For those who don’t mind being bored by the biographical…

Here are 25 random things about me, from my Facebook page:

1. I’m multilingual; my first language was German. Counting all the “dead” languages I’ve studied, I’ve got about a dozen under my belt.

2. My first complete sentence in English was “I like the pink ones too.” I was not quite two years old, and it was in reference to some salmon-pink gladioli my mom and aunt were discussing in the garden.

3. I majored in English Lit at university. Pulled down a solid B average, and aced the linguistic courses involving Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Middle English. My overall average would have been higher if I hadn’t switched majors (from Life Sciences) after a nervous breakdown and the first failed courses of my entire education (university chem and physics, twice each.) Not bad for someone who only speaks English as a second language, eh?

4. I still like the pink gladdies, too.

5. I’ve begun writing snippets of poetry in Spanish. It’s actually easier to rhyme, assonate or consonate in than English! Now, if only I could get a complete poem together. Oh well, next things next.

6. I narrowly survived being hit by a car at 14. One step further back, and I’d probably be in a wheelchair; two steps back, and I’d probably be in a coffin. But since I was quick on my feet, I left a nine-inch-deep dent in the careless driver’s left headlight, and was back at school, walking normally, six weeks later. Best of all, I got out of gym class for the rest of the year.

7. I still don’t have a driver’s licence. The day I was supposed to take my test, I had a panic attack.

8. Yes, I think the two above are somehow related.

9. I’ve never gone a winter without having at least one bad cold.

10. I’ve never spent a winter down south, either. But after two unusually harsh winters in a row, I’m seriously thinking of moving to Venezuela!

11. I’ve been drunk a few times (I can count ’em on one hand), but I’ve never had a hangover. At least, nothing that matched the description. I’ve also never vomited or passed out after too many drinks; I can’t hold enough alcohol to make me do either. And I can hold a LOT of it. (Figure that one out.)

12. I was made yearbook editor in the eighth grade, despite having no related experience. My English teacher thought I’d have an aptitude for it. She was right.

13. She also told me I should be a writer, not a doctor (as was my ambition at the time). Again, she was right.

14. I was always more popular with my teachers than with my peers. Might it have had something to do with my being the quietest and brainiest kid in the class?

15. I’m rarely, if ever, the life of the party. So what? Parties aren’t the life of me, either.

16. I’m an introvert and a night owl. Good thing I’m not a dyslexic agnostic, too, or I’d lie awake all night wondering if there really was a Dog.

17. I’ve been doing yoga since I was six years old. I consider Madonna a n00b.

18. One of my grandfathers was a deserter, and the other was a prisoner of war in Scotland for three years.

19. My dad somehow managed to get away with not joining the Hitlerjugend. After the war, he sometimes poached for food and bootlegged schnapps for a living. I probably get my independent streak from him.

20. My mom was a refugee from a German enclave in northern Yugoslavia. She lost her baby sister to the diseases of war and poverty: malnutrition and dysentery. I didn’t find out about that until I was 12 years old, when she finally got around to telling me about Gerdi. I’ve been a peacenik pretty much ever since.

21. My mom’s grandfather, who died in a displaced persons camp, locked up his home-made wine in a hillside cellar before fleeing Yugoslavia in 1944. He never saw it again, but he was damned if he’d let the invading Russians get it.

22. I probably got my multilingualism from my mom’s father (who was the PoW). He spoke three languages: German, Hungarian and Serbo-Croatian. Which, along with his height (six feet even), made him valuable to the SS; they conscripted him for a prison-camp guard. After the war’s end, he didn’t know where to report for demobilization, because the German armed forces were kaputt. So he reported to the Brits instead. That’s how he wound up in Scotland.

23. My other grandpa was smarter; he deserted as soon as the British front passed over northern Germany. He’d been a horse-cart driver for the Kriegsmarine, and his horses bolted and ran away when the guns got too close. He ended up surviving a shelling by burying himself in a manure pile. Afterwards, he knew it was pointless to go back to war. He got some work clothes from a farmer, buried his uniform and military papers in a field, and simply walked home.

24. I probably got my smart mouth from my dad’s father. He actually dared to say he’d never voted for Hitler, and didn’t know anyone else who had, either. He got called on the carpet by the Gestapo for it once. They shut him up by threatening his four kids.

25. Because of my family’s wartime experiences, I’m a firm believer in learning from history. And that’s why I’m appalled at those who are doomed to repeat it–and those who only think they are free.

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3 Responses to For those who don’t mind being bored by the biographical…

  1. Jim Hadstate says:

    Wow! I always thought you were an interesting person and wondered about your command of several languages (or maybe it was jealousy at your command of so many languages). Now I know.

  2. Greengeeta says:

    omg. you did it too?? this thing will not stop following me. now i might jump on the bandwagon.

  3. Slave Revolt says:

    Yes, you are a very unique and idiosyncratic person–and your being comfortable with yourself as a dissident and an eccentric makes the views you add to the news you feature here very engaging.
    The capacity to critically think issues and ideas is something that is cultivated and developed over years–and it is sadly missing from almost all mainstream ‘journalism’.
    But it does make tearing apart most journalism pretty easy. It takes a unique tenacity, however, to sustain your critique in the face of the relentless barbarity.
    Saying what is cogent and truthful has always been a pretty lonely endeavor in any age.
    Keep it up.

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