Sunday, November 10, 2013

25 Things I Have Done That You Probably Haven't

Every once in a while I see this meme pop up, and it just startles me that I haven’t made good use of it here, at least not that I could find in the archives.  So to correct that all at once, here are twenty-five things I have done that most people reading this probably have not.

Over the course of my life, I have:

1. Run a spotlight at a concert for a Top-40 band, and gotten paid for it.

2. Sung at the funeral of a US Senator.

3. Cut my thumb with the dull end of a hammer.  Twice.

4. Had picnics at the ruins of two different medieval abbeys.

5. Asked Pete Seeger for his autograph (and gotten it).

6. Eaten pizza at a restaurant called “Sweeney Todd’s.”

7. Actually managed to finish reading Infinite Jest.

8. Walked through the streets of Philadelphia dressed as Death, complete with a six-foot-tall gnarled wooden staff.

9. Sent out a letter to all the evangelical churches in the county urging them to come to a show I was promoting on the subject of Satan in literature.

10. Became “Case Study A” in a national-level conference on how not to go through the historic preservation regulatory process.

11. Gone ice-skating with Paul Ryan (not that he knew I was there, but still).

12. Conga’d down my driveway with a dozen drunk Russians.

13. Driven through town in the back of a pickup truck, holding on to a life-sized replica of the first atomic bomb.

14. Seen Les Miserables on Broadway before it won any awards.

15. Ridden an elevator with former PA governor Dick Thornburgh, who was running for the Senate at the time.  We were the only two people there, and he didn’t say hello.  No wonder he lost.

16. Been pressed into service as an emergency umpire at a Girl Scouts softball tournament two years in a row.

17. Ridden on the tailboard of a fire truck in full turnout gear.

18. Gone Christmas caroling in a mental hospital.

19. Hung out with two actors from the most popular show on US television at the time – a show I still have never seen.  They were great guys.

20.  Broken into my high school using only a Swiss Army knife.

21. Read a 500p history of US naval operations in World War II when I was 12.

22. Delivered singing balloon-o-grams.

23.  Worked on the city’s Fourth of July fireworks crew.

24. Read every issue of every newspaper published in Philadelphia between 1787 and 1801, about 10% of them in the original paper editions.

25. Taken four Australians to a Mexican restaurant in Wisconsin.

What have you done?


John the Scientist said...

I've done #4, #12, and #21.

I've eaten a bug (and survived).

I've eaten raw Kobe beef dipped in raw egg and not gotten sick.

I've gotten deathly ill from drinking tea in Thailand.

I've also eaten fugu and survived with no ill effects.

Stinky tofu (7 times!) and survived.

Surstromming (twice) and survived. (I know you wussed out on that one!)

#12 was not actually in my driveway, it was in a sports hall where I was staying while working construction. It had a sign on it the whole time I lived there: "Closed for Repairs". And it was in the USSR.

I've blown up an old TRS-80 with a Thompson submachine gun.

I've fired the tail gun from a Stukha dive bomber.

I've shaken hands with a man who was awarded his General's star personally by Adolf Hitler (Adolf Galland).

I've gotten in the ring with an opponent who weighed almost 300 pounds (not much of it fat).

I've gone a few rounds with two full-contact karate legends - Bill Wallace and Joe Lewis.

I nearly burned my face off with a homemade rocket launcher when I was about 12.

I have uttered the words "hey, y'all watch this" in all seriousness. Chaos did indeed ensue.

I've flown in a small helicopter piloted by a crazy ex-ARVN, but crazy in a good way.

I've seen Easter morning sunrise from a helicopter over an orchard in West Virginia.

I was the only white kid in an African American church for over 15 years.

I have flown into a monsoon.

I was in Yugoslavia right at the start of the war.

I was shanghaied into translating for the Moscow police in an investigation involving fellow exchange students.

I have been detained by the KGB. Twice.

John the Scientist said...

Oh, and I forgot, I have been in the middle of a military coup.

Random Michelle K said...

11. Gone ice-skating with Paul Ryan (not that he knew I was there, but still).

Unless one of you was wearing spangles I don't think this should count.

David said...

John - You've led quite a life! Whatever possessed you to get into the ring with the Andre The Giant impersonator?

Re: your church - I spent an afternoon as the only white guy in a black barbershop. They thought I was hilarious.

Michelle - it's a pretty small rink, though. :) He was there skating counterclockwise with his kids just like the rest of us. He's not a bad guy, even if he isn't someone I want anywhere near the Oval Office.

Random Michelle K said...

Still think one of you should have been wearing spangles for it to count.


Kim KM said...

Spangles! Yes!

I hung out with Francoise Gilot and Jonas Salk at a B&B, and gave Dr. Salk tylenol after he fell down a staircase.

One of my experiments flew up into space aboard Challenger.

I rode a camping mat down a glacier surrounded by bounding caribou.

TimBo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

Interviewed Neil Diamond while I was in High School.

Made a move with Larry Hagman and Joan Collins.

Gone over a rapids with a paddle and a life jacket, but no canoe.

Started college at age 16.

Was almost (does that count) court martialed for not following orders.

Tom said...

Oh noes! That's "made a movie with Larry Hagman..."

David said...

Michelle - you do not want to see me in spangles, trust me. Honestly, you'd probably want to see Paul Ryan in spangles before you'd see me. He lifts, bro.

Kim - I shall have to get that glacier story in full sometime. :)

Tom - of course it counts! What orders weren't you following?

TimBo said...

I'll try again with a real keyboard:

I broke into my High School during summer vacation by braking a window and never got into trouble for it.

I broke into the office where I was working by braking a $1,000 glass door and never got into trouble for it.

I slept with a wild bear.

I won the Alberta One Act Play Festival award for Best Technical production in 1984 for special affects in a play called Winston Agonisties (can you figure out what it was about​?).

I left home when I was 15 and supported my self through High School by making pizza dough.

I did the technical production for a Mr. Dressup show (he was a popular Canadian children's performer).

I survived having a running chain saw plunged into my belly when I was 15 (it was a wild year).

I fell into a manure spreader full of pig manure.

I was the youngest person to ever complete the Maharishi's SCI course.

As a single grandfather I'm raising my three young grandsons.

David said...

Wow, Tim - that was quite a year. And how on earth did you end up sleeping with a wild bear? (Never mind that this reminds me of an old joke whose punchline is "Now, where is this woman I'm supposed to shoot?")

I graduated high school in 1984 - that book was unavoidable. Believe me, I tried. ;)

TimBo said...

It happened in Rockies somewhere around Banff when I was 13 or 14. I used to hitch-hike as far as I could get and then hike back into the woods just to be alone with nature. I'd bring a knife, matches, sleeping bag, a couple cans of beans and a piece of plastic in case it rained and made my lean-to uncomfortable.

That weekend I had a tube-tent someone gave me so I didn't have to build a lean-to. It also meant I couldn't see the stars or anything else. Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up because something heavy was leaning on my legs. Naturally I kicked it to get it off. It let out a woof, and I smelled an awful stink and heard it grunting away in the woods. In the morning I saw the bear tracks and decided that a lean-to was a much more practical solution to sleeping outdoors.

So that's how I came to sleep with a bear.

Tom said...

It was the end of a work day at DINFOS, the Defense Information School, a multi-service installation. I was almost out the door when an Air Force Captain told me I had a uniform violation (shirt untucked in the back) and that I was to go into the latrine and fix it. I reached around, tucked in my khaki uniform tunic, said "Thank you, sir," and headed for the door.

He came unglued! He ranted and raved at me for 5 minutes about my not following his orders, then wanted me to lead him to my Company Captain to make sure I got what was coming to me. The Headquarters Company barracks was right across the street, and that was where my Captain was. I dutifully (ha!) took him to see my Captain, and stood there at attention while they discussed my failure as a soldier.

The Air Force Captain (I, and my Company Commander, were Army) wasn't satisfied with an Article 15 (non-judicial punishment) and insisted that I be offered a Special Court Martial. My Captain thought that was a bit much, but the Air Force Captain insisted. My Company Commander suggested that I consult with JAG, the office of the Judge Advocate General, aka military lawyers.

JAG counseled that I had corrected the uniform violation, and the Air Force Captain was outside his authority to insist on how I should correct the uniform violation. They said I should refuse an Article 15 if it was offered, and take them up on the Special Court if it was offered. There was no way I would be convicted.

Cooler heads prevailed, and the Air Force Captain withdrew the complaint, and everybody was satisfied. I shook for days from the adrenaline reaction. I was either a Private First Class (E-3) or a Specialist 4 (E-4, non-command equivalent to a Corporal), a lowly unimportant soldier, and to have come to the attention of an O-3 of another service in a bad way was not something I wanted to have on my record.

This was back around 1973, when I was stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison just outside of Indianapolis.

Tom said...

Oh, and I'm familiar with the joke about shooting the woman.


David said...

It's a great joke, isn't it? :)

And a great story. Thanks!

David said...

Tim - just one more reason why I don't like camping very much. ;) That must have been a strange realization, looking at those bear tracks. Thanks for the story!