25 Random Things About a Life of No Consequence
1. I wrote Ulysses
2. Actually, I never made it through the first chapter
3. Women have always been drawn to me, but seldom attracted to me. Or if they are, they’re doing a very, very good job of hiding it
4. Fortunately one exception was the only woman I ever loved, who, remarkably, married me. Of course, I almost didn’t ask her out because I thought she was too beautiful for me
5. We got engaged two months after our first date
6. I have never gotten drunk, smoked pot or tried any other recreational drug. The only reason is that I hate the thought of letting my guard down and saying or doing something I’ll regret
7. People are shocked—shocked—when they hear this. They say I look and seem like someone who’s partied hard and done just about everything
8. Although I have made my living as a writer and editor, and won a PHD fellowship in English Lit, I have read very few entire books, almost all of them biographies
9. I really should be reading Pynchon, because apart from my wedding pictures, I have been photographed very few times in my adult life, and half of those were for work IDs, a passport and my driver’s license. In every photo that has been taken, I’ve inclined my head slightly downward and cocked it to the right
10. I won the Little League batting title. It is the one accomplishment I’m proud of.
11. The next year, however, I was pitching a shutout against he best team in town, and faltered in the heat with a 2-0 lead in the 6th. They put me in left field and I missed a fly ball to lose my own game. It remains the central metaphor of my life
12. My father dropped dead when I was 17 and it changed me forever
13. When I love, I love very deeply; but I have lost many loved ones. As a result, I try not to get too close to anyone, except my wife, and though I am friendly with many people, I have very, very few friends
14. I miss our cats, Tinker and Rachel, every single day
15. On a brighter note, I beat the crap out of a kid in high school and I still feel good about it; bastard had it coming
16. Although I can cuss like a longshoreman, I only use the f-word as an expletive, never as the verb for fornication, and I never use sexual vulgarities of any kind. And I have never ogled a woman, even when single.
17. I set absurdly high standards for myself in achievement and personal behavior, and as a result always feel like a disappointment.
18. I know the birth and death dates of every president (in order) and half the people in the encyclopedia, plus innumerable baseball statistics. But that’s all I know.
19. On a good day, I do a killer impersonation of Johnny Mathis singing “Wonderful, Wonderful.”
20. I drink way, way too much coffee.
21. I lie about my height. I’m 5 10 and a half, but tell everyone I’m 5-11.
22. I love pizza so much I had to give it up. One slice and I can’t stop.
23. While taking a history test in high school, I got stuck on a question—knew it, but it escaped my memory. I inadvertently glanced at another kid’s test and saw what I immediately recognized as the right answer. But I still left the question blank. My sense of honor, you know.
24. I am mortified beyond measure by the thought of aging and looking older
25. I would like to write one sentence as beautiful as the last one in James Joyce’s The Dead. See, I began with Joyce and ended with Joyce. Symmetry.
26. BONUS. I use self-deprecating humor solely as a defense, and am actually an arrogant prick