16 Random Things About Me
As printed in Proteus, the Journal of the Delaware Valley Mensa (Mar 2010)

            Ah, Facebook. Blessing and curse. Friend and foe. Timesucker and… timesucker. How can one social networking website be both a vital facilitator of communication and a colossal waste of time? Yet, can one blame www.facebook.com itself for this? As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Facebook doesn’t kill people’s time. People kill people’s time.”

            No, of course not that Benjamin Franklin.

            How do I love Facebook? Let me count the ways. Over a span of just a few weeks, fb – as I like to call him – enabled me to engage in real-time discussion with friends across the country during the State of the Union address, to benefit from several handy birthday reminders, to identify a celebrity doppelgänger (‘80s starlet Rae Dawn Chong), to laugh at Josh Robert Thompson (search for “Amazing Morgan Freeman Impression” on www.funnyordie.com), to follow the biting social commentary of my former English teacher (shout out to Mr. King!), to receive a charming e-hug, and to share a photo of the curly-haired smiley face I drew in 28” snow. In short, if loving fb is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

            With this in mind, I present a written symptom of my earliest fb viral infection: “16 Random Things About Me.” Be glad that I caught it before it morphed into the yet more purposeless “25 Random Things.” 

        1)  There was a year during high school when I got pretty good at winning things from a morning radio show. I liked playing the games – name the product for the slogan, name the song from a fraction of a second-long clip, etc. Sometimes I’d call a friend and ask if she wanted a particular prize either because I wasn’t interested in it or because it had been less than 30 days since my last win (you might say it was a mild addiction). If yes, I’d call, win, and give that friend’s name. Some items I remember winning in my own name: Chicago concert tickets, Michael McDonald concert tickets, a cordless phone.

        2)  In a blind taste test, I can guess the color/flavor of a Skittle with about 80% accuracy.

        3)  I cannot explain why, but I am fascinated by alphabets and different systems of representing either letters or sounds, as well as language in general. My coworker was a Linguistics major, so we each know the other will actually be interested in discussing articles about this stuff. This is good, because no one else usually is.

        4)  I often have to explain to people why my hair is past my shoulders when it is blown out straight, while it is chin-length when it is curly. In case it’s useful, I’ll share the parallel I usually draw to the coiled cord that connects a landline phone to its handset. When you pick up the phone and walk across the room, oh, look! The cord stretches out to cover a greater distance, yet it is the same length. Who knew?

        5)  I resent a) commercials and infomercials that do things like cut away and return while pretending they didn’t, b) ads where the lighting, the angle, and the pose/expression are totally different between the “before” and the “after” images, and c) people who are able to pay closer attention but don’t because they are too excited about a “magic” product.

        6)  On the same topic, I hate when news programs present a “feature” story that is no better than an infomercial for a product or service, particularly when it is related to cosmetic surgery. Same goes for when DJs tell a personal story which is really a paid ad. Call an ad an ad, dammit.

        7)  I would love to host a game show. I’d also love to host a morning radio show, but only if I could do it from home, in bed.

        8)  A goal I’ve reached as an adult: learn a “scratch spin” in figure skating where you are on one foot and pull your arms in to increase speed. I can still do it.

        9)  A sorta-goal I’ve not yet reached, though it is also ice-related: visit all 7 continents. This was never an interest before and it’s not particularly important to me, but on the Antarctica trip I met several people who were getting on in age and had taken that opportunity to get #7 under their belts while they could. Well, dag. I’ve already got the toughest one now. So, if the opportunity presents itself, yeah, it would be cool to say I’ve been to all 7. We’ll see.

       10)  I hear from women all the time how wonderful it must be to be tall. I tell you what, chirrun. It wasn’t so hot when I was 13. That’s when I reached my adult height. Any benefits I currently derive, I have damn well earned.

       11)  I once left a book store having purchased the following four magazines: Black Belt, International Artist, Backpacker, and Geek.

       12)  If my socks get wet, I can get by. But once I take them off, I’m not putting them back on unless someone’s life depends on it.

       13)  When I was in elementary school, some group came and showed us actual, physical cross sections of human lung on plates: this is a healthy lung, this is lung cancer, this is blacklung, this is emphysema. That *#!% worked. I’ve never smoked a cigarette.

       14)  Three friends – all with different hair colors and complexions – asked me to do their bridal makeup. What an honor! And they’re all still speaking to me, so it must have gone well.

       15)  I don’t like mushrooms. Never did, not even as a little kid. Then I learned that they were fungus. It was like finding out that something nasty is also disgusting.

       16)  To end on a positive note, I am glad they brought back the Jimmy Dean breakfast commercials where the sun, moon, cloud and rainbow are at the office. I don't know why they so amuse me. :)

(Didja make it this far? Hope it was good for you... if I smoked I guess it would be time for a cigarette.)