So, someone commented that he knew “all about” me, based on the fact that Cardinal Dolan seemed to like me. Whether Dolan likes me or not is an open question; we’ve never met, but we each know that the other exists, and will occasionally give positive nods in each other’s directions. Not particularly revealing, I know.
I read that comment and thought, “you know ‘all about’ me? I don’t even know all about me! I know I’m not stagnant, but that’s about it!” I wanted to challenge him, to say, “oh yeah, wise guy? Tell me 10 things about me that you actually, really, truly know! Besides the fact that I am a smart-ass!”
But I’m just so tired. And I’m too tired to be combative. So here — I’ll do it for you, and then from this moment forward, you can say that while you may not know “all about” me, you definitely know these ten things!
1) The doctor who delivered me was a WWII vet missing a leg. When I was born he held me up to the ceiling like Kunta Kinte holding Kizzy up to the stars, and began to sing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” He was not Irish.
2) As a kid you couldn’t take me for a car ride of longer than ten minutes duration without a bucket. I got carsick all the time. I still dread long car rides.
3) I was a spontaneous reader from a young age, and when I was 3 or 4 I would sit on the basement steps and sing out all the Dr. Seuss books as I read them, setting them to music. We had evergreen trees on the side of the house, where moss would grow in the shady cove. I used to dig up the moss with a tablespoon, to flip it and relish the smell of dark, fresh, moist earth. My birth-mother never had enough tablespoons to serve soup.
4) I am the shortest of all of my very tall siblings. When my tall, amazonian mother was asked, as she frequently was, how I came to be so short, she would laugh and reply, “when she was born, I threw away the baby and kept the afterbirth.” For years and years I believed the charge that I had a “bad sense of humor” because I never got the joke. I still don’t, really.
5) For almost 30 years I have owned the same pair of black cowboy boots with red hearts on them. I wear them every Valentine’s Day, but only on Valentine’s Day, because I live in New York and a fat woman wearing black cowboy boots with red hearts on them will not be tolerated around here on any other day. Also, they are the most comfortable things I’ve ever worn on my feet, besides my crocs, so I want them to last.6) My favorite verse from the bible is “you have saved me from the pit of destruction, when you cast behind your back all of my sins.” (Isaiah 38:17). I fully believe that God is that merciful, and yet I have a harder time forgiving myself, because of pride. So I pester priests with redundant confessions until they finally sigh and say, “you’ve told me this before,” and I say, “yes, but…” and they say some variation of, “Yeah, no buts; if God has forgiven you, and he has, then you have to stop thinking you know better than God and stop trying to do his job for him, which is what you really should be confessing to at this point.” then they tsk and under their breath they mutter, “talk about being an idolator…” Except for the Chinese priest who puts it to me in a beautifully succinct manner: “you have been stupid; you know you have been stupid; you must stop being stupid.” I love that priest the best.
7) When I was a teenager I wrote a terrible novel that I eventually tossed into the fire, but 16 years later I moved to an address that was, essentially, the name of my protagonist. Cue Twilight Zone music.
8) My nature is bashful but I talk a mile a minute, and nowhere near as articulately as I write. Someday I will write my memoirs and tell you everything, and it will enrage you and break your heart — because life is like that — and then I will be quiet.
9) Becoming a Benedictine Oblate has rocked my world in completely unexpected ways. In the course of my life I have been a “far-left” liberal, and a “far-right” conservative — both times over-correcting myself into silliness — and now, thanks to the Rule and the Psalms, I am simply a Catholic — unimpressed with almost everything that comes across the screen in the guise of headlines, because most of it is illusory, anyway. So, let’s write listicles!
10) I can’t complain about being sinned against, because I have sinned much against others.
Okay, tell 5 things no one knows about you.