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Earlier in the week there was talk about something called a ‘Versatile Blogger Award,’ but when I informed the Academy in Stockholm that I wasn’t actually a blogger and the Omphalos Cafe wasn’t actually a blog it was revoked.

However, I did tell them when they were handing out awards for PR men and web masters for Internet refuges, oases, sanctuaries, or Holy Chapels, I would appreciate being considered for the honor.

It did get me thinking that perhaps I should fatten up the ‘about’ page of this site, if only to help readers get a better idea of who it is that is sharing the Omphalos with them. And yet, in spite of what follows, I stand by the assertion that the Cafe is not really about me at all, but about something so exceedingly difficult to nail down–indeed perhaps when all is said and done impossible–that I can only shake my head in wonder at the fool-hardiness of the enterprise…. Life.

So without further ado here are seven things about me you probably didn’t know. In putting together the list I was reminded of a line from Kurt Vonnegut’s classic, Slaughterhouse Five. It is the story of a life lived in random sequence, due to the protagonist Billy Pilgrim being abducted by aliens bent on studying a specimen of the human race. At some point, bouncing back and forth in time and space, it dawns on him that “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” Well put Kurt.

  1. I drive a truck in and around Calgary, Alberta, for a rendering company–what used to be called the glue factory. It’s a messy smelly job, but I like to think I help people feel good about their jobs. “Oh no, it’s stinky!” I often hear. But I just think “I’ve finally found a job I can sink my teeth into.” And “one man’s stench is another man’s perfume.” Two vignettes from the life of a deadstocker: “Hey buddy, I can’t take this one, it’s not dead yet.” “Oh, sorry, I’ll go get the rifle.” And another time, “Maybe we should chase it up on the truck before you shoot it.” Ongoing maggot count: 12,734,992 and climbing. The thing is, I like my job.
  2. I worked at a cemetery through summers while in high school, landscaping and yes, digging graves when the opportunity arose. I remember a time when–the supervisor furious with the funeral home for not giving enough notice of an impending burial– we dug three quarters of a hole and then left it unfinished for several hours until the people arrived with the casket, at which time we jumped in and dug away while the poor grieving crowd stood waiting beneath a burning sun. Afterwards the funeral director slipped us each a twenty for our sweaty effort. Oh ya, I brought flowers from a gravesite once to give to a gal on her birthday. No wonder I remained largely single until the tender age of 39.
  3. I demonstrated early prophetic genius in my high school graduation yearbook, quoting from sources long forgotten: “Dirty books are never dusty,” and more impressively, “The ladder of success is easier climbed when laid flat.”
  4. Following from number three, I am a three time university dropout. Engineering, in my last year, due to discovering books; Liberal Arts, due to a trip to New York and the realization that what I needed to learn wasn’t in the classroom; and an English Literature correspondence program, due to the first five minutes of the introductory cassette.
  5. Once, and alcohol was definitely a factor, a flowery-tongued representative of the fairer sex jokingly referred to me as a ” cunt-eyed bastard.” (See summation of number 2.)
  6. While working the overnight shift at the Montreal General Hospital I singlehandedly scoured down the operating room after what I was told was the first double lung transplant in Canadian history. Picture a medium sized room filled with all the technological marvels of modern surgery, throw four or five inches of wadded gauze and other garbage on the floor, and then place a revolving lawn sprinkler hooked up to a pressurized blood hose in the centre and you have some idea.
  7. Working in a Toronto antique market I once tried to sell Brian Adams an expensive silk Turkish rug. “Hear the show last night was terrific” I told him. I hadn’t heard and he didn’t buy.
  8. I’ve sat naked atop a rocky peaked Quebec mountain to greet the rising sun. No one joined me to see a fast setting full moon as I dived into a sheltering bush.
  9. Cessnas ain’t my thing. Flying with a friend I have vomited on two occasions, one of which sans airsickness bag.
  10. This one’s rather comical given some of the above. I passed out cold watching re-enactments of workplace accidents during a work safe seminar. What a wimp.
  11. I have a hard time following silly, arbitrary rules such as lists to seven and not ten or even eleven.

So there you have it. Special thanks to Miss Demure Restraint at missdemurerestraint.wordpress.com for inspiring the post.