September 22, 2005

Despite my ongoing struggle dealing with the choices I have made in my life (i.e., deciding to be a productive citizen by acquiring an education and gainful employment) that continue to interrupt the Happy Fun SparklyZone of Fun that comprises this fascinating world of blogging, I COULD NOT REST EASY knowing that if I continued to do my paying work, YOU, the vast warm mass of Possumblog readers, would not be able to participate in the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

THEREFORE, dropping all things that could possibly interfere with the production of this feature, we set off to find out some things about you through the device of a carefully selected set of three questions. Each question is lovingly hand crafted out of genuine mahogany by villagers on a small island in the Indonesian archipelago, and includes a certificate of authenticity signed by their village chief. Not really. The questions are really just thought up by me, thus explaining the reason why they don’t have a rich, pleasing hue and don’t take polish very well.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? I KNEW it! I do that sometimes when I’m trying to deflect attention from the fact that I haven’t made up any questions. Hmmm. Let me see…


OH! Hey, I have an idea--let’s talk about life! Remember, this exercise is open to anyone who wants to participate--just leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog, or a link to your blog if you have a blog. Blogblogblog. I hate that name. ANYway, LIFE. The Big L.

You ever wondered how your life might be different? Good, it’ll make the game a lot easier--

1) Name three events that occurred in your life that you look back on occasionally and wonder how things might have turned out if you had done something different.

2) If you could have lived in another time, what would it be? One stipulation--you have to be pretty much what you are right now--no going back in time and being Alexander the Great, no being Einstein or Moses or Casanova. If you’re a teacher, you’ll still be a teacher; a doctor, still a doctor; a car mechanic--well figure that one out on your own. You wouldn’t know the future, either--so no going back and betting on horse races and stuff. You would just be you, only in another time and place.

3) What one aspect of your life, such as your family, job, social life, spiritual life, creative ability, etc., do you find most rewarding?

Now then, that should keep you all occupied for a while!

As for my answers…

1) Oddly, these three events occurred when I was very young. The first one especially gives me the willies, even after 30 years or so.

From the time I was born until I was 14 years old, my family and I lived alongside the very busy U.S. Highway 78. Sometime when I was around 10 or 12 years old, when I was left home by myself during the summer break (yes, people used to do that), I got it in my head to go out and explore the surrounding area on my bicycle. Unbeknownst to my parents, this didn’t mean just the few house on either side of us, but a long, roundabout trek to the new subdivisions that had sprouted up miles from our home. This entailed riding my bicycle alongside said busy (dangerous) highway, as well as on all sorts of small winding (dangerous) roads that led to those other forbidden neighborhoods.

I did this a couple of times and got rather brave (stupid) about it and one day was out riding happily alongside busy (dangerous) Roberta Road. I thought I was being very safe by riding on the gravel shoulder, a full 12 inches away from the speeding traffic on my left side, and as I struggled along with my single speed bike, I was passed by a TRACTOR TRAILER. It must have been hauling stuff to one of those home sites or something, but it wasn’t something I was really expecting on a winding two-lane (dangerous) road. I felt it whoosh by, and kept pedaling, then watched the flatbed trailer whoosh by, and just as I thought everything was clear and it was past me, I tried to pull back over onto the road to avoid an upcoming culvert. I struggled a bit in the gravel and had to maneuver away from the edge of the road to the right for a split second before moving leftward. Just as I managed to get up on the road, the right rear edge of the trailer whizzed past my face. I hadn’t realized it, but the trailer was a lot longer than I had judged, and if I had pulled over that split-second earlier, I probably would have had my (stupid) skull crushed.

THAT put some fear into me, and I was always much more careful after that, but I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t hesitated that split-second. And, being a person of faith, if God was maybe looking out for me. I don’t know. But it still kinda nags at me.

--Another event was when I was in high school and got my knee torn up. I had always fancied that I might be able to go on to college on a scholarship (not a big school, but someplace where they could use a 190 pound guard--I was young and naïve that way), but that one sudden change really threw me for a loop. I really was in something of a drift for the next four years--the last two years of high school and the first two years of college when I was at UAB, before I finally buckled down and did something productive. Anyway, I wonder what would have happened sometimes if that big dumb lummox hadn’t tried to be a fumble-recovering hero and simply fell on the ball, instead of falling on it and rolling up the side of my leg.

--I think the last one would be the fact that not too long ago, it occurred to me that when I was in junior high, there was this girl who liked me.

I was so oblivious to her blatantly obvious (in the clarity that 20-some-odd years of life can bring) come-ons that it just makes me shake my head. But at the time, I was interested (obsessed) with someone else, and all of the attention the girl who liked me bestowed on me was really more annoying than anything else, even though she was really quite a cutie.

I wonder sometimes what would have happened if I had woken up back then and figured out that when you run into a girl and one of her friends, and they’ve just been to the store, and they loudly giggle and open their shopping bags to show you the new panties they bought, that it might be a sign of something. To make matters worse, that this might have some significance really didn’t hit me until sometime after I was already old and married. Just popped in my head one day, and I just had to sit there and give myself a dope-slap and say “duh.”

2) Going back to the past, eh? I don’t know--I mean, we’ve really got it pretty good nowadays, you know? But I do have a fascination with the latter quarter of the 19th Century up to about World War I. Yes, I realize there were many pernicious social evils of the time, but it was also a time of tremendous artistic and scientific progress. One of the things that kept me from getting better grades in architecture school was that I wouldn’t copy stuff out of the newest Architectural Record like all the 'A' students, but kept poring over ancient issues of The Craftsman instead. Incredible stuff. Anyway, it was a very good time to be an architect, no matter where you were.

3) Well, I guess it’s my family. Even since I was young, I always wanted a family more or less like the one I have now, which I suppose is pretty strange for a kid to have thought about. But I suppose it’s just one of those things. I was really almost like an only child--my sister is seven years older than I am, so I was either a minor or major annoyance to her as we were growing up, and we were never any sort of a playmates or anything. And we lived so far from anyone else that I rarely got to play with kids my own age except at school. I think that’s why I wanted to have more than one or two children, and ones that were relatively close in ages. It is also why I have such a low tolerance for when they fight with each other, because it reminds me of how mean my sister was.

And I suppose the fact that my dad wasn’t around a great deal is one of the reasons why I try to do so much at home. I would like to have a bit more me-time (which explains the I Am A Moron Project), but I don’t ever want to get to the point where my kids think of me as “that old guy who changes clothes here.” Not that I thought that about my own dad, but he more involved than committed to being a parent, until very late in his life. I know he regretted the time he squandered, and I never want to have to feel that way.

Anyway, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 08:37 AM

I'm up --

Posted by: Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady at September 22, 2005 10:59 AM

Hey!!! I was busy stomping out ignorance. Up I’m now UP

Posted by: jim at September 22, 2005 12:04 PM

I've got mine done.

Posted by: Nate at September 22, 2005 12:35 PM

And I got the clicky working today! See, I am trainable!

Posted by: Nate at September 22, 2005 12:36 PM

Well, if you're going to pout about it ...

1. I almost chose chemical vs. keramic engineering for a major. I could have stayed in the Chicago area after I graduated, but my heart kept tugging me east (and later south). I was tempted once and had the opportunity to break my marriage vow over ten years ago (before I was born again), but did not take that step.
[I think we'd be surprised if we could see, ala George Bailey time warp, how a simple (seemingly inconsequential) choice we had made long ago would have drastically changed our lives had it gone the other way.]

2. 1950's touring with the Duke Ellington band, the best band led by a great musical genius.

3. Being a father has been more than I ever dreamed of, and I thank God every day for this blessing. I pray that He will endue me with greater patience as my youngster gets older/smarter and figures out ways to test my patience.

Posted by: MarcV at September 22, 2005 12:42 PM

There, now--that's more like it!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 12:44 PM

I had to put "keramic" since the proper spelling starting with a "c" was not allowed to be posted. Quite strange.

Posted by: MarcV at September 22, 2005 12:45 PM

I'm up!

And I must say these were hard!

Posted by: Sarah G. at September 22, 2005 12:47 PM

I have a feeling someone in the vast ocean of Munuvians must have deleted a spammy comment that had "c"eramic in it or something and now the Blacklist won't let it in.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 12:47 PM

I hear that the seramicks classes are very popular with the football players over in Tuscaloosa.

Posted by: skillzy at September 22, 2005 02:04 PM

They go to classes!?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 02:17 PM

I have joined the up.

Oh, and may I editorialize? To wit: "The questions are really just thought up by me"

Thought up by whom? Have you suddenly become a perfesser of applied multifunctionism (or whatever) over at a University in the Carolinas?

In other words, "What's this me, Kemosabe?"

Posted by: skinnydan at September 22, 2005 02:19 PM

You might not believe this, but "Jim Smith" putative professor at "East Carolina" University, is actually nothing more than another one of my personalities, much like Chet the E-Mail Boy or Rory G. Windleton, the water meter reader, or Jimmy, from next door, who has a condition, or Little A, who doesn't have a condition but does live in Texas.

So, yes, it's all me. And you are, too, whether you choose to believe it or not!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 02:23 PM

Well, here are my answers, FWIW:

1) I would say two of the events have simply been friendships that ended, largely to my own fault--and I wonder if I had handled these differently, whether my life would have been better. The third event would be the choice of college; I could have gone to a far better known school than I did but for the mistake of someone who lost my scholarship application. But I know that if I had gone to the other school I would not have made the friends I had, and in all probability I would not have met my wife. So I have no complaints there.

2) I think I'd really have liked to be the age I am now in the 1950's for the most part. Racial problems aside, I think the 1950's were a better time in many ways as far as our cultural/social milieu goes. I was only a toddler in the late 50's so I realize I did not feel the full impact of the racial issues.

3) Religion and church probably have the most impact on me.

Oh well--you ASKED.

Posted by: Stan at September 22, 2005 02:41 PM

We did indeed, Stan, and thank you for playing along!

(And I hope you're getting excited about your upcoming move to your new digs in the new Spiffy Security Building. The view toward the concrete batch plant is said to be quite stunning!)

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 03:06 PM

Dern right Terry—
Signed Chet

I mean Jim—right—Jim not to be confused with Jimmy.

Posted by: jim at September 22, 2005 03:30 PM

Or with Tanya, who works the 11-7 at Waffle House.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 03:34 PM


I guess a new modern building will probably outweigh a view as long as we have plenty of parking!

Posted by: Stan at September 22, 2005 04:12 PM

Oh, you should have no trouble at all finding a spot. And the roof has a nifty water catching thing to funnel rainwater to a reservoir to water the plants they're going to plant on the roof. And for once, I am being serious--this really is one of the technologies they're going to incorporate. "Green" building, and all.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 22, 2005 04:23 PM