Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I was asked to write a note with 25 Random Facts About Me. These are those.
1. I sleep with one eye open. Halfway open, to be perfectly frank, and it’s not as cool as one might think. I had surgery on my right eyelid when I was eight, to correct a droop I’d had since birth. (If you look closely at my eyelids, you can tell that one has been folded and tucked into itself ever so slightly.) As a result, it would seem, as I grew the eyelid failed to compensate, and now in a relaxed state the right eye never closes fully…if I want to shut it, I have to actively force it shut. While it may deter murderous highwaymen from slitting my throat as I sleep–which I can only assume is true since I have not yet had my throat slit by murderous highwaymen–it also means that I often wake up in the morning with dust or fallen eyelashes sitting directly on my eyeball. Which sucks. A lot.
2. When I was in sixth grade I wrote a terrible military action novel on 80 standard-ruled pieces of notebook paper, entitled Operation: Megasoldier; in which a heavily armored Marine and his brother-in-arms infiltrated some sort of evil mad villain’s fortress and destroyed something. My Social Studies teacher, Mr. Theis, who had been an Allied codebreaker in World War II, was the sort of human being who ignored my lacking grasp of military science or history to tell me he enjoyed the narrative and was “shocked” when the protagonist’s buddy failed to make it off the island alive. I still own this. It sits at the bottom of a cardboard box in storage. I hope to God nobody ever sees it again, but cannot bring myself to simply burn it.
3. I love the taste of butterscotch more than is at all healthy. If butterscotch was illegal, I would probably be in complete thrall to whichever country’s butterscotch cartel would provide me with an endless supply of the stuff.
4. My first bicycle had coaster brakes, a rust-colored frame and steel-belted tires that were about as hard as granite…every time I went over a bump my teeth rattled. Without consciously realizing it at the time, I attempted to have the bicycle stolen by always leaving it in the exposed front yard, unlocked, next to a tree. It took over a week for the damned thing to disappear.
5. After I proposed to Dana and told my mom, she told the rest of my family. She discovered that my uncle Wasim (from whom I get my middle name) had, when he was granted the honor of whispering my name into my newborn ear, very quietly added the advice that I should not marry a Pakistani girl. When he told my mother this, she was a very interesting mix of amused and flabbergasted.
6. The only time I’ve ever been called upon to play an instrument in front of people was in first grade, when I was handed a Bb hand bell to play during a winter concert. I don’t recall the song but the Bb only occurred once in the entire piece. I had to hit a bell once. During the concert, I missed it with the mallet entirely.
7. My sophomore year of high school I was arrested for shoplifting. The items in question were four trading cards; the comic book store in question had been hit several times in recent months for larger items by other punk high schoolers, so I had the book thrown at me to provide an example. Full disclosure: I’d gotten away with a couple of the earlier thefts, so I did in fact deserve to have the book thrown at me.
8. I spent a summer taking classes at Harvard University, and roomed across the hall from one John Duda, who starred in the film Prancer and played the young Kevin Bacon in Flatliners. He still owes me a minute amount of money from a bet he lost regarding the exact phrasing of a line from The Little Mermaid.
9. I’ve had a handful of nicknames but the only one that’s ever stuck, and is still used by a number of my college buddies, is “Seamus.” Because of how Irish I am.
10. My standard karaoke songs are “Welcome to The Jungle,” “Hard to Handle,” and “Cult of Personality.” When I’m feeling especially confident or foolhardy I will attempt “Don’t Stop Believin'” or “Beast of Burden.”
11. I used to be an avid tree climber and I occasionally still feel an urge, when I pass by low-hanging branches, to scamper as high as I can and stay there for at least an hour.
12. I once got a bully to stop picking on me by telling him that my mother was in the hospital. A few weeks later, he told some other kids to leave me alone because my mom was in the hospital. At that point, I revealed that she worked there. Strategically this was unsound, but somehow the act of publicly outwitting aforementioned bully caused the harassment to dissipate.
13. I got another bully to stop picking on me by hitting him in the head with a combination lock.
14. I go out of my way to avoid watching particularly gruesome horror films, but will then spend too much time online reading their plot outlines in depth on Wikipedia.
15. This is my favorite painting.
16. For a few years, I really wanted to grow up and become a crime scene investigator. Apparently, you need to be really good at science to do such things.
17. For reasons I can’t explain, I have a strong feeling that I’m going to live out the end of my life somewhere in Europe.
18. I will forgive a song with boring, unmemorable music if the lyrics are smart. I have trouble extending the same level of tolerance for well-crafted tunes accompanied by insipid lyrics.
19. I won the spelling bee for three years in a row in elementary school, from 2nd – 4th grades. The last time I was in a spelling bee I was ultimately thwarted by the word “clique.”
20. There’s an echo point at one end of the University of Illinois Quad, where things you say are amplified to the point of being easily heard across the yard. Freshman year, I would go out to this spot once a month to howl at the full moon.
21. I have seen every episode of Cop Rock. I wrote a favorable review of the show for my junior high newspaper, a review in which I used the word “kudos.” I still recall a number of plot points and snippets of musical numbers. I’m not actually proud of this, but this isn’t the list of 25 Things I’m Proud Of.
22. There are at this moment exactly 6,668 songs living in my iPod. The first song I ever uploaded into this library is Beck’s “Sea Change.” The most recent is The Judybats’ “The Lake.”
23. I was never any sort of professional sports fan until I went to work for a sports/entertainment publishing company from 2000 – 2003. The immersion ended up producing the sort of person who keeps track of stats and stands up, screaming at the TV, during tense moments of football games.
24. I have “barometer dishes” that inform my first impression of restaurants I’ve never eaten at before. The first time I’ll eat at a new Thai place I will order the pad si-ew. The first time I eat at a new Italian place I will sample the gnocchi, and deduct points if this isn’t offered on the menu.
25. I’m really bad with all forms of the prompt “Tell me about yourself.” Case in point: It took me nearly three days to finish this list.