Matt, my old mate from London, now back in SF, recently assigned me the task of citing 5 things "you may or may not know about me". Grazie, amico, I type through gritting teeth.
I can't complain. Not long ago, the more industrious bloggers would list 100 things, usually 95 too many. And, at the outset of every semester, I assign my journalism students the task of interviewing their classmates, subjecting each of them to a barrage of uncomfortable questions from their peers. So, it's my turn to share.
1. I am a dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland and I legally reside in a hilltop town in central Italy called Amandola, but I live in Rome. What does this mean? I can vote in U.S., Irish and EU elections, and for the mayor of Amandola. And, my tax situation is a total mess. Ok, that's a big yawn.
2. Let me see...Right. Last night, for the first time ever, I walked out of a play at intermission. Did I mention the play involved topless ballerinas in an avant-garde, East Village-comes-to-Rome type of production with a central theme that, as far as I can tell, attempted to tackle the twin evils of global warming and animal abuse issues, set to grating organ music? The theater was lovely though.
3. As a cub newspaper reporter, I once wrote an obit for a person who wasn't dead. Yet... It's a long story, and it involved an elaborate hoax by some vengeful family members who were being cut out of a will. Nonetheless, it goes down as a pretty embarrassing correction. It's never easy when you have to write, "Due to a reporting error, we wrote X died last week at the age of 82. X is not dead. We regret the error."
4. When I was young, I had this thing with numbers. Multiplying numbers. I couldn't stop. They were fairly big, complex numbers. 423 times 18. 94 times 11. And so on and so forth. I was always trying to find a pattern to break them down in my head and spit out the answer in ever faster intervals. To whom? Nobody. Just me. And, it followed me for years. On the baseball field. On the basketball court. On a date. I was never quite alone and unencumbered. It was always me and a list of numbers I had to get through in my head, leaving some awkward moments in my teen years. Were you listening? Erm, 1,034. Huh? I don't do it very much any more. And I don't think it was some childhood condition, but I don't think I'm completely cured of it. I am still asked to figure out the check at restaurants and everything my wife says to me, upon recall, seems vague. Does anybody else suffer from this?
5. The last time I cried? I was in Moscow. At a nightclub. Young Muscovites were chanting "Drink, Drink, Drink!" I was shackled to the bar and fitted with a construction helmet. I watched in horror as bartenders drained several nasty bottles of alcohol into a beer mug and shoved it in my face to loud applause. For more details and pix, click here.
Ok, now I have to pass this off to five people. Let's see: Adam, Derek, Marco, Andy and Matt.