John at Houtlust tagged Gillo and then Gillo tagged me in this game. I have to tell you five things you don’t know about me and then tag somebody else. It’s like a chain letter among bloggers. So here goes:
1. I was a Ham radio operator in high school (call sign WN2WFR) and so learned morse code. The first time I heard, on a crowded tram, a Nokia phone signal the arrival of an SMS with the tones dit-dit-dit dah-dah dit-dit-dit I smiled: I had been spoken to in a secret language by a phone, and I knew of at least three other vacuum-tube geeks out there who I haven’t seen in decades who would have had the same experience.
2. I turned down a spot at the Yaddo writer’s colony to spend an Emersonian winter in a cabin in New Hampshire. There was no electricity, no running water, and when the four wheel drive that the owner was loaning me froze in, I had to walk an hour and a half into town every week for supplies. I wrote some very bad poetry. I got very close to nature. My job was simply to be there, armed with .22 rifle that the owner insisted I have with me to protect his property.
3. Somewhere out there, I have a step-brother and step-sister that I’ve not seen since I was four or five, the children of my father’s first marriage. Their mother died, and my father somehow closed that chapter in his life and moved on.
4. There’s a few jokes in one of my favourite books, Gravity’s Rainbow, which I get but have never seen cracked in print. One is a riddle put at a fictional convention on brain function: “What did the cockney exclaim to the cowboy from San Antonio?” Steven Weisenburger, in his exhaustive and fabulous line by line analysis, “A Gravity’s Rainbow Companion” muffs it with a long etymological analysis of the word cockney, and a reference to an anal-erotic incident earlier in the book to guess that the answer is “I’ll be your rose from San Antone.”
What? It’s a brain function convention, remember?
The answer, obviously, is “Cor, Tex…”
Maybe you need to have spent time in England to get it…
5. I am a type A personality. (OK, those who know me, know this. I get impatient on my bicycle when someone in front of me going down one of Holland’s rare hills coasts rather than accelerates). What you don’t know is that I used to practice Zazen on a Zafu made by a friend who became a monk. I sat every day for almost a year, and really tried, but never succeeded in shutting down the internal monologue that seems to run 24/7 in my head. The only times I’ve ever caught a whiff of Satori have been on mountains, in forests, and at sea.