Exercises in Self-Absorption

This is just a list of attributes about me. Probably uninteresting information unless you know me personally.

Originally posted to Facebook on February 3, 2009:

1. I have an irrational phobia to fish. While I can go swimming in a lake or the ocean, I’m very uncomfortable with it, and will not stay in longer than I have to. I don’t, however, feel that way about other sea creatures like lobsters, rays, or dolphins. Just fish.

2. I also get very uncomfortable when I’m in a pool or Jacuzzi by myself. Stems from a childhood scar that I never got over (even though I know it’s a stupid one). You will rarely find me swimming alone.

3. I’m a Florida native, but I have been blessed to be in a snowfall once. I’m also, incidentally, terrible at throwing snowballs.

4. I only have one sibling and she’s sixteen years younger than me (from the same parents).

5. I’ve written a couple novels. One of them is a heartbeat away from submission to an agent. The other needs to be rewritten again. And there are plenty more on the waiting list. I’ve been writing since I was 13.

6. I spent most my childhood watching eighties movies and dreaming about visiting Manhattan someday. A couple weeks before my eighteenth birthday, I got my chance. This was my experience: I was on a bus and could only see the town at street level. I was also with a large group of people and we were following a guide, and my bladder was at maximum density—and growing—and no one would stop for me because we hadn’t entered the age of cellphones yet and no one believed I could catch up to the bus if they dropped me off somewhere, despite the fact traffic was clogged, and I didn’t finally get relief until we got forty miles outside the city and I could no longer walk straight. I haven’t been back since.

7. I still dream of visiting Australia someday. I’m most interested in Sydney and Melbourne. But outside of Australia, I’d also like to make my way to London, Italy, and Hawaii before all is said and done.

8. I’ve been single my whole life. Literally. No relationships beyond friendships. Ever. I wish I had a reason for it, but I don’t. Until I was 28, single women wouldn’t go out with me. Once they got a boyfriend, then they were cool with it. Never understood that. Always hated it. I put up with it for awhile because I didn’t want to spend my twenties dealing with loneliness. But it’s not something I put up with anymore. Despite my age, I still have hope for a turnaround, even if that hope is tougher to come by each passing year. It’s strange that so many can claim I’m a good man and still not offer me a chance. I also, incidentally, don’t understand the thinking of the opposite sex as much as I once thought I did, nor do I understand them as much as I think I should as a writer. It’s all very complicated and I’ve lost sleep over it many nights. On the bright side, I don’t have much baggage.

9. I endured all three of my worst injuries the same year. One of them should’ve killed me and another one left a scar. (It was also the same year a truck almost jumped off a hill I was playing under–thanks to some frantic waving my dad and uncle displayed, that truck jerked to a stop before it could transform my ten-year-old body into a landing strip.) I actually miss those years; adulthood doesn’t feel quite as adventurous as the days of old. I probably need to start jumping off of seven-foot barbecue chimneys again.

10. I was almost clobbered by Tri-Rail on my fifteenth birthday. My cousin and I (and her dog) had just picked up a pizza. And that pizza became awesome.

11. While I appreciate most music, I prefer eighties pop. On a related note, I will always hate gangsta rap.

12. I destroyed my first cellphone during a mishap with the Intercoastal. Two weeks earlier, I sliced my big toe open on a parking stop at the port next door. Three years and three months before that, I rode my first Jet Ski in that area. I have a love/hate relationship with that body of water.

13. I think my best career investment is my Visual Dictionary. It labels the parts of nearly every object, facility, and headgear known to man. With that thing, I have no excuse for getting a detail wrong.

14. I’ve been a Christian my whole life. And yet I still question whether I’m pleasing to God. I tend to struggle with the battle between the heart and duty, complacency and charisma, which is kinda ridiculous in retrospect, but nonetheless something I find myself reevaluating constantly. On the one hand, God wants my whole heart. But is my heart that good? Possibly, but it’s not my place to judge. So half the time I spend my life wondering if I’m walking the right path He’s outlined for me. If I pursue my desires, is He in it? Sometimes I think I’m being selfish expecting my desires to come to pass. Why should I receive the blessing and my neighbor doesn’t? Why does my neighbor receive a blessing and I’m still waiting? At the end of the day the most important thing is that I trust Christ to save me, and all the other philosophical things can take a backseat. But I still think about that stuff a lot.

15. I also enjoy a healthy conversation about God, Jesus, and all things biblical, but I do get tired of the debates. Not sure what’s so hard to get. Give your heart to Jesus and you’re saved. Easy. The Bible is controversial only to the extent that several authors record separate details about the same event. It’s not tricky. If one guy is watching Christ from the north side of the room, he’s only gonna report what he sees happening on the south side (and Christ). If the second guy is watching from the east side next to a plant, he’s gonna make a comment about the plant (while the first guy could care less about it), and mention something that Jesus said. Guy number three will be watching the crowd’s reaction (something that neither the first two will mention), but he’ll be sure to write down what Jesus said. The fourth guy is in the kitchen making a sandwich, but he can still hear the sermon. They all have different viewpoints, but the heart of the report is the same. Calling it contradictory is nothing more than an excuse to debate when you could just be better spending your time accepting Jesus’ offer of salvation (and maybe enjoying the works of His hands) and getting on with your life. Debating it is pointless, so I look forward to actual, sensible discussions like “am I pleasing to God?” for example.

16. Though people say chivalry is dead, I still practice it. I think we’ve come to accept selfishness too easily. And I still don’t understand why the jerks inherit the earth. But I’d rather not be a part of either if I can help it, so if you’re walking toward a door the same time I am, I’ll try to open it for you. Don’t take offense. Just trying to be polite.

17. I’m a very light sleeper. There’s one part of the day I can sleep through anything (often when my alarm clock is going off), but it’s a small window. During any other part of my sleep cycle, the power could go off and I’d wake up.

18. My favorite recurring dreams are the ones where I’m a secret agent (see the note I posted yesterday) or the ones where a tidal wave is coming.

19. I think money is overrated. You spend your whole life trying to earn it, spend very little of your life enjoying it, and then pass into eternity without it. Take a job you enjoy, even if it means taking a pay cut. Or at least take a job that reflects your design. If you like working with your hands, become a carpenter, not a telemarketer. If you like talking on the phone, take a reversal. If you have money to burn, give it to someone who doesn’t. If you’ve waited until retirement to take that rock climbing adventure, you probably waited too long. If you have a dream, see it through. I wanted to be a novelist. Most of my jobs sucked. Now I’m a novelist. You can spend five minutes watching that big TV or fifty minutes watching that little one. What do you want? All the money in the world won’t buy back lost time.

20. During my sixteen years in the workforce I have served sandwiches, scraped the face of ham, been shot at with a series of golf balls, harassed people about late videos, carted audio/video equipment across a college campus, imprinted logos into denim, walked in on old people taking sponge baths, been bitten, slapped, and doused with pudding, been forced to put up with Boynton Beach diners, and made toddlers cry. I think my work here is done.

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