Vote For Abu Halen

[I'm campaigning to be a representative of my first-year law school class. In an effort to provide voters in my class with more mildly disinteresting information about me than they really need, I'm re-posting below a Facebook note I wrote 7 or 8 months ago. It was superfluous then, it's superfluous now, but, isn't overwhelming the world with more information about us than they ever knew they wanted what the internet is all about?]

If I'm going to give you 25 tidbits about me, you're going to get meaty tidbits. Go big or go home, I always say. Well, I don't really say that very often, but pretend I did, and that I was cool.

1. When I was in 6th grade, there was this big slap-boxing tournament during lunch recess. It lasted for a couple weeks, and most of the middle school would be outside after lunch in a big circle around the combatants. Even the lunch lady recess aides, who normally spent their time keeping the hoodlums from smoking out by the dumpsters, packed into the circle and cheered for their favorites. At the time it just seemed cool, but now I wonder why the lawsuits weren't flying as fast and furious as the open-palmed slaps. I didn't actually participate. Too timid. I had my money on a kid named Lavester, just because his name was Lavester. He did pretty good. I forgot who won. Good times.

2. I secretly hope C+C Music Factory stages a reunion and comeback tour.

3. My family moved from my hometown of The Dalles, Oregon to the Portland area in the summer before my 8th grade year. After we moved in, I wasn't very motivated to make new friends, so I mostly sat in the basement and watched MTV, VH1, and The Box. After a few weeks of watching me grow pasty white while watching En Vogue and Tom Cochrane day after day, my mom couldn't take any more of my anti-sociality. She was out front gardening one afternoon when a couple of kids that looked my age walked by the house. Mom ignored the fact that they were regular gangsters, sporting oversized NHL parkas and sideways hats, and she asked them if they would like to meet her son. Completely taken aback, they sputtered their consent -- they later told me they seriously thought I must be a mentally handicapped kid since my mom was out collecting people off the street to be my friends. You can picture the awkward standoff after mom summoned me: me at the front door, staring at two gangsters standing on my front porch; the gangsters standing on my porch, staring at me, wondering just how mentally handicapped I was; and my mom standing between us, smiling smugly to herself for making me new friends with such ease. Mom turned out to not be too bad a judge of character, as these two hoodlums were halfway decent. We ended up hanging out for the rest of the summer and part of the school year, until they dropped out of school and went to live in the woods and eat mushrooms.

4. I really don't like the Beatles very much. I know I can be arrested for this, but I'm just tired of them. It's been 45 years. Can't we move on? Half of them are dead and the other half look like they should be. Let's just vote them the band of the 1960s and then leave them there. Please. If I hear "Yesterday" one more time I'm going to eat a shellfish.

5. In 4th and 5th grade I really liked to wear spandex shorts. I don't know why my parents let me wear such apparel without some type of commentary, like "Son, you look like a fairy," but they never said anything so I thought I looked cool and kept on wearing them. And I kept on not having very many friends.

6. In high school I ran for student body president. I narrowly beat out Satan, who came in a close second as a write-in. I'm not lying about this.

7. I was on our 5th grade flag football team. It was probably the greatest organized sports team ever, because it wasn't actually organized. Our coach was the school janitor, and I don't think he liked football much. So while all the other teams across town were drilling complicated running plays, short screens, reverses, etc, our practices after school consisted of coach just giving us a football, and we'd go play out on the playground while he read a book and smoked. Turns out we beat the tar out of everyone we played. They ran the ball all the time, but, not knowing any better, we just played the same way we did on recess each day: pass the ball every single play. Our offensive huddles were uber simple. The quarterback would just say, "Okay, you and you block and the rest of you go out for passes." I don't even know why we huddled. Then, when the ball was snapped, we'd all just run around, wherever we wanted, just like in our playground football games on recess. The other teams had no idea how to defend this. We rocked. That was the pinnacle of my athletic prowess. It's all been downhill since then.

8. My right leg is slightly shorter than my left leg. This is why I'm no good at the caber toss.

9. Now that I'm thinking of flag-football, I remember how I was on an intramural team one year in college. I was married and even had a kid by this time. Shannon didn't and doesn't like sports, so she never came to my games. In this particular instance, it was a good thing. Not long before halftime, I was trying to tack yardage onto a short catch I had made when a dude dove for my flag but grabbed my shorts instead. Instead of letting go like a guy with a brain would do, this moron just hung on and ended up completely ripping the left-rear 25% of my shorts clean off, from the side-seam to the butt-seam. So, there I am, standing there with 25% of my white skivvies showing to all the players and fans. My left cheek, to be exact. Under normal circumstances I might have sat out the rest of the game to shield my dignity, but I was kind of mad about the whole situation. I was one of our team's good players, and the other team was saying I shouldn't play anymore because my undies were showing. And they were giggling while they said it. And their girlfriends on the sidelines were agreeing with them and giggling. And the referees were giggling too. And it was annoying me. So I refused to sit out. To cap off the story, the game ended up concluding with one of the more bizarre moments in sporting history, I'm fairly certain. The other team was up by 5 points with about 10 seconds left. They had enough time for one more play, and they totally inexplicably decided to pass the football. So I make a gamble on the pass, intercept it, and start returning it down the sideline. And no one catches me. So here's this guy running down the sideline in his briefs, past dozens of blonde co-eds who had been heckling his skivvied butt the whole game, returning an interception for the winning touchdown. It. Was. Awesome.

10. My girlfriend in high school worked 10-15 hours per week at Little Caeser's Pizza, yet she never smelled like pizza. How did she do that?

11. I've lived in four countries in the past nine years. Boo-ya.

12. I tried out for the basketball team in 8th grade “just for fun.” After the first day of tryouts, I was alarmed at how well I had done in the 3-on-3 scrimmage, having accidentally made several baskets, so, realizing I hadn’t actually wanted to be on the team, I didn’t go back to tryouts the second day. That’s how awesome I am.

13. I had a Venus flytrap when I was little. You can always find flies when you don't want them, but as soon as you go looking for them, they disappear. Unable to find flies to feed my beastie plant, I fed it hamburger instead. It died.

14. One year I went to Boy Scout camp and promptly didn't go to any of the merit badge classes I'd signed up for. Me and one of my buddies slept until 9 or 10 every morning and spent the rest of our days sitting on a picnic table and spitting sunflower seeds or playing hackey-sack down by the lake. With a work ethic like that, it's a miracle I graduated from high school.

15. I kind of liked the song “Baby Got Back.” I’m still a little ashamed about this.

16. During my second year of college, I inexplicably thought I was going to major in music in spite of the fact that I can’t really sing and I have no natural knack for any musical instruments. Nor do I have a penchant for walking around singing loudly in public, which is what music majors do, in my observation. One of the major’s requirements was taking at least three semesters of choir, so I dutifully signed up for University Chorale, the choir at BYU where even crappy singers can go sound off for a semester. I walked in the first day and knew I was in way over my head when the first thing the director said to the 175 kids milling around was, “Okay, sopranos over here, altos there, tenors here, and basses there.” I made a move to follow the sopranos, because I’d heard the soprano line is usually the melody, and I could kind of carry melodies, but then I noticed that only girls were going to the soprano area, so I wisely backed off. I ended up just following a guy standing near me, so I ended up in the tenor section. It was way too high for me, so I just mouthed the words all semester. Everyone else was pretty nervous for the end of semester concert, but not me, because, hey, I didn’t have to actually sing.

17. Once a friend's dad took us fishing out on a lake in the mountains of Oregon. I don't remember what time of year it was, but it was raining, which doesn't really narrow it down. After a couple hours of sitting in the boat in the middle of the lake, getting soaked and not catching anything, I had to go to the bathroom, so the kid's dad rowed me to shore where there was a little restroom. By the time I waddled up to the restroom door, I had to go pretty bad, but it was about then I realized that my hands were so cold from the damp, chilly weather that they couldn't perform the precise motor operations necessary to unbutton my pants. I tried and tried in increasing panic, first willing my frozen fingers to work, then talking to them in encouraging tones. There was no one around, and I figured I was all wet already, so I just wet myself further. It was a pretty bad day.

18. If I were a dinosaur, I wouldn’t want to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex, because I bet it would’ve been frustrating with those tiny little arms to try to eat the meat around the bones of smaller dinosaurs you killed. I mean, sure, the breast meat would be a breeze, but what about the drumsticks? That would be really, really hard.

19. I remember the day I learned that big boys don’t pull their pants all the way down to go pee, they just unbutton and unzip them. I was in kindergarten, standing at the urinal in the boys’ bathroom with my pants down around my ankles. This 6th grader walked in and, as he walked past me to use a stall, just said, “I can see your butt.” I never went pee with my pants down around my ankles again.

20. Unbeknownst to me, my wife had a boyfriend when we went out on our first date. Obviously, I was richer than him, so she chose me.

21. One day in Kindergarten, when we were taking the CAT tests, this girl in my class named Grace threw up all over her desk and soaked her test. Ever since then, I never really liked the name Grace, because it reminded me of that bad smell. But my wife insisted we name our second daughter Grace, so now I have a kid that reminds me of vomit.

22. During the first couple weeks of my freshman year of college, our housing complex had a dance. Before one of the songs, the DJ got on the microphone and explained that the next song would be seriously funky. He held up a small toy wind-up monkey and explained that whoever danced the funkiest during the next song would be awarded the toy, dubbed the “Funky Monkey.” I wanted that toy monkey so bad that I pushed my way up near the DJ table where the competition was to be held and, when the song came on (“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson), I had an out-of-body experience and grooved like I’ve never grooved before. I won the monkey, and I’m still convinced that I was possessed during that song by the spirit of that dancer from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Every time I've tried to dance since, I pull a hamstring.

23. I lived in a motel for about six months during 1st grade. My parents managed the place. It had a pool and was across the highway from a restaurant with some sweet arcade games. Sometimes the waitresses would think I was cute, just sitting there pumping quarter after quarter into Frogger, so they’d give me a free bowl of ice cream. Man, those were the days. Frogger and ice cream.

24. I almost lost my right eyeball trying to emulate a move I saw in the mogul competition of the 1998 Winter Olympics. If I would’ve actually lost my eye, I would’ve tried to move to Somalia to become a pirate.

25. In 6th grade there was this kid in my PE class named Keever. That was his last name. He was one of those guys who only needs one name for everyone to know who he is. Keever was lanky and gangly, wore really thick glasses, and didn't do so well socially. I probably should've stuck up for him, but I was busy every day just trying to keep the cool kids from kicking me, taking my lunch, and breaking my glasses; I didn't have a lot of time for humanitarian missions. One day we were playing kickball in PE out on the blacktop. Keever and I (picked last and second-to-the-last, respectively) were on the same team. He came up to bat and, against all odds, walloped the holy stuffing out of the ball, sending it hurtling far over the outfielders' heads. He didn't know what to do -- he just stood there and watched it fly with his jaw hanging open. Our whole team erupted, "RUN KEEVER!" So Keever ran. He was already rounding second base by the time the outfielder had started to relay the ball back toward home plate. Our team was going crazy, waving Keever home as he chugged around third base, his face screwed up in the exhilaration of the moment. This would no doubt be his first ever home run -- probably his first ever sporting achievement beyond dropping the ball or striking out -- and he wanted it bad. But the ball was sailing toward home plate; it was going to be really, really close. Somebody yelled, "SLIDE KEEVER!" and we all joined in: "SLIDE! SLIDE!" Keever never hesitated, never factored in that he was running full tilt on blacktop, never considered exchanging his chance at a home run for a body free from gravel and asphalt bits. And he didn't just slide. He Pete Rose'd into home plate, beating the throw by just a hair. We didn't know whether to cheer or call an ambulance. Keever leapt to his feet, pumped up on adrenaline, and extended his bloody arms above his head in a victory "V". Atta boy, Keever.