Wednesday, March 16, 2005

An Idea I Intend to Steal

What follows is a list from a blog belonging to Steven Riddle that I stumbled upon. I love the concept and may try to turn it into a magazine article. It reminds me of a story that local historian Fritz Wetherbee tells about how he once peed on Betty Davis (he was a baby at the time). My dad, famously, once ate meat from a prehistoric animal (mastodon? giant sloth?). Anyway, I need to ponder my own list (which will not be nearly so impressive as Mr. Riddle's), but I eagerly solicit submissions from my readership (all five of you) of your own lists of things you've done that most others probably have not.

Flos Carmeli: March 06, 2005 - March 12, 2005 Archives: "10 Things

Okay, I've resisted temptation up until now, but like Oscar, 'I can resist anything but temptation.' So my list of ten things most others might not have done:

1. Won first prize in an annual James Joyce writing competition for a poem composed in a composite language modeled on Finnegan's Wake

2. Named a species of fossil after my wife. (It was a compliment not any implication about the spouse.)

3. Had dinner and a knock-down drag-out fight with Stephen Jay Gould over the theory of contingency and whether it properly understood was science or not. (Okay, I admit it, that's an exaggeration. Let us say an animated and lengthy discussion complete with table napkin drawings and other paraphenalia.)

4. Went to a poetry reading (and read) in a State Penitentiary

5. Demonstrated origami for International Children's Days on the National Mall.

6. Assisted in digs on Mount Vernon Grounds and Williamsburg.

7. Helped excavate a mammoth, a dog-faced bear, and a peccary the size of a horse.

8. Went on a field trip to San Salvador, Bahamas to study modern carbonate depositional environments and joined the islanders in an iguana and conch feast.

9. Sat on Sophia Loren's lap in a helicopter shuttle for Kennedy Airport to La Guardia.

10. Presented a paper in a National Geological Convention on the periodicity of Mass extinctions and was congratulated and assisted by no less than David Raup and Jack Sepkoski themselves.


Ernesto said...

Hmmm... I'll have to think this one through a bit. Not that ten things don't come to mind, it's just that I'm not sure they're things I'd want to commit to in writing...

Ernesto said...

K and I had a long discussion about this at breakfast the other day. The problem, we concluded, is that you set the bar way too high by posting Steven Riddle's list. I mean, I'm going to follow...

"Had dinner and a knock-down drag-out fight with Stephen Jay Gould over the theory of contingency and whether it properly understood was science or not."

... with, "Uh, I drank more than ten martinis one night and still walked all the way home on my own steam ... uh, depending on how strictly you define walk ..."

You see the problem...

(I'm going to leave it to you to guess whether the above example might have been from my side of the breakfast discussion, K's, or just a fiction drawn from the humid air above the plates of eggs and home fries.)

Rick Broussard said...

Yeah, I already figured this out, but thanks for taking the time to respond. The same is true, in a different way, with the following attempt at getting some of my old friends to recollect early seminal experiences. It's like being put on the spot. The best way to draw out a few early seminal experiences is to sit around, drink a beer or two and have a laugh, not to poke a microphone in someone's face. I'm still figuring out what works in the online medium. It's simultaneously informal and official, ephemeral and durable.

Anyway, I'm impressed to learn of your unique and defining experience of walking home with 10 martinis in your bloodstream. Let's see Stephen Jay Gould try that.

Ernesto said...

I didn't say ten, exactly, I said more than ten... and you have to have reached a particularly perfect state of punctuated equilibrium to walk in such a state ... upright no motion, upright no motion, now step!, upright no motion, upright no motion, now step!, upright no motion, upright no motion, now step! ...

Oh yeah, and I never said it was me.

Kristen said...

Well it certainly wasn't ME!

Oh- I've got one, anyway: Climbed Mt. Washington in December while pregnant.

Okay, two: Went dog sledding a couple months later while pregnant. Oh, and I fell off the sled and now have a scar on my arm as a fond memory.

Okay, I wasn't more than a few days pregnant when I climbed Mt. Washington and to be fair did not in fact yet even know that I was pregnant. I just thought it made me sound like a tough broad.

Oh, speaking of tough broads...
#3 While interning at Williamstown Theatre Festival, I was working backstage and watched kind of horrified as Olympia Dukakis was trying to make a hasty costume change. Part of the scenery had begun to fall apart as well and she nearly fell down a flight of poorly constructed steps. She was okay but let fly more than a few colorful words.

And I guess that brings me to #4 since it is somewhat related. I inadvertently stalked Arthur Miller for about 15 minutes across the Williams College campus as I made my way back to my dorm room. I was trying not to make it obvious I was walking behind him and kept a ways back, but he kept looking back at me, nodding occasionally, smiling hesitantly. I wish I had said hello instead of appearing so creepy. I get weird around famous people.

Oh and just one more. #5: I danced the Can-Can for about 6 weeks straight in New Jersey during an extended run of a Mark Twain inspired musical that was put on in a dinner theatre in a supposedly haunted old mansion. There is nothing particularly special about that, but I still can't believe that was once my life.

Okay, that's all I can think of right now...

Rick Broussard said...

Inspired by Kristen's great examples, I decided to add a few of my own. I've probably already related these to most anyone I hung around with for any length of time. They are some of my psychic tattoos.

Probably one of the rarer things I've done is that I got an exclusive interview with a sitting president. I talked to Bill Clinton for about a half hour, just a month or so before he left office. I wish I'd asked him something a little more probing that the NH-related softballs that were on my list, but it was for a N.H. Magazine story and was a pretty memorable conversation.

I read tarot cards for Exene Cervenka, who was just a sweet proto-goth artist from Atlanta at the time. She went on to become the lead singer for the band "X" and an icon of the American Punk scene. I ran into her when she was famous and she remembered me.

I raised a blue jay that fell from a nest. It turned into one of the best pets I ever had. For a while it lived outside during the day and before it got dark I'd go out and lure it down from the trees with a peanut butter sandwich. It would ride back inside on my shoulder. It eventually stopped coming back.

When I was living in California, some of my friends and I smoked pot with my father, who had come out for a visit, and then took him to see "Last Tango in Paris." Come to think of it, this experience or something very much like it is probably not really that unusual for a young man.

I helped deliver a calf that was stuck in its mother's birth canal. I basically just pulled on a bloody calf leg while a farmer, Bob Brinkman, pushed on the cow's stomach, but it was awesome, in the classic sense of the word.

Oh yeah, I briefly held a job that consisted of shoveling giblets for a chicken processing factory. This also is probably not that rare, but it's not a life I'd wish on anyone.

I'm sure there are others. Now that I've started thinking about them, more will probably occur to me.

Kristen said...

Just one more...I can't believe I forgot this one.

#6: Rode on a bicycle from Norfolk, Virginia to Charleston, SC once when I was fifteen. Went with a group of kids and a gym teacher from my high school as our guide. Camped along the way and had a blast. Fell in love with a French forgein exchange student on the trip and quickly fell back out. I still can't say the name Laurent without cringing. Luckily I rarely have cause to...

Jemi Broussard said...

Okay, so I've been accused of never reading my own husband's "blog," so, with younger daughter /Elizabeth's help, I read all(?) of it and am leaving a comment as proof.

Yes, I'm the one for whom the fossil was named, although I've always questioned hubby as to why Ivor A, Downie of the International Star Registry in Northfield, Illinois has the right to name the stars (never mind collect money for it). Seems to me that Antoline St. Exuperey had something to say about this very subject in THE LITTLE PRINCE.

NOT that the romantic gesture was lost on my entirely, my love. You remain the envy of many wives I know...your poems over the years are lovingly tucked all over our home, where I occasionally find one and love you more than ever!

As for Blog Reading...can't promise to get onto this site with so many people & things calling for my attention. Not that I don't want to know your every thought. "I do."

Ernesto said...

I wish I knew my every thought...

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