Friday, July 13, 2007

8 Scary Facts About Me

My friend Agnes Varnum at the Doc It Out blog has graciously tagged me with the "8 Things" meme. For those still not up to speed on the Blogosphere phenomenon of memes, it's a way to build community by getting fellow bloggers to write on a common theme. I did a very similar one a little while back (see Tag: I'm It), but recognizing my readers' voracious appetites for information about me, I am giving it another go ... with a twist to commemorate the "holiday."

Today, as you probably know, is Friday the 13th — a day usually linked with bad luck, the eerie, and the supernatural. In keeping with that concept, I tried to pick some facts about me that have a macabre tinge, although their scariness proved to be in how embarassing they are to me. Never one for triskaidekaphobia I plunge ahead, throwing caution to the wind.

First, let's get the business end of things out of the way:

The 4 Simple Rules:

1. Post these rules before listing your facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of the post, choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.

Now, here are my 8 facts:

1. Yesterday, I rowed over the River Styx, casting about in mire and filth, before entering the realm of forgetting. Well, I did so metaphorically. I spent my Thursday cleaning up the Chicago River, and although that may sound pretty cool (and in fact it is), there are some pretty scary things you'll still find in the muck of the river bank: condoms, hypodermic needles, diapers, bandages, tampons ... you get the idea. This was my 3rd trip out with a group of friends to pick up the nastiness that collects in a small wetland just south of Diversey Avenue. The overwhelming smell of sulfur that greeted us as we approached it certainly made me feel like I'd crossed into the netherworld. All that was soon forgotten on the trip back to shore, however, as paddling on the tranquil waters, past perching herons and turtles, the harsher memories were washed away.

2. A few years ago, I had an organ ripped from my belly. It was just my appendix, and the docs took it out with my permission, of course. For those of you who haven't had the wonderful experience of appendicitis, it is like food poisoning but much worse. An added bonus: my wound was held together by staples, not stitches, which I thought was pretty neat. My stomach still bears the scar, but it's not very noticeable.

3. As a boy I used to like to impress my older brothers by swallowing small rocks and pebbles. This was my immature attempt at playing a carnival geek. Now I just try to be a computer geek, and I'm equally unimpressive at it. These ingestions may have had repercussions for my appendix ... see above.

4. I once had a close encounter with a train suicide. I was riding the Elevated train in Evanston headed to Chicago when we made an unexpected stop. I could smell burning hair and see the poor man's legs laying on the track in front of the car. He had apparently used the electricity of the third rail to carry out the deed. It was a quite nauseating experience that I will not dwell on any longer.

5. The first single I bought as a kid (they were called 45s back then in the before time) was Superstition by Stevie Wonder ... very much appropriate for today's date. That's a little better than my other musical firsts, which are scary to me in retrospect. My first album: Kansas' Point of Know Return (ouch, even the name makes me cringe). My first concert: Bad Company (ok, could have been worse, could have been Kansas). My taste got better with age, so I look at it as the waywardness of youth.

6. My all-time favorite spooky book is Amanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko. Granted, it's not a horror novel, but the subject matter verges on the very disturbing: South American torture rooms, child kidnapping, perverse dog breeders, and a pscyhic who is able to locate murder victims.

7. My all-time favorite horror movie is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. There's not much gore in it, but Jack Nicholson plays the insane inn keeper with a lot of style. I particularly love the ending chase sequence through the frozen garden maze.

8. For weirdness in the TV realm, I must mention my fondness for a series from my youth, Kolchak: The Night Stalker starring Darren McGavin, which my siblings and I watched religiously. I loved these spooky tales of a Chicago news reporter chasing down the unexplained. I remember the tabloids my mother brought home from the grocery always featured similar stories of demon possessions, big foot sightings and alien abductions. Unfortunately reading that stuff always had a negative impact on my sleep habits. Later, I ended up being a huge fan of the X Files, and I'm still pretty fascinated with the occult.

Since I did this meme once before, I'm going to skip the tag rule. The bloggers who I tagged on my previous foray (click here if you don't know who you are) are welcome to join me in reprising the meme with a 8 additional scary personal facts.

Ok, that's 4 rules, plus 8 facts, plus 1 cheat, which gives a fitting 13 items for my post.
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