Monday, February 02, 2009


Like it? 
I keep getting tagged in the "25 things" Internet meme that's being passed around, like a cute catchphrase or the flu. You're supposed to write a list detailing 25 things that no one knows about you, then publish the list -- making said list obsolete because now people know all these things about you. Thus, another pop culture phenomenon eats itself. Hooray!

Coming up with 25 things about me that no one else knows is more difficult than it sounds. I don't keep secrets. Even if I did, I wouldn't write them here, thank you very much. So I'm ignoring that bit. Some people may know some of these things. Some people may know others. The point is, these are little-known facts about me, 25 of them, and I'll try to veer as far away from self-indulgence as I can. M'kay?

1. When I wear a watch, I wear the watch face on the inside of my wrist. I picked this up from my maternal grandfather, who used to wear his watch the same way. I remember seeing it done that way when I was a kid, and it seemed like a fine thing to do at the time. Besides, it's much more comfortable.

2. Nevertheless: when I mime "looking at my watch" for someone, I look at the outside of my wrist. It's just easier than explaining #1.

3. My grandfather, by the way, was probably one of the last people on the planet still sniffing snuff regularly. He bought his snuff in rectangular foil-wrapped packages that looked like little sticks of butter. The snuff was transferred to a brown glass bottle he carried in his pocket. When he needed a sniff, he'd tap out a little brown pile into his palm, fine like cinnamon. He'd pinch some in his brown stained fingers, poke it into his nostril, and take a quick snoot. I have never used snuff but at one time it also seemed like a fine thing to do.

4. In my office we have a coffee machine that I don't use, because the coffee it makes is shit. It uses packets, not loose grounds. While some of those kinds of machines can make good coffee, this isn't one of them. Anyway. On top of the coffee machine, we keep stacks of paper cups in which to drink the shit coffee. Whenever I walk by the machine, I check to see if the stacks of cups are evenly distributed in height. If not, I make them even.

5. I have been caught doing #4 every single time. I can't imagine what people think I'm doing.

6. As I said, the coffee that comes out of that maker is shit. There are people who drink it regularly. Either they don't know what a cup of decent coffee tastes like, or they don't care. I feel bad for them either way. They work hard and deserve good coffee.

7. I won't swim under any circumstances. No, I'm not interested in learning. No, I don't feel like I'm missing out.

8. Some asshole I used to know once told me I "murdered my future children" because I refuse to learn how to swim. That's one of the shittiest, needlessly mean things anyone's ever said to me. He thought he was being helpful. What a cock.

9. If I could get away with it and not be considered mentally unstable, I'd buy 7 copies of the same outfit and not bother picking out new clothes every day. I don't kid myself that I'm "expressing myself" when I pick out what to wear on any given day. I wear what's clean and in my closet. I'm OK with it.

10. Speaking of clothes, I think the fashion industry is pointless and elitist. I'm not talking about average people who like to make clothes. I mean The Fashion Industry. The one in New York and Paris and L.A. The industry where pompous frauds create ridiculous non-clothes and then fawn all over themselves or tear each other down according to their own arcane rules. Yes, I saw "The Devil Wears Prada." I saw Meryl Streep's little monologue about how a ridiculous-looking scrap of fabric that someone calls "a dress" gets filtered through various channels, becoming tamer, more mainstream, until a barely-if-at-all-related dress that The Little People will wear finally makes its way down into mass-market stores. It's like "trickle-down economics," except with apparel and just as elitist. I call bullshit. Sorry. I realize you may not agree. It's not just the fashion industry -- I hate any elitism in any art form -- but that's just the most egregious example I can think of right now.

11. I get about two haircuts a year. I don't get haircuts more often because, while my barber is a fantastic guy -- my cousin, in fact -- I hate having to spend 35 minutes sitting in the chair making conversation. I'll gladly talk with him over a beer any other time, but it's too awkward when my hair's wet and there's snippings all over my face and lips and he's got razor-sharp metal around my ears, throat, and eyes. I just want to sit in the chair, have him cut my hair quickly and in total silence, and then let me up. We can make chit-chat afterward.

12. Oh, and when he holds the mirror to show me the back of my head, I always say, "That's great," even though I can't tell what the hell's going on over there.

13. I only spent a few weeks or months in kindergarten, then was moved to first grade because I'd been reading by age 2. The only things I remember from kindergarten: (1) toilets in the classroom, (2) nap time during which we had to put our heads on the table and sleep, except I was never tired so I stared at the blinds, (3) a creepy puppet named P. Mooney.

14. It was only 2008 when I finally got up the nerve to Google "P. Mooney." You know what? That fucking puppet is still creepy.

15. When I was in first grade -- I must've been about 5 years old -- I got in trouble for writing "FUCK" on my desk. I've been swearing ever since.

16. I don't understand why some people don't swear. They're just words. Besides, it's fun and relieves stress! Try it!

17. Things that make me stressed that might not make other people stressed: being submerged in water, traveling, being in high places, insects -- actually any animal with antennae -- and using the phone. I hate using the phone.

18. I'm a kid, maybe 6 or 7. The phone rings, I answer it. A man with a brusque voice doesn't give his name and asks for Tony. My dad's name is Tony, but he's not home, and I say so. The guy on the other end of the phone says, "You tell him: 'Tony's in trouble.' Got that?" I don't say anything. He says, louder: "Hear me? Tony's in trouble! OK?" Then the guy hangs up. I run to my mom who was folding laundry and I tell her about it and start crying because I think someone's going to find my dad and kill him. She says it's probably one of his friends playing a joke. I think she was right, because my dad came home just fine and didn't seem to know who that could've been. To this day, I have no idea what it was about.

19. I love airports. The stores, the gates, the crap restaurants and bars, hundreds of rows of seats, convenience stores and shops that sell T-shirts and tacky tchotchkes and national newspapers and every kind of magazine. The only place I feel comfortable eating a Toblerone is in an airport. All the luggage and the variety of people -- it's fascinating. Everyone is surrounded by technology: speakers referring you to electronic boards updated second-by-second from radar and x-rays and giant whirring conveyor belts and steel and glass structures and those machines that flatten pennies into oval souvenirs and people dressed for travel with their gaze locked to their laptops or Blackberries and TV screens everywhere streaming live cable news. I love the fucking airport. I love layovers. If the airport weren't so difficult to get to, I'd go there just to hang out.

20. I'm also fascinated by places where there are no people and no technology. Most of these places tend to be in the polar regions, which is why I'm fascinated by the polar regions, like Antarctica. I'd love to visit, because it's the closest I'm ever going to get to being on another planet. Alert, Nunavut, Canada is the northern-most permanently inhabited place on Earth. There are five sorry son-of-a-bitches living there. Five. Enough for doubles-dominoes while the other poor fucker reads a magazine. What the hell is life like there? What was life like before now? Do they ever get sick of each other? Barrow, Alaska. Look at the Google Map satellite view of that place. Jesus. It looks like a hunk of bad cheese. How did human beings ever evolve to live in a place like that? People living off nothing in the middle of the desert. Why don't they move?

View Larger Map

21. Scenario: Somebody says I'm being sent to a remote desert island and I get one variety of vegetable to eat for the rest of my life, and that's it. They'll fly it out to me, or maybe there's already a lifetime supply on the island. I've got my choices narrowed down to either yellow bell peppers or okra.

22. I suck at gardening and I'm fine with that.

23. I used to spend hours at a time shooting pool on a hand-made, regulation-size pool table built by a tenant of my dad's, up in the attic. Real slate top covered in cheap felt with pennies glued to the rails as markers. I was pretty good at it but I haven't played in ages, because the only pool tables where I live are located in beaten-up dive bars that I don't want to go into. The second I get the money, I'm putting a pool table in my house. Being a professional pool player used to sound like the best way to make a living. It still does.

24. If I hadn't skipped kindergarten, as described in #13, I shudder to think what the hell my life would be like. I wouldn't have met any of the people I knew then, which led to me meeting other people later on, which led to me meeting the people I know now. I wouldn't have gone to the same schools. I probably wouldn't have gone into the career I did. I'm having an entirely different life than I might have had, and the one I might've had seems fucking awful. When I think about everything that's happened in 32 years, all I see is something a lot like natural selection: a series of precarious coincidences leading to a creature that has evolved to fit perfectly in its surroundings.

25. Got it. Yellow peppers, definitely.


New England Bites said...

Yep. The doll is creepy. What is wrong with people? Remember that My Buddy doll? You gave that thing one good wash in the machine and it looked exactly like Chucky from the Child's Play movie - which coincidentally came out just three years later. Thanks for making me sleep with one eye open, Hasbro. I think it was all a sick joke.

Dan said...

Oh yes -- I remember My Buddy. I still remember that jingle too: "Wherever I go, he goes! My Buddy and me!" Stalker...

Nik remembers it too. I just mentioned, "Hey, do you remember My Buddy?" And she said, "Yes. It creeped me out!" Without me even asking her. So yeah. Uhhhhhhh...

New England Bites said...

Definite stalker. Reminds me of that song by The Police: "Every breath you take ... every move you make ... I'll be watching you."


New England Bites said...

UGH! Remember Kid Sister?!

OK, I'm done now ...

Nigel said...

You said f**k 5 times in this article.

You are a very fucking rude young man using language like that.

Mr. Angry.

Gary Wall said...

Wearing a watch with the face on the inside of your wrist is a good idea. When somebody asks you the time while you're hold a drink you spill it over them not yourself. Then they can't laugh at you and point at you in the middle of the pub saying "I can't believe you fell for that one - what a dork" and then twenty years later catch up with you on Facebook and tell all your new friends from all over the world what happened. Good move Dan. I've been wearing my watch the same way for about twenty years now.

John from the Poi said...

Very funny Dan, tell Mr. Angry to fuck off.
John from the Poi

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