Random Facts of Life

If you're a Facebook junkie like I've become you know all about these posts of "25 Random Facts" that have become wildly popular on the site's profiles ...

I've had loads of fun reading the stuff posted this week by some of my friends. And the other night, I was tagged in one, which -- per the rules -- meant I had to write one ...

You're only supposed to write 25 Random Facts about your life, but once I got going, naturally, I couldn't stop ...

So here I present to you my expanded list of Random Facts, some of which have been well documented on this blog and some of which I've rarely spoken.

  1. I’ve been voluntarily Tasered.
  2. My work has allowed me to interact with murderers, top-selling singers, professional athletes, politicians and an array of fascinating people from all walks of life. I’ve experienced triumphs and death and destruction the way few people do…. There are times I don’t think I can survive another day of it, and there are times I can’t fathom ever quitting.
  3. Speaking of jobs: During summers in high school I worked at an LCD manufacturing plant. During summers in college I worked at a church camp where my parents lived and managed for five years. Imagine 400 acres of property with a 40-acre, crystal clear lake in your back yard.
  4. I met my wife Kates, who also worked on the staff, at that camp. We’ve been together 10 years and married for five.
  5. I’ve visited 20 states and lived in four of them.
  6. But if you ask me about my hometown, I’ll tell you it’s Olathe, Kan.
  7. I’ve been to 11 Major League Baseball ballparks. And sung the national anthem at two -- The Ballpark in Arlington in 1995 and Wrigley Field in 1996.
  8. During the summer after my high school graduation (I was living in Olathe then), my three best friends and I told our parents we were going camping in Lawrence, but we headed to Chicago instead. Drove all night (8 hours), visited the museums, went to a Cubs game, walked the city, stayed at a hotel on Lake Shore Drive, and spent a night driving back. … I broke down and confessed to my dad the next day when one of my friends’ parents found his ticket stub to the Cubs game.
  9. I’m a master of jigsaw puzzles. Once I start one I can’t pull myself away, and I’ve been known to pull all-nighters just to finish a puzzle.
  10. I have this crazy, awesome talent with which I can name the title of a popular song and its artist by hearing just a few notes.
  11. On 9/11, I talked my way out of a speeding ticket by telling the police officer that I was a newspaper reporter and I was in a hurry to get people’s reactions to the terrorist attacks. It was the truth!
  12. On the night before I left for college, I was driving home late from a friend’s house and realized halfway to my house that I was driving without my headlights on. What made be realize the problem was seeing a police officer turn around and begin pursuing me in my rear-view mirror. To be fair, he didn’t turn on his flashing lights or sirens, but it was obvious he was eyeing me. I knew the neighborhood and it’s winding roads pretty well, and used them to my advantage in eluding him. I pulled into my driveway and was walking into my house just as he was turning on to our street. I know now it was a really stupid thing to do and I’m ashamed I did it.
  13. While I was the editor of my college newspaper, I once got exactly one hour of sleep per night over a span of five days. It was the week of our special homecoming edition. By the end of the week, my eyes had been open for so many hours that it actually hurt to close them.
  14. I consider 1991 the most pivotal year of my life. It was the year I realized the value of family, that nothing in this world can or should be taken for granted, the power of prayer and that change can be a really, really good thing.
  15. Contrary to what a lot of people I know say, I really enjoyed my high school and college days, and if I could do it all over again I would.
  16. Kates and I love the TV show “Friends.” We own the entire series on DVD and we’re almost unbeatable in “Friends” trivia games. Before the days of TV on DVD, I obsessively and successfully recorded all 236 episodes on to VHS tapes, which I’m now recording over.
  17. Contrary to what you might think, our daughter Phoebe was not named after a character in the show mentioned in Random Fact No. 16, but rather after Kates’s great aunt.
  18. I hadn’t realized I could love a person so deeply until Phoebe arrived.
  19. During my youth, I was part of an 80-member youth choir that toured the country each June. We had a knack for singing at random places, including Arlington Cemetery and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., zoos, state capitol buildings, and Major League ballparks (See Random Fact. No. 7).
  20. Three years ago, our house was burglarized and I lost some of my most prized possessions. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, but it reinforced the things I learned during the course of Random Fact No. 14.
  21. Probably my most prized possession -- which wasn’t stolen in the burglary -- is a Los Angeles Dodgers hat I received from my parents as a Christmas present when I was 12 years old. That hat has been soaked, soiled, crushed, ripped and shredded. I took it nearly everywhere I went for about 15 years. I only stopped wearing it a couple years ago because it had become so tight it made my head hurt. But if I can help it, I’ll be buried with the thing.
  22. I’ve never broken a bone in my body. But I’ve had my fair share of stitches.
  23. Kati and I once ate ice cream at a Culver’s with Rosemarie von Trapp, one of the real-life children made famous in the musical “Sound of Music.” Of course, she was no longer a child when we met her.
  24. I saw “Rent” on Broadway.
  25. Five places I must visit before I die: London, the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forest, Paris, Fenway Park.
  26. I also really want to attend a taping of “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
  27. I waste no time pouring over magazine and newspaper articles. But I’m an embarrassingly slow reader of books.
  28. I balled like a baby when the Kansas Jayhawks won the National Championship in April.
  29. First film I ever saw in a movie theater was the 1985 classic “Follow That Bird.” First “R” movie I saw in a theater was “Crimson Tide” in 1995. I was 16 years old.
  30. First rock concert I attended was for Hootie & the Blowfish. First CD I bought was “Gin Blossoms: New Miserable Experience.”
  31. I think music is the greatest discovery ever made. I can’t fathom a day without it. And that’s why I’d much rather be blind than deaf.
  32. I’m so obsessed with news and current events that I subscribe to a ton of newspaper and magazine e-mail lists and feeds, in addition to recording the “NBC Nightly News,” “The Daily Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman” every night on our DVR.
  33. I can’t swallow pills. I’ve tried. I’ve tried them with water, ice cream, Jell-o, everything you can think of. Can’t do it. So every time I get sick, I’m chugging syrup.
  34. When I was in the fifth grade, my parents took my brother and I out of school for two days (prior to the beginning of our spring break) so we could go to Disney World. I got mad at them because it was the first year I would have had perfect attendance. The next year, though, I started a streak of perfect attendance that lasted the rest of my school days. … At my ninth grade awards banquet, the kid next to me was talking the whole time the principal was introducing that year’s perfect attendance winners. So I never heard him not say my name, but I went on the stage anyway, fully prepared to receive a certificate. The audience laughed and I can’t think of a more embarrassing moment in my life. It turned out there was a glitch in the school’s computer and the principal delivered a certificate to me the next day.
  35. Also when I was in fifth grade, I entered a New Kids on the Block drawing contest, and my poster won. The grand prize was an official “Hangin’ Tough” tour jacket. It was so flashy and valuable at the time my mother feared I was going to get beat up when I wore it to school. I still own the jacket. ... When the New Kids reunited last year I entered that story in a contest to win tickets to their Boston show. I didn't win that contest.
  36. I wash the dishes every night, partly because I can’t stand dirty dishes sitting around the kitchen and partly because I find it therapeutic.
  37. My life motto is “Relax, God’s in Charge.”
  38. In high school, my friend Tom and I were riding home from a day of school in his pickup truck when a Monte Carlo slammed into the back of the truck. The impact forced our heads against the rear-window, which shattered. Miraculously, neither of us had a scratch, but we had terrible headaches the next day.
  39. I wish all writers, books and documents adhered to AP Style.
  40. I really want to be a newspaper editor.

No comments: