Monday, May 14, 2007

7 Things You May Not Know About Me

So, I got tagged by a meme. From This Blog Right Here, no less, so I am morally blogbligated (new word) to play along.

The exercise is to divulge seven things people don't know about you. This is no easy feat, especially since, among my regular readers are my father, my wife, and one of my oldest friends, Benjie, who has known me since grade 3. I would venture to guess that, combined, they know more about me than I remember about myself. So, I will cheat a little, and offer up, perhaps, a few items that are deep-rooted, non-identifying facts that are unknown to most, but may be no big secret to a few.

1. I was a Washington Redskins fan, for about a minute, in the early 1970's. This may come as a shock to many, if not everyone. Sure, it's not earth-shattering, but it's a fact that I may not have even divulged to Melanie, who's a Giants fan, and may not have married me if she had known of this checkered past.

Let me elaborate. To all who know me, the story has always been that, growing up in Hawai'i, devoid of a local professional sports franchise, I looked beyond the West Coast, past the Rams, 49ers, Raiders and Chargers, and found my kindred team, the Green Bay Packers. I chose the Wisconsin team because they had won Super Bowl I the year I was born, 1967. As a result, it seemed like a natural choice for a young boy, and I have been a Packers fan ever since.

However, I remember cheering for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, being a huge fan of the stars Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Paul Warfield, and Mercury Morris. But I also liked the Redskins for one reason and one reason only:

When you're 5 or 6 years old, little things make sense. Billy Kilmer was a charismatic quarterback. Plus he had a great name. Especially his first name.

However, as I grew older, became a Packers fan, and met obnoxious Redskins fans (thank you, Sandy Kim), I came to loathe the Redskins. Go Green Bay!


I've never read Moby Dick.

3. I bought this album when it came out:

4. Carlos and I Killed a Dove:


Wherever we went, we threw rocks at birds.

Pigeons, doves, sparrows, cackling mynahs

and red-helmeted cardinals. There's a bird-

here's a rock: side-arm whoosh! and wings beat

excitedly as the stone skips by, missing.

We never hit a thing. Then one day

in Kapiolani Park, we stumbled upon

hundreds of gray doves engorged themselves

on a bacchanalian scattering of rice. I smiled

and motioned to Carlos, hefting a chunk

of broken asphalt in my hand. I tossed it aloft,

like an Olympic shot put champion.

The greedy birds were too preoccupied

devouring their meal to notice its descent

as it landed with a sickening thud,

detonating like a primitive grenade

in a symphony of dust and bloody feathers.

Sixteen is such a cruel age.

Carlos and I ran up to where the meteor

had torn away a chunk of earth. A small dove

lay on its side, glassy-eyed and staring

right through me, a rivulet of blood

glistening from its beak. Carlos and I

whooped with joy and high-fived and

babbled on about the beauty of the moment:

the fluid entanglement of stone and feather

and flesh.

An old man got out of his car nearby

and approached us. "You kids are really sick!"

he yelled, as the rage crawled across his skin

like a swarm of crimson ants, "You should

get some help." I mocked him with

adolescent arrogance: "I already do.

I see the same psychiatrist as him."

Carlos was writhing in the dirt

and laughing like a lunatic.

The old man retreated, shaking his head,

as we celebrated with our death-dance

in the peaceful confines of the park.

What an evil thing that was, I sometimes

think, but then all the childhood memories

rush in:

shooting crabs with BB guns,

throwing firecrackers at dogs,

dropping boulders on jellyfish

in the Ala Wai Canal.

I am guilty of all of these crimes

but I do not feel any remorse,

not even for killing the dove,

because I justify such actions

by thinking that this is what boys do.

Isn’t it?

Carlos is dead.

A motorcycle hurled him to the pavement

when he was eighteen. I don’t miss him.

He made me do terrible things.

©2007 William Dickenson Cohen

Gee, I hate long posts, but I've only discussed four things. Let's finish this up fast.

5. Speaking of Carlos, he and I were once propositioned by a bi-sexual radio disc jockey and concert promoter named Greg Mundy. (Sorry, Benjie knows this one). It's a long story, but not as scandalous as one might think. Carlos and I politely declined. Mundy was a DJ on 98 Rock in Honolulu. That weekend he dedicated "Baba O'Reilly" to us during a broadcast. Teenage Wasteland, indeed. Mundy is dead now, too (referenced buried deep here).

6. I prevented someone from going to see the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984. I was working at Thrifty Drug Store as a "hand dip," scooping ice cream. The other hand dip was a pretty young teenager whose name I'll never remember. She was rich and spoiled and not very nice to me. I was a dork, but she still could have been nicer. She was offered tickets to go see the closing ceremonies on August 12, 1984. Which was a Sunday. I worked Saturdays. She worked Sundays. The only time she was ever nice to me was when she asked me to work her shift so she could go. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of power. I owed nothing to her. She asked me Saturday at the end of her shift. I said no, sorry. She looked at me like I had just burnt down her house. I watched the Closing Ceremonies on TV at home, still swooning over the new love of my life, Mary Lou Retton (does this count as 6 and 7?). Had it been me, I would've just called out sick and gone to the Olympics (well, duh!). She worked. And never spoke to me again. Once every few years, I feel a passing twinge of guilt, but it lasts only for a second.

7. The first time I got drunk was July 25, 1983. I was in the town of Tiberias in Israel on the Sea of Galilee. The bar was called Blue Beach. I had two screwdrivers in small plastic cups. Fortunately for me, everyone else got drunker than me, so our tour group collectively bore the brunt of the counselors' rage.

So, that's 7. Now like Mat from This Blog Right Here, I am tagging my Father, my Sister, and Frogma. If R. Lachsvolkes wants to play, he can too.