Several people tagged me to fill out this 25 Things survey going around. I wrote down twenty-five random things about my first seven years. At some point, I'll go back and make lists about the following years for my own amusement, and may eventually post them somewhere. Who knows? Anyway.
1. I share my birthday (February 24, 1986) with my sister (February 24, 1988). I was born some weeks early, and she was born some weeks late, or so I’m told. I think my parents probably just want to remain humble about their impeccable timing. Either way, it hasn’t been that horrible an ordeal sharing the fateful day. Rebecca knows her place.
2. I was born during a blizzard. En route to the hospital, my dad serenaded my mother with a soulful rendition of “(You’re) Havin’ My Baby” by Paul Anka. She claims that she was not amused at the time, though that was probably because I ended up taking my sweet time being born. If you’ve ever had to wake me up in the morning, it will not surprise you to learn that my mother was in labor for sixteen hours. Oops.
3. Had I been a girl, my name would have been Jessica.
4. My sister and I had a Peruvian nanny. As such, my first word was apparently in Spanish. As far as my mother remembers, it was “casa.” My Spanish nowadays? Lame. I can count to ten, just like everyone else in the entire world, but that’s about it.
5. I was indoctrinated into the beauty and wonder of television at an early age. My first crush was reportedly Wheel Of Fortune's Vanna White, and my first pick-up line was reportedly, “Ooh, Vanna; I would like to buy a vowel!” Also, for a short time at the age of two, I ceased being Matthew Scarborough and somehow became Mr. Rogers. Like you do.
6. I was playing with a toy piano one day, and I randomly started picking out the melody to Sesame Street. I turned to my grandmother in frustration, and said, “It doesn’t go high enough!” when I reached a part of the melody that went past the range of the keyboard. She told my mother to give me piano lessons when I got older.
7. My mother (and my eventual stepfather) worked at PBS, and I actually had the opportunity to meet various personalities throughout the years (Bob McGrath from Sesame Street, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, the Kratt Brothers from Kratt’s Creatures, Bill Nye the Science Guy, etc.), thanks to her connections. It was great to meet some of them. Others, not so much.
8. The first movie that I ever saw in theaters was The Little Mermaid. It was awesome. Ursula, one of the finest Disney villains ever, should have scared me to death, but I was actually more frightened by Ariel’s father when he went crazy and destroyed all of her stuff. You always expect the villain to be villainous, but it’s pretty unsettling when your parent is the one being a colossal douche bag.
9. My parents divorced when I was three years old. It sucked royally. To their credit, however, they managed to both maintain mutual respect and put me and my sister first. They are both happily married to my lovely step-parents. It rocks. In fourth grade, I came to a student/parent night with all four parents, and my teacher said, “Why, Matt, you have an entourage!” The rest is history.
10. My father lived in Missouri for a time after said divorce. He would send books and tape recordings of himself reading said books to my sister and me. He did them so well that I sometimes forgot I was speaking to a cassette and not him.
11. I saw a therapist for a short time after the divorce. The last portion of each session consisted of retiring to her playroom, where there were more toys than I could shake a stick at. I’d always gravitate towards the dollhouse and its nuclear family. Fancy that.
12. I played video games for the first time at age three. My aforementioned Peruvian nanny’s two boys had a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis; my first two video game experiences were Super Mario World and Michael Jackson: Moonwalker. Illustrious, no? I was a Michael Jackson fan a couple of years later, thanks to simply remembering the Genesis’ sub-par approximation of “Smooth Criminal.”
13. The first politician I remember knowing the name of was Ronald Reagan. I was amused that he had the same first name as Ronald McDonald.
14. My second, non-Peruvian nanny, had a lovely front yard that I occasionally ran around for long periods of time without ever getting winded. I demonstrated this to my mother once, but have never again demonstrated that kind of stamina. Also, a little girl was out in this front yard with me one day, and her gum, or candy, or something, fell out of her mouth. For some ridiculous reason, I thought it was her tongue. My reaction was something along the lines of, “Holy mother of god! Why did your tongue just fall out?!”
15. To some extent or another, I’ve always felt more comfortable around unfamiliar adults than unfamiliar peers. This was at a peak on the first day of Kindergarten, where I was petrified at the notion of having to spend a full morning with billions of children I’d never met.
16. The first love of my life was a fellow Kindergartner named Allison. To me, she was an angel, and I apparently serenaded her on occasion in class, though never loudly enough that she’d actually hear me singing. She later bent one of my fingers backward and snapped a kaleidoscope of mine in half. Yep. She was kind of a bitch.
17. My most paralyzing fear at this point was of extremely loud noises. The most common culprits were fire alarms and, curiously, toilets in public restrooms, which I swear must have been amplified. As a result, I hated fire drills with a fiery (har har) passion, and avoided public restrooms like the plague.
18. In a Kindergarten production of The Gingerbread Man, I had the privilege of playing the fox. At the end of the play, I licked my lips as an ad-lib, and the audience loved it.
19. I was one of the first kids in my first-grade class who had the opportunity to use the new classroom computer. My turn was supposed to last only five minutes. I somehow managed to stay on for at least fifteen or twenty.
20. My first best friend was Taylor Compton; we were in the same first and second-grade classes, and we were inseparable thanks to our similar oddball senses of humor and our mutual love for the Ninja Turtles, the Power Rangers, and various other hot trends. The friendship waned after I moved away; I haven’t spoken to him since sixth or seventh grade, though I’m sure he’s probably on Facebook.
21. I got my first tape recorder at age seven. I put a blank tape inside, hit record, said a few random things, and played it back. Upon first hearing my recorded voice, I had the bizarre sensation that I was hearing myself over the intercom of a large, empty warehouse. My tape recorder could also record the signal from its built-in radio, so I’d switch back and forth between the radio stations and myself, providing running commentary on various songs and talk shows. Yep, I was God’s gift to comedy.
22. One year at summer camp, there was a counselor named C.J., whose forte was dunking campers underwater in the swimming pool. Most of the other campers loved it, so it admittedly must have been difficult for him to understand that I did not. The following week, I ended up dunking a friend of mine underwater, though it was consensual. A lifeguard saw it happen, though, and blew his whistle. Instead of hearing him out, I pretended I hadn’t heard the whistle, or dunked anyone underwater, or done anything wrong at all. Nothing to see here, lifeguard. Move along. Clearly, this was one of my finer moments.
23. I somehow stumbled upon the ability to click my tongue around this age, and I was immensely happy as a result. I also realized I could roll my eyes. It looked weird.
24. I played on a soccer team for one season in second grade. I sucked, but the rest of my team wasn’t much better, so it was cool. We won two games, lost two games, and tied one game.
25. I had various recurring nightmares like every other kid. Some of these recurred so often, however, that I’d be able to tell that I was dreaming; I’d then be able to wake myself up before the truly scary part happened. ‘Twas fun. I did also have one particular good dream a number of times. I dreamed that I was parachuting out of an airplane, and it felt amazingly realistic (my stomach felt the same sensation as I did in real life when I rode a roller coaster). This dream was surprisingly peaceful, even though I’m afraid of heights. Go figure.