Since this meme has been making the rounds, I thought I’d give it a whirl:
1. When I was around 14 or 15, I decided that my white-bread non-ethnicity was boring. Therefore, I determined, I would convert to Judaism. I never did, but I kept up an interest in Jewish history until well into my early twenties and once accompanied a family on some sort of pro-Israeli march in Washington (I think it was there; my memory is growing fuzzy). My hosts, a very nice couple, asked me whether my parents were observant Jews. I could of course answer, with perfect truthfulness, that they were not.
2. My apartment in college was notoriously messy, so much so that a friend of mine made a film of it, including a shot of its most famous attraction, a spider plant that had been left unwatered so long that it had desiccated (“dried up” does not adequately express the sheer deadness of this plant). The film was accompanied by me singing, “I Can’t Get No Clean Apartment” to the tune of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”
(My daughter thinks I am a bad housekeeper today. The kid has no idea what depths I can sink to if I really work at it.)
3. I am a spectacularly picky eater who did not try pizza until I was fifteen. Today, if given my druthers, I could eat almost nothing but pizza. (Provided, of course, that it’s sausage.)
4. I once put a New York City bus out of commission by dropping a dollar bill into the change hopper instead of change, which resulted in a busload of grumpy commuters from Brooklyn to Manhattan having to wait while a new, dollar-less bus was brought into commission. When a late arrival standing nearby me as we were waiting for the second bus asked, “What idiot would have done that?” I managed a look of total innocence.
5. When I was 18, I worked in a theme park outside of Richmond, Virginia, selling refreshments of various sorts. I wore a purple checked, ruffled costume that was in theory supposed to resemble a 19th-century bathing outfit, but in fact made me look like Little Bo Peep without the shepherd’s crook. I moved from stand to stand, but my longest stint (or at least it felt that way) was on a stand stationed opposite a group of plastic frogs that sang barbershop quartet songs every fifteen minutes. Yes, this experience has scarred me for life. Yes, it probably shows.