This was a piece of digital folk art that everybody was bandying about on Facebook. It’s a list of 25 things your friends don’t already know about you. At the time, I had just started up using social media and this was my first attempt to post anything of any length on the internet.
This is quite literally my first blog…the embryo…the proto-blog!
25 Things You Don’t Know About Me!
1. I used to believe that the world was made up of robot-people and I was the only person who was real flesh and blood. This is not to say that other people did not exist; they just existed as flesh-and-blood in alternate universes where they were surrounded by robot-people. This gave me a taste for the flavor of a certain kind of loneliness that I would carry with me for the rest of my life.
2. I used to play a game called Cockroach Auschwitz with my brother. The components: hairspray, mason jars, matches, matchboxes, newspapers, roaches.
3. I used to squint my eyes and stare into the sky, believing I was able to predict the weather. I could see invisible particles that were either long, transparent cylinders or simple ovoids that had the look of paramecium under a microscope. If I saw cylinders, I knew it would rain.
4. As a child, I was teased mercilessly by a monkey on the way to the library. It often imitated me. I would stop to gesture at it. It would imitate me some more. It would follow me along the wall. I hated that monkey and to this day upbraid myself for letting it get the best of me. I should have kept walking. That would have shown him.
5. Once I saw a UFO. But it was really because I was an FOB. That thing in the sky with the colorful lights was a Goodyear Balloon advertising things at night.
It is not an UFO
6. Whenever I read a story as a kid, if the main character was a child but older than me by just a few years, I would get incredibly upset and competitive. Encyclopedia Brown was, therefore, a source of much unhappiness for me.
7. I got many of my siblings addicted to high class trash porn: Jackie Collins, VC Andrews, etcetera. They knew that if I was reading it, there was probably a lot of sex-parts.
8. I used to get very competitive with the moon, which followed me home in the evenings after piano lessons. I would run very fast to see if I could beat the moon. The moon always seemed to gain on me when it was full.
9. Most of my early memories, I believe, are a function of indoctrination from a refugee family hoping to implant the micro-chip of propoganda in my head. Or so I think. For a long time, I thought that most of my parent’s stories were simply that. People make up all sorts of crap when they come to the States. It surprised me later when some of those stories were actually true!
10. It took me a long time to realize that I had been, quite literally, an exile for most of my life. This happened in grad school when being “exilic” was a source of glamour. All the really cool kids read cool books about the exilic condition. These books told you that the exilic condition was liberating and postmodern. It made me wish I was exilic, too. Boy, was I pissed when I realized that I had been an exile without the benefit of any of the glamor. In fact, exiles were pretty much a dime a dozen in my world. Then, I realized that all those fools who were into the idea of exile were posers and frauds. There’s nothing glamorous about being an exile if you have to actually live it.
11. I had an inferiority complex because I never lived a bohemian hand-to-mouth life in New York. Finally, I went to New York but developed an inferiority complex because I didn’t stay long enough.
12. I got a red toy rat for Christmas. It was one of my favorite toys. Inside, it was stuffed with styrofoam pellets. It smelled of gasoline. There is a picture of me with the rat and I am smiling.
13. My parents hated all hippies because of their protests against the Vietnam War. This made me compelled by the hippie aesthetic but, simultaneously, afraid of them, too.
14. Because they were strict and proper FOB’s, whenever my parents saw kissing on television, they would switch the channel. Then, they would turn it back when the kissing was safely over. Inevitably, kissing meant for me that I would miss a vital piece of information.
15. As a child, I thought I would never ever get married because I didn’t want my parents to see me kissing. So I got married and didn’t invite my parents to the wedding.
16. I invented the taser as a child. There were blueprints and everything. So, I felt supremely cheated when many years later, the taser was invented.
17. In graduate seminars during my first year in the Ph.D. program, it was fashionable for the young professors to have people read out loud. It was supposed to get us back to the enjoyment of reading. Often, when it was my turn, I wanted to break down crying and tell everyone that I didn’t know how to read.
18. I used to write all my sister’s Creative Writing assignments when she was in High School. We’d lock ourselves in my room and I would dictate. My mom would stand outside the door and eavesdrop. She was convinced we were having an incestuous affair.
19. I am fascinated by the abundance of pornography in the world. Sometimes I walk into those truly stupendously large porn stores just to gawk at the triumph of capitalism…this is what I tell myself…and I’m not sure if this is a rationalization for what are fundamentally base appetites.
20. I used to tell the elementary school kids that I learned kung fu from my grandfather in the backyard…as if it was no big deal. My schoolmates, after all, paid for real lessons, I told them. This impressed them immeasurably.
21. I was always impressed by my older brother’s tan. He had that high pro glow. When I tanned, I just got dark.
22. My first playboy was on microfiche.
23. I once surfed with dolphins and it scared me.
24. I met up with some old church friends from my Mormon childhood during my brother’s graduation celebration. They told me that they always thought I’d become a concert pianist. I kept thinking, “What planet were you living on?”
25. For a long time, my idea of a truly chic, sharp look was a turtle neck. I still don’t think you can go wrong with a turtleneck unless you have a fat face.