These are Joel’s “Seven Interesting Things.”

1. I can remember my first moment of consciousness. I was almost 3 and it was Christmas morning in Orofino. It was 1976 and Uncle Gary and Aunt Carolyn and their kids, and Grandpa and Grandma Andersen were there. Before I woke up that morning I did not exist (at least in my mind). I was aware of the fact that it was my first memory that day, and from that day on. It was sort of like being an alien that decided to inhabit a little boy’s body on Christmas morning, and then got amnesia and forgot he was an alien.

2. I had a brief flirtation with the criminal underworld in college when I went through a minor shoplifting phase. Sad thing is, I only stole deodorant and blank audio tapes (for mix tapes of course!). I don’t remember why I stopped and what my logic was for doing it, but I did almost get caught once (very close – like 5 more seconds and I was gonna be in the clink) and maybe that gave me a scare.

3. I never kissed my first girlfriend (Jenny D)…..ever. An important fact about this is that I was 17 and she was 16 or so. I actually asked before I tried to kiss her and she said no (I thought I was being a sensitive new-age guy and that that was what girls wanted). I found out later on that she was just curious how long she could hold out/stay strong. Talk about screwing with a guy’s head!!!

4. For a not-so-brief time in college, I was fairly sure that I was going to be the next Jesus Christ, or Dahli Lhama, or the next reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. When I would go to BBS’s (anybody remember those??) on the internet I would use the username “Messiah”. And people would ask me heavy questions and I would wax philosophic. It was actually a great way to meet a wide variety of people online without trying.

5. I once went power walking with a girl from Georgia in my freshman year of college because I thought she was hot, and I thought it would get my foot in the door. You know – power walking – where you walk real fast but keep your upper body stiff, and your hips have to waggle?? It’s like running, but you have to have a foot on the ground at all times. Now, mind you, I was full-bore into my skuzzy hippy phase. She made me get really into it: “Pump your arms more!” and stuff like that. I can still remember the horrid shame as we walked past a frat house and she waved and said hello to all the guys (I think she was a pledge with a sorority). The things you’ll do for chicks!!

6. In college, Maria and I used to go to this bar called the Lumberjack with friends so that we could country swing-dance. The catch was that this bar was literally in the middle of nowhere. You had to drive out of town for 30 or more minutes and start up towards Lolo Pass (Orofino’s on the other side of the pass). At some point you turned off the road and took a dirt road a mile or two into the trees and all of a sudden there was this little cabin/bar. It was actually kind of fun because it was only scary local backwoods logging people with a lousy house band, but there was no one to criticize your dancing (they were all way to drunk when we got there). This place had chainsaws, axes, saws, raccoons, and deer and bear heads, the whole shebang. I remember one time a guy got the house band to let his girlfriend / wife sing “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. It was awful, but you could tell it made her night. I did have to dance with a really drunk (I mean really drunk) bar floozy one time. Only problem was that I had only danced with Maria up to that point, and was really used to “close” dancing where you get pretty “friendly” with your partner, so I think I showed the lady a way better time than she was expecting. 😉

7. Sometimes, when I’m particularly tired of Maria, I like to peruse online dating sites to see what’s out there, and what I’m missing. Only problem is, the answer is always: Not Much. Oh sure, there are the 18-year-old perky blonds who are looking for a “friend”, but that’s a little creepy, even for me. In Muskegon, anybody over 20 generally comes with a complimentary offspring unit, as well as two carry-ons and a duffel bag full of issues. It’s actually quite interesting from a sociological perspective to see what people will say in their quest to find a mate. To be fair, I look at the guy’s listing too, which are way different than the women’s. The one piece of advice I’d give to women who are considering putting a profile on one of these sites is: Never, ever, ever use the terms “Prince Charming” or “knight in shining armor” or “soul mate”. Seriously, what guy wants to have to live up to that kind of expectation right out of the gate. It screams “I’m needy, have self-esteem issues, and I still have dolls on my bed.” Plus, the ones that use those terms usually look like they’d be lucky if they ended up with the village blacksmith. J

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