I usually don't go for such things, but since André at placeboKatz tagged me, I'll indulge in the blog version of the chain letter: the five things meme. I'm supposed to reveal five things you don't necessarily know about me, and then tag five others who should do the same. Here goes:
777, the number of the klutz: I've sprained my ankles seven times each and, more disturbingly, I've had seven concussions (more than double the total averaged by NFL players). Pretty routine stuff--involving balls or things with wheels or running at the pool--there's only one stand-out: my most recent concussion occurred on my 21st birthday. Having enjoyed my first night of legally procured alcohol, I duck into an alley to pee, not realizing that the place had been flooded and turned into an ice rink. Thump. (To answer my brother's question, yes, I zipped up first.)
I named my dog after "the most important intellectual alive." A 10-year-old, brown-spotted border collie/sheltie mix, he's named after the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, whom I met once. I was waiting in line after a fundraiser, and when my turn to say hello came, the insightful question I'd rehearsed--about East Timor or neoliberal economics (or whatever)--evaporated and I heard myself blurting: "I NAMED MY DOG AFTER YOU!" Smoove.
How I started writing: I never had grand ambitions to write when I was young. (In one of those oft-repeated family stories, I told my parents I wanted to be "a pickle tester" or "potato chip eater.") I spent a semester abroad in London during college, and when I met up with my vacationing parents in Ireland, I couldn't shut up about Little Venice, London's houseboat enclave on Regent's Canal. At Dad's suggestion, I posed as a writer, gaining access to boats like Uzezena ("hot lady" in Croatian, apparently), the award-winning garden/boat created by a pair of retired P&O shipping line buddies, and the Dutch sailing vessel that was home to bohemians just returned from a pan-Asian road trip in a Russian military vehicle they'd painted pink. It took awhile, but I got that first article published, in the magazine British Heritage.
It takes guts: I once spent an entire day driving 170 miles with Walter, the elderly man whose sole job was to remove deer carcasses from the highways of Central Wisconsin. The newspaper story I wrote on it, "King of the Road(kill)," chronicled his work, from the difficulties in hoisting a headless body onto the bed of his '72 Dodge Adventurer (sometimes people keep the head for a trophy, he explained) to hauling the battered corpses to the dump or, if fresh enough, a game farm where bobcats would dine on them.
I've never had a nickname. Unless you count my brothers' attempts to make "Walnut" stick. Thankfully, it didn't.
And now I tag:
• Kathleen Fasanella
• Joy Garnett
• Colin Kloecker
• Alec Soth
• Brian Ulrich (Brian's 5 Things)