I’m not sure where to start. “I was born a poor black child…”1 WHUMP! [That’s the sound of my dad rolling over in his grave.] Okay, I was not born poor or black and there is some disagreement about being a child (or rather: my outgrowing it).
Despite a multifaceted nature, I am definitely what you see is what you get. No hidden agendas. No having to guess what’s on my mind. I am wide open. Usually TOO wide open if you ask my wife, Melinda. You probably don’t have the decades it would take to explore the wonder that is me, so let’s cut to the bullet points (besides, I’ll probably be selling the autobiography on Amazon in a few years).
- There are two kinds of people in this world: Indiana Jones and people that watch the frigging movie. I don’t want to sit and watch the movie. I want to raid the damned tomb!
- (From my sort-of adopted mom), “There are two kinds of people in this world: People who love Paul and people who hate Paul. The beauty of it is: Paul doesn’t give a shit which one you are!“
- (From my sort-of adopted dad), “Paul, I worry about you dying. I’m afraid you can’t get into Heaven and Hell’s afraid you’ll take over.“
Like a large (fat, blond) diamond, I am relatively transparent, but with a number of seemingly opposing sides. Some of these contrasts are best exemplified in my variety of interests and hobbies.
Paintball – a very alpha male, mondo-aggressive team sport that allows even non-athletes like myself to excel at hunting, tracking down, and shooting human beings. Not exactly curling, but hey! Playing well is like a strategic game of chess where you get to shoot the other player if he screws up.
- Writing – the polar opposite of paintball, writing is a solitary hobby that allows me to create mental movies, inspire readers to think, and to evoke emotional responses, all without resulting in paintball welts! Oh well, nothing’s perfect. It is however, simultaneously challenging, relaxing, stressful and rewarding.
- Motorcycle Riding – epitomizes contrast; a potentially dangerous, wholly physical action demanding focus and concentration that can allow the rider to find peace, think and relax. Another study in contrasts, motorcycling is more fun in a group, but the action itself is a solitary activity that can allow for deep introspection or mindless meditation, while acutely monitoring your surroundings.
- Drawing – since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I loved to draw people. Trained as a commercial artist, I lean toward the superhero, comic book genre. In later years, I leaned more toward writing because I could use words to allow the reader to create their own pictures (in their minds). But the artistic side of me will always be present. Maybe when I retire… yeah, like that will happen!
- Small Arms Target Shooting – practicing with a pistol is both cathartic and develops a skill that could be handy in the real world (assuming an armed invasion of the Nakotomi Plaza or a zombie apocalypse). Shooting is also an act of creation. I try to create as many holes in a target as close together as I can.
- Reading – typically while holding the dog in my lap. Reading allows for escape. A good book makes you think; feel; re-evaluate. A good dog makes you feel needed; accepted; comfortable.
- White Water Rafting – actually fun-yakking2. The opposite of reading, rafting is completely physical, but still emotionally rewarding on the adventurous level. Fun-yakking is a solitary experience like kayaking, but more fun with others at your side.
- Travel – typically to a blue watered, sun-drenched island in the Caribbean with a number of good books at the beach or pool punctuated by an occasional Sea-Trek, B.O.B.3, para-sailing, Segway, or ATV adventure.
- Poker – a solitary Casino sport that pits you against, not the House, but other players. Success is based on your dexterity in assessing your opponent’s ability, psychological state, physiological responses combined with mathematical skills and gaming theory. An intellectual challenge with the immediate gratification reward of winning money from other players.
- Opinionated – on some things I have extremely strong views. On many, I don’t know enough to have an opinion. On most, I just don’t care enough. The trick is to guess which one applies.
- The King of Nice – I earned this title due to my overtly social nature. I am a people person. Granted, only about 6 people. The trick is again to guess which six. If you make the short list, you can be assured that: you are a Not-Stupid (I don’t suffer morons and it’s amazing what percentage of the universe they take up.); and I will have your back against incalculable odds [assuming you are in the right]. Oh. And I am not big into the Hugging thing. Even the King of Nice has his limits.
- Hot Tempered – one of the few things I inherited from Lynn4. I have fought against this most of my life, but in the last few years, have come to realize that limited bursts of anger are not necessarily Evil, as long as there is a legitimate basis for it and they don’t cause irreparable damage. Anger is just another emotion and some situations warrant a more extreme response. It’s proof of life and full range of emotions of a complete person. People without a complete range of human emotions are somewhat stunted, limited, and slightly crippled.
- Brief – my outbursts are usually short and once expelled, I tend to move on quickly. Life is too short to stay pissed off. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t forget. I just catalog it and get back to enjoying life.
- Explosive, but Non-Violent – I don’t believe in striking another human in anger. (there a plenty of other GOOD reasons to do it, but anger isn’t one of them.) I am not above punching a wall and have slapped a desk or two into submission, but never a person.
- Non-Personal – except for Stupid People, I usually don’t get mad at a specific person. It’s usually inanimate objects (computer cables tangling is WAY at the top of the list) or corporate stupidity (Customer Service is NOT optional!). I don’t typically get mad at specific people. I do occasionally pity them for a fraction of a moment, then erase them from my memory banks. Hey! I only have so much room in this melon, no point in cluttering it up with the undeserving.
- Twisted – Having a sense of humor about life is crucial. No one gets off this planet alive. Not even baby seal puppies.