A friend of mine recently had to write a piece called “Twenty-five Interesting Things About You” for her workplace newsletter, and asked me to look it over prior to publication. As I did so, it occurred to me that such pieces are growing increasingly difficult for the blogger-tweeters among us to write. Living in public as we do, we have far fewer secrets, even the innocuous kind. All is grist for the latest posting, and we turn our own stones.
Are there twenty-five passably interesting things about me that aren’t generally known to those who know me at all well, either in person or via the social media? Let’s see. Here goes nothing, or at least not much:
• I was twenty-one when I learned how to swim.
• I hate three foods, liver, beets, and blue cheese. I’ll only eat liver in spreadable form (in which I like it very much) and I won’t eat the others under any circumstances.
• Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time” is my favorite song.
• I’m painfully shy, and have spent my whole life overcompensating for it.
• One of my best friends is a sexblogger who used to be a professional stripper.
• I talk to myself when I’m alone, most often when I’m driving a car.
• When I get sleepy while driving, I make up filthy lyrics to well-known songs and sing them as loudly as possible.
• I used to have perfect pitch, but lost it many years ago.
• I’ve always wished that I had a deeper voice.
• Most of my major dreams have either come true or appear to be in the process of doing so, but here’s an unrealized fantasy: I want to be one of the speakers in a performance of William Walton’s Façade.
• I’ve never gotten falling-down drunk. Genteel tipsiness is my limit.
• Mrs. T says I’m “old-fashioned.” She doesn’t mean it as a compliment, either.
• I always choose the typefaces in which my books are set.
• I had a mild crush on Fran Drescher early in the run of The Nanny. It lasted for about three months.
• I can’t dance. Don’t ask me.
• The last time I read any novel by Charles Dickens from cover to cover was when I was in high school.
• I wrote and published a review of a biography of a well-known writer without having read any of her books. That was more than a quarter-century ago, and I still haven’t read any of them.
• I’ve been in love (romantically, that is) seven times.
• I stole an elaborately inscribed copy of a book by a legendary classical pianist from a college library (not my alma mater). Years later, I sent it back–anonymously.
• A dog attacked me when I was a little boy. This caused me to be afraid of dogs throughout the rest of my childhood. The phobia eventually subsided, but even now I only pretend to like them when in the company of passionate dog lovers.
• Conversely–sort of–I find women with cat-like faces to be irresistible.
• Not counting fine art, the only physical object owned by a friend that I have ever actively coveted was a flawlessly preserved set of the New York edition of the works of Henry James.
• I never wanted children of my own, though I (usually) enjoy their company and seem to be reasonably good with them.
• I know who Tina Fey is, but I’ve never seen her, either on TV or at the movies.
• I wore a bright pink caftan once and was photographed in it.
Kind of wussy, huh? At least I didn’t make any of it up.