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Ten belated things

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I was just about all ready to post this back on March 7, which was already long after most other people had done it, but figured I would hold off another day or two to polish it, and then things fell apart. So almost all of the following was written over a month ago; apologies for any resulting confusion of time references. (And then I got all ready to post this the other day and didn't actually do so; just found it tonight on my way to bed. So I'm posting this a few days later than the date when I wrote the rest of this paragraph.)


This "ten things" meme has been going around for a while now. I wasn't going to do it, but Mary Anne asked if I was going to, and then I started thinking of things, and finally came up with the below list.

Several items from my first attempt at a list got axed; my first pass felt to me like I was bragging, while most of the people I've seen do this seem to focus primarily on wacky, odd, and/or ill-advised things they've done. (Some of the lists I've seen could have been titled "Ten things I've done that you were probably too sensible to do.") So this version of the list is a little less accomplishment-oriented than the original version, but still somewhat more so than a lot of the lists I saw. Oh, and I left off anything sex- or romance-related.

Mary Anne indicated, iIrc, that part of the point is to pick things that you think other people haven't done and for them to tell you that you're wrong, they have. So who knows, maybe some of these aren't unique. We'll see.

Okay, enough disclaimers. Without further ado:

Ten things I've done that most people reading this probably haven't done

  1. Stage-managed and tech-directed a high school production of Romeo and Juliet on tour in the Soviet Union. (It sounds much more impressive than it really was; the actors all knew their parts well, and we didn't have time or equipment to set up any tech beyond turning on and off whatever lights were already at each theatre, so there wasn't much for me to do. And we only had about three partial performances.) (Added in April: as of last week, it's possible that one of the other people who was on that trip will actually read this.)
  2. Stayed up 'til 4 a.m. filking at my first WorldCon, and then half-slept for a couple of hours on the floor under a table (with a long concealing tablecloth) in one of the filk rooms, hoping hotel security wouldn't find me and kick me out. Then did it again the next night. (Okay, I'm not entirely sure I did it again the next night. Memory blurs.) All this while missing the first couple days of classes my senior year in college, in favor of attending WorldCon.
  3. Took five years of high-school Japanese, in the US. Retained very little of it.
  4. Read the King James Version of the Bible, cover to cover, in a little over a year, without any prompting by a church, for cultural-literacy purposes. Retained very little of it.
  5. Appeared on TV in a panel discussion of The Prisoner (and concealed the fact that I hadn't yet seen the 17th and final episode). That discussion segment was rebroadcast seventeen years later.
  6. Wrote a piece of nonfiction that was later plagiarized by the Guardian.
  7. Wrote most of a piece of nonfiction that appeared without my name attached and without my permission in Harper's. (Okay, so my co-authors on that piece are reading this. But it almost counts.)
  8. Proofread a bestselling novel (providing, alas, many more detailed notes than the author actually wanted) and then saw my name misspelled in the acknowledgments. (It was corrected in later editions.)
  9. Wrote and recorded an ad for a radio station that (I think) was still in use at that station several years later.
  10. Acted as Honor Attendant at a wedding, then later swapped clothes with the other (opposite-sex) Honor Attendant and had pictures taken (and if she's reading this, then it's not unique, but I don't think she reads my journal and maybe nobody will tell her I mentioned this). (Sadly, both times I've swapped clothes with a woman, I've been told that the woman in question (two different women) looked better in my suit than I looked in her dress. It's gender discrimination, that's what I say.)

I thought about some other items, but ended up leaving them off the list. For example:

I thought about saying "read roughly a thousand sf stories in the past year," but between Susan, Karen, and Rich, that's not even close to being something none of you have done.

Likewise with "was an official proofreader for an online erotica magazine," since at least two of you can say the same or similar.

And even the joke item I was going to include, "Spent a while trying to decide what form of the verbs to use in this list," is probably true of at least a couple of you.

"Met a future SO at a science fiction convention"? Nah, I bet half of you reading this have done something similar; I imagine some of you have even met future spouses that way.

"Hitchhiked with father and brother from the Bay Area to Tacoma, sometime around 1976ish"? Curses—Jay will read this, and since he was there, it applies to him too. Likewise with "Discovered as an adult that I have an older half-sister."

And there are various unusual things that I'm pleased or proud about, but that aren't things I did per se. For example, the fact that an issue of our high school literary magazine was once dedicated to me, without my foreknowledge, still makes me happy when I think of it, but that's not exactly something I did.

So I'll just leave it at the above list of ten.

(As you can see, I'm still awfully fond of the rhetorical device known variously as praeterito or paralipsis, wherein one pretends to omit information while in fact providing it.)

2 Comments

OK, true story regarding #10: I have an old buddy from my high school years, with whom I had pretty much lost touch. We moved across the country, are not in touch with any common friends, etc, etc, didn’t go to each others weddings, haven’t met each other’s wives, etc, etc. Right? I get back in touch with him, via his blog, and he peeks at my Tohu Bohu and says “how do you know Jed?” It turns out that he has a close friend who knows you. Well, and that’s a coincidence, but not altogether beyond comprehension; he and I were friends twenty years ago in part because we had in common certain cultural interests, and you and I were friends fifteen years ago in part because we had in common certain cultural interests, and I’d be willing to guess that my old buddy and his buddy, and his buddy and you, share some of those cultural interests. In other words, it’s one of those things that seems more unlikely than it is; frankly, I suspect that everybody has an old highschool friend who has a more recent friend who knows one of his (or her) more recent friends. We just found out about it, is all.
However, it is seems far more unlikely to me that not only did two old friends discover that each has a friend that knows the others’ friend, but that the two acquainted friends each stood for their wives at their respective weddings. And it seems still more unlikely still that the two acquainted friends both appeared in drag at those respective weddings. I have to assume that not everybody has such friends. Lucky us.
Thanks,
-V.


Oh, thanks for paralipsis.


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