The terribly clever, original and beautiful Liz at Los Angelista’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness
tagged me with this particular meme. Hmm. I found it more challenging than I thought I might have on the surface. Then again, I wasn’t so sure about how candid I wanted to be about me. But, for what it’s worth, here I am:
The object of the exercise is to tell you seven ‘weird’ things about me. I guess that means, seven things that may be unique to me. I don’t think I am weird at all, but others may have a different opinion. Not fair to check this out with ex-wives, by the way.
1) I stood at a urinal next to a future prime minister of Canada
: His name is Jean Chretien and I had just completed an interview with him when he was federal Justice Minister. Considering his later shenanigans, there is an irony in that cabinet position. Anyway, at the end of the interview he said that he wanted to know where the restroom was. I showed him and realized that I too had to visit the porcelain. We continued our chat while we tended to our personal vital affairs to state. Despite a certain infamy later in his career, I found him to be a highly agreeable man with a great sense of humor.
2) I can still awaken late at night feel sad and guilty about my goose: When I was about 14 I kept chickens, ducks and geese. My favorte was a great, grey Toulouse gander. As ganders often are, he was a mean and vicious bastard. Mean and vicious with everyone but me. He would climb onto my lap and caress the said of my head with his neck and look at me adoringly. One day he attacked a toddler cousin and she was in serious jeopardy of having her eyes pecked out by the gander who seemed outraged at her presence. My mother was horrified and order me to kill the gander. I was aghast at her demand, but I followed through and did it. I don’t think I ever fully forgave my mother for making me do that, and I am still sad about the gander. As an aside, I don’t think I have ever taken a warm blooded animal’s life since that time, and I even gave up fishing a number of years ago. Hell, I rescue spiders. But no, I am not a vegetarian.
3) Rolf Harris advised me to grow a beard
: The name Rolf Harris might not mean much to American readers, but those in Canada and the UK will
know him. Anyway, the Australian born comic singer (best known for the songs Six White Boomers
and Tie Me Kangaroo Down
was performing in Vancouver when I was about 20. I went back stage to meet him. We chatted for ages and he (bearded himself) said: “You know, mate, you should grow a beard. You have a good face for a beard.” So, a few years later I did so. I had it for five years. It didn’t look bad, but I never really liked the feel of it.
4) We had a family ghost
: Let me begin this by saying that I do not essentially believe in ghosts or other metaphysical manifestations, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist (if exist is an operative word when it comes to ghosts). My grandmother made my hair stand on end when she told me of the family ghost, whom she had first seen in her childhood home in England. The ghost is a redhaired woman of ghastly white face and frightening smile (sort of like the Joker in Batman). If she appears then there is to be a death in the family. My
grandmother saw her twice, once in England, and once in Canada. She gets around that redhaired lady. In both cases, my grandmother lost brothers immediately afterwards. I’ve never seen her – yet. Though, my first wife was a redhead. Nah!
5) I fell in love with a photo of my second wife: Once I was editing a special newspaper supplement that was to go with our paper and another sister paper in a town 30 miles away. I was sorting through photos and there was a picture of a beautiful young woman who worked in the advertising department of the sister paper. I was struck by her appearance. Quite overwhelmed by her looks. After the paper had been printed I pilfered the original paper and stuck it away in a drawer in my desk. Thirteen years later we had a new employee in the advertising department at my own paper. I passed her in the corridor. She stopped, introduced herself and said: “I know you from somewhere, don’t I?” Yes, it was the lady in the photo. Later, when we were together I showed her the photo and told her the tale.
6) I still make a mental note of birthday of the saddest little kid in our neighborhood: It’s February the second. This little boy, about five years younger than I, was the neighborhood cry-baby. Kids could make him cry just by looking at him in a certain way. He was always in slovenly clothes and his nose was always running. He was a mess. He was also from the richest family in the neighborhood. They live in a great white house that was so splendid that it was later used as the mansion in the movie Cousins with Ted Danson and Isabella Rosselini. They had three or four cars, servants, hounds for the hunt, and all that stuff. The father was a raging alcoholic bastard who regularly abused his children, a girl my age, and that waif-like little boy. When he grew up he moved to the US and the former cry-baby joined the army. He did two tours in Vietnam. He came back with a heroin habit that would fell a horse. He offed himself a month back from his last tour. I always say a silent prayer on Feb. 2.
7) I had a Chinese playmate when I was about 6: There was a Chinese produce farm up the street when I was very young, and the man who owned it would employ recent immigrants from his homeland. This little boy’s mother was one of the field hands. He would come to our place to play while his mom was toiling. My mother told me how she would delight in our chatter as we pushed around our trucks in the sandbox.. “The two of you would natter away for hours,” she said. “What fascinated me was that little boy couldn’t speak one word of English, and you obviously didn’t know Chinese. That never seemed to be a problem.” The tale fascinated me when I was older because I remembered playing with him and always assumed we talked to each other just fine.
OK. There’s my seven. To truly follow the protocols I am supposed to tag seven people. But, I get a bit shy about that, so I am just going to suggest that if you want to do it, please let me know. And really, try it. It’s fun.