Saturday, November 05, 2005

100 Paragraphs About Me, Part II, 7-14

Part I

After an epic legal battle, Karla and I have worked out a payment schedule to cover her fee. I am now sent after other people who owe her money. Not to hurt them, but to hang out with them. A couple of hours with me, and they suddenly decide to pay up.

7. I was an underachiever. This might not surprise any of you who have read the “Teenage Criminal” posts. When I moved to Florida I discovered first-hand how much different the school system is there from the one I had been in here in the Northeast. I did fine in 6th grade, but starting in second grade my grades started to slip. By slip I mean that I could count on passing gym every grading period, but not much more. Every so often somebody would slip up and I’d pass some other stuff, but it wasn’t often. I was advanced to the next grade every year.

8. I was (and continue to be) an overachiever. When I came back to live with my father I had just finished the first quarter of my junior year in high school. The school I reported to took one look at my transcripts and immediately called a conference. They had no idea what to do with me. I was sent to a couple of evaluations, including an IQ exam of some sort, and they decided to take a chance. Florida had (I don’t know if they still do) a rule that if you had more than three unexcused absences from a class you automatically failed it. Since that rule doesn’t exist here, they took all of those courses and made them D’s instead of F’s. They probably weren’t supposed to do that. I went beyond their expectations and became a high honors student.

9. I have had many nicknames over the years. Let me list some of them: Yankee, Florida, Roman, Safety Boy, The Chosen One, and most recently, Pony Boy. Yankee was my nickname in Florida, Florida was my nickname in the North. Roman was truly and idiotic nickname, given to me because my hair stuck up in a Mohawk one day – and we all know the Romans all wore Mohawks. Safety Boy was bestowed on me by my sister-in-law because I insisted that everybody in my canoe wear their life jackets. She’s also had several non-family-blog type of nicknames for me over the years. The Chosen One – well, that one deserves a post of it’s own. Check back soon. Pony Boy: If you’ve read the last few posts you know that one.

10. While I am not a perfectionist, I am close. When I work on a project that will have my name attached to it, I tend to work hard to make sure it’s top quality. I made a dvd of video and pictures of my son, and one of my relatives didn’t believe I had done it until I showed them the project on my computer. Back when floppy disks were still the only form of software delivery I had so many that I built a couple of carriers for them. They were made from wood and when other computer people saw them they drooled. They held three rows of disks and I had sanded and stained them both. They were stolen (without the disks, which the thief dumped out) several years ago at a computer show.

11. Insult me at your own risk. I have a quick wit and a vast enjoyment of verbal sparring. It’s even better if somebody is trying to be malicious, because then I can really cut loose without regrets.

12. Pianos fear me, and with good reason. Several years ago I came into possession of an upright piano. It weighed about 1500 pounds and really wasn’t in the best of shape. I found out through some research that it was only worth about $250. It came time to move, and I decided that it was time to get rid of it. I offered it free to local schools, music students and anywhere else I could think of. There were a few who seemed interested, but only one guy decided that he wanted it. He said he’d pick it up one morning, and showed up in a hatchback. Needless to say, he didn’t take the piano with him. The Salvation Army and Goodwill do not really want pianos, and have a list of rules concerning them. They will not take them if: there is a single scratch, there is even one step between where it currently is and the truck, if it’s out of tune (which is funny, because you are supposed to tune it if you move it) and if it weighs more than three hundred pounds. How many three hundred pound pianos are there out there, anyway? The end result is that I had to take this piano apart using a sledgehammer, ax, chisel and various other implements of destruction. Quite a crowd gathered, and at one point the cast iron harp tried to attack. I dodged and finally finished it off. Pianos now tremble in my presence.

13. A few selections from the bookshelf next to my desk: Atlas of the World, Atlas of Internal Medicine, The Complete Dog Book, The ARRL Handbook, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Patriots of the Revolutionary War, The I Ching, Animal Tracking and Behavior, The Quotable Dad, and Where is the Mango Princess?

14. This would fit into my “I Was A Teenage Criminal” posts, but it’s too short. My friends and I decided to build a treehouse, despite the lack of suitable trees where we lived in Florida. We realized that we needed wood, so one night we snuck onto a big construction site and completely dismantled a storage shed. We left the contents of the shed sitting on the ground next to where the shed had been. It was a good thing we didn’t brag about it because we heard a few days later that one of the employees of the construction company lived in our neighborhood. We never did build the treehouse.