Secrets and Lies

Some of the things about me below may be true. Some may be false. I’m not going to say which is which.

1. When I was born, there was a weird lump that came out with the afterbirth. My mother tells me the doctors told her it was my undeveloped twin.

2. I once bit off a mole, just to see if I could handle the pain.

3. In the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school, I dated a girl I worked with at Del Taco and didn’t tell any of my friends (I went to boarding school, remember, so I could actually get away with this). I broke up with her after about two weeks because her hair smelled like refried beans, which was really disturbing. Also, because she kissed like I imagine a manatee would. I also quit my job at the Del Taco. I never ate at Del Taco again, partially because working at the place kills any desire to eat the food, but also because I had a morbid fear I’d see her still working there. After 20 years, I doubt she works there any more. But there are no Del Tacos near where I live, so the point is moot.

4. I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

5. I have been sexually propositioned — twice! — at highway rest stops.

6. I voted for Bush, just so I could have something to write about for the next four years.

7. I was so afraid of drowning as a child that I would practice holding my breath for extended periods of time, just in case I ever had to. I once held my breath for almost four minutes. I can’t even come close to doing that anymore.

8. I once faked a seizure for attention.

9. If I don’t chew gum at least one a day, I get antsy.

10. I had a friend who I helped out by posing as her boyfriend at a dinner date with an old boyfriend and his new girlfriend. She didn’t want him to know she was still single (and still wanted him back). The irony is that I had a serious crush on her at the time. So there was me pining for her who was pining for him, who was clueless (although I suspect the new girlfriend had it all figured out; she was pretty sharp). It was a most uncomfortable dinner.

11. I had one tooth come in twice as an adult tooth.

12. I once gave serious thought to becoming a Mormon.

13. Until about the age of ten, I had an intense dislike of carrots.

14. When I was eight, I was chasing a neighborhood cat with a squirt gun when it ran into the street and was hit by a car. The car didn’t stop and I didn’t admit the guilt. Years later I adapted the event for a plot moment in Agent to the Stars.

15. I tear up almost every single time I hear the song “Purple Rain” by Prince.

16. I’m generally pretty secure, but my inability to handle really spicy food occasionally makes me feel unmanly.

17. If you want to get in an argument with me, wearing yellow helps. Conversely, I can’t ever remember arguing with someone wearing green. No, I don’t know why. Green is my favorite color, but outside of a clothing context, I have nothing against yellow.

18. I wrote, submitted and had published a romance novel when I was still in college, under a female pseudonym. I wrote it late at night on a computer in the Chicago Maroon newsroom because I didn’t have a computer of my own. I was paid $4,800 for it, which I used to help pay for my final year at the U of C. The only person I told about it was my grandfather, because I had to explain to him why I didn’t need him to send me $100 a month anymore, like he had been doing through college.

19. When I go to a restaurant and I ask for Coke and they ask if Pepsi is okay, I always give a big show of being aggravated, but honestly? I can’t actually taste any difference. At all.

20. At least one person who reads the Whatever knows which of these are true and which are false. I’ll be very interested to see if that person shows up in the comment thread.

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