Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ten Reasons I'm Cooler Than You

Everybody's doin' it!

Eve Tushnet hatched the idea.
Cacciaguida, Camassia and Terry Teachout picked it up.

And now, here goes the Fox:

Name ten things you've done that your readers probably haven't.

1. Spent several hours flirting (or so you thought) with a nice young woman sitting next to you on a train, only to discover that her unusual coat is a habit and she's a cloistered nun en route to a monastery in Vermont.

2. Been well on your way to bowling a 200+ game (which would beat your personal best by over 60 pins) only to throw two gutter balls in the last two frames to close with a 190. (This actually happened last night.)

3. Performed Styx's "Come Sail Away" in the Eric Cartman voice on three separate occasions, and brought down the house every time.

4. Almost single-handedly destroyed a local Shakespeare-in-the-Park tradition through a devastating review in a small-town newspaper.

5. Dumped metal without a permit for a pair of possibly-mafia-connected dwarfish twin brothers (your employers).

6. Been born several weeks late.

7. Been implicitly accused of harboring sinister political motives for your undergraduate thesis.

8. Earned the nickname "Doctor Flush" for your uncanny ability to catch improbable draws on the River.

9. Attempted to join the US Army, only to fail the physical when, despite having overlooked your near-sightedness, flat-footedness, bad back, bad knees and general lack of physical fitness, the recruiters bounce you for having had asthma. When you were eight.

10. Built an igloo outside your high school dormitory. Ordered-in a pizza to the igloo (the trick is to convince them it's not a prank call). Slept in said igloo for a few hours, only to be awakened by the sound of an animal panting and pawing outside, which you fear is a bear that's been drawn nigh by the pepperoni. Been relieved to discover that it's only the dog of your house-counselor, who's come to his senses and orders you back inside.

UPDATE: Looking over the list again, I'm struck by how high a percentage of the things I've done are actually things I haven't done. They're things I almost did. I almost joined the Army. I almost spent the night in a self-built igloo. I almost bowled a 200 game. I almost successfully flirted with a woman. (That'll be the day!) It's the Charlie Brown principle: one way or another, life yanks the ball away at the last second. All these long years, I've come perilously close to having an interesting life.

UPDATE AGAIN: Bonus entry - 11. Been the sole student in a weeks-long one-man impromptu Calvinist seminary run by a drifter out of the movable stacks in the sub-sub-basement of the Amherst College library. (My tutor was a former fisherman - his fingers were literally bent crooked from handling rigging and nets - who'd found Jesus after a lifetime of debauchery and believed that God had commanded him to go and study in all the various seats of colonial era Calvinism: Princeton, Northampton, Amherst, etc. Needless to say, the College didn't take kindly to his, er, eccentricities, and he was banned from the library after some of the women on staff complained that he was making them uncomfortable. Was he genuinely touched by God, or crazy, or what? I always thought it was a lot of both.) I wanted to add that one on; it was the strangest experience in my life. I can't fathom how I forgot it the first time.

UPDATING ALWAYS: How could I have forgotten? Bonus #12. I rode shotgun ahead of a sitting federal judge.

ONE MORE: I just remembered another: I taught myself 300 years of European history (the Reformation through the French Revolution) over Christmas vacation in order to test into a year-long Euro history course, the first semester of which I'd missed, by passing the Fall term exam. (I wound up taking the exam in a utility closet. Good times, good times.) OK, now you're just bragging....