The 25 things

You’ve probably seen it on Facebook, but I did a 25 things list today.

It was surprisingly fun.

At the risk of offending my friends, here it is:

1. I was born with a genetic quirk that resulted in me having two normal kneecaps, and two smaller ones as well.

2. I almost drowned twice before I was 10. My cousin pulled me out of a pool when I was four and my dad fetched me out of the Pee Dee River when I was seven or eight.

3. I spent a large amount of my childhood in my room, either reading the set of encyclopedia or playing video games. The rest was spent riding around Dillon and Marion counties with George, Jamie and Amy.

4. I’ve been in two fist fights with my dad, whom I still respect and admire. That has nothing to do with the fact that he won both scuffles…

5. I had two dates to the junior prom, skipped my senior prom (and the one in Mullins) and then ended up coming to the prom the year after I left high school.

6. On the day I took my unofficial visit to Gardner-Webb, it snowed in Boiling Springs and there was sleet and ice the whole way back to Marion. A three-hour trip took closer to seven after I had to take a road-closure detour and endure three different 360 spins in my little Mustang. I survived, and took it as a sign.

7. Most people used Senior Cut day in high school to go to the beach or maybe to the river. I used it to watch the ACC Tournament.

8. I once spent a summer riding a bike seven miles one way to see a girl about five times a week. I was in much better shape back then.

9. As far as I know, me and my doubles partner own the only tennis win over a team from Myrtle Beach for Marion in the last 25 years. Serves them right for sending the “B” team.

10. The day I left Marion for college, my family left for a beach vacation. Carrie and her parents went with me to my new home in Boiling Springs. She was always there for me.

11. The day I met my college roommate, he said, “Marshall?” Which led me to say, “Jesse?” You all know us better as Frank and Randy…

12. I walked on to the tennis team at GWU, started and got beat down a lot as a freshman, stayed on the team as a sophomore, got named captain as a junior – and then had to quit to complete my course work in four years.

13. Yet in spite of all that running, weight lifting and tennis, the “freshman 15” was more like the freshman 30 for me.

14. I had a crush on a girl in my incoming class at GWU for two years. We dated for a year and then she broke up with me to be with the man who’s now her husband. It worked out well for both of us, but it was the first of two times in my life I’ve had my heart broken.

15. I spent the next year angry at the female gender, except for my friend Jenny, who took an interest in me despite my bitterness. I did date some, which helped me meet my future wife.

16. I dated a girl at Winthrop who just happened to be the roommate of one Shanna Byrd. She’s from Dillon, and was a friend of friends, and for the first eight months of our accquaintance we spent 90 percent of that time being as nasty to each other as possible.

17. In December of our senior year, Frank took me to Hardee’s and told me his girlfriend was pregnant. He cried. I had no idea what to say. It’s hazy, but I think I told him it would be OK and that she could come live with us. She did, and aside from some serious arguments over the thermostat, it worked out fine. They got married in February, 1998, in the mountains of N.C. and that baby is now big enough to be dropping 20 in recreation basketball games. Their little girl’s cute, too.

18. Shanna showed up at my college graduation dressed to kill in the hopes of impressing a former boyfriend whom she thought would be in attendance. He wasn’t (whew). It was that day at the LYCC, after recovering from a mild case of whiplash, that a plan was hatched.

I was smitten, but unfortunately, my seven or eight months of ridicule and abuse hadn’t gone unnoticed. That, and the fact that I had dated her friend, were working against me. After several unsuccessful attempts, I made her a deal. “Go with me on one date, and if you don’t have a good time, I’ll never ask you out again.”

She agreed. We went to the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach in late May of 1998 to watch “Better Than Ezra” and then walked on the beach. I got a goodnight kiss when I dropped her off in Sellers. The rest is history.

19. We got married on January 22, 2000. You all remember it for the seven inches of snow that fell in Marion or the foot or so that was dumped on Western N.C. We remember it as a terrible experience, complete with running out of food, waiting forever to get pitcures and, two hours after it was over, cleaning the church before going on our “honeymoon.”

20. The first three days of our marriage included: Her diamond falling out of her ring, a three-hour drive from the beach to Marion through all the snow and me losing my ring behind the car lot in the aforementioned white stuff.

21. We had our baby boy, Ethan, on February, 11 2002. I cried. A lot. It was the best day of my life.

22. A few years later, my wife and I were told that our perfect little boy may never talk and may very well be mentally retarded. We both cried. A lot. It was the second time in my life that my heart got broken.

23. Turns out he has Autism. It’s not much fun at parties, but the not talking and mentally retarded things? Not so much. He’s an amazing little boy who surprises me often. In fact, he’s probably one of the most interesting people I know. And he talks. Non. Stop.

24. I waited five years to join a fantasy football league, which now includes 11 of my best friends. It was well worth the trouble.

25. I walk around with soccer songs in my head. Right now, there’s this one, sung to the tune of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” about Chelsea winger Saloman Kalou:

He comes from the Ivory Coast, Kalou, Kalou…
He came on late against Man U, Man U
When Anelka missed, Kalou stepped up
They played like crap but never gave up!
That’s why we love Salomon Kalou!

Hey, I never said I was normal…

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