TMI, Paco

“Also around the age of six, for a brief while, I had this great desire to own a tea plantation. I had seen a movie featuring a plantation owner, and he was wearing a white linen suit and a pith helmet. . . . Learning that I had to go to India or some such place to be a tea grower extinguished the urge.”

Yeah, I also got tagged in the “eight random things about yourself” blog-cootie game but . . . man, I’ve got too many enemies out there in need of punk-smacking to be playing around like that. I didn’t even have time to notice the execrable James Wolcott today, and there’s always Daniel Larison.

Besides which, I routinely reveal so many random things about myself that there’s really nothing interesting left to tell. I mean, yeah, I once owned a pair of skin-tight, black, seamless, polyester bell-bottom disco pants and I drove a ’72 Dodge Dart for a while, so what?

Paco the colonial grandee — complete with pith helmet! — man, there are some childhood dreams you should keep to yourself, bwana.

But then, damn, Brindle tagged me, too. So, eight random things:

1. My desk is always a mess. When I worked at The Washington Times, I was once ordered to clean up my desk after the Fire Marshal came through for an inspection. I am not joking.

2. In middle-school, my ambition was to be a criminal mastermind. For a while, I wanted to be a Godfather-style mobster, so I could wear those pin-striped suits and drive around in a ’29 Packard. Then I saw “The Cross and the Switchblade” and decided it would also be cool to be a leather-jacket greaser and shoot guys with a zip gun. Then, later, I contemplated becoming a Manson-style cult leader with legions of lovestruck hippie girls to do my bidding.

3. My criminal ambitions were replaced by rock-star dreams. After bouncing around from garage band to talent-contest band to pool-party band, I finally led my own band called Strange Talk.

4. From 1986-97, I had a mullet. Not just any mullet, mind you, but the cool Patrick Swayze mullet, with (naturally curly) ringlets in the back. Chicks went crazy for that mullet.

5. I worked three seasons (1976, ’78, ’81) in food service at Six Flag Over Georgia. It was a really cool job, because after work and on your off-days, you could get in the park fre and ride the rides as much as you wanted. And pick up chicks.

6. My camera is pink. My friends dubbed it the “Barbie Cam.” What happened was that I finally decided that digital cameras had become cheap enough for me to buy one. So I went to Wal-Mart with my family, went to the electronics department and pointed to the $99 Kodak on display, which was a metalic silver color. The clerk opened the case and handed me a box. We checked out, got in the car to drive home, and I told my twin teenage sons — riding in the back seat — to open the camera and set it up. (Teenage sons know how to handle all newfangled technological gizmos.) And then my sons started laughing: “Dad’s got a pink camera!” Hell, I didn’t even know the things came in different colors. But the Barbie Cam has done admirable service, and now I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

7. I’ve never really cared for pro football. This is because I grew up in Atlanta when the Falcons sucked. To me, “football” always means college football, which means the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. My dad was Class of ’50 at Tuscaloosa, and I was raised on the Tide.

8. I smoke cigarettes but am not brand-loyal. I used to smoke only Marlboro Lights, but by the ’90s, had switched to either Doral or Basic ultra-lights. Nowadays I look for the 2-for-1 deals. Whatever’s cheap. I figure, if the damned things are going to kill you, there’s no sense paying premium prices.


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