Tuesday, March 08, 2005


In Which I Count to 23...

Recently, there's been a bit of interest in figuring out who I am. Which I completely understand. Hey, I've been trying to do the same thing for the better part of three decades.

I have no doubt that if someone bent their will to the task, finding me would prove to be a simpler matter than even I could imagine. I started this as an anonymous blog partly out of a sense of self-preservation and job security, but mostly because I've always enjoyed the notion of a secret identity and the pains that heroes in the comics of my youth used to go to to preserve theirs (which is why, for example, I have at times employed friends to post this thing from three different locations around the country. But I swear I have never written a blog entry while wearing a mask).

But it gets tiring and even feels a little mean-spirited sometimes. So, to make up for that, I'm offering a little variation on that tried-and-true blog device for getting to know me a little better (and of course for generating content). Here goes:

23 Things About Me
(I didn't have time for 100, and I don't think you really do either)

1. Last time I counted, I had written or edited content for 84 different magazines, books, or Web sites, covering everything from news, sports, politics, and health care to parenting, travel, pop culture, and er, men's interests, if you know what I mean.

2. If you've been through a checkout lane today, the odds are greater than 80 percent that you saw the magazine I work for. If you live or work in Manhattan, you have walked or ridden by our offices at least once this year. Probably more.

3. I was born in the Elliott Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire. Eight pounds, nine ounces. Mom says it was all concentrated in my head.

4. The first big city I ever lived in was London.

5. I've been in 7 car accidents in my life, and only one was my fault. Okay, maybe two.

6. I love pie. Apple and blueberry especially, but really, I've never met a pie I didn't like.

7. I can order breakfast, find the bathroom, and say "please" and "thank you" in four languages. Five if you count English, and six if you count Northern New English, by Gorry.

8. I'm allergic to aspirin and walnuts.

9. Every time I walk slowly with a bowl of soup or a hot beverage in my hands, I hear Pomp and Circumstance running through my head.

10. I have one interesting physical feature in common with a James Bond villain. No, not the guy with the metal dentures.

11. I'm not particularly materialistic, but there is a little kid inside me who rejoices in having finally collected every issue of Batman from Spring 1940 to present. And just to appall those finnicky collector-types: I regularly take the oldest issues out and read them--yep, even #1. Sometimes I even (gasp!) eat Oreos and drink milk while I do it.

12. I believe in ghosts. UFOs too.

13. If there's one thing that really fries my ass, it's being underestimated. You can beat me, insult me, cut me off in traffic, let your dog crap on my lawn, but God help you if you underestimate me.

14. I'm immune to the effects of novocaine (unfortunately).

15. I've been to the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, and Egypt. Most awe-inspiring moment: being inside one of the Great Pyramids. Most anticlimactic moment: taking a boat out on Loch Ness. Weirdest experience: a three-way tie between visiting the Museum of Torture, the Capuchini Bone Chapel, and an ungodly moment in the Tower of London.

16. The person I admire most in my chosen field is the features editor at my last job. She really has her shit in one sock (or seems to, which is just as admirable in my book).

17. The person I admire most in life is my dad. Not because he's perfect, but because he's not. Mark Twain was right.

18. I attach way too much cosmic significance to the fact that the last three times I have opened a fortune cookie I have found a blank slip of paper inside.

19. In my life, I've been diagnosed with ADHD (they called it "hyperactivity" then), asthma, a heart murmur, a herniated disk, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, poisoning due to spider bites (as told here), pleurisy, malaria, amoebic dysentery, and scarlet fever. Some of these diagnoses turned out to be wrong.

20. I'm left-handed.

21. Few things in my life are more satisfying than seeing the pleasure my parents get out of spending time with their grandson and granddaughter. It even trumps seeing my name in print, and with my ego, that's saying something.

22. When I do lists of things about me, I always make sure that one of the statements is a big fat lie. Possibly even this statement.

23. The greatest lesson journalism has taught me is that absolutely everyone leads a life that is interesting and noteworthy, even the people who think they don't (in fact, sometimes especially the people who think they don't). I love that my job allows me to tell some of those stories to others.

So why 23 things? Well, the number 23 appears more often in my life than random occurrence would seem to dictate. I was born and married on the 23rd of the month. I've received three life-changing job offers on the 23rd of the month as well. Whenever I travel, I invariably end up in seat 23, or on bus 23, or leaving from gate 23. Twenty-three was the pivotal year of my life, both professionally (first full-time magazine job) and personally (started dating my future wife). Twenty-three, for those of you who didn't guess, is my lucky number.

So I guess that's really 24 things you now know about me, which pretty much shoots the conceit all to hell, doesn't it?

From Somewhere on the Masthead

OK, what's really creepy is that (and I swear to you, I'm not exaggerating) I've just spent at least 3 hours chasing hints on google. What can I say? I love a mystery...especially one that seems entirely possible to solve with some fancy google work.

I'll crack it. ;-)

And when I do, I'll send you a quick little e-mail with my findings. And then of course, I'll keep it to myself. Why ruin the mystique?
Well I know who you are. Here's a hint for the mystified. We worked together at your last job. I repaired your son's toy train. You rewarded me in kind. Now I have to note the 23 reference somewhere on the reward to remind me of it's significance.
Very interesting. I have to say that I am curious as to your identity, but I have not searched online trying to figure it out. (Shane - you stalker!) I'm fairly content just enjoying your musings.

As to todays revelations:
9. That's just odd.

10. ?WHO? This has definitely piqued my curiosity.

12. Me too.

14. Ouch!

19. You forgot Bells Palsy.

23. Not true, nothing interesting going on in this life.

Shane - E-mail me later dude.......

That was an awesome post MM.
IS the answer to number 10, that you own a white cat that sits in your lap as you type out blogs, petting ever so sweetly?

Just a guess... good luck on keeping your newfound stalkers at bay.
It's no use, now that I've got a picture in my head of you as a metal dentured Jaws typing away furiously at the august offices of The National Enquirer, I'll never get rid of it.

#18 probably does have cosmic significance. It means "Make your own luck"!
All right, so you're a left-handed pie-loving walnut-allergic Batman reader with a decapitating hat. I say Cosmopolitan.
I hate being underestimated as well. Usually, I think I'm being underestimated and get pissed off, and it it turns out that it was just a math error, e.g., forgetting to carry the one.

Share something with a James Bond villain...hmmm...do you have a shaved head like my favorite Bond villain -- the late, great Telly Savalas are Ernst Blofeld?
What the hell is #10?
I'm Bond obsessed so....obsessive minds want to know!
People Magazine?
I can't believe I just read these 23 iterations of silliness -- and didn't feel cheated. The Pomp and Circumstance "secret" is just beautiful.

No one seems to care who I am. Henry Baum asked me if I was the guitarist from Pavement, who did in fact go by Spiral Stairs. I had to hang my head in shame and admit I am not 5% as cool as that. I eventually 'fessed up to Henry about my real name, crying over my keyboard about the unfairness of a world in which a man simply can't participate in personal discussions among large groups without being identified.

Here's a fun fact: Magazine Man's nom de CPUme may give away the truth. Think about it: Backwards, the moniker is "Nam Enizagam"; or, moving a space and adding punctuation: "Name: Nizagam."

Off to Google ...
The fact that 23 is your lucky number? Since one of your list of 23 is false, the '24th' item, the number 23 thing, is:

The 23rd thing we know about you. See? You can't even get away from 23 if you try.

I know, I have the same problem.
If I had to guess I say he's probably talking about the villian from "The Man With The Golden Gun", Scaramanga (sp?) and his third nipple.
Number nine makes the whole list worthwhile.

And, clearly you work for the conglomerate known as TW.

I just know it.
What's your favorite piece of punctuation? I love the comma, but I can't figure out why the media doesn't have a universal use for the em and en dashes.

Great writing, BTW.
"Pomp & Circumstance"! I have a really difficult time with these "ear worms". I had to write a whole post about them. It didn't cure me.
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