In case you missed the first entry in this series, here’s a quick recap: I’m rolling out 100 things about me that are either interesting, odd or otherwise notable. Some of these things are public knowledge, but a number of them will likely take you by surprise. Hell, they’ve taken me by surprise. Here’s the next 25 in our rundown:
- I smoked cigarettes regularly from age 15 to 22.
- I stopped consuming caffeine in January, 2005. I’ve only had a caffeinated beverage purposely a few times since then, for “emergency” situations such as ridiculous deadlines.
- For a long while, I suffered from sleep apnea, which is only mildly odd, because it’s usually tied into obesity, and I’m of medium build and exercise regularly. I had a few violent episodes waking in the middle of the night gasping for air, but mostly, my symptoms included falling asleep during the day, everywhere: in meetings, at my desk, driving, on the toilet, etc. Perhaps not coincidentally, it went away after two things changed in my life: I stopped drinking caffeine, and I got divorced.
- I have been a vegetarian in some capacity for more than a decade. At the end of high school, I stopped eating red meat and pork. On my 21st birthday, I gave up poultry and fish. I went back to eating small amounts of chicken, turkey and fish at 22, but by 24 or 25, I was completely vegetarian. I tried going vegan (no eggs or dairy) for about six months, but damn it, I love pizza. Early in 2008, I started eating fish again.
- My biological father died when I was 18. My only regret is that he did not live to see me perform music, because I think he would have liked that.
When I was about 9, I began to write and draw my own comic books (at first, just one-page strips). I continued to write and draw comics in that self-created “universe” until I was 15, and the one-page format evolved into six-to-10 monthly titles ranging from about 12-to-20-pages each. I still have them all, somewhere.
- Ninety-nine percent of my wardrobe comes in blue, gray, black or white. I actually copped that approach to clothing from a friend of mine about a dozen years ago, and to this day, I rarely buy anything outside of those parameters.
- I do not own, nor will I wear, polo shirts.
- I’ve had a one-night stand only once, when I was 18. My car was broken down at the time, so one of my friends actually drove this girl and me to my house that night. I found out later that he had slept with her the night before. Not surprisingly, she later became a stripper.
- For a short period during high school, I started off each morning with vodka in my coffee.
- I don’t understand why people have to choose hard, fast opinions on things such as abortion. Is it not possible to be against abortion personally but for choice? I am.
- When I was 10, I sliced the bottom of my left foot open wading in a lake in Southern California. I needed five stitches. To this day, if I even think about it (like right now!) or if I view anything particularly gory, I get a twinge in that same foot.
- I have a 3- or 4-inch black, three-ring binder that contains hundreds of notes written between a high school girlfriend and myself. I haven’t looked at them in years (I don’t really know where they are), but I’d imagine it would be a good snapshot of my life from the period between January 1992 and April 1993.
- Though I was born in Southern California and spent the last 18 years in Las Vegas, I was raised in Philadelphia for nine years total. I don’t have a prominent accent, except when I say the words “orange” or “hilarious.”
- If I talk to someone with a Southern accent too long, I start speaking in one as well. Which makes no sense, as I’m as Yankee as they come.
- I somewhat regret cutting off my hair the last time it was long, because it’s unlikely I can ever grow it back to that length.
- My birth name is the same as my grandfather’s. I remember my step-grandmother calling him “Pj” sometimes when I was a kid, which might have subconsciously informed my decision to scrap my full name at 14.
- It’s “Pj” — capital “P,” lowercase “j.” No dots, no spaces.
- I don’t know my blood type, and until about six months ago, I cannot think of the last time I went to a doctor.
- I’ve only taken antibiotics once in my life (that I can recall), when I had my wisdom teeth removed at 26 or 27.
- When I was 7 or 8, I thought my bike got stolen from the mall during one of my many summer day visits with my friend Michael. I freaked out for about half an hour and called my parents from a pay phone before I realized I was just looking at the bike rack on the WRONG SIDE of the department store.
When I was 17, I thought my car was stolen from a street-side parking spot while I was at a Stone Temple Pilots concert at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts. My friend Ryan and I walked back from the venue to the street where I thought I left my car. Turns out it WAS on that street, but the road followed in a circle, and I was parked on the parallel, same-named street around the curve.
- This is fully going to ruin my street cred, but I’ve never been in a real fight. Closest: I got into a pushing contest with this fat kid Joe in elementary school that was quickly broken up (and we became friends thereafter); I backhanded this kid Dave on the school bus in high school (and we became friends later); I got sucker punched outside my girlfriend’s apartment during high school by her drunken ex-boyfriend (we DEFINITELY did not become friends ever).
- When I was 16, I worked as the shopping cart wrangler at a mega-sized drug store called Phar-Mor. I spent most of my shifts hanging outside the store, talking to the security guard and hitting on girls. For some reason, when I started working there, a rumor started that I was an ex-con. I did not start it.
- I got stopped more than once in high school by school police to make sure I belonged on campus. Not sure why.