1. Dick Gregory once sat next to me and slapped me on the knee.
2. I almost drown myself (and some pretty young woman) while doing the backstroke in the deep end of the pool when my hand suddenly became entangled in the top of her two piece suit. In the army at the time, I didn't know dying could involve such panic, yet pleasure. I think that helped develop my appreciation of good irony. That was the closest I ever came to death during the Vietnam war and I knew if I was a cat, I'd probably just spent my second life.
3. A day before a formal dance I'd asked my girlfriend to, I still didn't have anything to wear. I prayed for a way out of it. Later that morning I began to realize my prayer had been answered when we learned JFK had been assassinated. Shortly afterwards, it was announced the formal dance the next night was canceled! (I'm so really, really sorry John. For you, and all of America.) Lesson: Be careful what you pray for!
4. As a boy, me and a couple of chums tried to blow up a train trestle but the six stolen sticks of dynamite we had left weren't enough. Or maybe we just didn't place them in the right strategic places. (Thankfully.) We learned the bad thing about dynamite is, it makes a lot of noise which makes people suspicious about what's going *BANG*!
5.The first girl I asked to marry me was so I could draw army quarters allowance (I offered to split it with her.) Thankfully, she had more sense than I and turned me down.
6. The second day on my new army job as a pay clerk, the afforementioned girl (in #5 above) was assigned to our office. She kept asking me questions about work. I kept answering, "Ah, I don't know." She thought I was dumber than mud.
7.I saw Jan Berry (of Jan and Dean) backstage, shirtless. Because of his arm paralysis after his car accident, his partner Dean Torrance was helping him change outfits between acts.
8. Knowing we were having chicken pot pie for dinner, I pulled a long feather out of my bed pillow. At the dinner table, I snuck the feather to my mouth in a napkin. My next bite of pie, I exclaimed, "What the .... ?" as I pulled the feather out of my mouth. My brother-in-law made folk lore of the incident until I confessed the truth to him many years later.
9. I had an international bachelors party. It included three states, two nations, and one enormous hangover.
10. As an officer's pay clerk in the army, I had a Captain who was a doctor at the post hospital. Bored stiff for lack of patients, he asked if he could remove a mole from my arm, just for practice. Incredibly, I consented. It was during the surgery and Doc's schtick with his medic aides I learned where they modeled the character "Hawkeye" for the TV series M*A*S*H. I'm sure he went on to be a great field doc in Vietnam.
11. Very young, my mother entered me into a baby contest. I won the blue ribbon for "Personality Baby." Some weeks later my parents were summoned by a major Hollywood studio to bring me in for a screen test. The telegram arrived late after being forwarded to my family in Oregon where we had just moved. My life has been mundane ever since.
12. My folks, being from Wisconsin raised me to be a a lifelong Green Bay Packer fan, even though I could never, ever live in a place where people sit outside in 0 degree weather to watch a football game. Also, I became a lifelong USC Trojan fan, not because I attended there or could ever afford to. It was just something that happened in my childhood rebelliousness, rooting against my parents favorite college team, Wisconsin (yeh, Madison, WI, another place where people sit outside in 0 degree weather watching a football game).
13. My philosophy (since missing my chance at Hollywood stardom at the age of 3) has always been: "In everything you do, strive for a high degree of mediocrity. Rather than doing one major thing really, really well, it's better to do a lot of little things "pretty well."
14. Suspecting reincarnation might be a possibility, it may be that many of us aware of the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, chose to come back to Earth at this time just to see what happens three years from now. Only, just in case many of us don't make it past 2012, I chose to come back sooner (like way last century) than later (like in the 80' or 90's), just so I could get the most of my this time's carnations worth.
15. In commuting across the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges twice each day, I carried an air mattress in the backseat of the car. I figured if Edgar Cayce was right and the *Big One* hit while on one of these bridges -- and I had the fortune to survive the fall to the water below -- I would have a 'leg up' on everyone else. This made me the brunt of many of my friends/neighbor's jokes.
16. After a day of picking beans in an Oregon bean field, I learned a major physics lesson as a teenager. Preparing to return home standing in the bed of a pick-up truck, I pounded on its roof and yelled at my nephew inside who was driving, "Gun it!" He did. Fortunately, as I drifted towards the tailgate and fell backwards over it, my knees caught on it. Watching the pavement (upside down) rush past just inches from my dangling head, I knew if I was a cat, I'd probably just spent my first life. (And remember, a body at rest tends to stay at rest.)
17. In 1990, Mrs. Dada introduced me to an 'old' classmate of hers, Academy Award winning "best supporting actress," Diane Wiest (for Hannah and Her Sisters) in an elevator in Dallas. It was at my wife's high school reunion. I mumbled, stumbled, muttered and stuttered through three floors of elevation with Diane before, (thankfully) the elevator doors opened. (I'm pretty sure -- to this day -- Diane Wiest thinks Mrs. Dada married an idiot.)
18. I believe you should never, ever, feel smug about yourself, or something you or someone else has done. There are powers that be just waiting to squash your smugness, especially if you broadcast it aloud. As example, most often a jinx occurs when a kicker is to attempt the game winning field goal and an announcer acknowledges, "He hasn't missed a kick in nine playoff attempts." This hasn't happened to our last president yet, but I'm still waiting.
19. In all the animal kingdom, I believe as a species, humans are the major axis of evil to all others. (This conflicts drastically with my love for people -- not to be confused as a love of their species.)
20. I could never, ever, imagine a world without dogs.
21. In the 80's, I sold a drawing I'd exhibited in a local art show for $185.00. Last year I discovered that drawing on the internet, somewhere in New Jersey for sale for $45. (Hell, the matting and frame cost more than that 25 years ago.) This is why I seldom feel smug.
22. During a walk with my father at a very early age, I was told the dove we encountered was a "coo-coo-bird." When encountering the same kind of bird during a walk with my first grade class, and the teacher asking if anyone knew what kind of bird that was, and I responding, "A coo-coo-bird!" only to be told that was not right, lost all faith in my father. Only 40 years later, after realizing he was a pretty great dad, did I confess this to him.
23. On a hike up the Athabasca Glacier in Alberta, CA, I walked into a stiff head wind beyond the tourists until all alone. It was a magic moment in which I was determined to walk into oblivion until I heard a strange droning sound. It was a "bus" on snow tracks full of Japanese tourists. I am now positive I am on slides and in photo albums of many Japanese aboard that tracked snow vehicle.
24. Disgruntled on my way down from the glacier mentioned in #23, I decided to throw a Canadian dollar into one of those deep blue-green crevasses. For a coin that wouldn't be discovered by anthropologists for thousands of years hence, I decided to make a wish for world peace. Reconsidering at the last moment, I exchanged the $1.00 Canadian for a 25 cent piece. As a result, peace never happened which explains why anthropologists, thousands of years from now, won't discover the $0.25 Canadian I threw in a crevass on the Athabasca Glacier in 1989 -- most likely because there won't be any anthropologists alive then.
25. Being the first to arrive at the tiny Taos bookstore (before my wife and family from Oregon), I opened the door and boldly asked of the proprietor, "Do you allow illiterates in here?" She replied, "Why yes! We have many books with pictures in them!" at which point I turned to my relatives outside and said, "It's ok, you can come in." (They did, to the chuckles of all inside.)
There's one other random thing I haven't mentioned, but that would make 26.