16 Random Things About MeAfter being tagged by several fellow writers and failing to respond, here--finally--is my entry for the "16 Random Things" meme that's been making the rounds on Facebook and crime fiction blogs. (Yes, I know, it's old news at this point.)
First, the obligatory recitation of the rules:
Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.Then, the "things:"
1. I was accepted for admission to West Point after being nominated by Senator Barry Goldwater, but elected not to attend. I nearly failed the physical exam because I'd never had blood drawn before and almost fainted: not exactly the "right stuff" for a career in the military.
2. My mother's grandfather fought in the Civil War--for the South.
3. I'm part Choctaw Indian and would be eligible for membership in the tribe if I applied. My sister is a card-carrying member.
4. Like Madonna, I eat a bowl of blueberries every morning. I don't have mine specially flown in from Canada, though.
5. As a gag for an old girl friend, I once created a character dubbed, "Thaddaeus, King of the Sea Sponges." I made him out of an old sponge and the non-potato pieces of a Mr. Potato Head. I am convinced that the creators of Sponge Bob Square Pants stole my idea.
6. As another gag for the same old girl friend, I dressed as Thaddeus and handed out flyers about her to people who were leaving a subway (BART) station.
7. As an undergrad at Stanford, I took a graduate seminar on the Soviet Union co-taught by Alexander Dallin and Condoleezza Rice. I believe Rice was doing post-doctorate work at the time and I had no idea who she was.
8. My mother's uncle was shot and killed by the Sheriff of Silver City, New Mexico. I have his (my great uncle's) gold watch on my mantle.
9. The closest I ever came to being killed was when I was changing the (large) back tire of a tractor on my grandfather's ranch. The axle of the tractor slipped off the jack while I was working underneath it. Fortunately, I had also chained the axle to the branch of a tree and it didn't drop all the way to the ground--just a few inches from my nose.
10. Another near death experience occurred in grade school when my friend and I decided to test out some homemade diving equipment in his family pool. Said equipment consisted of tire chains wrapped around my feet to insure descent to the bottom and a plastic bucket held over my head to supply (a limited quantity of) air. The dropping to the bottom part worked fine, but I lost my grip on the bucket almost immediately after jumping into the pool.
11. For my first and only date with her, I took the head cheerleader and home coming queen of my class to my senior prom in high school. When I called to ask her out, she said, "Mark who?"after I identfied myself. At the end of the evening, I was too flustered to even try to kiss her goodnight.
12. Later in life, a friend fixed me up with a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and I did just as well.
13. I do an excellent imitation of Tom Shane, your friend in the diamond business, particularly when uttering the phrase, "ladies' tennis bracelets."
14. I bought my wife's wedding ring from Tom ... although I'm worried about the lifetime guarantee since he just declared Chapter 11.
15. My first car was a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang that my dad bought from a used car dealer for $800. It was supposed to have three forward gears, but sometimes they all went backwards.
16. I have been known to make and wear very elaborate Halloween costumes, including a Mr. Spock getup and a Saturday Night Live Killer Bee. The only time someone who worked for me stole something was when a housekeeper appropriated one of my Ghostbusters suits (complete with Proton Pack).
Although I'm supposed to tag 16 more people to continue the chain, as a special favor to the few friends that read this blog, I won't.