Arima, a blogger I truly like, and a tender, intelligent, outspoken, attractive woman (I’d better stop, my wife might read this after all) has tagged me to list five private things the blogosphere doesn’t know about. I drew up a complete blank at first. Later in the evening, while enjoying a hot shower and washing away the quandaries of the day… a myriad of the little facets that make up my life flowed over with the rivulets of water. I picked five of them, not out of distinction, but for being ordinary random links in the chain, and morphed them into words.
1) At the tender age of five, I left home for the first time to attend a boarding school in Lebanon. For the next five years I was mostly alone and this period undoubtedly shaped my blossoming personality. In retrospect, it certainly made me a very independent and disciplined person in a peculiarly twisted way. My discipline involves daily trivial matters and is absurdly ritualistic. The boarding school also turned me into a rebel and placed me in the middle of a confrontational path with established religious and social norms for the rest of my life. You would expect to find bitterness but there is truly none.
2) I have broken my first bones playing football in 9th grade (a multiple displaced fracture in my left arm). I was a very good goalie at the street tournament level by the way. Over the years I have managed to break my other arm in a car accident, my left knee in a motorcycle crash and my right foot yet again as a goal keeper during a beach soccer game. As thus, I might be classified as accident prone and I had since injured my back on 3 separate occasions, had 4 gunshot pellets removed from my chest in a hunting mishap, received 3 stitches in my chin after a bicycle fall, a twisted finger, a torn ligament, one more wound in the head in another car collision…I have survived, unscathed, sky diving and lived to tell about it. Did I forget anything?
3) My father, a surgeon and a gynecologist for over forty years, and in his effort to steer me toward medicine encouraged me to attend more surgeries than most medical students witness during their professional training. For over six years I have attended, almost daily one operation or more. I have seen everything a general surgeon and a gynecologist have seen. At a certain time, I was confident that, in case of emergency, I could perform a number of procedures flawlessly. When the time came, I told my father that I didn’t want to waste the rest of my life studying for a career. Toward the end of my master’s degree in urban planning, I wished that I would remain a student forever. Was it a wrong decision? There’s no way of telling anymore.
4) I collect knives and to a lesser extent Zippo lighters. I am totally fascinated by beautiful handcrafted folding knives. In my travels I always make sure to buy the local version of the typical pocket knife of the particular region I am at. It’s my preferred gift to receive and to give if I knew that the other person is interested. One of the earliest presents I gave to my girlfriend (later fiancée, eventually Om Fares) was a small black feminine Swiss Army knife. I have quite a fine collection. My most treasured is a French Laguiole cheese and wine folding knife of exquisite craftsmanship. Only last week, a ship sailing from Venice brought me a bubble-wrapped manila envelope. Within, I found a beautiful Maniago knife from a very dear Italian friend.
5) I am a self-proclaimed handyman. If left to my own devise, I would spend more on tools than I would on clothing and food. But there’s Om Fares of course. I like to fix things mechanical and electrical. I don’t make it all the time but my success rate is reasonably high. When something breaks in the house, my wife tries to hide it so that she can call a professional to take care of the problem. Not that she doesn’t trust me, but my insistence on bringing forth my toolbox and getting myself in the correct mood and messing up the whole place doesn’t really impress her in the least. I enjoy working on plumbing in particular and on automobiles. Luckily, modern cars don’t need me anymore. Back when I was a student who could only afford used cars, and when I couldn’t find a date, I would spend the weekend under the hood with a nearby cooler filled with ice-cold beer.
So fellow bloggers, I am sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but these were indeed five things you didn’t know about me. Arima didn’t actually specify that they must be five things people care to hear, so I took the liberty.