100 Things You Should Know About Pj: The Conclusion

In case you missed the first three entries 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. And I’m either disclosing enough to not ruin my future political aspirations with closet skeletons or disclosing too much and demolishing those hopes. Either way, here’s the long-anticipated final 25 in our rundown…

  1. I played Frank N. Furter in a Rocky Horror Picture Show troupe at the movie theater I managed during high school. I’m not particularly proud of it now, but at the time, that was like being King of the Freaks.
  2. I also auditioned for the role of Frank N. Furter in a live performance of Rocky Horror that was being organized for the 20th or 25th anniversary celebration, but I get really self-conscious about my voice when it is unaccompanied, so I didn’t sing strongly enough to get the part.
  3. I asked a girl I dated for a while after high school why when we hung out once during high school she wouldn’t kiss me. She told me it was because my breath was bad. I’m not sure to this day if she was being brutally honest or dryly sarcastic. Sadly, I think it was the former.
  4. In the middle part of high school, my bedroom walls comprised posters of Guns N’ Roses and The Black Crowes and strings of Christmas lights … and my bed featured Disney-themed sheets. WTF?
  5. I’ve worn corrective lenses since about fifth grade for nearsightedness. I wore big, ugly glasses for the first five years or so, but got contacts right before my sophomore year of high school and have worn them ever since (for the most part). But I kinda think I look better in glasses. Or at least, smarter.
  6. In 2004, I wrote, directed and played a small part in a one-performance play called “With the Band.” It was about domestic violence and created for UNLV’s Men Rebelling Against Violence expo.
  7. I do not have a MySpace account. My band does have a MySpace that I help moderate. I used to be on MySpace but very abruptly and publicly deleted it in early 2006, in a disconnect I wrote about in the Las Vegas Weekly.
  8. 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.
  9. In elementary school, I would rub out those big pink erasers, collect the shavings, and try to sell them to kids. And sometimes, they would buy them. Kids are stupid.
  10. One time during elementary school, I brought a mixture of baking soda and sugar wrapped in tin foil to school, intending to sell it as cocaine. I think I got $5 for it. Wow, I was a f*cked up kid.
  11. When I worked at the Torrey Pines Discount Cinema in high school, we showed a lot of gang culture movies and cult midnight movies, which means there was a lot of marijuana smoking going on just about all the time. On more than one occasion, I would find dime bags dropped on the floor of the theaters. Even though I didn’t usually smoke out, I did stash a collection in my bedroom, and I think I sold one bag for … $5. Things didn’t change much since elementary school.
  12. At Torrey Pines we hosted a screening of one of the “House Party” movies. When Kid (of Kid ‘n’ Play) came to the theater, I got him a Coke while he hung out in my office.
  13. Leaving the studios of a local rock station after picking up a contest prize one day, I walked past Brett Michaels of Poison.
  14. Once when I was 5, a family friend was staying with my family at our duplex in Philadelphia. I went down to the basement one morning and saw him dicing up a white substance. He told me it was aspirin. It took me quite a few years before I realized it was cocaine. Hey, it was the ’80s.
  15. Something odd happened to me when I was 6 that has pervasively bothered me for 25-plus years. My recollection is vague, but I think I was hanging out at this girl’s house, and I wanted to leave for some reason, so much that I bolted out of there and onto my Big Wheel. A couple of other kids were holding onto it so I couldn’t get away, but eventually I did and sped home. To this day, I have no idea what or why. Even at 6 I was having paranoid delusions. Great.
  16. I adopted the “Pj” name (born Paul Joseph) when I was 14, but it took my family moving across the country for me to be able to start over with a clean slate to get buy-in from people on that. My extended family (whom I’ve seen once in 20 years) still calls me “Paul,” but my parents have settled for “Peej.”
  17. I’m a huge Billy Joel fan, in a totally un-ironic way. I could pretty much listen to his music ad nauseum, and own much of his late-70s and early-80s output on vinyl.
  18. Toward the tail end of high school, I was so obsessed with Jim Morrison, people pretty much started calling me “Jim.” I had approximated as many of his mannerisms as I could, in addition to adopting the hairstyle and clothing (down to the custom-fit leather pants and a beaded necklace I modeled after the “Young Lion” photos).
  19. In an 8th grade art class, I painted a visual representation of the Led Zeppelin song “Battle of Evermore.” It was pretty terrible, and is probably the reason I never again attempted to paint anything.
  20. Also in 8th grade, I decided to start publishing a school paper because there was none at my middle school. I did the layouts with a school computer — I think — and had either my parents or one of my teachers photocopy it. I published maybe two or three issues only, mostly focusing on school gossip and sports results. The vice principal caught wind of it and actually thanked me in the hall one day. I guess my destiny to work in journalism was fixed at a young age.
  21. A few years later, when I was a sophomore in high school, I started a neighborhood publication along similar lines. It was a weekly, photocopied newsletter, basically a gossip rag for my friends and the kids in my neighborhood, like who was dating whom and other dirty laundry. That lasted maybe a month.
  22. My first professionally published article was in Scope Magazine, a local alternative newspaper that eventually became the Las Vegas Weekly, in 1993. I was 16. According to its publisher (and now friend) James Reza, I got paid for it, though I never received the check. To this day, I still bug him about it, to either his amusement or annoyance.
  23. In fourth or fifth grade, I fell backward off a block wall after some kids fighting accidentally pushed into me. It was about a 6-to-8-foot drop, and I landed right on my head. It knocked me unconscious, and when I woke up, I was in a wheelchair in the nurse’s office. I never got checked for anything serious, but I’m pretty sure you can thank any of my nonsense today on that incident. My brains are scrambled.
  24. I’ve only had one cavity my entire life, and that was in a baby tooth on its way out anyway.
  25. Though I’ve had a lot of break-ups in my life, almost all of them have been amicable, and I’m still friends with almost everyone I’ve ever dated. For better or worse. 😉

If you’re STILL hungering for more access to the annals of Pj, you could ask me an anonymous question on Formspring for all the world to see.

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