Friday, November 21, 2008

Tagged by a meme: Five things about me

Tracy tagged me with this meme, to list five "interesting" things about me. I have no idea what people will find interesting, and can't remember what I've told and haven't. Therefore, I shall interpret the mission as telling five things or events that are probably unique, or at least unusual, about myself.

1. I was raised in a fundamentalist, holiness, charismatic church. Translation: my entire experience with worship services until I was grown contained large doses of emotionally charged preaching (frequent aisle running by the preacher, for instance), speaking in tongues, and people falling out in the floor in religious ecstasy. Since a child only knows their own experience, I assumed all churches were like mine. It was a great surprise to me when I at age 17 invited a Southern Baptist girlfriend to a service, and she reacted by fleeing out the back door. Turns out most Christians do not worship in that manner. Who knew?

2. We didn't have pre-k or kindergarten when I was a child; first grade was FIRST grade. However, I walked in the doors the first day and tested out at a 5th grade reading level. Thereafter, I spent the next two years being something of a one-boy dog-and-pony show, to be paraded through the school for the amazement of the teachers. As you can imagine, this made me very popular with the other students. Ah, well.

3. Although Brown v. Board was decided in 1954, my school system didn't actually integrate until the late 1960's. Apparently, "all due haste" wasn't all that hasty. In 1972 I entered first grade in what had been called the "colored" school. Caucasians were 20% of the class in first grade. That number shrank each year, and in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, I was the only Caucasian in my grade/class. When I transferred to a different school for my senior year after a fight with the principal, I found I was completely unable to talk to Caucasians, especially girls. Go figure. (There were no kids my age in church, either, most of my childhood.)

4. When I went off to Navy boot camp on my 18th birthday, I had spent every day of my life, except 50 days or so, in Attala County, Mississippi. To say that I was a "rube" would be understatement. I had never been in a movie theater; never had a beer; never had a smoke; never had a pizza that didn't come in a box from the grocery store. This inexperience combined with my phenomenal academic knowledge made me... well, unusual, let's say.

5. Because I spent much of my childhood bored to tears, I developed the ability to "mirror write." I still do it from time to time to show people. It is actually far more legible than my normal, atrocious handwriting, and I can do it almost as quickly.

I hope you found those interesting. If you did, I'll be happy to answer questions on them. I tag Tart, Mike, and Mr. Furious.


Toast said...

I'm going to echo this at my place, but I'll post it here first:

1. Wow. That's hilarious and weird at the same time. To a New England boy, that shit seems like something Hollywood just made up to make religious people seem crazier than they are.

2. Heh. What cracks me up is how far gone we are the other way now. People with one and two year olds routinely talk about them going to "class". Yeah, whatever.

3. And yet you're so white. How did you not pick up even the tiniest hint of Hip Hop sensibility?

4. Lieutenant Dork, reporting for duty, sir. ;-)

5. I can barely hand-write anymore. I did, however, learn to touch type in 7th grade. Served me well as the internet age ensued and I landed a programming gig. It amazes me, actually, that I know guys who have been coding for decades but still type using the two-finger approach.

nightshift66 said...

3. And yet you're so white.

You must remember that at that time, saying "hello" across the racial line (here) was not the norm, and that went both ways. I only had one real enemy in all my years there, but also only one or two real friends. So there wasn't a lot of cultural exchange going on. However, in the Navy, I actually did serve as interpreter between a cracker from Montana and the brothers. Like the lady on "Airplane!", I speak Ebonics. Or at least understand it.

somewaterytart said...

I spent the next two years being something of a one-boy dog-and-pony show, to be paraded through the school for the amazement of the teachers.

That happened to me, too! I remember my first grade teacher having me read in front of other teachers, and then she would send me to the second-grade class for reading lessons. This also happened in kindergarten. Yeah, it's totally the best way to get the other kids to trust and like you. Kids NEVER forget that shit.

Mike said...

Mine 'zup. Now leave me alone.