Saturday, January 20, 2007

Five things you perhaps do not know about me

The memes keep coming. Liam, who announced on his list that he is getting married (congrats to him), has tagged me for the Five things you perhaps do not know about me meme. So here goes...

1. I was a wrestler in High School. Grrrr. Not as long, though, as I would have liked to have been. I was one of those "woulda been, coulda been, shoulda been" kind of stories. My coach was very high on me but my parents hated the fact that I was dieting and working out for hours in a rubber suit in order to cut my weight down to 114 lbs for every match. When I pulled a ligament in my shoulder, they put their foot down and that was pretty much it for my wrestling career. Thirty years later that shoulder still bothers me if I don't exercise it... Freestyle wrestling might look boring to some viewers, but it is intense and exhausting. It's about as demanding and complete a sport as there is. To be any good at all you need strength, speed, quickness, agility, endurance, intelligence, a high tolerance for pain, self-motivation, determination, aggressiveness, and guts. The best wrestlers have 'em all in spades.

2. Like Liam, I enjoy acting too. I'm one of those shy and quiet people who tends to come alive on stage. In this photo I'm playing Nathan Detroit (center) in Guys and Dolls. I've been in somewhat avante garde plays like The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard and The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco, but I've been in far more musical productions even though I can't sing for beans. I just moxied my way through them and tended to stick to character roles. Someday I'd like to get back into it... maybe when the kids are a bit older. I've always wanted to do a Shakespeare play, maybe I'll take a shot at that.

Playing the John the Baptist/Judas Iscariot role in Godspell. I've played this role in Godspell in three different productions. My friend Joe played Jesus in all three of them. What does that tell ya? I'm always the heavy.. . In this particular production I needed to open the number Prepare Ye (The Way of the Lord) with a trumpet blast on the shofar, but I could never figure out how to get a proper sound out of that thing. I sort of "tooted" through it instead. It sounded ridiculous. I'd say it was the most embarassing moment of my life, but you know, there have been so many, so many other incidents that can compete for that...

3. I despise seafood. I hate fish, of all kinds. That goes for clams, mussels, lobster, shrimp, scallops, and anything else that comes out of the ocean. If it's from the sea, it ain't for me. When Anne and I went to Nantucket together for the first time so that I could meet her family, she told me on the boat on the way over that she had reminded her mother that I didn't like fish, and that her mother was preparing a chicken plate for me while everyone else was going to be eating fish for dinner. When I got there, her mother plopped a great big scaly, silvery-grayish plate of grilled bluefish right down in front of me. Anne and her brothers grinned at me wickedly. I ate it with zest and a smile. It might have been the best acting performance of my life. Oh, the things we do for love. I even laughed at her father's Italian jokes over dinner, and I was very gracious several hours later when he belatedly decided it might be a good idea to ask me if I was part Italian (I am).

4. I am an internationally renowned Torero... shown here executing a flawless kneeling veronica at the Plaza de Toros in Ronda, Spain.
Well, no, I'm not a bullfighter, just a bullslinger. The most intimidating creature I faced in Ronda was a large beetle I unexpectedly encountered in a sandwich. I have been to Spain (twice), Ireland (twice), Portugal, Italy, and England. Within the U.S., however, I have never been south of Alexandria, Virginia. Outside of airports, I have never been west of Darlington, Wisconsin (unless you count Hawaii). On this continent, I have never been north of Parry Sound, Ontario.

I am a member of Zeta Beta Tau (Delta Omega Chapter). ZBT is a non-sectarian social fraternity. I still know my Greek alphabet forwards and backwards. ZBT's motto - "A Powerhouse of Excellence". I didn't keep up with much of this stuff after college, although my brothers and I still do use the handshake when we run into each other. Look here to see who some of my extended brothers are.

By the way... all of those pictures of me with the dark hair? I don't look like that anymore. I've gone completely gray... you might even say white. I'm just an old guy now doing the Dad thing. :-)

I'm not sure who's still reading here... I'll tag Paula (even though she's still working Crystal's tag for another meme) and the Francsican lads - Minor Friar, Don, and Rashfriar.


crystal said...

Wow, Jeff - you're talented. I've never acted in a play.

I had a boyfriend once who wrestled, and it's just as you said - he wrried all the time about how much he weighed, how much he was working out, etc.

I don't like fish either (to eat). When I lived in Bermuda as a kid, my stepfather and his brother would take us fishing, and make fish a lot for dinner ... ugh!

I'm glad we were tagged with this meme - I'm learning so much about everyone ... did you read that Liam shot a guy in Reno, just to watch him die? And here I'd thought he was a serious "consistent ethic of life" kind of Catholic! :-)

cowboyangel said...

Jeff, I'm sure WWF would be a much more interesting place if you had been able to particiapte. Any ideas on names for yourself?

I didn't realize you acted in musicals! I'm envious. Musicals, wrestling - your appreciation for Gene Kelly becomes clearer. (Not that anyone needs a reason to appreciate the great Gene Kelly. But I can see why you like his athleticism. He probably would've been an excellent wrestler.)

Now you just need to find some musicals about wrestling and bullfighting and you'll be all set.

I loved the Godspell movie as a kid. I had the soundtrack and can still remember many of the songs, including "Prepare Ye the Way." My favorites were "Light of the World" and "All for the Best." Ironically, I don't think I've ever seen the play.

I would like to have done some amateur bullfighting in Spain. Never got that chance.

Crystal, I think Liam killed the guy over a woman - Mae West. And he's threatened to kill me a couple of times. Not over a woman - sadly -but because I didn't like Pirates of the Caribbean as much as he did. He's a violent, violent man. But the biggest sinners sometimes make the greatest saints.

Steve Bogner said...

Wow, what an eclectic & talented guy! My brothers wrestled in high school, and they taught me how to do it too but I was never on the team. It is a great sport though.

Jeff said...

Hi Crystal,

Talented? I don't know about that. :-) I've been in a few plays and musicals, but whether or not I had any talent at all I'd have to leave to the discretion of the audiences.

Glad to meet another person who doesn't enjoy fish. People usually hear that I'm from New England and are incredulous that I'm not an avid consumer of cod and lobster. Let me tell you, for years and years Fridays during Lent were a real ordeal for me. A real penitential rite.

Liam and the guy in Reno? Hey, who knows? Maybe the guy had it coming to him. :-)

Jeff said...


A WWF nickname.... I've never really thought about it. I'm stumped. I'll leave it to you guys to make one up for me. In college my nickname was "Slope-man", because of my dead-on perfect imitation of Robert Duval as Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now. I used to tell girls who asked about it at parties that it was because of my skiing abilities.

I guess I do like Kelly better because of his athleticism, although I hear Astaire was a much nicer guy and easier to work with. There were some African-American guys who were contemporaries of theirs who were just phenomenal dancers, but they never got the same recognition. I'll have to figure that out and look them up on YouTube. Do you know who they were?

All for the Best is a really great number in Godspell. I had to sing the fast lyrics in that song - "Some men are born to live as ease, doing what they please..." As hard as it was to enunciate, the real hard part was to get it all out on a few breaths with any volume at all. Joe and I worked out some really neat choreography with that number using canes and a little Marx Brothers routine in the bridge. We can still do it without a hitch, we rehearsed it so much.

You wanted to try amateur bullfighting? My Spanish teacher in High School showed me a picture of him trying that once, and being tossed about six feet in the air. Did you try the running of the bulls in Pamplona?

Hmmm. Wrestling, musical theater and bullfighting. It occurs to me that if it wasn't for all these kids, I might have a hard time convincing people that I'm straight.

Jeff said...

Hey Steve,

How are you? Wrestling is a great sport, and I think brothers have a lot to do with it. I think the reason I felt easy about taking it up was from grappling and getting tossed about all the time from my big brother, who was six years older than me. I have a nice scar at the top of my forehead from being tossed into a radiator from when we were acting out the rumble scene from West Side Story... Jets vs. Sharks. Ouch.

Jeff said...


I'm thinking of the Nicholas Brothers... Here and here.

Liam said...

Okay, let me make this clear. I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. That's the only reason.

I did some musicals in high school, but singing and dancing has never (sigh) been a forte of mine. I was never really into Godspell, I was more a Jesus Christ Superstar kind of guy. Is that like a cat people/dog people or Mets/Yankees dichotomy?

If we ever form an elite team of crime-fighters, you're in charge of either wrestling the bad guys down to the ground or dazzling them with your dancing.

BTW, how do you get through Lent without liking fish?

Jeff said...

Hi Liam,

I was more a Jesus Christ Superstar kind of guy. Is that like a cat people/dog people or Mets/Yankees dichotomy?

I like the original soundtrack with Ian Gillian from Deep Purple. :-) They're both pretty dated, but 'Superstar' especially so, even though it's a great score.... "What's the buzz tell me what's a happenin' what's the buzz, tell me what's happenin'... yeah, wha's happenin'?" :-) Rather shaky theology too. Godspell is pretty straight out of the Gospel of Matthew.

As for Lent, I abstain from meat but I don't punish myself with fish. When I was a kid it was torturous. As I recall it, I don't think it was just Lent either. I think it was fish almost every Friday.

Paula said...

Wow, impressing.:-). Well Jeff, I will do your meme first. Crytal´s meme still gives me headaches.:-). That´s why I postponed it for the weekend.

Jeff said...

Hi Paula!

It's good to see you again. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.