Saturday, January 31, 2009

m.o.i.: self-portrait with 25 random things

Some things whirl around the web with the rapidity of the Concorde and then disappear with the same fanfare as transatlantic flights by said bird. YouTube mash-ups of Put a Ring On It, recipes for what to do with 2 lbs of bacon and 2 lbs of sausage, and 25 random things. Web versions of a chain letter and just as easy to ignore. Typically m.o.i's first impulse, as with any movie deemed a blockbuster, is to ignore them. But here's another thought. That collectively, such exercises get to the heart of who we really are, much better than any survey questions designed by professionals to carefully elicit our thoughts and feelings. It's a the-sum-is-greater-than-the-whole-of-the-parts is greater than the sum of the all the parts approach. Certainly these methods are inherently contrived, but are they completely flawed? From a pure science standpoint, as experiments they aren't carefully controlled, but tell me one method that doesn't bias the final result in at least some small manner.

OK. Fiction. However true it may be, fiction is but a small part of the human stamp. No one could ever argue that everything people say about themselves is entirely without contrivance and that includes the best fiction. Although, as a rule, it's generally still truer than reality and a lot more interesting.
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m.o.i.: 24 random things

1. I once pulled a rabbit out of a hat.
2. Have accidentally set fire to three houses of which I was a resident. No one was hurt and they were all extinguished before the fire department was needed. For this reason I do not smoke.
3. Have been attacked by a swarm of bees on three separate occasions. I still enjoy honey.
4. Once, I led a successful boycott of businesses based upon the principle, Ketchup in bottles! And not in packets! For this I was invited to visit with the principle, labeled a trouble-maker, and had my transcripts reviewed.
5. Once, through the use of well-placed carbon copies, I stopped the closing of a children’s day-care center. For this I was invited to visit with the Dean of Academic Affairs, labeled a trouble-maker, and had my transcripts reviewed.
6. Once, I sunk a battleship using only small explosives.
7. I once accidentally lassoed a Shriner from a midget car during a parade without harming either the Shriner or innocent by-standers.
8. Once I spent three days in a swamp trying to find an Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Alas, the Lord God bird was not sighted, but evidence of woodpecker researcher nesting boxes was abundant. I also uncovered the existence of a secret woodpecker society that included Mike Huckabee, then Governor of Arkansas, among its members.
9. I once changed the spam filter of the office bully to prevent him from receiving emails from THE BOSS, then was lucky enough to hear the BOSS shout at him a few weeks later, “Look, I don’t know what your problem is, but if you don’t shape up, you’re outta here!”
10. Once, during a business meeting, I taught someone how to have ‘text-message’ sex.
11. I once burned an American flag after hearing my friend preach from the pulpit about the Apostle Paul.
12. Once, I discovered my neighbor’s body lying in a state of rigor mortis. And I have seen the life slowly slip, very slowly slip away, from more than one friend.
13. I tried to convince a roomful of scientists that it was in their best interests to believe in UFOs.
14. I once golf-leafed a copy of the original (vol.1, no. 1) postcyberpunk comic, Transmetropolitan, and sent it to a magistrate who had stood in judgment of me.
15. Once, I was saved, fell into a trance, spoke in tongues, and handled venomous snakes.
16. I once drove a car off a cliff just to see what would happen. I did not wear my seatbelt, nor were any drugs or alcohol involved. No one was hurt.
17. The only time I ever rode a skateboard I dislocated my ankle and broke it in 2 places. The subsequent rehabilitation, which lasted nearly a year, and involved for a time, a full-leg cast, turned out to be boon for hitchhiking.
18. I once sang with Sheryl Crow, defeated a former PGA champion (Payne Stewart) in a golf match, and dated a Miss America contestant.
19. I once proved to the band, The Accelerators, that their founder and lead singer, Bruce Willis, was a wanker with a little dick.
20. I began my professional career in a dumpster buried in the middle of corn field.
21. And then later, much to the amusement of my friends and colleagues, when I was interviewed on Morning Edition, they got my name wrong. Not my last name, my first.
22. Once I was dying of a brain tumor, but sadly, it turned out only to be a case of mild depression. It was during that period that I was able to convince a cab driver that Trex, my Rare West Tibetan Mountain Dog, was a seeing-eye dog.
23. I once traded pink slips (a 1960 Dodge 440 for a 1940 Chevy pickup) at a garage sale. Straight up.
24. Once while playing backgammon in a discothèque in Memphis I managed to lose ALL but $5 using a back-game gambit then had to bicycle 100 miles through NE Arkansas in the middle of August to get home.
25. I once dropped to the ground and gave 50.

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