Any good blog is about lifting from someone else from time to time. My fellow blogger N.E. White borrowed this from author John Scalzi’s blog, who in turn borrowed it from LiveJournal back when I guess LiveJournal was still a thing. The idea is to list ten things you’ve done that other people you know probably haven’t. The point being to cast what an uninteresting life you’ve led into fine relief, because coming up with ten has been a bit of a head-scratcher. Anyway, here’s my ten, in chronological order:
1. Traveled with a carnival. I was born while the carnival was bunked down for the winter in Miami, but the next year, I went with them all up and down the east coast and even into Canada. Once my mom became pregnant with my sister, my parents decided it was time to be a little more permanent and we moved to Orlando, a nice sleepy town far away from amusement rides. Two years later Disney World opened.
2. Had to leave my first little league practice within a minute of arriving at it. I got dropped off at my very first little league practice, brand new glove on my hand, and promptly had a ball skip off said glove into my face when I tried to catch it. My mother hadn’t even gotten out of the parking lot yet when one of the coaches ran over and flagged her down to take me home. So much for the big league career.
3. Played quiz bowl on live TV. Our local cable company would broadcast games on their local access channel, and we played a couple of matches against two teams whose eyes you could watch slowly die as the game went on and we just destroyed them. The fact that we were spending a night playing quiz bowl on live TV and not out on dates or something escaped us at the time.
4. Won the William A. Constable Award at Rollins College. I remember the full name of the award: the William A. Constable Award for Outstanding Writing on Shakespearean or Elizabethan Drama. I cannot for the life of me remember what I wrote about. Other than it clearly being about Shakespearean or Elizabethan drama. Must have made an impression on somebody though.
5. Won a trivia contest at the first Star Wars Weekend. Won a t-shirt. And actually corrected the host on the pronunciation of “gimer stick.” Oh yeah, they had to escort me out of the park for fear that all the single young ladies might do me harm in their efforts to be near me.
6. Performed as a Scareactor at the very first Halloween Horror Night. My part was a mad dentist tucked up in one of the building facades inside the Kongfrontation ride. Apparently I was too busy torturing my patient to notice the giant rampaging gorilla on the loose. I’d splatter blood all over the windows and cavort maniacally as the trams went by. Being behind glass in a noisy ride building didn’t allow for me to get much of a sense of how the guests were reacting to me, but I had a minimum of things thrown at me, so I must have done something right.
7. Worked at a vendor booth at GenCon. A friend of mine had a modeling company that made game accessories, and a couple of times I went with them up to GenCon to help them sell product and run some games. Plenty of you have probably been to conventions, but seeing it from the other side of the booth is a very different experience. You see the convention hall slowly fill up and become your world for four days, then seemingly in an instant empty out and become a big vacant room again.
8. Worked the grand opening of a theme park. Opening up something as big and complicated as a theme park isn’t simply a matter of being closed one day and open the next; you do soft openings leading up to it. But the big day at Islands of Adventure was pretty hectic, since we were swarmed with press and celebrity visitors on top of the usual opening day crowds. My most vivid celebrity encounter was a clearly dog-tired Michael Douglas, leaning against the back wall of one of the paddocks at the Triceratops Encounter, wearily telling me the only reason he was there was for his kids.
9. Piloted an official Macy’s parade balloon. And I mean actually guided it; I wasn’t just holding a rope and walking along. Granted, it wasn’t in New York, it was the version that runs at Universal, but I spent a good month walking backwards for forty-five minutes nearly every day making sure my balloon didn’t float into a building. It didn’t.
10. Been banned from winning bar trivia. I’ve detailed my trivia exploits here previously. Well, a couple of week ago I got pulled aside by the owner of the bar where I play and told that me winning as a single player was bad for business. They told me in no uncertain terms that I was welcome to play, but not allowed to win anymore. I was simultaneously offended and flattered. I was a trivia supervillain! After this little talk, I paid my tab and left and won’t be going back.
And now, clearly, I need to step away and go do some more interesting things.