Just about a year ago, I had The Honest Scrap Award bestowed upon me by my
blog buddy Ashlie. You're supposed to reveal ten embarrassing things about yourself, Ashlie said, backed up by various links in the chain, and then pass the award on to a
few other folks in turn.
I did not do that.
My keyboard was acting up at the time and other priorities got in the way. Also, to be honest, which is rather the point of the award, I'm not big on either receiving or impos-ing those kinds of forced prompts, although I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind a badge celebrating bloggers who write fearlessly. Friends with blogs who sprang to mind as meriting the award but who hadn't already received it, well, they're even less likely to respond to it than I am. Lastly, after reading about the award else-where online as I looked around to grab a nice image of the Honest Scrap icon for when/if this post did get published, I discovered that in its most prevalent usage the award is to be ack-nowledged not by posting ten embarrassing things but merely ten honest things.
So with that interpretation in mind, yet not wanting to disappoint those who were looking forward to having a giggle at my expense, I jotted down a few odd and poten-tially surprising facts. Most of them are trivial; a couple are goofy; the final one is on another plane entirely, and must have been on my mind when I sketched out the list a year ago, but I left it on here because — while I don't usually get overtly socially con-scious on the blog — taking it off felt dishonest. Here, then, are Nine Honest and Somewhat Weird Scraps of Information about Blam, Plus One Heartfelt Truth.
1. I crack raw eggs with one hand.
And I don't simply mean that I can do it; I learned to open them that way from my mom, and I actually do it better one-handed — a clean break, no bits of shell — than with both hands, because with both hands I have to think about it.
2. I'm fond of warm mayonnaise.
I think this stems from my mother and grandmother making egg salad for quick
"dairy" meals that also consisted of some combination of tuna fish, red potatoes, and my grandfather's preferred mixture of sour cream and cottage cheese. Since the eggs were newly boiled, the egg salad was warm even though the mayo had come from the fridge. I've found that whenever I'm out and order a heated sandwich prepared with mayonnaise, it reminds me of those dinners.
3. The first time I heard the Rolling Stones song "Beast of Burden" at age 8 or so, I
was such a mythology geek that I thought Mick Jagger was saying "I'll never be your Vestal Virgin".
For what it's worth, I doubt I knew what the word "virgin" on its own meant back then; I only knew that "Vestal Virgins" was the name applied to women dedicated to keeping lit a flame in honor of Vesta, the Roman equivalent of Hestia, goddess of the hearth, which is far more important knowledge.
4. While I rarely go there anymore, I used to frequent a '50s-themed restaurant called Ruby's. Here's an awkward story about one visit:
Despite the fact that the short-skirted waitresses are always recommending the fish
taco (really), I almost unfailingly get the Super Burger — usually with a veggie patty, even if I'm not in one of my vegetarian phases, because to offset the generally healthful avocado the Super Burger has double Swiss cheese and comes on grilled Parmesan sourdough, and I'll probably be at least sharing a milkshake to boot. The anecdote that makes all of this relevant to the list at hand? Once I walked in for lunch on a rare occasion when I was wearing a Superman T-shirt out in public, sat down, and started
to laugh as the waitress asked for my order. "It's not you," I said. "Um... This is kind-of embarrassing. I just realized what I have on. I, uh, would like the Super Burger."
5. I don't play videogames.
I'm not judging anyone and I don't feel holier-than-thou about it, but I don't. At one point, back in my teens, I was a fiend — for my Atari VCS, for arcade consoles — to the point that I subscribed to a couple of magazines. I basically went cold turkey in college, however, right as Game Boy heralded the next wave of the medium, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've played a Sega or Nintendo anything. I guess it's the expense and the time commitment that never got me back into videogames after college, along with the advent of the World-Wide Web aspect of the Internet, which even before the days of high-speed connectivity and YouTube was all the procrastin-ation fodder I ever needed. I'll glom onto a Galaga if I see one, and I'd go nostalgically nuts in a room full of Astro Fighter, Mr. Do, Ms. Pac-Man, Front Line, and Time Pilot, but Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and even Rock Band mean nothing to me.
6. I never really liked Seinfeld.
To some extent the reason was the petty if not mean-spirited tone of the characters
that formed the crux of the infamous finale. Mostly, though, I think it was due to the fact that Jerry Seinfeld's awkwardly stagey delivery and the contrived plots exemplified everything that turned (and still turns) me off about traditional sitcoms — that, and
the even more essential fact that the show was rarely funny.
7. I'm partial to "pretty" over "gorgeous".
Friends are occasionally confused when I try to explain this, since to an extent the words are synonymous or terms like "gorgeous" and "beautiful" are used as superla-tives on the "pretty" spectrum. When it comes to the ladyfolk, though, I find that the women described as "gorgeous" are often either heavily made up or trying way too
hard to be a sex bomb, which ain't my bag.
8. The appeal of pop singles does not escape me at all, but I've never been big on
buying songs in that form.
I'm fairly sure that the first 45 I bought was Steve Martin's "King Tut" and most of the rest were gifts. Whole albums were much more interesting to own, because you could hear hits on the radio all the time, whereas LPs offered depth and variety (assuming they were any good) as well as lyrics, liner notes, and so forth. This is actually an entry that I almost kept off this list because I might address the subject in its own post down the line, but then I'd have to come up with an alternative.
9. I like to vary my handwriting style when doing crossword puzzles.
I've always looked at those little boxes as a good way to exert discipline in lettering, being a cartoonist and never having had the patience to properly use an Ames guide. Therefore in addition to being a mental exercise, crosswords are a physical one — undertaken as a challenge to render the alphabet as cleanly and uniformly as possible, or a ground for experimentation to see how I can pack interesting versions of it into
tiny boxes. I realize that out of all the honest scraps on this list, which include mistak-
ing "Beasts of Burden" for "Vestal Virgin" and wearing a Superman T-shirt to order a Super Burger, this might be the geekiest, but it's followed by the oddest entry of all.
10. I believe that sexual orientation should have no bearing on a couple's legal right to marry.
When I call this the oddest entry here, I just mean that it's out of place, but as men-tioned above I didn't feel right discarding it. Look, I'll be totally honest and say that when I was a kid the thought, let alone the sight, of two men kissing struck me as gross; in fact it still does, as my kissing a woman might strike them, but that doesn't mean I have a right to keep those two men from expressing their affection for one another in any way that I wouldn't object to a heterosexual couple doing the same. And people who argue about PDA from gay couples that they'd accept from straight ones, let alone argue for legislation that unconscionably restricts equality for their fellow citizens — when in the history of the United States of America, the Constitution has only ever been amen-ded to correct injustices too long ingrained in our society rather than codify new ones — those people are, ironically, often met by similar language from liberal or libertarian activists, namely that everyone should stay out of everyone else's bedrooms. While that's a nice guideline in terms of rights to privacy, in my mind if you define a relation-ship solely based on what you do in the bedroom then you're not really talking about the fullness of the kind of relationship that equates to marriage for most folks.
Domestic partnerships are about everything from holding hands in the park to hold-
ing hands on a hospital gurney to holding hands at your altar of choice. I frankly think that the most sensible way to deal with the whole issue would be for the State to only bestow civil unions, period, on homosexual and heterosexual couples alike, and reserve "marriage" for religious and other cultural or personal, private ceremonies, but it's impossible to put that one back in the bag. So as long as we're giving legalized mergers between two humans of opposite genders one label, it's unfair, immoral, and my hope is, one day soon, in practice as well as in concept, un-American to call the same bond between two humans of the same gender anything else.
We now return you to the regular natter about tee-vee an' stuff.
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