also planted a number of trees. I also grow several acres of grass, some of which is lawn and some of which is meadow. I grow all my plants organically, without the use of chemical poisons. All my wood chips are made right here, by grinding up branches and dead trees. And I use bio diesel fuel in my tractor.

10 You may be surprised to read that I have a secret life as a photographer, and in a locked closet of my home, I keep some cameras.


Drama Mama said…
I totally could hang out with you. I dare anyone to make fun of our height differences.

Could you please post some more of your photography? PLEASE?
Kim Stagliano said…
I can vouch for John. He is tall. Way tall. He is clean. I did feel rather like a child walking next to him at BEA. I'm not short - 5'4". A person a foot taller is officially TALL. "Dad! Dad! Can we go to the Putnam booth next? PLEEEEASE?"
Michelle O'Neil said…
This was great fun.

"Old One Ball" especially cracked me up.
Kanani said…
Oh dear.
Okay. I'll play along. Some things are so obscure I will need to go visit my therapist afterwards.

mcewen said…
Ooo, you're a gardener too! Best therapy in the world.
Best wishes
Chumplet said…
I'm five foot two, and yet I feel tall. Until I'm beside people who are six foot and over. Then I feel like I'm in the middle of a redwood forest.
Anonymous said…
your garden and grounds sound so very beautiful! i want to come scoop them up and unpack them in my front yard.
Mary Witzl said…
My father was 6'4" and my mother was 5'2". I lived in fear that I would end up with his height, but in fact, my growth leveled out at 5'6", much to my extreme relief.

And I have an organic garden too, and boy, you ought to see my slugs. I have tried everything: The old upside-down orange rind trick, beer in glasses, cornmeal, coarse sand, broken egg shells scattered liberally about. And still the little bastards are wolfing down my marigolds and gobbling up my lettuces. Any suggestions?
Mary, may I suggest you start by using only organic and natural materials in your garden. Then I suggest you solve the slug problem by finding someone with a food phobia, and let them come pick and eat your organic slugs.

Kyra, the grounds are nice but the mass of plants and dirt would be an awful lot to scoop up and move to your yard.

Michelle, I can assure you that Old One Ball was not even a little bit funny when you swam too slow or jumped too low.

And at times like that, when you wished you could shoot him yourself, it was hard to feel sympathy for an old war injury.

Drama Mama, I sent you a link to photos.
ORION said…
Aloha John,
I do so think tidbits about authors are interesting.
Sorry, I eat snails but not slugs.
But remember I did eat whale but I fear that was an aberration. I do not plan to make it a habit.
I must remember to mention that in my next interview...
Tena said…
Thanks for clarifying "tagging" for me.

John, your sense of humor kills me. "A talented eater..." Really.

I, too, have spent some time performing in theaters. Nothing as high-tone as the Schubert but I can attest to the grunginess of them. One thing was not grungy, though. I met my husband-to-be onstage.
Kanani said…
Oh man...
I so love #8.
That describes a part of your youth SO well.
Tinkering and mischevious. Also a bit of a thug.

You were the kid I describe in my novel as trying to setting fire to matchbox cars using his mother's bottle of Chanel No. 5. Inadvertently setting fire to an empty lot!

Are you sure we didn't grow up next to one another in some other life?
Kanani, when I set Matchbox cars on fire as a kid, I used gasoline because it was more realistic. Perfume is not a normal component of cars fires.

And they don't burn well.

But the think I liked more was building model ships and then setting them afloat and sinking them with my BB gun.

Artillery practice.
Laura said…
Too funny! I have a slug problem, too. I am normally a kind-hearted person where animals are concerned, but slugs will get stomped or salted without a second thought. I have the pet-safe slug bait everywhere, but those nasty slimy bastards still leave holes in all my plants.

What is it about gym teachers? I lived in fear of mine, and no one had any funny names for them. I still get scared thinking of Mr. Teravanian - maybe I should have called him Terrorvanian?

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