Eight Random Things…

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Taking my queue from , I decided to post eight random things about myself.

1. I used to pick onions. For one summer, when I was 14, I was taken early in the morning by my mother to a local farmer's house. From there my friends and I were driven 15 minutes and arrived at one of their farms. And then we picked onions by the bushel. It was 25 cents per bushel as I recall. Chump change, methinks, but it was a treasure trove back then. We also had lots of fun having onion fights among the nearby corn rows.

2. I nearly poked my eye out with a screwdriver once. My friends owned a comic book store, and I helped out from time to time. We were taking down some counters and shelves, and there was a pegboard attached to a wooden frame via some thick-gauge wire. I was trying to pull out one of those wire ties with a screwdriver, and I was doing it very improperly. Wire came free. So did screwdriver. Screwdriver met eye. Screwdriver won. I was taken to the hospital, but luckily I didn't suffer much damage. I did, however, have a wicked, blood-red eye for a week or two after that. It was fun freaking my friends out.

3. As near as I can tell, I've been to 36 states. I worked as a software consultant for quite a few years, and that took me to lots of places. The rules? Airports don't count. Neither does driving through the state and just stopping for gas or food. You have to have been somewhere in the state where you spent a half-day minimum. Can anyone beat 36?

4. I worked as a caddy. This was when I was 15, the summer after onion picking. I was pretty scrawny back then, and so a lot of the guys didn't think I would make it. And some of those friggity bags were heavy, but I made it the whole summer and made lots more then pickin' onions. The highlights? Playing football and getting my block knocked off by the biggest caddy there. Getting hit dead-on by a sliced ball. Right in the ribs. The welt left dimple marks. Seriously. And tournament days were pretty fun. Free food and drink, and the tips were great.

5. I was in Key West for the millennial New Year. Ok, some people say the millennium didn't officially end until the end of 2000, but no one listened to them. December 31st, 1999, I was in Key West, boozing it up with my friends and soaking in the Mardi Gras-like atmosphere. It was a bittersweet time, because I went with a group of four people that I had met through a mutual friend, Dustin Wilda. Dustin had died the year before after falling and hitting his head on a street curb. He was drunk, and so was the ass hole who pushed him and caused him to fall. Seeing those friends reminded me of Dustin, but it was nice to spend time with people who missed him as much or even more than I did.

6. I was a damn good archer when I was young. My dad and mom both used to go bow hunting. My sisters and I got into it because we'd be going to archery ranges and it was a nice way for all of us to do something together. I won a trophy and some medals and took pride in hitting the center of those paper targets, but I lost interest around the age of 14. I can't really remember why, but I suspect it was due to getting my first game console, an Atari of some sort. Man did I kick ass at Missile Command…

7. I've broken two bones in my life: my left clavicle and my right big toe, both due to my temporary infatuation with Tae Kwon Do.

8. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in third grade. My friend, Jim Vogt, turned me on to it. I was absolutely hooked after reading it, and I'm more than a little sad that when I read those books now, there's not the same sense of magic I felt back then. I checked the books out from my school's library. Berryville Elementary school. The school has since been torn down, and in that place where I created so many fond memories, an apartment complex now sits. That makes me sad too.