25 Random Things (Reposted)

Looking through the Paul’s Thing archives this morning I found this, a post from February 2009, when the “25 Random Things About Myself” meme was all over Facebook. My answers were anything but random, but they were honest … and they’re all still true.

  1. I’ve actually lost sleep worrying about one of my middle names. I grew up thinking it was “Quentin,” and that’s how it’s spelled on my marriage license, military records, social security paperwork, and passport. About ten years ago my father confessed to misspelling it the night I was born, and in fact my birth certificate says “Quinten.” My entire life has been a lie and some day everything will come crashing down around my ears.
  2. Without knowing any of the above, I doomed my own son to a similar fate by misspelling his middle name the night he was born. I bestowed an “Isaac” on the poor child, after a favorite sci-fi author of my youth, but wrote “Issac” on the form and that’s how it’s spelled on his birth certificate.
  3. The fastest I’ve ever gone in a vehicle is Mach 2.21. That was in 1981, flying an F-15C on a functional check flight off the coast of Holland. I had a ‘78 Datsun 280Z at the time, and used to push it up to 170 kmph on the German autobahns. Going fast in the Z was far scarier than going fast in the Eagle.
  4. I always sucked at sports involving balls (last chosen, left field, perennial dodgeball target, etc), and that no doubt explains why I don’t care about baseball, basketball, or football. If you’re talking sports at me and I’m smiling and nodding, you can assume my interest is feigned.
  5. As a child I lived in Missouri, Illinois, Germany, Nebraska, Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming, and California. As an adult I have lived in Germany, California, Montana, Oklahoma, The Netherlands, Alaska, Virginia, Florida, Japan, Hawaii, Nevada, and Arizona.  I plan to stay in Arizona for the duration.
  6. As a lad I dreamed of flying jets. I worked up an elaborate fantasy involving plastic model fighters and an organization called the “Junior Air Force” that was run and entirely manned by boys. We of the Junior Air Force operated older jets as pilots of the grown-up Air Force moved on to newer models, and flew support and secondary combat missions. It was really quite involved. This went on from the time I was eight until I got interested in cigarettes and girls at around fourteen.
  7. I wasted my junior high and high school years. The only worthwhile thing I did in all that time was to play trombone in the band. That is the one part of my life I wish I could live over.
  8. I met my future wife after posting a notice on the bulletin board at the junior college we attended, looking for someone to ride to and from school with me and and help pay for gas.
  9. On our first date we were arrested for underage drinking and taken to jail, but released early the next morning. On our second date, we hooked up with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee at our college and helped pack clothing and canned goods for the Freedom Riders. This was like 1965. Also in 1965, I marched against our involvement in Vietnam and was photographed by federal agents, but never had any problem getting high-level security clearances later in life.
  10. When we were first married, Donna and I had a pet hedgehog named Sam. Sam shared our little German apartment with our baby boy Issac.
  11. I smoked marijuana and hashish a few times in college, but never really took to it. Alcohol, on the other hand … well, I guess I really took to that.
  12. When I was teaching freshman composition on a graduate fellowship at Sacramento State, a good looking girl came up to me one day and told me she liked my pants. So I told her I found them at Penny’s. I was never very quick on the uptake.
  13. I love brunettes and smarts and attractive faces. That’s what draws me, sexually, then legs, then butts. I’m not that much of a boob guy. Now that I’m older I realize some aspects of sex are overrated, but I still think of it from time to time, and hope I continue to do so.
  14. My first political thoughts were formed in elementary school, hearing adults yell at each other about whether or not the FBI should snoop into peoples’ private lives (those were the days of Joe McCarthy, loyalty oaths, and House Un-American Activities Committee hearings). The snoopers’ ultimate argument (then & now) was that you didn’t have anything to worry about if you didn’t have anything to hide. Even as a child I knew there was something wrong with that line of reasoning … and with people who reasoned that way. Apparently I’ve been a pinko since I was seven or eight!
  15. As liberal as I am politically, I’m conservative as hell socially. I don’t want to be around ignorant and uneducated people, especially people who choose to be that way. I stay away from people who can’t manage their lives. I look down on people who are capable of doing what must be done, but don’t.
  16. When I buy my own clothes I go blue, so Donna does most of my shopping.
  17. I’m not a very good grandfather. I keep expecting my grandchildren to be more grown up than they are, forgetting that they’re still children.
  18. I don’t think I was a very good father, come to that. I was totally into my military and flying career, and didn’t spend as much time as I could have with my children.
  19. I used to get road rage. I still flip the bird at inconsiderate drivers, but I no longer flick the high beams or try to cut them off. I started driving commercially a few years ago, and that helps … I even obey speed limits now.
  20. I don’t believe in heaven or hell and generally consider myself an unbeliever, but would never call myself an atheist. There may be gods, but I don’t believe they intervene or even care about human affairs. I believe our lives are up to us, and that we can and should be as good as we can be.
  21. People who think I’m self-effacing and un-egotistical really don’t know me well.
  22. I think Tom Cruise is a pretty good actor. In fact, of all the actors working today, the only one I can’t stand (and will not watch) is Adam Sandler. I always hated Angela Lansbury too. Damn you, Angela Lansbury!
  23. I love to read a good book. If everything tanks and all the good things go away — computers & internet access, cable TV, cars and motorcycles, eating out — I’ll be okay as long as the libraries stay open.
  24. When I was little, only six or seven, I stole a rubber from a drug store. When my mother found it I told her some man had given it to me. To this day I feel bad about lying to her. What a little shit I was!
  25. I hope Donna and I live long and healthy lives, then die of simultaneous heart attacks, so neither of us has to be old and alone.
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