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Blog Archive/February 2009

February 1, 2009

Random Notes

A new craze is spreading like fire, or at least like a chain letter, on Facebook--"25 Random Things About Me." But it can be an interesting exercise, less mundane than it may seem at first. Here's the list I posted at my page:

1) I've never been a big sleeper. My mother will tell you I slept less than an hour a night till I was 10 months old; 2 hours a night till I was 2; and 3 hours a night till I was 5. I rarely catch more than 5 hours now.

2) I haven't used an alarm clock since 1993.

3) One of my earliest memories: Falling out of the family car as we circled a busy rotary in Peabody, MA.

4) Beginning at age 10, I was convinced I wouldn't live past 13--a fear I've never fully understood. Maybe it involved a rotary.

5) As an all-star Little League pitcher, I set a record striking out 16 batters in 6 innings.

6) Two weeks into the 7th grade, I stopped riding the school bus, walking the 4 miles each way, right up through high school graduation.

6) In my sophomore and junior years, I was captain of the varsity tennis team. But we sucked. Bad.

7) Though an ectomorph, I won a powerlifting tournament at age 16, hoisting over 900 pounds in three lifts.

8) To kill time at night, I used to memorize literature, including: Joyce's "The Dead," Cheever's "The Swimmer," Capote's "Children on Their Birthdays," the first chapter of "The Great Gatsby" and portions of Nabokov's "Lolita."

9) In 1987, I was stopped by machine-gun toting police on the waterfront in Hamburg and escorted to a security post where I was searched and questioned, sans explanation. Only after I was released did I realize I'd been loitering in a restricted area in front of a seized Soviet vessel.

10) If I could take only ten food items with me to a deserted island, one would be olive oil.

11) I once spotted Richard Nixon, alone but for a pair of straggling aides, exiting the Santa Barbara County Courthouse . I approached him and we chatted for 15 minutes. He gave me his card, and signed it.

12) My brother and I got stuck in a tiny hotel elevator in Paris' Latin Quarter for two hours. That evening, a scorned woman set her boyfriend's car on fire outside the hotel entrance, trapping us, again, for hours. Next morning, armored cars barricaded the Luxembourg Gardens. We hopped the first train to Nice.

13) I've fasted 10 days straight at least a dozen times.

14) I spent three whole nights in the bathtub with our then-new stray cat, Buddy, coaxing him back to the world of the living. He turns 11 this year.

15) I tried stand-up in New York comedy clubs, abandoning the dream after a month.

16) Nevertheless, I dared to take turns doing impressions with Jonathan Winters during a magazine shoot at the comedian's home in Montecito.

17) I backpacked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in 33 days.

18) In 1999, I walked the red carpet with my wife at the 5th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, experiencing the headiness of the bright lights as well as the disappointment of hundreds of fans as they realized that, no, I wasn't Anthony Edwards.

19) At the same awards show, I drank water all night and visited the bathroom at each commercial break, sharing adjoining urinals with Harvey Weinstein, Jack Valente, Alec Baldwin, Ed Burns, Nick Nolte, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Ben Affleck.

20) I once played Uno for three hours with a lovely elderly man who had Alzheimer's, re-explaining the rules to him every turn. It deepened my appreciation for Nietzsche's idea of eternal recurrence.

21) Hunter S. Thompson, drunk and wearing red lipstick, lunged at me with a toy knife when I went to shake his hand at a "reading" of "The Rum Diary" in New York City.

22) Years ago I checked into Hemingway's favorite room (#217) at La Perla in Pamplona planning to write for a month, but I left for another hotel after four days because the only outlet for my laptop was in the bathroom. How Papa ever wrote "The Sun Also Rises" is beyond me.

23) While I was at La Perla, the front desk called to say, in Spanish, "Someone is here who would like to visit the American Nobel-prize winning scientist's room, OK?" Sure, I said, scratching my head. Hemingway, a scientist? The problem was my Spanish. The Hemingway fan who arrived at my door was an American Nobel-prize winning scientist.

24) In 2006, a production company pitched me to a network to host a reality TV show. Ultimately, the network went with a guy whoĆ½d actually hosted a reality TV show before. Go figure.

25) I seriously explored becoming an Episcopal priest, until it became apparent this was probably not the best move for me or the Church. Authority issues. And agnosticism.

Posted By John D. Spalding | Email

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