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Monday, May 18, 2009

True Confessions...

...thanks to Paco tagging me.  Now to share eight fun facts about me (subject to statute of limitations... if you can handle the truth.


 1)  When I was three or four years old,  I was addicted to the Steve Canyon TV show.  Even got my own official Steve Canyon Jet Pilot's Helmet.  Wore it everywhere. Then I got tonsilitis, they took me to the hospital, and the kindly doctor explained the procedure to my parents in front of me.  I  was a precocious kid.  When they came back to wheel me to surgery the helmet was on, the visor was down, the air mask was snapped on and I wasn't coming out.

2)  When I got a little older, I used to break into my neighbors' houses to find stuff to read.  They'd come home from work and find me under their kitchen table with a pile of comics.  Then I got a stack of old kids' books out of my grandfather's attic, everything from The Swiss Family Robinson to 30's stuff like The Army Boys, the story of a bunch of chums in the Great War, Tom Swift, the Bobbsey Twins.  An important tip for parents: it doesn't matter so much what your kids read as long as they're reading and enjoying it.  I was already reading when I first went to school and never lost the love.

3) In my junior high school years, a growth spurt and a tendency to remember old slights led to the suggestion that I might wish to change academic venues.  So I wound up at Fordham Prep, an outpost of Caucasian learning in the Southest of the South Bronx.  

For some reason, the Jesuits used to lock us out of the building during lunch hour.  This went over about as well as being the first wildebeest to the river crossing.  The first-floor windows in this old stone school building were about ten feet up so I would basically free-climb, Jesuit-ninja style, up to the window, let myself in, and then go unlock the door for my classmates.

One lunchtime I'm about eight feet up the wall when I realize I'm hearing what could be described as a dreadful silence.  I look down and the school prefect of discipline, a Jesuit about the size and build of the young Brian Dennehy in Semi-tough but minus the likeable demeanor, a man who used to break up antiwar protests on the surrounding college campus with his fists, was looking back up at me.  

Shortly thereafter I began my experiment with public education.

(4) Shortly after graduating high school, I developed a determination to bicycle across the country to Los Angeles, where I would seek fame and fortune as a contestant on The Match Game (the things a man will do to meet Jo Ann Pflug...).  Instead I met a coal truck outside of Scranton and spent the longest year of my life one Labor Day Weekend in the Scranton Holiday Inn.

(5) Upon enlisting in the Army after college, I discovered that a charming young lady of my acquaintance had been a former mistress of the head of the UK Workers Revolutionary Party.  This caused many interesting conversations about my clearances, especially after it turned out that Special Branch had been wiretapping her.

(6) Upon shipping to Fort Benning for BCT (basic combat training) this same young lady came back to haunt me once again... this time in the tear-gas chamber.  The drill was, you entered, pulled off your mask, and the drill sergeants engaged you in pleasant conversation (well, they enjoyed it) to give you plenty of time to get used to being gassed.  Well, they had heard about her, and wanted to hear the whole story.  In  detail.  With much repetition.

(7) During my National Guard service after active duty, I was sent to OCS for organizing a mutiny.  (Not leading, your honor, just organizing...)  Mario Cuomo was trying to shut down an inner-city armory and disband a unit in service since the Civil War to offer a perk to an upstate backer.  Being a young'n'dumb enlisted man, I was happy to run  around mobilizing every newspaper, tv station and politician I could grab to block the disbanding... which worked, for at least another decade or so.  Also being young'n'dumb, I believed one TV reporter who said of course they would obscure my identity if I talked on camera... if by that they meant misspelling my first name in the subtitle, then they kept their word.  Haven't made that misstake since.

(8) Have attended over 700 support-the-troops rallies since the start of the Iraq war.

2 comments:

Paco said...

You organized a mutiny? Man, you are now so in charge of the national tea-party movement!

kc said...

I KNEW there was something about you I really liked!

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