Tuesday, October 25, 2005

100 Things - The Finale

About time, too.

Tomorrow (or the next day) I'll have a dandy little Halloween reminiscence for you. Now, though, let's finish up this exploration in ego.

76 - I once sprayed shaving cream on the back of a man's suit jacket while he was wearing it. The poor sonovabitch - I don't know when he found out about it, but I hope he wasn't going to a job interview or something.

Y'see, I was about 9 years old. My father had sent me to the store to get him some shaving cream. While I was standing in the check-out line, behind the man in the suit jacket, I was just daydreaming and I inadvertently pressed down on the nozzle. A huge spray of shaving cream shot out of the can, directly onto the back of his nice blue suit.

I was absolutely mortified! I didn't know what to do. I knew I should probably tell him, but I didn't know him, so maybe he'd hit me or something. I took a couple of steps backward, hoping nobody else had seen what I did. It appeared that nobody had, so I turned and went back to the shaving cream aisle, where I replaced the canister. I then tried to walk very calmly out the door, while checking to see if he was looking for whoever did it. He was still standing in line, totally unaware that there was this huge blob of foamy soap on his back.

I've said more than one prayer for him over the years, in hopes of making up whatever catastrophe my accident might have caused him. Did the cashier tell him? Did he find out when he sat down in his car, hearing a squishy sound when he leaned back? Was the suit ruined? I assume so. What if he had just been released from jail that day, and that was the suit they gave him to start his new life? Did he go berserk and end up back in the can? More than likely, he just spent the rest of his days wondering what the hell happened. Well, if by some odd chance you're reading this, I'm what happened. Sorry!

I went to another store and got the shaving cream for my dad. And nobody was any the wiser, until now.

77 - I took logic as an elective in high school. You wouldn't know it from the crap I put out here.

78 - My favorite candy bar is the Zero bar. I don't think they make it anymore, as I never see it anywhere. If it is gone forever, I'll take a Sky Bar, thanks.

79 - I've had a broken thumb on my left hand (from a swipe tag at first base where the runner bent back my glove), a broken index finger on my right hand (from a grounder I was too anxious to get out of the pocket of my glove, so it never actually reached the pocket of my glove, but hit my finger straight on), and had arthroscopy performed on my right knee (for torn cartilage, which was probably the result of many stresses, but happened during batting practice before the first game of one season many moons ago.) Other than that, I've been amazingly injury-free in over 40 years of playing baseball and softball. Not bad.

80 - If I had to pick a favorite vegetable (which so far I have not had to do) it would probably be green beans.

81 - My favorite band is Deep Purple. Every one of those guys can actually play. They are the one heavy metal band I would unhesitatingly put up as evidence that there are some excellent musicians who prefer to play metal.

82 - I have had one "blackout" experience in my life; a time period about which I cannot for the life of me recall what I did. Interestingly, it had no connection to drugs or drinking. All of those experiences are perfectly clear to me. No, it happened when I was playing basketball.

I was working for Prudential Insurance at the time. They had a company team, so I decided to try out for it. The tryouts were at a gym in East Boston near Maverick Square. I changed into my gear in the locker room and went out on the floor to warm up. Two teams were made up for a scrimmage. I remember being on the court and the other scrimmage team coming toward us with the ball. The coach called out a zone defense.

The next thing I remember, some two hours later, is sitting on a bench in the locker room, sweaty and toweling off. It dawned on me that I had no idea how I got there. I didn't have a bump on my head or anything else to indicate that I had been knocked unconscious. There didn't seem to be anyone concerned about my health; everyone was just going about the usual business of a locker room. Nobody was giving me the stinkeye or otherwise showing me any sign that anything had been out of the ordinary. I dressed in a haze and left. A couple of guys said goodbye to me as though I was perfectly normal.

I have no idea what I did on the court that night. I must not have played very well, because the coach was supposed to call those he was inviting back and he never called me. I never asked anyone who was there what had happened, because they didn't work in the same building as I did and I was sort of embarrassed to explain to anyone that I had no idea what happened that night.

Did I try to take a bite out of the ball, hold it aloft like a severed head and scream obscenities at everyone? Maybe I stripped naked, climbed up onto the backboard and imitated King Kong? Who knows? However, I was never arrested, and nobody took a swing at me in the locker room, so I guess I didn't do anything too horrible.

Just a total blackout. Why? I have no idea. It remains a mystery to me.

83 - My favorite dessert is either an Eclair or a piece of Boston Cream Pie. Make that two Eclairs or a really big piece of Boston Cream Pie.

84 - I may or may not have a third nipple. I have this birthmark on my chest, see? And I think it's just a birthmark. It's about four inches below my right nipple. MY WIFE says it's a vestigial third nipple. I say it's a birthmark.

(84a - Did I mention how hard it is to come up with 100 interesting things?)

85 - I'm not a good poker player. This is because I blush very easily. I know the odds inside out, so if I could wear a full mask while playing, I'd be pretty damned good. I know when to bluff, but everybody else knows when I am. So far as I know, though, there aren't any games where folks wearing masks are especially welcomed, so I won't be playing in the World Series Of Poker any time soon.

86 - I don't use shaving cream when I shave. Haven't for at least 20 years. Just hot water and a razor. No, it isn't because I'm emotionally scarred from the shaving cream incident I mentioned earlier. It's just that the soap irritates my skin more than the way I do it. So, no soap for me.

87 - I have been told that I look like Chris Elliot. MY WIFE disagrees, but I saw him on a talk show the other day and I think I do bear at least a slight resemblance to him, in profile.

88 - My biggest phobia is heights. More specifically, I guess it would be open heights - bridges, rooftops, fire escapes - that sort of thing. I'm fine in airplanes. Once I'm actually on a high floor of a tall building, it doesn't bother me much. Going up in the elevator, though - that weirds me out.

89 - I like my coffee with cream and 1/2 a sugar.

90 - I'm a "morning" person. As a matter of fact, it's 6:42 AM as I write this.

91 - I was born in Quincy Hospital, located in (naturally enough) Quincy, Massachusetts.

92 - The first rock concert I ever saw was Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. My Uncle Jim, who had some really good connections, got me and my friends second row seats. The opening act was Livingston Taylor. In those days, it wasn't all that unusual to smoke pot openly at concerts. As a matter of fact, it was expected. So the highlight of the show for us was when we were passing a pipe around, with a couple of Boston Police doing security in front of the stage, and David Crosby looked down at us, saw what we were doing, and gave us a "thumbs up" sign. We lived on that for weeks.

93 - I always print. I know how to write cursive, but my writing has always been bad. My printing, however, is excellent.

94 - The first time I ever came up the ramp at Fenway Park and saw the field, at age 7, I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I still get a little thrill every time I go there and see the field for the first time.

95 - I use nose spray daily. It says on the label not to use it more than three days in a row. I'm about 5,000 days over that limit.

96 - I've never met a subway I didn't like. I prefer older ones, as they have more character. My favorite is The Underground in London. If I had to choose my least favorite, I suppose it would be The Metro in Washington, DC. It's tremendously efficient, but every station looks identical.

97 - I was probably the youngest professional blackjack dealer ever. I started at the age of 14. Around that time, my dad was a craps dealer/stickman for a local outfit that ran Monte Carlo/Las Vegas nights. These were mostly events run for charity, but the money was real and the action pretty heavy at times. Anyway, one night they came up short a dealer. My dad knew I could handle a deck of cards fairly well and he knew that I knew the way a BJ table operated (the odds, payoffs, etiquette, etc.) so he recommended me to the operator. I did the job well and continued doing it until I was in my early 20's.

It came to an end for both of us when, one night while we were working separate functions, he was arrested. His gig that night wasn't one of the charity deals, which were strictly legal. There was the occasional straight up gambling gig, where we would hire out to go to sea and just be a floating casino for the night, with an invited crowd. That's where he was working that night. Meanwhile, I was working a function for a charitable organization in New Hampshire.

I got home and he wasn't there, which was unusual since his job ended earlier than mine and I had been out of state. I knew that sometimes the crew went for a late dinner, though, so I wasn't tremendously worried. I went to bed.

In the morning, he was home and he told me what had happened. They had been boarded by The Coast Guard, who had been tipped off about some ship in Boston Harbor. As it later turned out, it seems that they boarded the wrong ship. There was a much higher profile operation out that night that they had meant to get. Anyway, the story was in the papers, though there were no photos good enough to give anyone's identity away. Thank God for that, because this was strictly a second job for most of them. Like my dad, they mostly had regular legal jobs. If their employers had found out, it would probably have meant firings. In the end, everyone got off with warnings and a sealed record, after pleading guilty and paying court costs.

My dad weighed the advantages and disadvantages of taking another chance and we both decided to stop dealing. Decent money for no heavy lifting while it lasted, though.

98 - Aside from my own output of songs (I've written maybe 75 or 80 of them) MY WIFE and I have collaborated on a few "specialty" tunes. These were mostly written to celebrate holidays (Everybody Mardi Gras! and Yahahahooey, It's Christmas! are two examples) but our all-time favorite is probably The Antarctican National Anthem, which follows. Since this is written, you won't have the music to listen to. However, it is similar to For Boston, the Boston College fight song, so if you know that, you can hum along.

Antarctica, Antarctica!
We sing of thee!
Our Native dish is penguin fricasee!
Antarctica, Antarctica!
Land of snow and ice!
Antarctica, Antarctica!
It sure is nice!

99 - In high school, I flunked Spanish three times, Latin twice, and French once. I am a language specialist. I speak English exclusively.

100 - I'm glad this is finished. So are you, in all likelihood.

Thanks for indulging me. This was an interesting exercise. I found myself considering all sorts of trivial facts about myself for inclusion here, and it forced me to dig deep into my own psyche at points. I may have actually learned something, though I wouldn't put any money on it if I were you.

See you soon with more semi-interesting stuff!


Anonymous said...

Good list, Jim.

Yes, "about me" lists are pretty standard. I probably wouldn't have created one, except that I did so in response to a prompt from the Alchera Project. It was indeed hard to put together 100 things. It was even harder writing something that I thought I might want to read (were my role and that of the reader reversed).


Suldog said...

That's an interesting site, Tim. I might 'steal' an idea or two...

Unspoken said...

Glad I read though or I would have missed the song :).