Facebook has gone crazy with an exercise in which users pen 25 things about themselves. It’s the sort of narcissism that non-Facebook users cite when dismissing Facebook, but I’ve learned intimate, deep, and entertaining things about friends and strangers and, thus, all of humanity. I’ll take the bait:
1. I turned 50 years old on Feb. 2.
2. I’ve never had a cavity, but my old band has a star on the side of First Avenue.
3. The morning of my 50th birthday, my wife and I watched the new Woody Allen film about a Spanish artist and the three gorgeous women who love him. By the end of the film I felt sorry for the dude and had an urge to call my boys and play Texas Hold ‘Em.
4. I love Minneapolis.
5. My sister sent me a box of chocolates for my birthday, which I cracked after the movie.
6. Perhaps the truest thing I’ve ever sang is, "I’m a million different people from one day to the next" (The Verve).
7. I put the lid back on the box of chocolates and put it on the table.
8. I write — stories, essays, songs, books — out of something novelist Pearl S. Buck said: "The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off. They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating."
9. For my birthday dinner, my beautiful unemployed wife made peasant’s pasta and salad.
10. I was going to save this for the end, but when you get to be my age, you realize you might be running out of time, so just in case I don’t have the chance again, I would like to say Thank you, Minneapolis. For everything.
11. After dinner, my son and I went to coach my daughter’s fourth-grade basketball team, The Lynnhurst Flying Squirrels, who lived up to their name during the 90-minute practice-slash-freakfest. By the end, I was feeling sorry for myself and had an urge to call my boys and play Texas Hold ‘Em. In Vegas.
12. When I was 5, I was a Junior Commodore in the Minneapolis Aquatennial. I rode on floats and did my best to wave at the parade-goers, but wasn’t very good at it. Still, I’m pretty sure tooling through the lit-up streets of downtown Minneapolis during the Torchlight Parade is why the City of Lakes has such a romantic pull on me to this day.
13. At around 10 p.m. on my 50th birthday, I went down to the basement — my man cave — and listened to demos of some new songs.
14. There’s a reader of the Southwest Journal who hangs up flyers around town and writes unsigned letters to the editor complaining about the paper’s "liberal bias," often citing yours truly as the main culprit. There’s another reader who thinks I’m sexist because I write about women. I wonder what they do for fun.
15. Blissed out in the basement, reading Raymond Carver, hearing the dog’s toenails click-clacking on the kitchen tile above me. Weird.
16. Helen Thomas gave me a journalism award once. Not for this column.
17. At 2 in the morning, my wife alerted me to the fact that my dog is throwing up and that all the chocolates are gone and that dogs can die from eating chocolate.
18. My grandparents came straight off the boat from Ireland and worked themselves to the bone. Sometimes I think I’m tough but not like that.
19. After I got everyone back in bed and settled down, the dog threw up a chocolate lake next to my computer.
20. I talk to strangers all the time because I love a good story and the details of the human condition in any form. Large men in bars, however, will sometimes want to kill you for doing this: "Why? Are you writing a book?"
21. I put the dog in the car and drove to the Emergency Vet clinic in Apple Valley, which at 3 a.m. in January feels like the moon.
22. I play basketball three times a week and will do so until I croak.
23. I talked to my dog during the half-hour drive, made sure he was OK, and the vet gave him fluids and activated charcoal and we were on our way.
24. My parents and all six of my siblings are still alive. And kicking.
25. As I walked out of the vet’s office at 4 in the morning, she and the rest of the staff wished me a happy birthday, and that it was.
Jim Walsh lives and grew up in East Harriet.