16 Things

Back in the olden days of Facebook, when there were fewer ads but more weird poking, you might have found yourself besieged by people demanding that you write and publish 16 Random Things About Yourself.  (The number soon went up to 25.  Inflation was bad in those days.)  Because I often do what I'm told, I complied, and this is how it turned out:1. I’ve marched on Washington. Not by myself but with crowds of other people. It was a vibrant and exhilarating lesson in my complete and utter powerlessness. The experience did a lot to drive my later accomplishments in political paralysis. So now I write plays about politics, which is kind of like trying to cure diseases through puppetry.2. I’ve met Jason Priestley. It was neither a highlight nor a lowlight. But I also met Jonathan Richman in a Denny’s late at night, and that was pretty cool. I’ve never met David Strathairn but he and I kept turning up in the same places in NYC over the course of one weekend and I like to think he thought I was stalking him.Brandon-brandon-walsh-4284706-260-4003. I don’t get what’s so great about TV On The Radio. But I’m tentatively willing to accept that it might just be me. I also don’t understand manga but I’m tentatively willing to consider that it might be because I’m old. I also don’t like Dave Matthews or Dane Cook, though, and in those cases I’m confident: it’s them, it’s all on them. It’s all on you, suckas!4. My infatuation with Tina Fey dates back to October 2000, but there is nothing cool or advantageous about being ahead of the curve in vicarious crushes. It’s not like buying Microsoft stock early. It doesn’t reflect positively on your character or judgment in any way. It’s just one more thing to feel secretly smug about. Unless you also once had a thing for, say, Alyssa Milano, in which case the Tina Fey thing isn’t so much anticipating the zeitgeist as it is a sign that you probably have lots of crushes.5. Someone recently asked me to name a time when I had an exhilarating or transcendent experience in the theater--not interesting or engaging or smart or provocative but just really transporting--and it took me two days to think of something. I think this is theater’s problem, not mine. (The examples I finally thought of involved Caryl Churchill and Mary Zimmerman. Both were also moments without any words.)6. I’m co-author of a novel that’s been translated into Russian and Portuguese and has been read worldwide by literally tens of people.7. Perhaps one of the most distinctive features about parenting is that it’s one of the quickest and most efficient ways to become really judgmental of others. I’d say that’s probably one of my greatest strengths as a parent.8. Once I was in the audience at one of my plays and at intermission the women in front of me turned around and said “Excuse me, sir? Do you have any idea what this play’s about?”9. In the struggle between who I really am and who I want people on Facebook to think I am, the latter always wins. It’s not even much of a fight, really. The real me puts up only token resistance. That’s why my profile makes it look like my tastes are remarkably similar to those of Pitchfork’s staff writers, and not so much like I’m someone who turns up the car radio when Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” comes on. Which I don’t. Yes, I do. No I really don’t and I can learn to love TV On The Radio. You see what I’m saying?10. I’ll probably never feel confident using the words “inchoate” or “synecdoche.”11. I’m more ticklish than any grownup person ought to be. It’s an absurd and apparently incurable condition. And possibly inchoate.12. When I was a kid I thought Three’s Company was a supreme human achievement in the field of comedy. Turns out I was wrong. Also: M*A*S*H isn’t as good as you remember.13. My first job out of college was as a file clerk. Second job was putting up Christmas trees in a department store. Third was operating a lathe in a factory. Go to college, kids!14. Two things I miss doing: drawing a daily comic strip, and improv/sketch comedy. Something I don’t miss doing: putting up Christmas trees in a department store.15. I recently played The Man In The Yellow Hat in a local TV commercial. It was not a good look for me. But no experience is wasted: knowing this should save me some coin on hats. And on yellow.16. There are literally only 15 random things about me.