On Facebook, there’s a new challenge to write twenty five random things about yourself. Here’s mine:
1. I once had an out-of-body experience involving Luciano Pavarotti.
2. Long ago, my grandfather gave me a pocketknife, saying a boy should never be without one, and so I never am.
3. The chocolate gods fear me.
4. Teaching is my calling, although I’m desperately disorganized and flaming out fast.
5. I’m not a great reader, except in spurts.
6. I keep a diary because I love to write—anything—even this. I’d rather communicate by letter or email than by phone. I’ve written a handful of good short stories for teenagers.
7. I’m vain about not looking my age, but embarrassed at how young I am on the inside.
8. People love to hear me tell Irish jokes, even though my brogue is sheer vaudeville. However, they hate my Jewish accent, even though it’s derived from real-life yids.
9. My nom de guerre—and this is a secret—is Humphrey Zoa.
10. I read and think about current events and politics a great deal, but I’m ambivalent about the direction we ought to go in—just a wishy-washy centrist getting more conservative every year.
11. I think religion has a pernicious influence on the world—and yet I’ve never wholly written off the possibility of God.
12. The flame of love does not die in me, even for those who aren’t right for me; even for those who have wronged me.
13. I love to drink. My cleaning lady is on a one year sabbatical (did you think I was going to say ‘bender’?) so when I vacuum and dust, I reward myself with Talisker’s, a tres pricey Scotch.
14. I have a woman friend who smokes cigars with me.
15. I go to the gym every workday. I used to jog, but can’t anymore. However, I still dream of running, or actually gliding, great distances a few inches above the ground.
16. I think the greatest story ever written is The Emperor’s New Clothes. Should be required reading for everyone in government and finance.
17. I’m not an idolater of any sort. I’m not awed by rockers; I don’t lust after starlets; I ignore celebrity gossip; and I especially don’t give a rat’s ass about actors.
18. I love to cook and sometimes pretend I’m the Galloping Gourmet.
19. I once had a roommate who was big on vegetarianism. I gave it a try and caught pneumonia. So I said to him, “What do you want me to do, die healthy?”
20. My zeitgeist quotient is quite low, especially when it comes to the music I supposedly grew up with.
21. I’m a big crybaby, but Marley didn’t get to me--probably because I’ve wept over pets of my own. The poisoning of my dog Chasco was one of my most wrenching experiences. It’s when I stopped collecting jokes.
22. I love to bask in the warmth of friendship, but I’m not always good at being sociable.
23. I would have been a great actor if I’d approached it obliquely instead of head-on. Don’t ask me to explain except over several glasses of the aforementioned Scotch.
24. In my every idle moment, punctuating each several thought, on first waking to last nodding, filling every respite from care, while quickening my resolve to care, I think of women.
25. I love my little house, but I want to leave Los Angeles.