Behind the 8

Getting tagged by David is one thing; getting tagged by David while he’s getting tagged by Lachlan is yet another. Either way, I know when my number is up, and the number this time is 8.

First, the damn rules:

  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  5. Don’t forget to leave them each a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So be it.

  1. HABIT: I have just about given up milk for my breakfast cereal. For that matter, I’ve just about given up breakfast for my breakfast cereal. Instead, I pour out a tumbler full of granola or Grape-Nuts or whatever (maybe Cheerios, but nothing presweetened) and drink it as though it were a beverage while I sit here typing in the evenings.
  2. FACT: When I joined the Army back in ’72, there was a block on the form for Preferred Duty Assignments, one in the continental US, one overseas. The overseas choices were listed by theater: there was, you may remember, a war going on in the Pacific, and being (I assumed) something of a wuss, I checked the box for Europe. You were allowed to pick any of the 48 applicable states for the CONUS posting; being (I assumed) something of a smartass, I checked Rhode Island, knowing that actual assignment there was extremely unlikely. After basic training, I ended up in central Massachusetts, a short bike ride from Rhode Island, and then at a NATO base. Be careful what you ask for.
  3. FACT: Once upon a time, I had a reputation as an early adopter: in 1974, I bought a pocket calculator with an 8-digit LED display, an AC adaptor, the four basic arithmetic functions and not a whole lot else, for the princely sum of $109.95. Today you can get far more capable machines than this at the dollar store. The number of Beta tapes around here testifies to the value of getting rid of that reputation.
  4. HABIT: The figure “8” is usually written as a continuous curve, and when I was studying the fine art of writing, we were told to start at the top, sweep to the left, downward toward the right, sweep to the left and then complete the loop. Approximately half the time I actually do it that way; the other half I do it “backwards.” I attribute this to the delusion that occasionally reversing a task will ward off age-related deterioration. (While I am legitimately fast on a 10-key pad with my right hand — I am a northpaw, so to speak — I will often do a string of calculations on the office adding machine with my left, for possibly-related reasons. Speed is lower, but accuracy is comparable.)
  5. FACT: I complain as bitterly as any woman when I break a nail. (And I file down the rough edge as soon as practicable.)
  6. HABIT: If I have to be up early the next day, I cut off my caffeine consumption by 5 pm or thereabouts. I can’t prove that this makes any difference, but I do it just the same.
  7. FACT: While I’m not at all averse to running around the back yard in my birthday suit, I don’t go barefoot back there. Most obvious reason: one and a half sweetgum trees on the premises.
  8. FACT: I’ve done lots of these, and generally I’ve managed to do them without asking you to follow suit; the “damn rule” notwithstanding, I am doing so here.

Of course, if you want to, I won’t stand in your way.


  1. Winston »

    8 July 2007 · 6:13 am

    This sucker is growing and developing a life of its own. When I did got tagged a couple of weeks back it was 7, and now it’s 8. Do I hear 9?

    I bet the 1974 calculator was an HP, with a model number of 2500. I got sucked in on that one at about that time and price. Two years later a 4 function job with memory was under $20, and now they give them away with Happy Meals and as trade fair trinkets.

    Good list, by the way…

  2. david »

    8 July 2007 · 12:10 pm

    I draw my number eights by drawing one circle on top of another. My children look at me like I’m crazy. I’ve tried to draw them the “normal” way, but they always turn out looking deformed.

  3. CALL »

    8 July 2007 · 2:10 pm

    The arborist in me recalls those days when you mentioned at least two whole sweetgum trees living in your yard.

    If barefoot during your world tour in Florida, watch out for sand spurs – Mother Nature’s tiny and vicious equivalent of caltrops, star nails, jack rocks and crow’s feet.

  4. CGHill »

    8 July 2007 · 2:43 pm

    One of them blew down in an Oklahoma windstorm; I have a sapling in its place.

  5. Gradual Dazzle »

    8 July 2007 · 5:19 pm

    One of the things I plan to do as soon as I get into some kind of permanent place is to plant at least one sweetgum tree. I missed them so much during my exile in Iowa. I don’t even care about the gumballs.

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