15 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

by | Nov 3, 2011

I’m not blogging today, so instead I thought I would share with you:

15 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

(Think of it as an extension of my About page.)

  1. I was an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts.
  2. I didn’t own a home until I was 48 years old.
  3. I can type about 90 words per minute (and about 30 backwards to fix mistakes, for a net of about 60).
  4. When I worked in photo lithography the constant exposure to photographic chemicals caused my hands to discolor and swell to twice their normal size. For a while.
  5. I swam breaststroke on my high school swim team.
  6. In Monterey, California I worked as a negative stripper.
  7. I make the best sausage and leek pizza you’ve ever had. From scratch.
  8. I’ve officiated at dozens of weddings. But don’t ask, I don’t do them any more.
  9. Although I had never done it before, I once drove a 16 foot panel truck with a Chandler & Price letterpress in the back from New York to California.
  10. I’ve never played a round of golf in my life.
  11. I was an avid mountain biker until I hung up my clipless pedals (those are the ones with the clips on the bottom) a couple of years ago.
  12. My father either worked at, managed, or taught printing his entire life.
  13. I enjoy both sudoku and crossword puzzles.
  14. I drive a Volvo.
  15. When I first enrolled in university, I thought I was going to become a tax lawyer.

Your turn, anything we should know?

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Mike Fook

    We sure love to talk about ourselves – don’t we? I’m game…

    1. I ate the crotch out of my aunt’s grundies at twelve years old. It WASN’T the dog.
    2. I also worked with photographic chemicals for over a year in NYC at a custom color lab where I was fired for being a better photographer than the French owner could stand. My hands never swelled. They smelled though.
    3. I once helped a friend cut down and steal over 50 full-grown pot plants from a guy that screwed him over. In his backyard. While he was home. We were fifteen.

    I think I’d better stop here, this exercise is much too revealing!

    Oh what the hell…

    4. I never liked the high pot gives, I tried it three times in my life, and the point of it is lost on me.
    5. I’ve been married three times, shooting for four, shortly.
    6. My resting heart rate is 46 BPM – unless I’ve exercised hard the day before. When bike racing I had a reading of 36 on a couple occasions.
    7. I have an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling.
    8. Someone said my IQ was 160. Then someone said 150. Then 143. I don’t get tested any more.
    9. My first car was a 1980 MG-B convertible. White. With much of the crucial engine parts gone missing, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to look good.
    10. I once got the best of Woody Allen for having threatened me.

    Ok, that’s me I guess. Was great reading everyone else’s contribution. I do hope more people add to it!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Nice one, Mike, you’ve set the curve that others will have to follow.

  2. bowerbird

    i like your photo up top.

    i would have also greatly enjoyed seeing you
    in your lycra. (or are you a gore-text guy?)


  3. Will Entrekin

    Quick note, must correct your first item:

    You are an Eagle Scout. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. It’s the only rank that remains through life.

    Fellow Eagle Scout

  4. Judith Briles

    1. I was a Brownie before I was a Girl Scout and was honored to be inducted in the GS Distinguished Hall of Fame.
    2. I “adopted” another family when I was 7 because I didn’t like the birth family I came from. When the birth family moved, I adopted another family and formally left home when I was 16. Only boys in the birth family would get educational support. I challenged for my undergraduate degree and entered into a MBA program and later got my DBA as well–doctorate in business.
    3. I cry when I hear a band.
    4. I’ll do just about anything to get in the sun.
    5. I had 3 kids by the time I was 21.
    6. I flunked my first driver’s license exam.
    7. My first job that issued a paycheck was from the May Co. in California–I thought making $1 an hour was incredibly hot!
    8. I got fired when the manager of the company I worked for discovered I was going through a divorce.
    9. Several of the clients in the company that I worked for were ticked when I got fired–invited me to lunch and gave me an envelop with $2000 in cash; a RT ticket to San Francisco; and a list of interviews that had set up for me–
    10. When I worked for EF Hutton, I too was the proud recipient of a gold belt bucket for passing $100K–just like the guys!
    11. I sent a thank you letter to the manager that fired me.
    12. I’m a USA Today Road Warrior.
    13. I won the big deal on Let’s Make a Deal … and when I got divorced, the big deal was no longer mine–he got it!
    14. I’ve been paid to speak in every state of the USA.
    15. I read a minimum of 50 books a year PLUS all the books that I shepherd.

  5. Candace Davenport

    Sorry to come late to the show, but looks like you need some more female input!

    1. I was a Brownie until I rolled my troop leader down a hill and got kicked out.
    2. I’ve owned 4 homes, although lost the last one a couple of years ago.
    3. My first car was a used Nash Rambler, puke green. I had to hang one of those pine tree air fresheners from the rear-view mirror because of the smell inside.
    4. The first time I sky-dived (long before they did tandem jumps), I went over backwards coming out of the plane, got my helmet hung up in the ropes, and eventually landed in a tree miles from the landing spot. The next time I went, I landed 12″ from the middle of the landing circle.
    5. Before kids and family, my best friend was my part husky, part wolf dog.
    6. I once was attacked by a drunk in a very small town in Bolvia because he was insulted that I was sitting out in front of everyone and reading and writing. My reaction? I was embarrassed that I didn’t think about the fact that there are a whole lot of people in this world who can’t read or write, and that doing so, and being a “girl”, I was flaunting the fact in this little town’s faces.
    7. My father was the third dentist in his family (his father, and his grandfather), but he died when I was 11, so I’ve never gotten to talk to him about what that was like.
    8. I was lawyer for over 30 years before waking up one morning and deciding that was it.
    9. I only became a lawyer because in my senior year of collage, I asked a friend what he was going to do and he said he was going to law school. He asked me the same question, and I said that going to law school sounded like a good idea, so maybe I’d do that too. Prior to that, I’d never even thought about it.
    10. I became a publisher because people told me I couldn’t print my book in the way I wanted it done.
    11. I don’t like being told I can’t do something.
    12. In my spare time, I capture and band migrating raptors just to be able to look in their eyes for 15 minutes and see the wildness and freedom in them.
    13. I love reading great blogs, of which this is one!

  6. Dwight Okita

    I’ll take a shot.

    1. I can’t whistle.
    2. In my 20s, I was on the cover of the Kelloggs Corn Flakes box dressed as a chef.
    3. My longest romantic relationships have lasted six months. But those months were very memorable! Don’t judge me. :)
    4. I had a great launch for my new debut novel The Prospect of My Arrival. 45 books were sold! I read three novel excerpts, some with musical underscoring. My great turnout was a combination of a Facebook events page and Evites. After the event, I sent photos of the book signing to both attendees and those who could NOT attend! Great idea to be attentive to non-attendees too. 50 attended. 150 did not. Potential book sales.
    5. I am a Nichiren Buddhist and I strive to chant on a daily basis. I don’t always succeed.
    6. When I was part of the HBO New Writers Project, I got to meet Pee Wee Herman in the lunch room in LA.
    7. From the 14th from of my hi-rise apt in Chicago — I can see the red circle logo of a nearby Target store. It makes me happy.
    8. In first grade, I wrote poems at the bottom of my compositions because I could not think linearly enough to write good stories. Today I write novels. I’m living proof that people CAN change.

  7. David Gaughran

    Oh, this is fun.

    1. I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a writer. I wasn’t one of those kids who wanted to be an astronaut or fireman.
    2. I “published” my first book when I was 10 or 11. I think it was a Western RPG that I typed up, then bound together, then never used.
    3. My hair started going gray when I was 21.
    4. I’ve lived in a lot of very strange places – Kosovo, Edmonton, Northern Peru, Bradford – it’s hard to explain, but could be the reason for (3).
    5. I used to work for Google.
    6. I don’t have any kids.
    7. I have never even applied for a driving license.
    8. I’ll eat anything except for cheese. That can make life complicated.
    9. My great grandmother was a published author. She wrote under a pseudonym. It was a family secret as it would have been a huge scandal at the time (rural Ireland). I’ve never been able to uncover any more details than that.
    10. I have a very sweet tooth. My grandmother and my aunt used to own sweet shops.

  8. Roger C. Parker

    1. I was a baby model for Clapp’s baby food, Keystone cameras, Lysol, etc. Johnny Carson frequently added captions to my photos.
    2. In college, I was going to be a college history teacher…until I discovered the fun of selling stereos in Harvard Square.
    3. In the 6th grade, I wrote a sequel to Moby Dick. Mr. MacQuade was impressed, and read it out loud to the class. But, Random House never called.
    4. I didn’t do too well in Industrial Arts class, when I got my clip-on tie caught in a lathe.
    5. Then, again in Industrial Arts, I dropped an awl, which landed facing straight up. Unfortunately, I reached for it without looking, and speared the palm of my hand. Both the teacher and school nurse were visibly shaken.
    6. In the 6th grade, My parents gave me a $25 check to pay for a visit to the local dentist. I came back with a $275.00 deposit for a music system for his waiting room.
    7. My first job out of college was as a Manpower temporary typist, which I converted into a cultural enrichment program taking kids from Boston poorest neighborhoods to the Boston Symphony concerts. Pete Seeger gave me over 100 tickets to take kids to a concert.
    8. I self-published my first book in 1978, a $99 3-ring binder with hundreds of forms for tracking retail co-operative advertising funds.
    9. Books, photography, writing, and music are as important to me as ever.
    10. Living in Vermont on top of the firehouse, I was a volunteer fireman and shoveled coal into a steam engine at Steamtown.
    Thanks, Joel…great idea.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Fantastic, Roger, thanks for participating, great stuff! You are a born entrepreneur.

  9. Jim Crigler

    I have a degree in music composition and 2 more in computer science.

  10. Alex

    1. At 54, I have yet to own a house.
    2. After getting laid off 10 years ago, I tried selling life and health insurance. I made just enough money not to be able to pay my bills.
    3. Afterwards, I spent five years as an over the road truck driver. Logged a million and a quarter miles total.
    4. I love to play chess.
    5. Fifteen years ago I had my adrenaline phase, I was heavily into skydiving and scuba.
    6. I’ve never owned or rode a Harley. Always been a crotch rocket man.
    7. I enjoy cooking for myself. Who needs a microwave.
    8. In high school, during the summers I was a short order cook in resort hotels. One summer I worked in a bakery overnight, baking fresh goods.
    9. In college, I studied chemistry. My almost 30 year career is software design and DBA.
    10. I love to workout. Health and physical fitness is a passion. It’s my reason to live.
    11. I’ve never smoked, and haven’t touched alcohol in twenty years. Why should I?
    12. I’ve been in every state multiple times with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and both Dakotas.
    13. My favorite countries I’ve visited are Hong Kong and Japan.
    14. I’ve never played golf, but my only time hitting a bucket of balls, I routinely averaged 200 – 250 yards per shot.
    15. Number 15 will remain hidden in the dark recesses with the other skeletons we all possess in the closet, and go with me to the grave. I’m not telling a soul.

  11. Joel Friedlander

    All I can say is that you people are awesome. Thanks to everyone who has participated or will participate, I’m really enjoying your lists!

  12. Sheila

    Okay, I’ll play along. I’m really enjoying everyone’s responses, and Joel, I really love your blog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    1. I hopped a train in college and rode with the sugar beets from San Luis Obispo down to Santa Maria.
    2. I once made a dress by laying some fabric down on the floor, laying on top of it, tracing out my body and then sewing the two sides together. It looked great! (Not!)
    3. I cut off everything but my bangs (about 20″ of hair) when my grandmother died. It made me look like Sinead O’Connor. With bangs.
    4. I haven’t had cable TV since 2000. And I really miss it, until I see it at someone else’s house.
    5. I read every single book that Louisa May Alcott wrote in 6th grade I wanted to be Jo in Little Women when I grew up. I would have preferred Beth, but she died.
    6. I’ve been landscaping our front yard for 10 years. Fortunately, I have patient neighbors. (Very patient and/or very polite.) It means I spend a lot of time weeding.
    7. I was once required to fire a friend from the art gallery I was managing because they missed their shift. I think I resigned over it, but now I’m wondering if it’s revisionist history. I know it pissed me off and I didn’t agree with it. But to quote Nora Ephron, “I remember nothing” anymore.
    8. My most famous relative is Sandra Day O’Connor. (Much removed.) Now if I could only do something to warrant being famous in my own right… Well, not really. Famous people are stuck answering a lot of boring questions, over and over and over. Unless you’re J.D. Salinger.
    9. My children are sixth generation Californian’s and I keep wondering if we should stay here, though I have a fondness for manzanita that keeps us anchored.
    10. My favorite philosophy is “Nothing Chanced, Nothing Gained.”
    11. I met my husband on BART on the way to an A’s game and sent him a letter essentially asking him to ask me out on a date.
    12. I proposed the first time and he said no because that wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen. So he asked me later.
    13. I collect ideas the way typographers collect perfume bottles and matchboxes.
    14. I love to read Business books, Fantasy/Sci Fi, Young Adult and Romance (which is my favorite genre). I used to hide in the bathroom and read romance novels for the first three years of my marriage because I didn’t want my husband to catch me reading “stupid books.” I finally embraced my romance reading and have been reading out in the open for the last 12 years. When I read the statistics about the romance buyers I finally stopped thinking that other people thought they were stupid. It’s the Billion dollar publishing industry elephant in the room. (But I’m not soapboxing or anything…*wink*)
    15. In high school, I once requested 32 articles from the Library system so that I could write a paper about Ayn Rand who I had admired because of We the Living and Atlas Shrugged until I read all the articles about her and then I didn’t want to write the paper anymore because she turned out to be such a jerk.
    (Bonus) 16. I was the only child in my family to not graduate with honors because I was having too much fun. ;)

  13. David Colin Carr

    1. On my 28th birthday (before I knew about Saturn returns, I quit my interior design career in Washington, DC and swore to never take a job that required a jacket and tie.
    2. On my 42nd birthday (halfway through the next Saturn return – when I did know about such things) I was a POSITIVE stripper as manager of a clothing optional hot springs resort (in northern California). Bow ties were optional in the dining room on Saturday night.
    3. I was fired from that job, as well an earlier one as a chef. Glad, in both cases. I’m too loyal to know when to get out.
    4. That was true of my first marriage as well.
    5. Mendocino County is the home of My Tribe. I owned a donut shop there (probably making the first organic whole wheat donuts on the planet – for which there was no market). I designed my own blend of Peet’s coffee which was shipped from Palo Alto in the days there were only three Peet’s on the planet and no outlet north of Marin County.
    6. I did have the good sense to leave that.
    7. I was immediately elected to the City Council, beating the landed Italian aristocracy mayor of 35 years with 106 votes to his 100. The times they were a changin’ (but I’ve noticed the transition isn’t over yet).
    8. 25 years ago I was fairly fluent in Nepali, though I’m hard pressed for occasions to use it, so it is withering away.
    9. I have never been so happy in my life since I walked away from a 14 year spiritual counseling training to be a full-time editor.
    10. I love the internal magic from which words come. I’m not at all attached to WHAT I’m writing, so I’m happy to take anyone’s idea and make it marvelous, vibrant and insightful.
    11. I have never seen Facebook or Twitter. There’s too much time devoted to having fun with my writing, supporting my clients and loving my friends and the vestiges of this fragile earth.
    12. I don’t have time to leave a full 15 things about me today.
    13. Joel, I think you’re a gas, as well as an extraordinary source of information.
    14. My fingers and my brain don’t always coordinate, and I hate proofreading, so I beg forgiveness – as I do with book readers, I trust YOU to understand my intention without the He Said She Said details.

  14. Sylvia Hubbard

    1. I was a girl scout
    2. I blew my shoulder out of place when I was 9 and my father didn’t take me to the hospital, but instead popped it back in place
    3. I can take my thumb and pull it down to lay flat on my wrist
    4. I have only one arm pit. the other was removed in 97
    5. i can type 90 words a minute without mistakes
    6. I can write backwards just as easily as I write forward
    7. I’ve never owed a house
    8. My first car was a 71 toyota hatchback when i was 22
    9. All my children have four names (sans the last name) with a minimum of 20 letters in the alphabet because I wanted an easy way to teach them the alphabet.
    10. I hate when people spit on the public sidewalk
    11. I’ve been taking fish oil since I was 35 to keep away the arthritis in my right wrist and elbow.
    12. Since I had arthritis in my right arm, i taught myself to use my left arm just as much, including writing sometimes. (working on signing my name the same way).
    13. I have over 500 dvds of movies and can’t stop buying them.
    14. I hate puzzles, sudoku
    15. my dad taught us how to drive when we were 11 because he wanted to be able to read his sunday school lesson on the way to church.

  15. Pete Morin

    I won a cooking competition. Out of 200 contestants, I was the only man.
    I stopped doing sudoku when I started writing fiction.
    I never buy cars new.
    No matter what I do, I can’t get my handicap to go up.
    I like driving on empty.
    If only computers in the world were PCs, I’d prefer a stone tablet and a chisel.

  16. Ryan Bradshaw

    Good list!

    [1] I am also an Eagle Scout
    [2] I worked for Wal-Mart for five years as an Assistant Manager
    [3] I currently work in higher education
    [4] I’m working on a doctorate of education degree
    [5] I’m writing my second book (with some wisdom I have learned hanging around here)
    [6] I have two daughters
    [7] I live in rural North Carolina
    [8] I like to play chess
    [9] I find typography and design appealing
    [10] I prefer Mac over PC (but pre-ordered a Kindle Fire)
    [11] I’m a news junkie
    [12] I enjoy reading your blog

  17. Michael N. Marcus

    (1) I once tried cooking spaghetti by putting a pound of spaghetti in a bathroom sink and running hot water over it.
    (2) For my fifth birthday, I went on the “Howdy Doody” TV show. Clarabell the clown took my handkerchief and put it in a zipper banana and made me cry.
    (3) I’ve been stuck between floors in two elevators.
    (4) I had the first Daniel Boone coonskin cap in New York.
    (5) I had the first Trimline phone in Connecticut.
    (6) I was thrown out of college when a dorm inspector found a payphone in my suitcase.
    (7) I now have both indoor and outdoor phone booths, a switchboard, a teletype machine, three parking meters, and several hundred commercial beer glasses.
    (8) I’ve met Paul Newman, James Earl Jones, Annette Funicello, Uri Geller, Neil Diamond’s father, Barbra Streisand’s brother-in-law (or maybe her cousin) and Robert Redford’s parents (who rescued me from one of the stuck elevators when they were visiting him in his office).
    (9) I moved from NY to CT twice.
    (10) I have a 1978 Fiat Spider (my fourth Fiat) and recently sold my 1974 Vespa scooter.
    (11) I was once the world’s fastest six-finger typist, but have regressed and now type with just two fingers, and make more mistakes than when I used six.
    (12) I decided to write a book in 1958 when I was in sixth grade, and published it in 2008.
    (13) Next month I expect to celebrate my 40th anniversary, but my wife has never seen my chin.
    (14) I modeled for a book about boys’ clothes when I was three years old.
    (15) When I was a teenager, my teeth were so good that a girlfriend’s mother accused me of having false teeth.
    (16) When I moved to NY after college, I was a magazine editor during the day and a moving man at night.
    (17) My “child” has four legs and poops on the lawn.
    (18) My fiancee (now wife) didn’t ask how much money I made before we got married in 1971. I was then getting $75 every two weeks for a column I wrote for Rolling Stone — but she had a real job.
    (19) I once got fired from a job as an advertising copywriter but did not tell my wife. In the morning, I’d get dressed and leave at the normal time, but took the elevator UP — not DOWN — and hid out in the roof garden of our apartment house until I got a new job.
    (20) I can do the backstroke backwards (moving feet first).
    (21) I can’t snap my fingers, or whistle properly.
    (23) I have never watched “Cheers” or “American Idol.” I watched “seinfeld” once, and hated it.
    (24) When I was in high school I taught myself to drive using only my left foot. In college, my right foot was badly injured while making a silly movie, but I was able to drive.
    (25) I went for my draft physical on crutches. I was rejected.

    More about my dubious achievements: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Children-Maybe-Theyre-Adults/dp/0981661750

  18. Wen Scott

    I’m allergic to peppers. :-D



  1. about me | The Clutter Book: When You Can't Let Go - [...] by Joel Friedlander (The Book Designer)’s post last week 15 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me  I humbly offer…

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