Daily Dojo

Gasp!: Taking Care of Business - 8 Random Facts About Joshua James

The lovely Laura Axelrod at Gasp! tagged me with this meme in which I have to share 8 random things about myself and tag 8 other lucky people.

Well damn, this is getting tough as that I just posted 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me . . . and I have this Trivia page to boot . . .

But I really admire Laura (despite the blind spot she has for Mr. Walters) and love her writing, really, she’s good. She’s real good.

So here we go . . . first I post the rules: Bloggers must post these rules and provide eight random facts about themselves. In the post, the tagged blogger tags eight other bloggers and notify them that they have been tagged.

1) My eyes change color dependent on my mood and whatever color clothing I happen to be wearing. It’s true, so I’m told . . . I hear from people that they’re blue, they’re gray, they’re green . . . when I get pissed off, green comes up. And they’ve been red, but that’s more dependent on what I was up to the night before, heh.

2) At one point in my life, I had a ton of mouse in my hair, which was cut in a mullet, and I wore parachute pants on a regular basis. Yeah, I know, I was trying to conform.

3) I took the Law Enforcement Exam twice when living in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the hopes of becoming a policeman.

I came close both times, the second I got to the obstacle course and lie-detector test . . . . but each time just missed out. There were two hundred people trying out for five or six slots, it wasn’t like New York, in Nebraska EVERYONE wants to be a cop, and it paid well, too.

It starts off with a general intellect test (where basically you need to be able to identify a verb in a sentence, add two plus two and spell the word “the”, you’d be surprised at how many guys actually flunk that one) then on to a written pysch test (really tough, trying to separate the Rambo’s from the calm and collected, they don’t want Rambo’s, most guys flunk this one) and then, an obstacle course, which was a lot of fun. After that, if I remember right, you get past that it’s an interview and you have to list EVERY person you’ve ever worked for, from birth to present. You mowed somebody’s lawn for cash when you were ten, they want to know who it was and how much. Then they give you a lie-detector test on everything you’ve said.

You fudged anything, you’re out. One woman lied about why she’d been to the ER so many times (abusive husband) and they caught her in the lie and she didn’t pass. I didn’t lie about anything, but I heard later on one reason I didn’t get in was because I looked all of fourteen years of age, even though I was 23 at the time.

Which was true, I shaved only every other week at that age. Even today, I shave maybe once a week.

I probably would have kept trying to be a policeman had I not been offered an assistantship for acting in graduate school. Kinda hard to turn down money for acting.

4) After school when we were wee lads, my brother and I would gather in front of the television promptly at four o’clock to watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Happy Days. My brother particularly liked Happy Days because, I think, two of the main characters had red hair (Richie and Ralph Mouth) and he really liked that because he had red hair too and one didn’t usually see more than one red-headed guy on a TV show. Usually not even one. I didn’t have red hair, but I did admire Fonzie.

I know, that was more about my brother than me, but he might be a more interesting guy than I am. He’s definitely cooler, he plays three or four musical instruments and rides a Harley. He’s more Fonzie than Richie, even with the red hair.

5) I’ve seen Enter the Dragon more times than I can reasonably count . . . at least four or five hundred times. It was a habit when I competed in tournaments, a bit silly now but who isn’t when they’re young?

My buddy and I in Nebraska, after training every day we would grab beers, get drunk and watch it again and again, using the slow motion thing on his VCR to watch the kicks. We could quote the whole movie. My friend and training partner was Persian, from Iran, and used to get a real kick out of doing Jim Kelly’s lines, “I BE TOO BUSY LOOKING GOOD” and “BULLSHIT, MISTER HAN-MAN!” He loved that.

It was good times, it really was. The whole world was before us.

“It’s like a finger, pointing away to the moon. DON’T concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

Ah, the old days. And yes, it was a while ago, you can tell because we’d hammer each other for hours and then drink beer . . . heh. Before the sports diet thing caught on.

6) I really dislike pretentiousness, I really do, which has made a career in theatre rather interesting . . . it’s probably a class thing, I’m a farm boy who grew up mostly in second-hand clothes, but I also wonder, at times, if it isn’t a reaction to something other than that . . . I wonder if sometime the pretentiousness isn’t a mask for bad work, but that could be projection on my part, since I have an issue with it . . . I don’t know, I really don’t. But a lot of the people who’s work I’ve admired are among the least pretentious around . . .

7) I’m in an interracial relationship with a lovely person, but I never really think about our relationship in those terms, at least, not until someone else (usually someone conservative or Republican) says something silly and bigoted about people who aren’t white.

And yes, track records have that Republicans and Conservatives are more bigoted and ignorant than those that aren’t Conservative or Republican. Far more. In my lifetime, it was against the law for my significant partner and I to marry in certain southern states, and while I’ve known many lovely Southern people who aren’t bigoted and those type of states have changed a lot since those days, they haven’t changed enough. Sorry, sad but true.

For the record, I don’t hold that it’s only the South (South Dakota is as bad as anywhere else in the country, and Nebraska had its fair share) I hold that it’s a thought process called conservatism which has led our country to this sorry state. So please, I ain’t dumping on the South, but a movement which is everywhere and has special holds in some Southern States but not only.

And no, the answer isn’t to “respect” a movement that is anti-intellectualism, anti-privacy and anti-freedom of religion.

It does no one any good to “respect” a political movement that has no respect for anyone else.

And actually, I admire New York’s mayor Bloomberg . . . I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but though he’s a Republican, he ain’t conservative, not by a long shot. He’s a better mayor than the one we had before, by a long ways.

8) a staged workshop of my play TALLBOY WALKIN’, directed by Nick Corley, opened to a standing ovation on September 7th, 2001.

It was slated to run as a workshop for four weeks. That whole weekend, we had full houses and standing ovations. The producers were convinced it was going to move to a bigger house for a professional run. So was I, audiences just don’t lie.

I was told it was going to be my break-through, put me on the map. People loved it, and I was told the papers and media would be invited for the performance the following Tuesday.

Of course, that following Tuesday we were all thinking about other things, and in hindsight I’m lucky. A lot luckier than a lot of other people that day.

After that Tuesday, I know a lot of people who reevaluated their lives and made changes. I know a wildly talented actor who acted in many of my plays who stopped acting, went back to school and became a physical therapist. I know another actress who, after it happened, devoted her life to rescuing cats, she has her loft filled with cats, trying to find homes for them.

I know others who moved away from New York City and never came back.

Me? Before that Tuesday, I was decidedly non-political, I didn’t think it mattered or was important. My friend Naomi Wallace, a very political playwright, would chide me for that, telling me that politics affected all our lives in ways we can’t even imagine.

Before that Tuesday, I just laughed at the thought that it made a difference, Rebublican or Democrat, House or Senate, that it mattered at all and would write another sketch with another fart joke.

Before that Tuesday, I don’t think I even voted.

After that Tuesday, I don’t know if I could ever be non-political ever again.

Especially when I have kids of my own someday. . . I can’t, in good conscious, stay quiet or uninvolved, I can’t.

Would you entrust your children to George W. Bush’s judgement, based on his track record?

Yeah, it comes around to that a lot. Because it needs to. Really.

Okay, enough. I am supposed to tag 8 others . . . so here we go . . . Craig, David and another David, Fun Joel, Mac (so he’ll post something, dang it), Sean, Malachy and Lucas.

And thus endeth my personal shit for this day.

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