O Me of Little Faith

For several years, it seems — OK, really just a month or so — I’ve been resisting the “25 Random Things About Me” thing on Facebook, though I’ve been tagged a bunch of times. I don’t like doing much on Facebook other than accepting friend requests and linking to my blog, but the trend has become a big enough deal that it’s probably time to give in.

How big of a deal? Facebook spokesperson Brandee Barker told USA Today that the number of daily “notes” has more than doubled in just the last week, and the number of daily tags of a Facebook member in a note has quintupled. It’s a snowball.

So I’m leaping into the snowball, here and on Facebook. I may have covered a few of these in my various confessions and lists, but you know what? I don’t care. I’m crazy that way. And repetitive. Also I’m repetitive.

25 Random Things About Me

1. I have known my wife, Aimee, since we were both preschoolers. Literally. Our families have been friends all our lives and we grew up together.

2. I got married when I was 21. She was 20. There were no shotguns involved.

3. We live in the house she grew up in, having bought it from her parents several years ago. It’s not as weird as you’d think. Our daughter’s room was Aimee’s room growing up, which is kinda cool.

4. I have a day job that helps pay the bills, but on the side I am a part-time writer. I write books and magazine articles and corporate newsletters and all kinds of stuff. Some of it has my name on it. A lot of it does not.

5. I have never broken a bone. But one day when I was 19, I got up one morning and my right clavicle (collarbone) was protruding a little…it was strangely out of place. The doctors never figured out what was wrong. It’s still like that today. When I’m not wearing a shirt (which is almost always, even at work) you can tell that my shoulders are asymmetrical due to the freaky collarbone thing.

6. Right before I got braces as a teenager, I had four permanent teeth removed. So I probably have fewer teeth than you, but this does not diminish my powers in any way.

7. We have two tiny Yorkshire terriers at home. You probably know these as Yorkies, the yappy little dogs with long, silky hair and bows that Hollywood starlets carry around. Ours are exactly like those, only without the long, silky hair and bows.

8. Both dogs are more than 10 years old. Zoie, the female, is blind. Joe, the male, is nearly deaf and borderline insane. They can both fit on your lap at the same time, and will attempt this if you sit near them.

9. All four of my grandparents are still living and active, despite having survived all kinds of crazy stuff in their lives. I’m convinced they’re well nigh invincible, and I’m proud to have their genes.

10. I wrote three books in the 2008 calendar year. All three are scheduled to be published in 2009.

11. As a freelance writer, I get to interview really interesting people. Some are famous enough that you might recognize them. Others aren’t, but are just as interesting. Often more so.

12. I love to travel and have left the United States, in some form or fashion, at least once a year for the last few years.

13. I can probably beat you at the following table games: Scrabble. Qwirkle. Blokus. Chess. Balderdash. Am I overconfident? Nope. Am I bragging? Yes. Can I back it up? Of course.

14. I don’t get into professional sports very much, but I’m a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs. Have been since I was a little kid watching Bobby Bonds — Barry’s dad — on WGN in the early 1980s.

15. As a high school junior I took two semesters of a typing class. My grade for each of those six weeks was 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100. This is due to two reasons: 1) I’m a good typist. 2) The teacher realized I was good, so she had me type samples for her when I finished my in-class work. Because I was typing samples for her, she gave me a correction ribbon. And she didn’t care if I used it on my regular work. We didn’t tell the rest of the class about this arrangement.

16. In junior high, I participated in the long jump and the 110 hurdles. This was despite my inability to 1) jump very far, and 2) run very fast.

17. In my 9th grade English class, I memorized “The Night Before Christmas” and several passages from “Romeo and Juliet.” I still can recite them.

18. I have two tattoos. One of them matches my wife’s tattoo. (She only has one.)

19. I play the drums every week at church. I can also play, in descending order of skillfulness, the hammered dulcimer, harmonica, guitar, piano, banjo.

20. My wife and I play competitive coed volleyball on Thursday nights, and have for the last 7 or 8 years.

21. I do a lot of fitness-y things. I participated in two sprint triathlons last year and intend to do three this year. I also do a bit of long-distance swimming, and will participate in a local “Xtreme Swim” (swim one hour for distance) in a couple of weeks.

22. I have been on television as an “expert” about the Bible and the End-Times (National Geographic Channel, History Channel). My expert status is debatable, but I came pretty close at one point to having my own show on the Travel Channel. A big executive switchover canned the whole thing right before we got greenlit.

23. I grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and still live in Amarillo, Texas. Most of my family lives here. Most of my wife’s family lives here. I’ve had offers to go elsewhere, but none of them were worth giving that up.

24. Despite my inability to touch my toes, I am more flexible than the average person and can put my leg behind my head (but only one leg at a time).

25. I love to flyfish, backpack, and camp in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado — and do it as often as possible — but the only time I’ve seen a bear “in the wild” was when I saw one standing on a dumpster in Glorieta, New Mexico, amid a community of cabins. The bear was eating trash.

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