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Monday, February 16, 2009

Tommy Kim's "25 Things About Me" List

Tommy Kim is a writer living in Southern California. With his permission, I'm re-posting his "25 Random Things About Me" list from Facebook.

The writer, Tommy Kim
1) The greatest gift my mom gave me was a phone call on my birthday. She was grilling lamb chops with my step dad on a beach in Tel Aviv, just hours after they finished moving. I was sitting at my cubicle in Los Angeles. My mom asked me to wait and I could hear her giggling with my step dad. She held the phone out into the open air, and all I heard was static. She then said, "You hear that? That's the ocean.”

2) I sauté vegetables in the stance of a fencer, one leg in a deep knee bend, the other leg stretched out behind me, then I toss the vegetables by wrenching the pan with one hand, the other hand, with my index finger extended, pointed at the ceiling.

3) I love writing when it is still dark outside and the sun is rising. The corner where I work begins to fill with light, and my coffee tastes absolutely delicious.

4) My first date with Jill was a date, not a meeting. Is this random? No, but a fact.

5) The proudest moment of my life was when I watched Christine, my little cousin, eat the Spaghetti Carbonara she made. It was the first meal she made using a stove.

6) When I worked at Blockbuster, I used to crawl into the video drop off bin to scare the living shite out of the customers. Once, a boy ran up to the bin and slid in a video, which I summarily ejected at his chest, and he screamed, and through the slit of the bin, I could see his mother in the van laughing hysterically.

7) The shortest email I have ever written went like this: "no."

8) From an early age, I learned the role of violence in deepening one's love for their sibling. At age 11, when I lived with my cousin, who was more like a brother than a cousin, we had a push up contest. I decided he cheated. He called me a so and so. I threw dirt at his face. He punched me in the eye. I love him tremendously.

9) According to my mom, ever since I was old enough to coordinate my fingers and grab objects, which was probably around age one, I folded the thick part of the pillowcase into a sharp corner, and I would rub my finger on it. I still do this before I go to sleep.

10) I steal my dad's clothing. I’m 31 and I still go into his drawers and steal his shirts and wear them out constantly, proudly, telling everyone around me that this is my dad’s shirt.

11) When I was coaching youth hockey, I once tried to discipline the kids for goofing off during practice and lined them up to do ladders. They began cheering.

12) Whenever my mom or I dream of my grandmother, we call each other, trading details as if they were baseball cards, what she was wearing, what she was saying, who she was with, jealous if either of us actually got to speak with her.

13) In a night of drunken abandon, I ran across a piazza in Riomaggiore, toward the edge of a cliff, then hopped over the railing and grabbed on as tightly as I could, hanging over the rocks and waves a hundred feet below. A crowd of old Italian men ran to me and pulled me over, angrier than hell. My friends were pissed and did not speak to me that night.

14) I have a fascination with fire escapes. I take photographs of fire escapes. New York was fantastic.

15) You see me full speed throwing myself on the ice, tumbling and spinning on my back like a demented beetle, Theo Fleury style? I want to build my life around those moments. Not Wayne Gretzky, not Sid the kid, not even Pavel Bure. Short, crazy, mouthy, unbelievable Theo Fleury. I have been told I over romanticize. I think, instead, I just try to feel as much as Theo Fleury.

16) I’m impressionable and crave attention. During our middle school D.A.R.E. session, when two high school students came to our class to talk about drugs, I raised my hand to ask a question. The class giggled in anticipation, and after Scott Folsom asked me to, I did it. I asked, “Did you guys have sex?” Officer Tom escorted me out of class and had me sit by the door.

17) I am shy and a social gimp. At gatherings, I need something in my hand. My hands are my most obvious tell that I’m nervous.

18) I have been ridiculed for buying Go-Bots instead of Transformers. This ridicule continues to this day.

19) In high school I used to slick my hair back into a glossy, shellac, spending twenty minutes gelling, they spraying, then blow drying until my head became top-heavy and I was faint from the fumes. When the products cooled and dried, I could feel my scalp tightening, and my eyebrows arching.

20) When I miss my family I go to Koreatown Galleria and eat lunch downstairs in the food court, placing myself in between the most teeming and chaotic families, their shouts and laughing making it real nice.

21) I once wore the same black polo shirt to work for two straight weeks. Nobody noticed.

22) My uncle organized two family gangs amongst the cousins, the oldest two pitted
against the youngest two. I was in the younger crew. On my 10th birthday, the older
cousins secretly sprayed rat poison over the barbeque drumsticks my dad had grilled.
Then we found our own poison and sprayed their drumsticks. A brawl ensued. My dad
kicked us out of the house.

23) I bought non-prescription glasses in the sixth grade so I would look handsome.

24) One afternoon I shot a hockey puck five hundred times and suffered from tennis elbow afterward. Dogged, stupid, painful. That’s the formula.

25) My sense of smell has the strongest attachment to my emotional memory, which is probably why I always sniff things, like bottle caps and warm couches. I sniff things, terrified of endings.