Thirteen Facts About Me as a Child

I checked the Thursday Thirteen meme out a while ago, and I must say that I didn’t get it at first. Unlike other memes, which in the blogging sense mean being tagged by someone else to participate in a conversation which, much like the only invented in the seventies moniker, resembles an idea spreading and replicating itself, virus-like across the internet, Thursday Thirteen is very much self-participatory—i.e. you make up your own list and then go and read others—tagging and commenting being strictly optional.

Because I’ve always been highly suspicious of new terms that don’t describe anything particularly new—we used to call these fads and crazes in the offline world—I’ve taken a while to catch on to this meme thing. But before I get called a wet blanket…

Staying offline for a moment longer, a meme is kind of like a chain letter but better, which reminds me that I really should tell my grandmother, still new to the internet but very well meaning, to stop sending the entire family“Read this now and pass it on to ten people immediately” chain-letter spam. But as you might have guessed, I really don’t have the heart (God bless her).

Right, back on topic. Thursday Thirteen, much like Wordless Wednesday is a networking and blog promotion tool. Every Thursday you post thirteen facts about, well, anything—although preferably in some way related to yourself (isn’t everything when you’re blogging?).

The part I didn’t get though is how exactly that is networking? Well, if you scroll, and scroll and scroll through the website you’ll find that you’re encouraged to visit other Thursday“Thirteen’ers” and leave comments on their blogs. You can also promote your site by participating in the Thursday Thirteen forum and blogroll.

Ho-hum… whatever. It all sounds too hard. And did I mention that their graphics are terrible! Being a design snob from way back my first reaction was and still is,“Ew!—I’m not putting that on my site!”

However, being an open and eminently flexible personality (it’s official, my Intrapersonal Intelligence is (self) rated at 96%) a.k.a. a Libran, I’m prepared to revisit my hasty decision, aided and abetted by Titania Starlight, a recent visitor here (thanks MyBlogLog) and participant in the best Thursday Thirteen I have yet seen, Thirteen Funny Facts about Me As a Child.

Ok, so here goes…

Thirteen Probably Self-Serving and Highly Selected Facts About Me As A Child

  1. I was born three months premature and weighed approximately 2.2 pounds. I didn’t really get much bigger…
  2. I used to be able to dream with my eyes open, although only at night time, as doing so during the day would get you committed, no matter how seriously cool it would be.
  3. I hated all fruit and many vegetables. I have improved.
  4. I never had a dog, and all my cats died or ran away.
  5. I used to dream of being a kitten
  6. I saw a ghost once. It was a young girl all in white standing at the end of my bed. I freaked out and ran into my mother’s room.
  7. I was pushed from behind as a two-year old face first into a metal plant holder, smashing many of my teeth up into my gum. My smile never really recovered.
  8. I taught myself to play the piano and would play Beethoven’s Für Elise over, and over, and over. I later took lessons and was apparently very talented, if I could only“get over my mental block” according to one teacher.
  9. I was never ever in a fight. But I did once punch a bully in the stomach and then run away.
  10. I lived in Canada for a year at age 11, hated almost every minute of it, and now think it was probably character building. And despite myself have some very good memories.
  11. I hated going to Church but would read a picture Bible over and over. I even tried to pray every night before going to bed.
  12. I would only listen to classical music until I was 10. The first tape I ever brought was by Cyndi Lauper, and I regretted it soon afterwards. The next was The Cars, with the same result, as I had only really liked one song. The third was Nik Kershaw. And I used to listen to Madonna in secret because my mother didn’t approve.
  13. My father said he’d buy me a tape once, and then ignored the list I gave him and brought home Bob Marley. I was so disappointed I smashed the tape to pieces.

So there are my thirteen facts, and it’s not even Thursday!

I believe at this point in the meme I am supposed to tag other people. Well, if you’re reading this, you know who you are. Leave a comment or trackback and I’ll do an update mentioning you, and will definitely read your list.

But just don’t go thinking I’m going to put the Thursday Thirteen graphic on my site…


  • Alf of thousandeye has left a list of his childhood facts in the comments section of this post. Despite the fact he only got to number nine and forgot his number eight, I enjoyed them very much.
  • Camille of Now has also written her own Thirteen Childhood Facts, of which the following is definitely my favourite:“At ten, during recess at school one day, I saw a bunch of kids beating up my little brother. They were all bigger than me but I jumped in anyway and started pounding them away from my brother. I lost a lot of hair and when the teachers found us they blamed me. I took my brother home at lunch and refused to go back to that school ever. My mother found us a new school.” Outstanding story!
  • My favourite by Larry of Mental Blog:“My experience in public, in performance, began in Grade 2. I sang a song at a school event, like a Christmas concert or something. The first time I sang over a microphone. I knew even then there was something special about that. I literally felt the electricity. No, it wasn’t a shock from the mic.”
  • alf
    Posted at 20:42h, 19 May

    This all sounds too complicated for me, but here is a list of 9 facts about me as a young one (not too original I know):

    1.) When I was at Sunday School and the priest told everyone that God was here right now I figured he was in the air-conditioning ducts because there was no where else for Him to hide.
    2.) I cut my lip open and they had to hold me down yelling and screaming while they sowed it back up, I was 17. Okay, 2 or 3.
    3.) I was born without a vocabulary.
    4.) When my grandfather shook my hand and broke wind i thought it was cool but it wasn’t cool when I did it to my uncle later, according to my parents.
    5.) I spent half a year of school picking up papers at recess and lunch.
    6.) The other students complained about me in year 2 when i corrected their pronunciation. The teacher dragged me up the front of the classroom and chose a hard passage for me to read out to humiliate me, but i got all the words right.
    7/) One time my cousin came over for a play and when he arrived I said to him, “Nice socks and sandals.” He immediately turned around and yelled at his mum, “I told you!”
    9.) I got caught trying to make a molotov cocktail at my 12th birthday party.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 20:59h, 19 May

    Excellent list Alf—this together with Sumangali’s perfectly chosen quote on a previous post is leading the pack for next weeks CotWâ„¢ Award (although I have a feeling Richard of NetWriting is going to want to comment of my use of lists). And what happened to number 8?

    Best to stay away from the socks and sandals combo I reckon—although we both know people for whom it is a no irony at all grooming choice. One of these, a friend of mine here in Auckland, dared me once to walk down the main street and go to Starbucks wearing his sandals. I did so, and took it as a kind of Zen no-ego exercise, the same excuse that I assign to my more general lack of fashion credibility even now. To this day said friend still asks me if I am embarrassed to appear with him when he wears his sandals out.

    No. 2—apparently I fought the nurses tooth and nail trying to repair my own smashed face. And when I had a tooth removed at age 12, which had been driven up to just below my nose by the same accident, I awoke from the general anesthetic with little nicks on my hands and arms, as though I had been fighting the dentist again.

    Not sure if I should ask you further about number 9—sounds like your childhood was more angst-ridden than my own 😉

  • alf
    Posted at 21:46h, 19 May

    Oops on the number 8. Re 9: it was just a general fondness for burning things, destruction and fire, normal boy stuff. Of course, in those days you couldn’t turn on the tv without seeing someone throwing a molotov cocktail somewhere. Gorbachev changed all that of course. 🙂

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 21:59h, 19 May

    I had a toy fire engine that was a little bigger than your normal toy—in fact you could hook it up to a hose and use it to put out real fires. Which we used to do in the neighbour’s back yard, until our parents caught wind…

  • Titania
    Posted at 10:34h, 20 May

    Greetings John.
    Thank you for the kudos. I myself admit that it took some time before I dived into the Thursday Thirteen pool of crazy meme’s. Up until a few months ago I had no idea what they were. I also am a Libra, creative and quite the individual. I find it difficult for others to understand my introversion and deep introspections on life. I must seem alien at times. Doesn’t matter. I like me.

    Your #1 was a shocker. You are a miracle! 😯

    Dreaming you were a kitten? I can understand that. I have dreams I am a wolf. My husband tells me I am just strange. I like strange. If I were rich I guess I would be called eccentric.

    I am humbled by your praise of my simple Thursday 13 post. It is a nice change to meet a kindred spirit along the way. 🙂

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 12:44h, 20 May

    Thank you very much Titania. I’m glad you waded your way through my“How on earth and why did I write all of that” opening gambit on memes, which Alf was honest enough to admit left him confused, and made it to my list, which thanks to yours was the inspiration for a very enjoyable to write post.

    I was a miracle apparently—early seventies back-water New Zealand was not an ideal place or time to be born small enough to fit in the palm of your mother’s hand!

    My premature birth is also the origin of my unusual—for this part of the world—full name: John-Paul; two names in one really, and together can be interpreted as ”gracious gift of God”—not to mention cause for endless Pope jokes, a not always gentle childhood ribbing made worse by a somewhat romantic teacher who decided to spell and pronounce my name“Jean-Paul.”

    Many years ago I knew a person who was very wolf-like—physical resemblance and demeanour. They adored dogs, and had a philosophy of dividing the world into“cat” and“dog” personalities, myself in the former—cause for yet more ribbing. Funnily enough, aside from kittens I really am not into cats now.

    Yes, strange is good, if it is different from plain ordinary. Of course being a Libran, I get joy appreciating the hidden strengths of the common as well.

  • Camille Crawford
    Posted at 03:53h, 21 May

    Dear John,

    As I start this comment I am laughing inside, ridiculous as that seems because there is no reason not laugh out loud, but anyway… I want to tell you that a libran I know once told me he didn’t like other librans because they were too weird. I said ‘but you’re a libra?’ and he said ‘yes, I know’. He left it at that. I’m still perplexed but perhaps he found himself too hard to understand.

    I enjoyed the Cindi Lauper and Bob Marley story 🙂 The first album I ever bought was by a band called Styx. I discovered upon listening to it that I really didn’t like it. I’ve been forever embarrassed by the fact that they were my first choice.

    It truly is a miracle that you survived being born so premature. I think it must be testament to your spirit. Take heart in that.

    I likely will share some funny childhood facts at some point. Currently I’m busy brooding about my purpose again, so I can’t say when I’ll surface smiling and lighthearted again. But I suspect it will be soon. You see, I’m an Aries, the polar opposite of Libra. And if that doesn’t tell you enough, then I’ll summarize; we don’t remember to brood for very long, vengeance is an alien, spontaneity is a sterling friend, and as Scarlett O’Hara once said “Tomorrow is another day” and she was/is the epitome of an Aries. 😉

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 20:27h, 22 May

    As usual I appreciate your comments Camille.

    On the topic of Librans, all I can say is we are fully entitled to see both sides of an issue, as inconsistent as that often may seem.

    Continuing the topic of first albums, I remember acquiring several Canadian artists during my stay there whom I am sure would now be eminently cringe-worthy. There’s no accounting for the taste of the young…

    Yes, if my birth is anything to go by, it seems I have a little spirit, or the pedigree for such. It is said that as I languished in an incubator for those initial, touch and go weeks, the nurses would keep on turning me over, as they were unnerved by a pair of small, keen eyes, following their every move.

  • Camille Crawford
    Posted at 05:47h, 23 May

    “Yes, if my birth is anything to go by, it seems I have a little spirit, or the pedigree for such. It is said that as I languished in an incubator for those initial, touch and go weeks, the nurses would keep on turning me over, as they were unnerved by a pair of small, keen eyes, following their every move.”


    A truly enjoyable image you weave!

  • Pavitrata
    Posted at 12:01h, 10 June

    6 childhood facts

    1. My first school was next to a graveyard in Malaya. Nothing the teacher had could match the passing funeral corteges.

    2. My first teenage school was a Catholic College in Belize. My RE teacher was the Head of the College. He had me down to burn in hell for not being a Catholic, as I was allowed to skip Mass. Later he ran off with the school secretary and a large chunk of school funds. Interpol caught up with them living the high life in Hawaii.

    3. The Catholic College was next to a small busy airport. Ask me anything about Cessnas or Pipers or Dakotas – the best plane that ever flew. Bar none. Nothing the College had could match that!

    4. My next school was a Methodist School in Belize. I got beaten for getting into an argument with a teacher as I said Australia was not the same thing as Australasia, she said there was no difference, I disagreed.

    5. I got thrown off my bike by a skull on the way home from school. Riding high speed across the mud-flats I hit a bump – the top of the skull embedded in the hard mud – and went flying. I dug it up and took it home; t’was a miraculous thing, I contemplated it for so long, put flowers and a candle by it, and gave it a name. I planned a burial with some wise words by Geronimo from my Niehardt book of Great Indian Chiefs, but my dad found the skull and it was taken for forensics. I never saw it again. I guess that first school in Malaya got me thinking early about stuff.

    6. Even Dakotas have their limits. One crashed into a river bank five minutes after take off, overloaded with a massive cargo of cucumbers. The pilot vanished. They thought he had survived and run off, as some suspicious plant substances were also found in the wreckage. A few months later a farmer killed a big alligator up-river. The pilot’s watch was found inside the alligator.

    I was a cheerful fellow, for all that. Still am.

  • Shardul
    Posted at 10:30h, 16 June

    What a great comment from Pavitrata – an article in itself – the seed of an autobiography even! Pip Pip Pavitrata. (Actually, Pip Pip would make a great title for an autobiography. Pip Pip – the Life and Times of Pavitrata Taylor – has a ring to it!)

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 10:36h, 16 June

    Yes Pavitrata, I am so impressed by your comment come entire blog post that it will feature soon, and very highly, in my about to be resurrected Comment of the Week™ feature.

    (And can we read more of these stories of your childhood some time? Outstanding! The boy quite clearly makes the man as they say…)

    Jaitra Gillespies last blog post..Howard Jones: Best-selling Buddhist Pop Star

  • Kettie
    Posted at 19:46h, 25 November

    wow what a nice post about Socks and retail information.
    Its a very needed information because i need to buy variety of socks.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 20:14h, 25 November

    Thanks Kettie, I’m very happy I could help you with your need for variety of socks.

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