Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

Some of you out there in interweb land probably know a couple of these, but I hope not everything.

Im blind in my right eye. I had a freak accident when I was a kid and severed the optic nerve. Medical science can do lots of amazing things, but reattaching the optic nerve ain’t one of them. It doesn’t really adversely affect me. The only real downside is that the bad eye tends to drift when I’m tired and I never seem to be looking correctly in pictures. Of course, that isn’t to say I’m not reasonably worried about my good eye going bad. I keep waiting for Steve Austin’s bionic eye to become reality.

I once threw out a guy at first from right field. With my aforementioned bad eye, trying to hit any baseball thrown at me with any kind of movement became really difficult. You need depth perception to hit a curve ball. Who knew? Just recently I had my Dad, with his right eye closed, try and hit a whiffle ball thrown underhanded to him. He couldn’t connect while I was routinely putting the bat on the ball. But I digress. You put the not so good ball players in right field. That was me in grade school – I couldn’t hit worth a crap, but I was pretty good in the outfield and I had a decent arm. So this kid hit a one hopper to right field right over the second baseman’s head. I came charging in, fielded the ball cleanly and threw a rocket to first because the kid was basically walking to first base. They respected my arm after that.

The girl next door was the Homecoming Queen and the State Fair Queen. The girl next door is supposed to be plain and boring and likely the first girl a boy ever really notices. The girl next door to me was none of these things. She was gorgeous, fun, smart, popular and my friend. She became the Homecoming Queen in high school and I think a year later she won County Fair Queen, competed in the State pageant and won State Fair Queen. She was always just Sara to me.

Ive never had a cavity in my life. Sara’s brother, Jeff, is my dentist (when I go… I’m so bad about regular dental checkups). All through my younger days until today, I never had a cavity. I’ve got crappy gums and I hate flossing, but zero cavities. Of course, I’m a little hesitant to go in and see Jeff because I’m afraid I’m going to ruin my streak. Everyone else in my family have horrible teeth. My brother wore braces and my parents have fillings and false teeth and whatnot all up in their mouth. Must have been all the fluoride in the water…

I once swallowed a goldfish. Swallowing a goldfish seems like the most obvious of fraternity pledging pranks on the planet. It’s big giant cliché, right? I did get to name it first and I chose the name of an active who really liked to torture me during pledging. Looking back on it, the best part was developing the skills to swallow the goldfish without throwing it back up. For weeks, we cracked raw eggs on our foreheads and swallowed them whole. In fact, my pledge class did it in front of the whole school one Sunday morning brunch. That stunt freaked A LOT of peeps out. Telling my daughter I once swallowed a goldfish freaked her out too.

Im named after Sean Connery. My father is a big James Bond fan. He has these great original paperbacks from the 60s, nearly all the movie soundtracks on vinyl and loves the movies. I was born in ’68 and Connery was playing Bond in the movies. Sean is a great Irish name and so it became something of a no brainer. My brother was nearly named Ian for Bond creator Ian Fleming. As it turned out, he was named Ryan and unfortunately was smack dab in a class with a bunch of other Ryans and consequently was known by his last name or his nicknames: Mac and Mick. In fact, none of his friends call him Ryan. His wife does though. Her nickname? It’s Mic.

If left alone I will eat the entire bag of chips/sleeve of cookies/container of cottage cheese. I like to buy cottage cheese, open the package up, grab a spoon and dig in. I will easily eat the entire container in one fell swoop. I don’t usually buy cookies or chips because I eat the entire bag/package all at once and I hear that’s probably not the best thing. My will power comes back to the forefront when I’m in a group or with my family. However, if I’m all alone… just me and a bag of chips… the chips are going down… my pie hole.

I grew up with no animals in the house. No dog, cat, rabbit, gerbil or fish. I never thought it was weird that we never had any pets in the house. I never had to deal with a squawking parrot or clean dog piss out of the carpet. My uncles had dogs. My neighbors had dogs. My friends had cats. I didn’t need no stinkin’ dog or cat. To be fair, I really enjoyed playing (and sleeping) with the two and a half hours away girl’s dog, Penny, and my brother’s dog, Ozzie, is easily one of the best dogs I’ve ever seen.

I was the first four year letter winner in Cross Country and the four mile record holder (for a bit) at Illinois College. When I think back on my time as a serious athlete I’m amazed at the things I used to be able to do. I could run forever. I joined my high school cross country team as a way to get into shape for basketball. Basketball wasn’t in the cards, but I knew I could run cross country and still participate in sports. Running eight years of competitive cross country was some of the best times and worst times. What I really wish is that I hadn’t taken it for granted. The kind of shape I was in 1988 was unreal. I wonder if I could ever even get back to even just a glimmer of that again.