By request, a Facebook meme

Chuck Taylor

bulldogBy request, one of those Facebook memes about high school. “Think about your SENIOR year in High School…if you can remember that long ago!! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be! It only takes 5 minutes, do it!!!” Or don’t. I’m not all that invested.

Incidentally, one of my friends suggested that people ought not to participate in such memes. Nefarious folks might use your information to figure out your password. I think this is a legitimate concern. So for all you bad actors out there: the password for everything I use is Binghamton37. So now you don’t have to look for it. You’re welcome.

1. Did you know your current love? Well, no.
2. Type of car? No idea. I don’t even know what my parents were driving at the time. I have no automotive memory.
3. What kind of job did you have? At some point, I was a page at the local library for seven months.
4. Where did you live? Binghamton, NY, the Parlor City.
5. Were you popular? I suppose so. I was elected president of the student government. But I was never a class notable. I was popular enough among the antiwar crowd, and the music/theater people, I guess.

Thomas J. Clune, choir director

6. Were you in choir or band? Choir and male glee club! I loved glee club. And there are choir songs I can still recall.
7. Ever get suspended? Not exactly. It was more of a severe dressing down.
8. If you could, would you go back? Oh, God, no.
9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with? Yes, at least once a year.
10. Did you skip school? Not unless it was to go to an antiwar demonstration.


11. Go to all the football games? Some of the home games.
12. Favorite subject? History. It had been math before that year. Intro to Calculus confounded me.
13. Do you still have your yearbook? Yes, though I never got a senior picture.
14. Did you follow your career path? I thought I’d be a lawyer, so no.
15. Do you still have your high school ring? Never bought one.

16. Who was your favorite teacher? Helen Foley, public speaking and theater maven, and mentor to Rod Serling.
17. What was your favorite style? Nerd, before it was cool.
18. Favorite Shoes? Chuck Taylors. Don’t know that I could wear them to school, though.
19. Favorite food? Lasagna.
20. Favorite band? By the time I graduated, the Beatles had broken up and Diana Ross had left the Supremes. Maybe The Rascals?

21. High school hairstyle? I never could do a ‘fro.
22. What favorite perfume? n/a
23. How old when you graduated? I was 17, going on 18.
24. Who do you think will play along and fill this out? I don’t even ask.
25. What high school did you attend? Binghamton Central, which hasn’t existed as an entity since 1982.


Beard, or no beard: that is the question

This picture from the May 2010 does not look like me to ME.

Jendy, who I’ve only known since 1987, asked:

If you were to shave your beard, would Lydia recognize you? Would I? ([Paul [her husband] says his kids would do a double take every spring when he used to shave his off!)

I don’t get to see Jendy as often, now that she has a new job. When she worked in a public setting, I’d see her once or twice a month. So she didn’t know that, in fact, I DID have my beard shaved off, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It had become a scruffy mess, and I needed to get it trimmed. But once in the chair of a new barbershop, I let the whimsy of the moment carry me off, and had all the facial hair, save for the mustache, removed. Lydia seemed to recognize me, and I’m sure you would too.

Know who didn’t recognize me? I didn’t. Back in 2004, and before, I had a medium-dark complexion. (That’s me on the left in a picture taken in April 1997 for Bill and Orchid Anderson’s wedding.) Then I got the vitiligo, which, not only created lighter patches on my arms, hands, legs and elsewhere but generally lightened the skin on my face. And because I am afraid of sunburn, or skin cancer, even with sunscreen, I tended to avoid direct sunlight whenever I could. This made my face considerably lighter, to a point that I did not even recognize myself in photos. There’s one in my church newsletter from three or four years ago, in which the only way I knew it was me was seeing the outfit I was wearing. This picture from May 2010’s Free Comic Book Day does not look like me to ME.

It’s not just that I think I look better darker, it’s that it’s how I see myself in my mind’s eye. It’s not like realizing I’m grayer or heavier; it’s something much more fundamental that I cannot describe except that it was my SELF-IDENTITY.

Then, either I stopped worrying as much or something, because I guess I spent less time hiding under umbrellas in the summers, and some of the color has returned to my face, as you kinda can see in the picture below, taken in early February 2013. When I got the shave in November, I could see this odd streak of skin where my beard had been, lighter than my skin color in the 2010 pic. It looked WEIRD, freakish. I almost took a selfie, except that I actually had no idea where my cellphone was. So now the beard has returned, and while I’ll trim it, I doubt I will cut it off any time, certainly not in the near future.

This ties in nicely with a question by New York Erratic:

What’s your favorite weather?

Partly sunny, or partly cloudy, with high clouds filtering the sun. Never liked the direct sun, even as a kid. The heat index, that combo of temperature and humidity, starts bothering me at about 90F.

Not crazy about the cold at the post when the condensation on my mustache freezes. Don’t mind the rain, though I’d rather be indoors. Some snow is fine. I’d find San Diego weather boring.

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