Leaping from tree to tree!
As they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia!
With my best girl by my side!
The Giant Redwood tree!
The Little Whopping Rule Tree!
We’d sing! Sing! Sing!
Oh, I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay,
I sleep all night and I work all day….
Sorry… sometimes I get carried away. Let me just get to the details:
My favorite dark chocolate: too expensive for me to buy. Or, too expensive for me to buy regularly. Or maybe I’m just cheap.
My favorite backpacking amenity: either the nylon hammocks or a leather-wrapped flask (filled, of course). But I also like my trusty little Grundig radio. Then again, having someone to carry my pack wouldn’t be bad.
If you want to play racquetball with me: you’d better be good.
Playing pool: Strictly “old school” there, straight pool preferred.
Can I roast a pigeon? Can you get me one? It’s my favorite.
And dessert? O.K., I can bake, too.
If they’d never filmed “Apocalypse Now”: my favorite film would be an old Czech anti-Nazi film, “The Cremator.” Well, maybe the British anti-Thatcher “Brassed Off,” or just “Mary Poppins.”
Why I speak German: weil ich dort lange gewohnt habe. (I lived there a long time. Maybe too long.)
My favorite poem: is still “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” You’d think I’d be a little past that by now. (You know it: “Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows….”) But unlike a lot of other guys who once memorized that poem, I actually met a fellow named Sam McGee (oddly enough, in a town on the southern coast of Crete). He was from Pennsylvania. “There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold….”
The best circus I ever saw: the Moscow State Circus (with Oleg Popov); one ring in a big tent. Now, I’ve never wanted to run off and join a circus, or at least I gave it only fleeting thought, but I wish a few more good ones would come through town. (Yes, I liked Water for Elephants – the book.)
The worst circus I ever saw: I’ve seen some bad ones. One-family operations with far too many horse acts.
If Burl Ives and Pete Seeger had never made music: Really… Burl Ives? I’d probably know a bunch of hymns, or maybe I’d understand why Mendelssohn’s 3rd sounds Scottish. I can sing along to some of John Prine’s and most of Dylan’s material, though invariably off-key. Seriously? Nobody from this century? Ok, Mumford and Sons, Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, Courtney Barnett, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Avett Bros., Willie Watson… don’t know a single song by heart.
My two favorite sayings: “the plural of anecdote is not data” and “a day without cancer is like… a day without cancer.” (Say, I don’t have to explain that first one, do I? And the second, well, though I’m a little young to be a true Baby Boomer, it’s said that group’s #1 fear is cancer. Spiders give me the willies, too.)
Why I brew my own beer: Well, I used to, but the scene is very tasty now.
I’m writing this all here because… I’m a very private person. For all I know, this might be a pack of lies.
Oh, but wait… there, on one of the mighty rivers of British Columbia, I’d know the backs of those hands like the backs of my hands…
And who’s that behind the cue ball?
1) I grew up around here.
2) I went to college in North Carolina.
3) I went to graduate school at Tulane, leaving with an M.S. after working on the Ph.D. in social psychology (essentially, ABD).
4) I know all the letters of the alphabet.
5) I don’t look like Johnny Depp. Back in the day, I didn’t look like Clint Eastwood.
6) I taught for U Maryland in Europe on military bases around Würzburg, Germany and then came back here.