An Autobiography in 25 Bullet Points

I found this among my writing files, and thought it was an intriguing exercise. Here is the idea: summarize one’s life in 25 random thoughts.

1.)    I was born a Hoosier flatlander.

2.)    When I was a child, I had to wear braces on my legs, ala Forrest Gump. Later in life, I overcompensated by doing a lot of leg workouts. At age 20 I was basically the Hulk from the waist down and Bruce Banner from the waist up.

3.)    The nearest town to the farm where I grew up was called “Hamlet.” I assume the name was ironic, like “Village”, rather than named after my favorite Shakespearean play.

4.)    With respect to popularity, sadly, I peaked in elementary school. This was probably because it was Catholic School, and I was the least afraid of burning in hell.

5.)    I grew up on a county line that was also a time zone boundary for half the year (half, because one of the time zones did daylight savings time and the other didn’t.) All my attempts to create a space-time discontinuity by throwing things across the road proved unspectacular.

6.)    Owing to being on the very edge of this rural county, my bus ride to school was 25 miles and, I kid you not, involved a layover at an elementary school.

7.)    I was stationed at a military base adjacent to where one of the most famous UFO sightings in the world is said to have occurred. (RAF Woodbridge in Rendlesham Forest). It also had more ghost stories than any other place I’ve ever lived.

8.)    I attended bodyguard training, but never worked as a bodyguard. I discovered a mathematical relationship whereby the likelihood an individual would have a bodyguard was inversely proportional to my willingness to take a bullet for that person.

9.)    I’ve driven through Big Bone Lick, Kentucky and Gnaw Bone, Indiana- snickering the whole way.

10.) I have to be one of the most mathematically inept people with a graduate degree in Economics.

11.) I am also one of a disturbingly large number of Americans with a Master’s degree in International Relations who are not really conversationally fluent in a second language, though I know how to say “one more beer, please” in several languages.

12.) I would be a dog-person, but I’m a little too lazy for it. When visiting a pet store, I asked if there was a breed that could feed itself, bath itself, walk itself, and be left alone for a couple days with no ill effect (to the animal or the house). I was told “yes” while being handed a cat.

13.) I married a woman vastly smarter than myself, but if you say I said so I’ll deny it.

14.) I once flew to Mongolia for a one-and-a-half day conference. (More time in the air than in the conference by far.)

15.) In a couple decades of martial arts training, two of the hardest hits to the head I’ve sustained involved my own weapon careening off my skull. I almost passed out as a result of one of them.

16.) I don’t mind a blank sheet of paper. My strategy is to just start writing until something decent comes out. I mean, I go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, <em>ad</em> <em>infinitum</em> with a bunch of crap. I’m not really saying anything, but just being repetitive and saying the same thing over and over again. To reiterate, I sometimes repeat myself. Eventually, I find a groove and then erase the first couple paragraphs and rebuild the beginning.

17.) There was a time in my life – albeit a couple decades ago– when I would run 5 to 7 miles a day. No one would believe this about me today.

18.) I’ve had nom de plumes, but never a nom de guerre.

19.) I’ve been to both the CIA and the NSA Headquarters, and they both have a mundane institutional appearance unlike in the movies, but the CIA has some nice art and, of course, that huge marble seal in the main entryway.

20.) I’ve been to Machu Picchu, Tikal, Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Angkor, and countless less famous but similarly grandiose archeological sites, but, despite living in the Southeast, I’ve not been to Graceland, Dollywood, or any of the other redneck wonders of the world.

21.) I sometimes think that I have caught a continuity gaffe in my own life.

22.)  I have a book fetish, but I’m otherwise a suboptimal American consumer.

23.) I’ve eaten snake on a stick.

24.) I fill about 5 journals a year with random thoughts and ideas.

25.) I hope I have another 25 points worth of life left.

About B Gourley

Bernie Gourley is a writer living in Bangalore, India. His poetry collection, Poems of the Introverted Yogi is now available on Amazon. He teaches yoga, with a specialization in pranayama, and holds a RYT500 certification. For most of his adult life, he practiced martial arts, including: Kobudo, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, and Taiji. He is a world traveler, having visited more than 40 countries around the globe.
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