Here’s your assignment for today: Come up with 10 accomplishments/achievements/elements from your life that, when combined, makes you unique to every other person in the world.
- For a series of newspaper stories, I attended several services at a snake-handling church in southern West Virginia. Of particular interest was one elder who had been bitten (mostly in the fingers) more than 100 times. Members refuse medical attention when a rattler gets the best of them.
- I have trotted two marathons (26.2 miles).
- I can do 18 chin-ups in three minutes.
- I can juggle an eight-pound bowling ball, a basketball and a golf ball.
- I helped late entertainer Tiny Tim find his missing bottle of hair spray. We talked in his motel room an hour or so before he was to appear in a traveling circus.
- After the concert, singer Willie Nelson showed me around his tour bus. Dream-catchers of various descriptions hung on the walls of his bedroom.
- I had a pistol pulled on me while covering a United Mine Workers strike.
- The New York Times gave a favorable review to a book I wrote about coaching kids’ baseball.
- For a column, I walked a guy’s pet lion.
- I sold several jokes to Joan Rivers.
As a bonus, here are 10 more:
- I interviewed a black man from Greenwood, Miss., who covered the murder trial of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicago youngster whose violent death in 1955, many believe, gave birth to the civil rights movement. Because of his skin color, he had to sit in the “Colored” section of the courtroom.
- For a story, I jumped from an airplane. I will never do so again. If I wasn’t in pretty good shape, I would have broken my back.
- I bench-pressed 225 pounds during a weight-lifting contest.
- For a story, I batted off Bob Feller. The Hall of Fame pitcher made the rounds of minor-league ballparks in the ’70s. I only hit one ball out of the infield.
- In 1974, I became the second guy in my Army Reserve outfit to wear a short-hair wig to weekend meetings.
- I own a 16-pound shot put. Before we moved to the condo, I tossed it regularly in our back yard, taking special aim at mole holes.
- In 1973, I lived in a boarding house that had one telephone in the hall. The place was all I could afford on my $100-a-week salary.
- For a few columns (and for fun), I organized an over-45 baseball team. We played against all-star teams of 14-year-olds and won as many games as we lost. Because it was my idea, I got to pitch.
- I worked with an arsonist of a copy desk editor. He set a fire in the press room as a diversion so he could steal from the employees’ lunch sacks.
- I gave the late Sam Snead a ride to the golf course in my broken-down Chevy Monza. He said he didn’t want to take his Caddy because “I don’t want to waste my gas.”
Originally published on Medium.
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