OK…twenty questions…err…answers.  I’ve been tagged and so here are some things you may not know about Joshua…

CAUTION – I’m very wordy…but I’ll try and make it entertaining:

1.  I was held back in the 3rd grade.  A combination of chronic shyness, and what someone was apparently calling “Short Term Visual Memory Disorder” left me behind…much to the jeers of creatures whose wickedness is as pure as serial killers…that is, school children.  A few years later, in grade school, I would test as being able to read and understand a pretty good array of “college” vocabulary, but my math, spelling, mind for dates, and various other subjects suffered.  I used to have a pretty low opinion of my intelligence.  I don’t have the problem now.  I’m pretty clever and modesty aside, I don’t mind admitting it to myself.

2.  In first grade, I was in three different schools.  I left the first because there was a very nasty, slightly abusive crone of a teacher there.  I don’t recall much except her violently spilling desks over if anyone’s desk was messy.  One time, I recall, she was out of the room, and the lunch bell rang.  I shouted “Wa-hooo!”  Nothing very disruptive, just an exclamation from a little boy who was happy to go to eat and compare dino-bots on the blacktop.  She bursted in like a nightmare and yelled, “Who said that!”  All of my friends, faithful as they were, pointed to me in terror (think of the end of Spartacus…now think of the EXACT OPPOSITE).  She raged at me and made me stay in during recess and lunch…and then, after staring at me the whole time, not saying anything, yelled at me afterwards for not using the time to do homework.  I don’t remember this, but my Mom says I would come home, walk up to her and say, “Mom…I’m a very, very bad person.”  When they found out why, my parents went in and my Dad (who bless his soul is very good at yelling at officials/clerks/etc.) probably told them where they could shove their witch of a teacher…and they took me out of that Catholic school.

3.  I was a SHY kid for grade school and most of high school.  I don’t think the word does it justice…people really thought there was something socially or mentally WRONG with me.  I avoided attention and conversation at all costs…living mostly in my head.  I opened up with very close friends and at home…that was about it.  I had a very tiny self esteem (or maybe it was big and I just had to grow into it).  Things changed a little bit in High School.  That’s when theatre happened and I opened up a lot more.  I remember I had met Dave Edwards, recently, through some other friends and he saw some of the transition.  I recall him saying to some of his friends, “Yeah, he’s a funny fucker once you get him going.”  But yeah…before this I was a very embarrassed vegetable.  I think the events in #1 and #2 were mostly to blame.  So see, see all the horrid memories you dredge up when you make fun of my spelling or get mad because I can’t remember a particular date….you big meanies 😉

4.  When I was in 4th grade, someone told me that diamonds cut glass.  In a science class, we had gotten shards of these geode stones.  A gem, even a cheap one, is a powerful thing to a young person.  Wow, I thought, time to experiment.  I wanted to see if this was a diamond.  My test subject was my parents’ bathroom mirror.  I didn’t think there was any risk.  After all, if it wasn’t a diamond, it wouldn’t cut glass, right?  If it was…well, I and my then rich family could buy a whole bunch of mirrors.  Keep in mind, a teacher had told me that diamonds cut glass.  Now to my mind, that statement seems to indicate that this is a special property to diamonds (the truth is that every freaking substance cuts glass!!!).  I was an inquisitive squirt and you had to take care what scientific facts you gave me.  It was a hard crime to deny, when my parents discovered the horror, because my experiment pretty much consisted of writing my name and drawing a smiley face on their mirror.

5.  I remember two fights in grade school.  One of them was defending my little (and then, very little) brother, Nick.  He was in maybe 2nd grade and I was in 4th.  Two 6th grade bullies were hassling him because he was in “their seat” (the little one in the back of the bus), so the both sat on him, trying to crush him or something.  I very adultly and politely pointed out that this action indicated that both of them were flaming homosexuals (“gay-wad” may have been used…I don’t recall).  This caused the bigger bully to come over and try and sit on me…which led to both us smacking each other’s heads with our fists.  The fight left me in very embarrassed tears, but I must have hurt him too, as he and his toady went up front and Nick and I had both backseats to ourselves.

6.  I own a Paula Abdul CD (stop laughing!!!).  It’s a very nostalgic thing.  I had a massive crush on her as a boy.  I was very jealous of Emilio Estevez.  I cursed his career…now I’m really sorry I did.

7.  I had to wear foot inserts as a child.  My bones in the feet came out wrong in the birthing (guess I’m the prototype) and I had two bones sticking out on that inner ankle (instead of the one).  It caused me pain that I could not put in proper words (I said, “My legs hurt!”).  They finally figured out that it was the feet (after a lot of other procedures) and gave me inserts, saying that I’d be in a wheel chair if it was not corrected.  I also had to take gelatin in the form of massive amounts of Jell-O.  I thought this was awesome…at first…Bill Cosby lied to me…there is NOT always room, it is, in fact, very finite.

8.  In Kindergarten, someone convinced me that sparkly rocks (like the ones in some people’s driveways), when cooked in a pan, turn into coconuts.

9.  When I was very young, I believed the past, up to the 50s or 60s, happened in black and white.

10.  I really hate talking on the phone for long spans of time.  I like being able to read body language and to, in turn, help my communications with body language of my own.

11.  When I was five, I shoplifted an Insectecon (Transormer), from a K-Mart (I thought that if a package was already open…well…it was kind anybodies grab).  My mom took me in to take it back and the manager guy took me in the back and gave me the pre-programmed scary stories about what happens to such criminals.  It worked.  It ended my career in larceny.

12.  I remember, way back, I was afraid of the dark.  That transmuted into being thrilled by it (like going into a really cool/scary haunted house).  That eventually turned into comfort.  I’m comfortable in the dark and I don’t mean that in some transcendental-hip-Goth-kid-wannabe fashion…it’s very true.  I feel discomfort in bright light.  Bright sun, in a very open place, makes me feel very clumsy and irritable.  Squinting makes my whole body tighten, gives me headaches and exhaustion.  When my eyes can open real wide the rest of me opens up…and I’m comfortable.  I rarely have the main lights in my room on (ask Torrie), I have, instead, various black lights and colored lights and a desk lamp that usually fill my illumination needs.

13.  I’ve had facial hair since at least the sixth grade (I’ve been shaving since 6th or 7th grade).

14.  I’ve never had stitches or a broken bone (I’m not counting toes…as it’s hard to tell when those are actually broken).  As a kid, a giant dirt-rock bolder rolled over my leg, but the grooves in the ground kept me safe.  I fell down a window-well, head first through the plastic shield – tumbling six feet – crashing my head and back against the concrete – my bare legs breaking through a glass window…I ended up with a small scratch on my arm and an apology to give the neighbor.

15.  Women used to be a MYSTERY to me.  Before then, they were SCIENCE FICTION.  Later they were THRILLER, then ACTION, then ROMANTIC COMEDY, then TRAGEDY.  More recently they were FANTASY and I’m not sure what genre they are now or will be next.

16.  Every time I take one of those Dante or 7 Deadly tests I end up with LUST.  My head is usually pretty full of lusty things and I wonder if I wasn’t a satyr in a past life.

17.  I’m a chronic nail biter.

18.  Politically, I am very much a fence percher.  I think this may be part of what prompted me to write an epic poem about an angel who didn’t choose sides in the war in Heaven.

19.  OK…this is probably one of the bigger ones.  When I was younger, my Mom, I guess, let me stay up a bit later than some folks would – not as late as I stay up now…just a few more hours into the evening.  Apparently a hard nosed, religious relative of mine didn’t like this and even told my mother that she was going to HELL for this great transgression.  I’ve known about this for years and thought it was ridiculous even to the point of laughable.  In recent years, I discovered, through my Mom, that this wasn’t just a little snide comment, but a long, berating conversation in which this relative told my Mom that she was a horrible mother and ruining me and my siblings.  The conversation was so biting and nasty that, when it was over, my Mom, sat in her bathroom, sobbing, contemplating suicide…I guess I’ll never know what the outcome would have been, because my Dad luckily came home right at that moment.  Keep in mind, my Mom was a very young mother (she would have been a few years younger than me at this point) and earlier in my life, I always noticed she wasn’t a very confident person.  She gave and gave and I imagine she would have been hard pressed to describe her self, and I think had moments of depression.  She has, since then, discovered much more of her self, is very much her own person, and gets stronger and stronger and I have no doubt that she will never again be in any real danger of some jack-off telling her she’s horrible.  But this was different the day my relative decided to snidely smite her with religious tripe.  Does this make me angry?  Let me be as clear as I can.  In life, we give those close to us epic qualities, we look at them as bigger than life.  But our closest friends and consorts are still human…so they don’t always live up to the ideal (this isn’t a pessimistic point…people’s flaws endear them to me as much as their strengths).  My Mom, for me, is one of the exceptions.  She was always there.  She never batted me away.  When I was sick or scared she was always there and never left a moment of doubt in that (to this day).  She never lost her patience when I really needed her (or at least she was able to hold it back).  She lived up to the ideal.  I could go on but let me just put it in my four year old self words, “I love my Mommy,” – she is one of the best people I’ve ever known – and she was almost taken away from me because of some sanctimonious person, who’s idiocy seemed to indicate to them that salvation and damnation are somehow connected to bedtime…that the invention of the light bulb hadn’t made diurnal living obsolete a hundred years ago.  YES I AM ANGRY.  I want to breathe fire.  That this person overlooked all my Mom’s good points (you’d have to be fucking blind to miss them) and only saw some vague loophole of a moral notion….well…I’ve written enough and I’m getting angry and shaky just typing it.  I’ve never talked about it with this family member – in fact I’ve NEVER talked about this with anyone (you, lucky reader, are the first).  That family member is much more mellow now and I think has worked her way through a lot of her problems.  But I remember.  My feelings on this thought (the image of my Mom, young and alone and sobbing in the bathroom, with my Dad’s arrival perhaps stopping a tragedy) pretty much sums up my feelings on all religious institutions (not on God or spirituality or you if you happen to be a religious person reading this….but I have no trust for the institutions themselves).

20.  I’m told I’m a pretty modest and sensitive seeming guy.  I think this is as true, as far as it goes.  But I do have an ego…a pretty big one.  It’s just very quiet.  It coils in the back of my head.  It has very, very pretty scales and the slithering muscles have a very sensual rhythm in the undulation.  Sometimes, standing in front of a group of strangers it whispers things in my ear like, You’re better than all these people.  I don’t really listen all that much…but once in a while, I indulge it.  It’s a very pretty ego.

I tag ANYONE who is reading this.  Mwahahahahahaahahahaha!!!