1- Filling out my bar fitness applications was a giant pain in the backside, as applicants are supposed to disclose all speeding tickets, arrests, times incarcerated, etc. At the time, I’d had over 10 tickets and 4 arrests that I had to describe in detail.
2- I “conveniently forgot” to disclose said infractions when applying for my military security clearance. One day, a knock on my door revealed a government agent from Washington, DC who came to interview me about the underage consumption in Hendersonville, TN from 1995. Before he left, he asked if there was anything else, so I went ahead and disclosed the other 3.
3- Like Gordon Lachance (See “Stand By Me”), I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. And they’re still by best friends today.
4- My first “man hug” was Jeremy Gould right before we graduated from high school. We were in his parents’ kitchen. Now I hug most all of my friends from childhood when I see them again, regardless of gender. I just needed help getting over “the hump.”
5- 2008 may be my favorite year ever. Certainly my favorite year as a grownup. I came home safely from Iraq, and I traveled to Oahu, the Big Island, England, France, Spain, Alaska, and Wisconsin: all places I’d never been before. I saw a son come 6 weeks early but perfectly healthy. I saw Coldplay, Radiohead, and REM live. And most enjoyable, I started writing again.
6- I’m addicted to my blackberry. My first and last acts every day are checking it. In traffic, I twitter, update my FB status, or read Google Reader. This is not a good habit.
7- My dog is named after Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years,” the greatest show to ever air.
8- My neighborhood has at least one burglary every week. Before I check the blackberry every night, I’m sad to report that I set loaded firearms next to my side of the bed.
9- I’ve come a millimeter from taking someone’s life. I left the air base where I was stationed in Balad without permission on my 28th birthday and went into town, where the ambulance in which I’d hidden was rushed by several Iraqi men. They saw the 19-year-old female medic I was with and started trying to get into my Humvee, all the while making obscene gestures. One of them grabbed at my neck, and I pulled out my 9mm, chambered a round, and pointed it at his face while yelling expletives. He backed up. I figured I’d get in a lot of trouble for going AWOL and killing a civilian, so I didn’t.
10- My Dad told me right before I left for war the first time that it would be something I’d never choose to do again (once I got back) but would also be an experience I would trade nothing for. He was right. Nothing has made me grow up more, including fatherhood.
11- I’ve had a journal in some form since the 4th grade: spiral notebooks, printed emails, or blogs.
12- Today I had lunch with a friend of mine who lost his father not too long ago. I worry about the day this happens to me more than just about any other inevitable (almost) aspect of aging. I’m tearing up thinking about it, so I’ll move on.
13- I watched my dog drown in January 1988. It was the worst day of my life.
14- I pass out when I see, or think about, human bleeding. This was an enormous concern when I was sent to an Army hospital in a war zone in 2003. Many times, I was inches away from a mangled service member with tubes going in and out of him, and I’d have to look away and think about something else to avoid hitting the sand.
15- I helped carry Jessica Lynch out of the hospital in Kuwait onto a C-17 for Germany. After we were both home, she came to Atlanta with Rick Bragg for a book signing, and I introduced myself to her again. I tried to discreetly tell her about the first time we’d met, but Rick Bragg told the store full of patrons who I was. It was my first standing ovation.
16- Before I put my number on the “do not call” lists, if I’d get a telemarketing phonecall, I’d tell the person I just watched my dog get hit by a car and inquire about a good vet. They always would apologize profusely, hang up, and never call again.
17- My summer job before going off to college was the rat at Chuck E. Cheese. My last night at work, I made a kid cry after he stuck his hand up into my mask, because I grabbed it and squeezed it as hard as I could. He looked up into my mask’s mouth hole with tears in his eyes and said, “you’re hurting me, Chucky.” And I replied with, “I know, you little bastard, now get your hands out my mask!” Then I walked away from Chuck E. Cheese for good.
18- I fully expect this incident to come up on Judgment Day.
19- I have trouble writing without a cocktail and good music in the background. Currently, I’m flanked by a bottle of Makers and the “adult alternative” station.
20- The only states I haven’t visited are Oregon, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Rhode Island.
21- I’m a third-generation U. of Alabama grad. My grandparents knew Bear Bryant. My dad knew Kenny Stabler. My mom knew Joe Namath. I once met Freddy Kitchens after he passed out on a sidewalk outside a bar. So, comparatively, I suck.
22- My dad told me when I was little that he’d rather that I become a child molester than a lawyer.
23- I once got my 17’8” blue 1980 Buick LeSabre stuck on a BMX track. It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if Chad and Trey had refrained from calling half our class to come fill the stands to watch me get towed. Not cool, guys.
24- I met President Bush when I got back from Iraq and shook his hand on the tarmac outside of the Air National Guard. If that’s the best way to meet a President, I’d rather not meet any more.
25- I love karaoke. I won a digital camera for dressing like Bret Michaels, walking onto a stage at my law firm’s Christmas party, and playing/singing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Twice, I’ve been pulled onto stage with a band to sing “Sweet Home Alabama” –once at a bar in New Orleans and once at a Pi Phi party in Tuscaloosa.