Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ten random things about me

I got tagged by the flip-flopping FranIAm. If I may be permitted to quote the esteemed Xander, "I'm not gonna waste the perfect comeback on you now. But don't think I don't have it. Oh, yes! Its time will come!" Anyway, onto the Randomness of Randal. Alliteration Really Rules, Rutabagas!

1. I actually can speak French. Barely. And the b is always capitalized. No, scratch all that. I can barely write French. Let us not speak of the speaking.

2. Despite my angry, confrontational atheism, I was raised Roman Catholic. Wait. It all makes sense now!

3. Despite my angry, confrontational atheism, I dig a lot of religious classical music. Some of it is quite dark. Hmm, maybe I'm not as angry as I thought. [Bush!] Ah, there it is.

4. I am the least traveled guy on planet Earth. Well, except for that one guy in the mountains of Kazakhstan. You remember Larry, don't you? I've been near the environs of Toledo once. Toledo, Ohio. Surely you weren't thinking of the one in Spain. And that was only because we had to pass it while on a sixth-grade field trip to Greenfield Village in Michigan. My family and I went to Disneyworld way back in the 70s when I was a wee lad, and we drove to Williamsburg, Va. and Washington, D.C. during that glorious summer of 1984 when America was deciding that another four years of one of the worst presidents in history was a groovy idea. It ain't morning anymore, motherfuckers, but I digress. Oh, I've also been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame a few times, but since that's merely an hour from my house, I cannot in good conscience count it as a notch on my World Traveler belt Tactical Pants Retaining System. Someday I'll get to France. Sigh.

5. The year of Orwell - 1984, not all the ones since 2000 - also sucked for another reason. My parents dragged my sister and I to a Huey Lewis and the News concert after I had already discovered the joys of loud riffing and angry air guitaring through Metallica tapes. Needless to say, I didn't want to go, and apparently my dad had forgotten that he once used to rock while listening to the Stones and Zeppelin as a college dude. But he's a Republican, so his decisions must be taken with a heaping bowl of sodium chloride. Just don't tell anyone that I went, okay? Thanks.

6. I have no fashion sense. None. My wife can vouch for this, as can anyone who knows me in the realm of the non-internets. I own a suit, but given that it's pretty hard to fuck that up, there ya go. But I sure do look real spiffy when I go to the orchestra. Sorry ladies, this sharp-dressed man is spoken for. And despite the photograph of me in the corner of my blog, I don't wear a baseball cap. In fact, I don't even own one. And young people, unless you're a catcher, stop wearing them backwards. You look like a fucking idiot. That was my Curmudgeonly Old Bastard moment of the day. Thanks for indulging me.

7. Shit, this is hard. The most famous person I've ever met is Eddie Van Halen. The second most famous person I've ever met is Ozzie Newsome. The third most famous person I've ever met (or the most famous, in metal circles) is Celtic Frost's Thomas Fischer. I have not met very many famous people. Once upon a time, I had the opportunity to meet Ian Hunter, but like a corporate dumbass, I didn't abandon my post while everyone else was at lunch. Could've had him sign my copy of Brain Capers. Fuck the customer. Kids, always pick rock and/or roll over work. Always. Or you'll regret it for the rest of your days.

8. Back when we used to play Strat-O-Matic baseball - this was in the Dark Ages before internet porn consumed all of my everyone else's time - I would egregiously violate the spirit of the rules by inserting into my lineup the .346 hitter who in reality only had about 75 ABs that season. Take that, Brett Butler, you're not leading off anymore! Go, Donell, go! I also used to crush - I'm talking 1985 Bears spine-into-powder crush - at Tecmo Bowl. I took on all comers and didn't taste defeat for years and years. Despite this, I still managed to find a living, breathing human female who would willingly marry me. Must've been all that love poetry. Or my amazing ability to hypnotize. Or a rip in the space-time continuum.

9. I lost my virginity to Elle Macpherson. No, that was just a recurring adolescent dream fueled by a Sports Illustrated subscription. My favorite meal is beef stew and I make it myself and it's actually quite delicious. Also, no one has recently gotten sick after eating it because I've since stopped adding a pinch of lead - I'm not passing on good money from the Chinese! - so that's another plus in my favor.

10. Yes, I am this boring. That doesn't count, you say? Fine. I like onion rings a whole lot. Happy?

Bonus eleventh random thing in lieu of getting naked outside:
I can't think of anything.
But it's too cold to skip around outdoors in my birthday suit.

Okay, this is a mind-numbingly banal story, but too fucking bad. Back in the sixth-grade, I had a monstrous infatuation with one of my classmates. Unlike many of the other kids, I always looked forward to gym class. Why? This was the 1980s so the gym shorts were still short. Oh, those thighs, sweet lordy Mephistopheles, those thighs. Hey, I'm not being a dirty old man, these were the thoughts I had back then!

Anyway, for my older readers, think the ABA. For my younger ones, think John Stockton. But my classmate didn't look like John Stockton, no sir. She was beautiful in that girl-next-door kind of way. Cliché? Absolutely, but I don't know how else to describe her and that long, flowing brown hair. Like a lovesick fool, I decided, since it was obvious I didn't appear on her radar or any of the other unknown-to-man tracking systems that the mysterious gender obviously possessed, to look her up in the phone book. Ingenious! Her Eastern European last name being the only one listed, I, surprising even myself, decided to write her a letter - or more accurately, write a letter to this address with her name on it - awkwardly professing all of my profound feelings.

A ream of loose-leaf paper soon became discarded draft after discarded draft. Was it too sappy? Too macho? Was I trying too hard to sound cool? How could I even know what suave was? What the hell I was saying? The fairer sex was something otherworldly, far beyond the understanding of a simple adolescent male. Yet, there indeed came a day when I had put all of my deepest thoughts and emotions as best as I could, in the most poetic way possible, on a single sheet, carefully folded it and slipped it into a plain, white envelope without a return address, affixing a 22 cent stamp. Sending it the day before school let out that June, I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The humid summer days rolled on, empty, like the mailbox. Even now I wonder if that was the subconscious root cause of my intense dislike of warm weather. My stomach was constantly knotted, and only became worse as September, and seventh grade, fast approached.

The first day of school. I saw her, she saw me. Nothing. No angry words, no venomous looks, no laughing at my childish audacity. Nothing. The pain was all too real. Physical. And self-inflicted. I wandered in a daze for nearly the next two school years. Determined to follow her, I, with all the skill of a CIA sleeper, found out what high school she was attending. Despite being sick of donning Catholic school uniforms every day, I was hellbent on going to that Franciscan-run high school. I told my parents, who, simply assuming I would've fought for our district's public school, happily agreed to send me there instead.

Freshman lockers were assigned to a particular hallway, which boded well for my unrequited lust. But the nothing remained. I was at a loss, and it affected my grades and my demeanor. Naturally an introvert, it became more pronounced. Sophomore year was more of the same, a generic routine of school, soccer or track practice and half-hearted homework attempts drowned out by hour after hour of thrash metal, while junior year gleefully compounded the pain as she had found a steady boyfriend, some brainless hockey schmuck who seemed to be permanently attached to her arm. It's a good thing I didn't have access to any smack.

Then senior year rolled around, and, after having chosen my locker first thing in the morning, turned around late in the afternoon that first day of the last year of one's youth to see her long, flowing brown hair nearly directly across from me.

"Hi. Hope we have a good year."

I sleepwalked through soccer practice, letting forward after midfielder notch goal after goal with such incompetence that our mild-mannered coach started chewing me out in the loudest possible way. And I didn't care one fucking bit.

September became October and I joined the afterschool bowling league simply because she had joined it too. She was even worse of a bowler than I was, not that anyone has stolen another's heart through an abundance of strikes. Cruising around on Halloween - 'cause that's what us hip suburban kids did back in the day, yo - we even stopped by her house - yes, that was the correct address - and she was very cordial to her classmates. All of us. Equally. Yet, I remained adamant in my view that she had singled me out.

November, December, the longest Xmas break in American history, January, February. A daily dose of mind-numbing gentility that I slowly realized meant nothing. Resignation was becoming an option. So was celibacy, I supposed. So, in March, the day before St. Patrick's Day to be exact, instead of going to drink and play cards at [redacted] house, my best friend was successful in convincing me to go on a double date with his girlfriend and one of her friends who also drank from the cup of the downtrodden. I hemmed and hawed, caving in at the last minute.

We're still married to this day.

What's the moral of that story? I don't know. It pays to be a fucking sap. Or goddamn lucky. Or a stalker. Actually, this is probably the best summary:

"Perhaps there is no moral to this story."
"Exactly! Just a bunch of stuff that happened."

Tag, you're it: Candace, Mary Ellen, Evil Mommy, Freida Bee (nevermind, someone beat me to it!), La Belette Rouge, My Inner French Girl. As always, if you don't want to play, you won't hurt my feelings.


Mary Ellen said...

Randal, you dog you!

I loved the happy ending, but I've always been a sucker for a happy ending.

I'm also glad to hear you don't wear a baseball hat backwards, that annoys the shit out of me.

Thanks for the tag...I feel so special. ;-)

Scarlet W. Blue said...

That story reminded me of how much I used to love that TV show, The Wonder Years. Very sweet story there.

Freida Bee said...

The 11th was my favorite.

I assure you, with the saddest of firsthand knowledge in these matters, that your thigh girl regrets her stupidity.

Later, when I get home from "work," I'll step outside naked in your honor as:

1) It's a gorgeous 73 degrees here today and

2) It helps in these matter that I live outside of Austin in the country and no one can see in our yard without going down a very long driveway first.

TomCat said...

LOL! Way to go, Randal!! You just justified millions of unrequited wet-dreams around the world!

Randal Graves said...

Mary Ellen, oh I didn't say the ending was happy, it's just a bunch of stuff that happened. :) I suppose turning one around is okay as well if you're going to be doing carpentry or plumbing or something.

SWB, where do you think I lifted it from? J/k, this actually did happen.

Freida Bee, she's probably married to some rich New York lawyer so I'm sure she's compensating for the devastation. And I certainly appreciate the nudity. But 73? Too warm for my blood!

Tomcat, maybe I should pen a self-help book. Write an awkward letter to someone out of your league and all your dreams will come true, all while making millions at real estate! For mere pennies! :)

FranIAm said...

Randal, of all the folks I tagged (and they all did great) you have outdone them all.

By fucking far. By very fucking far.

Just don't tell any of them I said that, OK?

However, just one thing...

I got tagged by the flip-flopping FranIAm.

Flip flopping? Je suis desolee. Je n'est comprend pas. ( your french is superior to my own.)

Oh, I know exactly what you are going to say. Flip flopping indeed.

Tout va bien and all that.

Candace said...

Thanks, Randal - I think I did a meme like this a while back, but I'll try it again.

I love classical religious music, too, even though I'm an atheist. The music was written as religious in many cases, probably, because that's what was expected, and that's what the composers' patrons paid for. :)

As to your parents dragging you to that concert, it cracked me up because I remember going to (yet another) Who concert about ten years ago, and the couple in front of us had obviously dragged their teenaged son with them. So, while the rest of us are standing on our chairs like maniacs, this kid was "elaborately bored" (a Pete Townshend lyric I love) - sprawled in his chair, head leaning on his fist, trying to pretend to sleep. Hilarious.

Loved the love story! Awwww. Let's just say this is what happens: One day, a few years from now, probably, long-brown-hair girl will go to the mailbox and find your letter from long ago, finally delivered to her because the idiots at the post office found it, where it had been stuck behind a filing cabinet somewhere. She'll read it, realize what she had missed out on, figure out how to get back in touch with you, only to find that you've gone on with your life and are now happily married. Whereupon, she'll slit her wrists. Or something like that. I'm sure of it.

La Belette Rouge said...

First, let me say, I am honoured to be tagged by you--even more so now that I know that you do not wear a baseball cap bass-ackwards.
However, I am intimidated in undertaking the task after reading what you did with the meme. I accept the challenge and am off to undertake in solopsistic reverie.
Glad you didn't stop at 10. Charming love story!

Randal Graves said...

Fran, je vous remercie, mais "flip-flopping?" Je ne connais pas avec cette phrase américaine !

Candace, it's nearly impossible to avoid it. Hell, that's what Bach got paid to do! As for concert going, my excuse is self-evident. That kid was seeing The Fucking Who. What the hell? Well, 3/4 of them anyway!

And that brainless hockey dude was quite a handsome man, so I'm sure she had no problem moving on from being the object of a strange man's crush. :)

LBR, merci et je puis être démodé, mais même moi, je sais qu'on ne doit porter en arrière une casquette de baseball ! :)

Now, if my connection cooperates, time to see if anyone has completed their assigned tasks!

La Belette Rouge said...

Je suis très soulagé. Le chapeau de base-ball est mauvais. :)

La Belette Rouge said...

Randal, I completed the challenge! merci, for the tag.

My Inner French Girl said...

Randal, how could you not write a novel after penning this charming and completely absorbing story about high school love??!! You've been TOTALLY holding out on us!

I loved the ending. Almost made me want to cry.

I can't even begin to compete with this, so I won't even try. My own random facts will be simply a laundry list of the first things that come to mind, minus a few telling stories that even my best friend/hubby knows nothing about. A French girl, even a mere "aspiring" one, has to have her mystique, after all. ;-)

I knew we had something else in common besides a cynical view of the world. Catholics rule!!


Randal Graves said...

Because that's about all the detail that there is, unless you'd want to read page after page of how I channeled my rage and despair into hours of bike riding and video games. Talk about boring!

Oui, une femme sans mystère ne peut pas être française. I think it's a official UN declaration. :)

If it wasn't for Catholicism, I might not be as cynical as I am now, so, um, thanks pope!

My Inner French Girl said...

Betty C., have fun! I look forward to your list!

Randal, I was a better Catholic under the previous Pope. Nothing against Benedict, but, uhm, he's not my cuppa.


Betty C. said...

My Inner French girl passed this meme on to me, so you can read it on La France Profonde if you're interested.

Bonne journée.