My friend Kate tagged me in November with the challenge to come up with seven random or obscure tidbits about myself.
I usually don’t care for this sort of thing, but truth be told I have been reflecting on my life pretty heavily since the summer, and this gave me the opportunity to determine to see what about myself I obscure from other people. I tried to come up with seven aspects that NOT ONE person knew about me, but that was tough. So, finally, I’ve settled with these. (And part of the challenge is to ask seven people you know to do the same. Their/your names are below.)
- No one in my family calls me Stan or Stanley, except for my mom’s new husband. Everyone else calls me Stasiu, which is Polish for Stan. It’s pronounced STAH-shoe (with each syllable sounded short, not drawn out).
- My interest in writing began early, with a two-page story assignment in fifth grade. I picked the title “The Burglar and the Bear” out of a hat. I wrote and illustrated it. I then wrote three sequels in the eighth and ninth grades. I wrote a lot of fiction in high school and then in college, where I became a journalist, whose focus on reporting and accuracy helped shape my writing style. However, the first time a story of mine was published was when I was age 16, in Echoes magazine, for my profile of an elderly man and family friend in my town.
- You know how sidewalks are comprised of square blocks? For the longest time, walking on a sidewalk required me to step in each block with my left foot first, which meant I could only do two steps a block. This started when I was really young. Sit back for a moment and imagine a little kid doing that.
- For a full decade, my family lived in a cellar. We moved from Rhode Island to northern Maine because my father wanted to own a slaughter house. That deal went sour, and my father ended up starting to build a house on one of the two pieces of farmland he had owned. The basement was built in the autumn of 1988, and we lived in there during the winter. We started building the rest of the house in the spring but we didn’t have enough money to finish it. We stayed in the cellar while the upstairs remained an unfinished skeleton. The cellar was unfinished, and there was no sense of privacy. There was a bathroom, a kitchen area, and the rest of the home as one big room. Our bedrooms were separated by bureaus, dressers and racks of clothes. Thus was the environment of my formative years.
- I have never been grounded by my parents. I think perhaps it never occurred to them to try that form of punishment. That, or the way in which we lived was punishment enough.
- I joined Kappa Delta Phi, a small but national fraternity, in my second semester of college. Even weirder, I was known among them as “Demon” or “Sir Demon” because up until one night during the pledging process, I was a quiet, shy guy. Then one night I spoke my mind. I think I sent the pledgemaster a quick verbal (but funny) jab, which took everyone by surprise. They joked that obviously someone had taken possession of my mind and body. My mom never liked that nickname. But nicknames stick around for a long time. I’ve had two others: DANK and STANGO.
- My hearing is within normal range, but I sometimes have a hard time processing what I am hearing. I have not been diagnosed with central auditory processing disorder, or CAPD, but I need no more convincing. My ears work fine and my brain works fine, but the auditory connection between them is at times faulty. In a conversation with you, the first few words of your sentence simply sound like noise, and I either have to ask you to repeat yourself, or I have to figure it out based on the context of what I did understand. If we are anywhere with a lot of background noise, then the background noise is the same volume as you and will thus cancel your voice out. If you’re a mumbler, God help me. So if you ask me a question and I’m staring at you or look like I don’t know what to say, it most likely means I’m still processing what you’re saying, or still processing what I want to say in response. This is why I do not enjoy the bar scene, cafeterias or socializing in group settings of three or more. (I enjoy the crowded dance floor at tango milongas specifically because I don’t need to talk, and when I do try to, it feels awkward even to me.)
Now I am interested to know seven random or obscure things about the following people. Answer in your blog, and if you don’t have a blog, reply to this post here.