Via whet, per his request, six non-standard things about me.
1. I am, about 51% of the time, scared to living shit by commercial air travel. 100% of the time I am violently irritated by sharing my air and physical environment with the kind of people who fly on airplanes, but for 51% of the time, I am FUCKING TERRIFIED that the plane is going to be ripped apart in midair and I am going to die in a ball of jet-fuel flame on the ground after screaming and crying for 45 seconds beforehand. This problem was probably caused or exacerbated by the movies Alive, Fearless and that actual plane crash when I was a kid where a plane CARTWHEELED in flames down the runway in Sioux City (maybe it was Sioux Falls, I can’t remember which one is more likely to have an airport). I remember that crash because it was on videotape for some reason, and CNN insisted on airing it over and over again. I saw United 93 last week and I was at peace, but then the ending scared the shit of me, which, I probably could have seen coming. Anyway, booze, sleeping pills, regular non-pharmaceutical sleeping, none of those things help. The only thing that helps is deep breathing and reminding myself that if I die, I will probably seem cool to the people sorting through the luggage, like for instance, if I died in a plane crash *today* searchers would find A) Baseball Prospectus B) Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children C) several tony periodicals D) a pair of Michigan State basketball shorts E) a ratty Cleveland Indians hat floating on Lake Michigan. Also I like the idea of people searching for me. I like it more if I am not dead and they rescue me.
2. I think one of my nostrils has been blocked since I was about seven. I remember sticking a piece of paper towel up my nose, in one of those anatomical-theater episodes all children have, just to see exactly how far a piece of paper towel could go into your head. Then I remember that my mother asked what I was doing, I panicked, lost my grip on the paper towel, and have no recollection of it coming out, ever. People have reassured me that a paper towel would eventually dissolve and come out, and frankly I may have just forgotten that it came out. But I definitely have a blocked nostril (it shifts from left to right, it’s weird). I liken this problem to: having a stroke during the precise moment when you were wondering whether or not you left the stove on, or locked your door, or turned your headlights on. Every couple of days, I start to wonder when that paper towel is going to come out. And it never, ever does. I should probably consult a sinus expert (a sinologist?) but am not that eager to find out, or explain, the situation to anyone outside of the emotional prairies of the interwebs. Also, for fun and a story of dramatic overcoming-of-adversity, please refer yourself to the story of Al Newman and his stroke that made it so that all he could smell was nachos. (It appears this episode has been censored off the internet by the US gov’t).
3. I didn’t learn the difference between left and right permanently until I was past the age of 10. I had a hard time keeping them straight before someone explained that your left hand makes an “L” if you stick out your thumb and index finger (presuming you’re looking at your left hand from the vantage point of your skull). That trick helped immensely, although I still have lapses to this day (some of you probably have had to tell me “No, your other left” more than once. I blame this learning deficiency variously for: my inability to tie shoelaces effectively, my inability/frequent failure to correctly read analog timepieces, my inability to descend stairs quickly*, my receding hair. *: it turns out I go down stairs plenty fast, just not fast enough for my own personal needs and desires.
4. If left to my own devices, I typically eat meals that consist mostly of one or, on a good day, one-and-a-half substances. Recent notable examples of this phenomenon: 1) a bag of cashews for lunch 2) chips, sometimes with salsa, any meal of the day 3) peanut butter 4) just a tub of hummus consumed with fingers 5) dry life cereal, any meal of day. 6) a bag of spinach. This is why it is ultimately better that I just eat at restaurants every meal. Also, that just feels more dignified to me. If you have to choose, choose to choose, as Sam, by way of Lou Reed, likes to say. I am back to eating about 3 meals a week at Salonica, for those interested in that kind of thing. I think I can rachet it up to 5 or 6 this spring before it finally burns me. By the way, I’ll be entering my Age-27 Peak Season in less than 2 years. This is as good as I’ll ever get, in terms of bat speed and fielding range.
5. I hate and am incapable of wearing my pants at an age- and profession-appropriate elevation. This has nothing to do w/ lifestyle choices or disapproval of other’s people’s pants-pulling-up lifestyle choices. it is because i have a weird-shaped butt and also because i have a weird cosmic preference for my chosen way of doing things.
6. I see ghosts of dead pets periodically. Only my own pet. This has not happened since Mitch the cat died, but Mitch the cat was also the last dead pet I dealt with, so we don’t know anything. Another fun fact is that I am currently reading a 600 page manuscript about the cultural impact of Bigfoot. And I stereotypically/historically do very well in NCAA picks brackets despite not knowing very much about basketball, and specifically not watching or caring about college basketball very intensively. hint: long beach state.