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Ok, I've been tagged a bunch of times, so here's the 5 things you wish didn't know about me

By Andrew Pollack on 01/09/2007 at 11:36 AM EST

This is one of those pyramidal memes that runs around blogs now and then. You're supposed to tell everyone in this twisted little community five things they don't know about you already and then pick five people who also should be telling their five things. I don't like to play by the rules (but you already knew that) so I'm tagging first. I'm tagging Vowe, Mother Vowe, Volker Weber, vowe, and vowe. I realize that's cheating but so what? He's avoided taking part so far so we already know he prefers to hold court than to get in touch with his inner liberal and share. :-)

OK, so here's an attempt at 5 things most of you don't know about me. Some of you will already know some of them -- don't write me email telling me you knew all these unless you knew all five. In keeping with tradition -- and because you already know most of the good stuff -- these tend to run toward things I lack.

1. As outgoing as I seem, I'm actually more of a hermit most of the time. I don't really like staying at people's houses, and hate sharing a hotel room on a business trip. In fact, I've avoided having a room mate at a convention or business trip for almost 20 years and plan to continue that trend. I like going out and having fun with friends just like everyone else -- in fact absolutely need to do it sometimes -- but at the end of the day, I need to go somewhere quiet and be a zombie for a couple of hours after words.

2. I never learned math above a fairly basic level of algebra and geometry. I've taught myself much more of this in the last year than I'd ever learned in school, but I really don't consider my skills at these to be above mid level high school expectations. Of course, unlike most mid-level high school students, I will fight and learn and read and work when I need to do something more complex. (see the next blog entry for more about that!). Looking back, I'm blaming this entirely on untreated ADD all through high school as I've found I don't really lack for aptitude here so much as having never learned how to focus and study prior to being an adult.

3. I have absolutely no ability to create music of any kind. The only possible exception is that I can whistle a tune if I hear it with a fair degree of accuracy. Otherwise, no ability at all. This includes anything related to tone, pitch, key, or beat. I have no rhythm at all. To jog, I must count steps so I know when to breathe. I'm incapable of playing basketball for the same reason. I am tone mute. I say this because I can absolutely distinguish and appreciate tone and even tell the flat ones apart. I cannot, however, reproduce tones through my vocal chords with even an approximation of predictability. The problem goes further than that. I cannot, in my own mind, silently create the tone first before I attempt an utterance of that tone. Thus, I am tone mute. This is probably worse than being tone deaf as it means I am well aware of how bad I sound. At least I can hear tone and enjoy music. Chords are an interesting theory, but I'm not sure I get them. Pitch is a mystery to me if it means something other than tone, both of which absolutely equate to the idea of a 'note'. To me, note, tone, pitch, and sound are all essentially the same item. The concept of key is an utter mystery. If you think this an exaggeration, simply ask my children as I am also unfortunately secure enough to sing anyway.

4. When I'm on my ADD medicine (Concerta) I am sometimes curiously unable to use proper nouns. This is to say, I cannot put my finger on the specific name of a person place of thing. I have no trouble with bridge, but I'd have to reach for the name of the specific one I'm thinking of. There, I did it just now. I had to work get from "San Francisco" to "Golden Gate Bridge". That's odd. If I'm talking to you, you'll clearly see me struggling with this on occasion. It's a very odd side effect. I told the shrink this, and she said "that's very odd" so it is confirmed.

5. The thing I'm most grateful to the fire service world for, is teaching me the difference between bravery and cowardice. Prior to joining the fire department, if I had to pick between "brave" and "cowardly" on a scale to describe myself, I'd have picked the latter. I had no understanding of what those words actually meant. I had always assumed that since there were things that frightened me which I had to do, that it made sense to consider myself a coward about them. It's fairly sad to consider that I was in my thirties before I realized that if some things do not frighten you then you are simply an idiot, and the fact that you do them anyway is the very definition of the word brave.

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re: Ok, I've been tagged a bunch of times, so here's the 5 things you wish didn't know about meBy Simon on 01/11/2007 at 04:46 AM EST
Andrew, that is probably for me the most interesting and certainly
thought-provoking entry out of all those I have read. To be honest I have been
skimming a lot lately, but read this through in full. Thanks for the effort.
re: Ok, I've been tagged a bunch of times, so here's the 5 things you wish didn't know about meBy Andrew Pollack on 01/11/2007 at 10:22 PM EST
I'm glad you found it entertaining.
re: Ok, I've been tagged a bunch of times, so here's the 5 things you wish didn't know about meBy Steve Castledine on 01/17/2007 at 12:45 PM EST
I know what you mean on the hotel front. For me nothing worse than having a
tiring day or flying long distance and wanting some rest than having to share a
small room with a stranger!

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