Random Facts About Dave

I understand that some people are curious about the person behind the blog. When I read a new blog myself for the first time, I am invariably drawn to the “About” page to learn more about the blogger. If you have the same neurosis, here are 99 random facts about me.

  1. About 1I was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1962.
  2. I’m a Scorpio and was born in the Year of the Tiger.
  3. My personality type is INFJ.
  4. I’m 185 centimeters (6’1”) tall and about 84 kilograms (185 pounds) in weight.
  5. I have a mild addiction to cookies and chocolate.
  6. I was baptized in one of the Protestant faiths as a baby. And then I got myself baptized Catholic in my teens to impress a girlfriend, after which she promptly broke up with me.
  7. I’ve always struggled with religion and spirituality. But when I watched Star Wars and The Force was explained, I had an ‘aha’ moment.
  8. The first novel I read was The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. I was eight (8) years old. The second novel I read was Old Yeller, by Fred Gibson. It was the first (but not the last) time I was so moved by a story that I wept. I was still eight years old.
  9. It was my grade school librarian who noticed I was bored and disengaged, and who handed me a copy of The Incredible Journey. In a soothing, caring voice, she said, “Try reading this. I have a feeling that you’ll like it.” She was exactly right. I spent the next eight years staring out of my classroom window, planning adventures.
  10. My ancestry is German, Irish, and Scottish, and maybe a few others. I understand there was quite a bit of infidelity along my family line, so who knows?
  11. My claim to fame: I was conceived in the backseat of a ’57 Chev at the drive-in theatre on the night that my teenaged mother first became a woman. (It’s not true, but it’s what I’ve been telling people for years. Not sure why. It’s more closely associated with my sister’s story.)
  12. What I like about myself: I’m optimistic with a can-do attitude. And I have a great sense of humour (I think).
  13. Boyhood dreams: To become an astronaut; to become an oceanographer; to become a zoologist; to become a paleontologist; to be a professional hockey player; to marry Olivia Newton-John; and to be a time traveller.
  14. What I learned from my mother: The love of a good book; how to think on paper; courage and perseverance; how to pretend to be sleeping
  15. What I learned from my father: The love of exploration; how to be a good father; how to skip a rock, throw a football, fry an egg, tie my shoelaces, play marbles, and how to identify the female body parts from a Playboy photo. (Clitoris? No, son, that’s the navel.)
  16. What I like to do on a cold, rainy day: Curl up with a good book and a cup of spicy tea (good, actually, on any day)
  17. I had a debilitating streak of shyness as a boy. I also suffered from childhood asthma, which I outgrew by the age of 13. My natural talent in soccer led me to be the Captain of my high school and university teams, which gave me confidence to overcome my shyness.
  18. I had a twenty-year military career in the Canadian Armed Forces, starting out as a Private in the Signals Branch and retiring as a Major in the Health Services. I wore an Army uniform.
  19. My final assignment in the military was as the Commanding Officer of 22 Health Services Centre in Cold Lake, Alberta. Cold Lake is an air force base.
  20. I played for the Canadian military national soccer team and competed in the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) world championship in Rome, Italy in 1995. We lost all three games we played.
  21. While in Rome, I received a personal blessing from Pope John Paul II. He did not deliver the blessing in English, so I’m not exactly sure what he said to me.
  22. I have two undergrad degrees from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario: a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts. I also have a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Alberta. The degrees themselves are rolled up in a mailing tube because they don’t mean anything to anyone except human resources hiring professionals. The joy was always just in the learning. I discovered early on that no one cares what you know or what you’ve done – they only care about how you make them feel.
  23. I had a 68 percent average in high school, which is about a 1.3 GPA. But in university, I had a 4.0 GPA. I was the top student in my Masters Program. Go figure.
  24. I have a nomadic nature. I lived in 54 different places in my first 53 years of life.
  25. In the True Colors personality profile, I’m equally orange and green.
  26. According to one test, my top five strengths are gratitude; citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty; curiosity and interest in the world; forgiveness and mercy; and kindness and generosity.
  27. According to another test, my signature themes are relator, futuristic, responsibility, strategic, and focus.
  28. I’m a minimalist. Owning stuff stresses me out.
  29. I’m happy with less. When I was a boy, my sister was angry with me and took away my toys. I amused myself with an elastic band. My sister noticed how much fun I was having with it and took the elastic band away from me too.
  30. I don’t watch television, and haven’t since 2014.
  31. I haven’t had any cola or other types of soda since 2014.
  32. I sometimes time myself to see how long it takes to do the Jumble in the newspaper. My fastest time is 33 seconds. My average time is about 90 seconds. The anagrams come easy to me, but I don’t know why. The letters just unscramble in my mind, like magic.
  33. I feel like I am average in most things – driving, love-making, cooking, etc. But I excel in bringing out the best in others, which has contributed more than anything else to what most people consider my professional success.
  34. The professional skills I’m best at are the ones I hate to use the most.
  35. I’m driven more by duty than by passion, which probably explains why I have been dissatisfied with much of my professional career.
  36. I’m happiest when I’m working for a cause, even if duty supersedes passion.
  37. My top five core values, in order, are freedom, respect, honesty, creativity, daring, and independence. Hmm, I guess that would be six core values, not five.
  38. If I could have any superpower, it would be to communicate with anyone in his/her own language. That means I would be able to communicate fluently in about 6,500 languages. (But when friends ask me, I say that my superhero persona is Tedium Man – I swoop into the crime scene and start talking to the bank robbers, who promptly fall asleep at the sound of my voice.)
  39. I have travelled extensively and have discovered that the most romantic city in the world, with the most romantic people, is not where most people would think. It’s Quebec City, right here in my home country of Canada.
  40. I’ve been a vegetarian (ovo-lacto) since 1991.
  41. I once saw a wild albino mule in the hills above Death Valley.
  42. The longest relationship I have sustained, outside the ones with my immediate family, has been with the National Geographic Society. I have been a member since 1986.
  43. One of my happiest afternoons was when I dressed up as Santa and gave out gifts to seniors suffering from dementia.
  44. While on maneuvers with the military, I once went without sleep for more than 50 hours. My body felt strong, but the vertical plane between my nose and the top of my head was a dense fog. Concentration was virtually impossible. Although it was freaky, I’m glad I had the experience.
  45. I once anticipated a car crash about ten seconds before it happened. I knew it couldn’t be avoided, so I just stopped my car and let the vehicle crash into me. Injuries were minor – my daughter bit her tongue and drew blood.
  46. One of the things I like to do when I’m alone is to dance to Frank Sinatra music while holding (and occasionally sipping) a glass of wine.
  47. When I was a boy, perhaps eight years old, I turned my closet into a spaceship. I taped maps of Mars and the Moon to my wall and often ate my lunch in my spaceship. On a scrap of paper, I drew up plans to build a proper spaceship, which I estimated would cost $300 to build.
  48. I took Judo lessons for a year when I was seven years old. Ten years later, I was attacked by a student in high school. I threw the student to the ground and held him there using Judo moves. For some reason, deep-seeded memory perhaps, the moves came back to me.
  49. I was living in Germany when the German national soccer team won the World Cup in 1990 and when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. It was a great time to be among the Germans.
  50. I was 15 when I went on my first date. One of the girls from the popular crowd asked me to the Sadie Hawkins dance. My friends all told me that she had only asked me to the dance because I was Captain of the soccer team. I didn’t believe them. But we weren’t at the dance for more than a half-hour before she headed off into the bleachers, kissing another boy. Sigh.
  51. I kissed a girl for the first time a year later when I was 16 years old. I almost fainted from the anxiety of it.
  52. I sometimes speak with a cartoon voice in front of my closest friends and family. My daughter likes it in private, but scolds me when I use it in public.
  53. For seven years, I played for an old-timers soccer team called the Irish Nomads. It’s ironic because I have Irish blood in me and I’m nomadic by nature.
  54. Because of the nature of my career, I have occasionally found myself alone with a dead body. It’s something that one gets used to.
  55. One of my goals is to see Halley’s Comet again. The last time I saw it was in 1986. The Comet’s next visit is in 2061. I will be 99 years old.
  56. As an officer in the Canadian military, I took a one-day etiquette course. I now know what all the utensils are for and in what order they are to be laid out on the table.
  57. I once touched the Stanley Cup.
  58. I caught a foul ball at a Toronto Blue Jays game in the Sky Dome.
  59. I don’t like to gamble money. I’ve only been to a casino once (in Halifax) and lost $40 in about 15 minutes. So I left, went to a pub, ordered some beer, and listened to some live east coast music, which was money better spent.
  60. In university, I dressed up as a woman for Halloween and won the costume contest.
  61. I can juggle and do a few magic tricks.
  62. My first car was an old Mercedes. I called her ‘Betsy’. She was in rough shape, but she served me well for a few years.
  63. My favourite foods are avocados and blueberries, which I eat almost every day.
  64. I can handle live blues music in small doses. But I’m drawn to the blues jams because they draw such an eclectic and fascinating crowd.
  65. I love reading. I read about 7-8 books per month. Until recently, if I started reading a book, I would finish it, even if I wasn’t enjoying it. Now that I’m using the library almost exclusively, I’m more comfortable putting aside a book I’m not enjoying.
  66. I used to be mildly addicted to watching porn on the Internet, but then I gave it up cold turkey because I thought I was wasting my life away. I also suspected watching porn was adversely affecting my ability to enjoy an intimate relationship with someone I cared about. If nothing else, I’ve been much more productive since giving it up. I’m just thankful that porn wasn’t easily available while I was going through puberty. Otherwise, I’d still be trying to graduate from high school.
  67. I sleep best on an air mattress in a tent in the Canadian Rockies. I still only sleep about six hours, but I feel completely rested afterward.
  68. I’m a big supporter of local vendors. You will never see me at McDonalds; if I eat out, it will be at a locally owned and operated restaurant, even if it’s a shithole. I like to see profits stay in the community.
  69. In small doses, I can drink most types of alcohol, except for Peppermint Schnapps. In university, a coed roommate and I got drunk on the stuff, we both vomited, and then we started kissing. Now I can’t even stand the smell of Peppermint Schnapps. Although chewing peppermint gum doesn’t seem to bother me.
  70. I don’t like to be in the spotlight. It makes me uncomfortable. I like the light to shine on my team.
  71. I don’t have any tattoos or piercings, although I like them in moderation on other people.
  72. I’m not fond of dogs, despite that there are a few I’ve really come to adore. My daughter was injured by a ‘friendly’ dog when she was a toddler and I’ve been looking for my revenge ever since.
  73. I can comfortably sit still longer than anyone I know. Which is why I suspect people think I’m patient.
  74. I’ve noticed that when I get greedy, it almost always backfires on me.
  75. I believe I manifested the sale of my condo by using a tree as an antenna to send my sales intention out to the universe. The same technique helped me to get a job in the same city in which my new girlfriend lived.
  76. I have an Albert Einstein bobblehead on my desk. Sometimes I’ll ask him if he thinks I’m heading in the right direction on something. If I don’t shake the table, he neither nods nor shakes his head. For a genius, he really isn’t much help.
  77. One of my favourite solo activities is to go to a coffee shop, read a book, and listen to other people’s conversations.
  78. When people ask me why I retired from work at such a young age, I tell them I needed to so that I can finish reading War and Peace before I die. I get a laugh about 50% of the time.
  79. I never sell my things when I’m ready to dispose of them. When I buy something, I know that when I’m ready to give it up, I’m going to donate it. I have donated two cars so far. The only time this rule doesn’t apply is when I’m finished living in a property I own. In that case, I sell the property. I guess my philosophies do not always have universal applications.
  80. I think I have a great sense of humour, but most people don’t laugh at my jokes.   They are more likely to look confused. Those that do laugh tend to be quirky and become long-term friends.
  81. One of the qualities I want to work on is humility. Not just the outward display of humility, but to actually feel it within myself.
  82. My favourite place to hang out on my own is the library.
  83. I went three years without watching or listening to the news. I wanted to see if my own world was as scary as the media made it out to be. It wasn’t. I roamed the streets without fear, and the people in my world were generally happy and respectful.
  84. I worry about my employees much more than they would guess.
  85. I get energized by mountains, deserts, and seashores. Also by solitude and optimistic people.
  86. I’ve earned an executive salary for years, but have lived on minimum wage.
  87. As a result, I don’t fit in with my executive colleague tribe. Nor do I fit in with the bohemian crowd to which I am most attracted. I talk like an executive, but I live like a bohemian. My romantic partners tend to be “quirky intellectual” by nature. “Quirky intellectual” might be my tribe. Hard to find members, though.
  88. Even if I’m full, I’m still going to eat that last piece of food on my plate.
  89. I don’t feel that I am the least bit mechanically inclined. And yet, when I got my first flat tire in the middle of winter, I had absolutely no problem changing it.
  90. My favourite word in the English language is ‘squirrel’. I love how the word rolls around my tongue. (Bet you just said the word to see how it feels in your mouth. Hehe.)
  91. I ran two marathons, both in 3 hours 40 minutes, or so, and walked 100 kilometers in 17 hours.
  92. Not only have I visited all ten provinces of Canada, but I’ve also been bitten by a mosquito in each one of them. (Not the same mosquito, different ones)
  93. I have never smoked. Except for that first drag of a cigarette that caused me to vomit repeatedly to the point of dry heaves, much to the enjoyment of my friends who were trying to introduce me to the habit.
  94. I’m a morning person. My energy drops in the early afternoon for a couple of hours, so I tend not to book meetings and new employee interviews during that time.
  95. I don’t like surprises, unless you produce chocolate from your sleeve like a magician. The worst thing you could do for me on my birthday is throw a surprise party.
  96. I’ve gone to two fortune tellers in my life. They both told me I am an old soul. One of them told me that the Hindus would call me a ‘Descended Master’. Neither of them could understand why I came back to the physical plane, unless it was to help people. I’m not sure I want that kind of responsibility.
  97. My spirit animal is the snowy owl. I’ve only seen two of them in my life, and both times when I was in the saddest of states.
  98. I am a happy person with a narrow band of emotion. I’m never ecstatic about anything, and I never get down about anything. Although learning of the death of my girlfriend dropped me to the floor, where I curled up in the fetal position for a few hours.
  99. I have some crooked teeth, yet many people have told me I have a nice smile. I ask them for the names of their oculists so that I never use them.