The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hardly Surprising or Heartily Surprising

I tried to think of the many times I've been surprised in my life, but could not come up with a decent list.  More often than not, apparently, I have been able to figure out what's coming, or else I learned early on than just about anything is possible.  So instead of listing the times I have felt surprised, I came up with the following list of things that have either happened to me or that I have done, which in retrospect, are kind of surprising!  

But to make it one step closer to interesting, I worked and worked at coming up with one lie to add to this list.  Which item is the lie?

As a boy I was once dragged into a gangway and robbed by two kids.  When I cried, they let me keep my Mom's $5.00 and said they would come to my house to teach me how to fight (I'm still waiting).

Sitting on our porch roof in Chicago throwing dirt clods at  passing trucks seemed like the most natural thing to do.

I went to the Bozo's Circus TV show in Chicago...when I was in seventh grade.  When my teacher read my note, she was kind enough to keep my secret.

The day we moved from Chicago to Genoa City Wisconsin, our old house was broken into and my shotgun was stolen.  (Mom laughed at herself because they bypassed all of her jewelry, but ran off with a large jar full of pennies!)

If every teenager should have something they are really good at, my confidence was built by mastering the unicycle.

When a guy at my boarding school high school asked me if I "had any rubbers", I said "Yeah, but they're back home. They're the kind with buckles."

They say basketball is a "non-contact" sport but I managed to break my collar bone into three pieces during a  game against our school rivals.

Once I accidentally set my neighbor's garbage pile on fire, but refused to admit it (OK, so I just admitted it.).

After I was the final graduate of my high school class, the building was sold to the state and turned into a prison.

During final exams as a college Freshman, I taught myself to juggle instead of studying.

Never having heard the Gospel during four years of Catholic seminary, I finally got the message, and repented, at a public college.

I wore tights and an old curtain as part of a college class ("I auditioned for this?").

After I invited a co-ed to my room to play cards, she later told me about her collection of Playgirl magazines. THEN I realized that she hadn't expected to play cards.

When driving from Wisconsin to Alaska, my car died in the middle of British Columbia.  I sold the car for the price of the tow to the bus station.

Once my ankle was grabbed by a hook and cable from a hovering helicopter.

I played a jazzed up version of Amazing Grace on my saxophone, standing on a floating dock in a remote bay on the third largest island in the US.

In Alaska, I lived one summer in a tent on a platform I built over a creek.

When cutting down giant Spruce trees, they sometimes get snagged in another tree.  My solution?  Dynamite.

I met a beautiful girl at my Mother's funeral, and married her.

I skinny dipped in the Pacific Ocean off of Alaska, and still managed to have three great (non blue) kids!

A friend committed suicide on my birthday.  I found the gun on the beach, but must have walked right past his body in the dark.

I was sued for ruining a couple's sex life.

With good cause, I shoveled snow from my deck, up onto the roof overhead.

I lived in southeast Alaska (the salmon capital of the world) for nine years and only caught one salmon.

Two restaurants have burned down the day after my wife and I had dinner there.

When I fell off a roof and landed on the sidewalk below, my first words were "They said it was inevitable."

Since I bought my first car in 1978, a '73 Maverick , I have owned over 30 different vehicles, averaging about 1 per year!

I once had the opportunity to tell my wife that even her uterus was cute (And no, I did not let the opportunity go to waste.).

I have never tasted coffee in my life.

From the middle of Wisconsin I somehow became a joiner, and have done high-end finish carpentry on multi-million dollar yachts that hang out at Monaco.

Even as such a young man, I have become super proud, Grampa Mike! OK so there are two lies in this list..


  1. I'm going for the coffee being a lie - and when are you going to write your life story? :-)

  2. Nope. The coffee bit is true too. And what do you mean? I just did!

  3. Hmm, I've been swimming off the coast of Alaska, with, a swim suit. I lived in Kodiak and never caught a salmon. Rob's thrown lots of dirt clods, set who-knows-what on fire and made other little kids call him Bozo. So ... I'm thinking ... dynamite. No wait, that's a guy thing. I'm hoping you never had to walk by your best friend.

  4. Sorry GPD. I was looking for him that night outside of Ketchikan, but someone else did the finding. It wasn't actually dynamite I guess; it was tovex (a nitroglycerine-free explosive), but that doesn't count as the lie.

  5. I guessed the coffee thing was one of them, too, since I thought everyone had at least tried it once. On the other hand, I've never tried smoking even once, so I can believe it.

    The dynamite thing would be my second guess, but it's just enough over the top to be true.

  6. My guess is about your foot being grabbed by a hook from a hovering helicopter!! I really have no idea!! Very creative, and a very enjoyable read!


  7. I avoided the cigarette trap too Angela, though both of my parents smoked when I was young.

    But Kathy, I was sloppy enough with the slack in that cable that it caught me and dropped me to the ground before coming loose. As I flopped there in the dirt I watched the pilot give me a pitiful look and a serious shake of the head.

  8. Okay, crazy and fun man that you are, I would have said the coffee had I not seen that one eliminated. So my second guess would be the shoveling snow from the deck to the roof...only because that would be very difficult and for what reason would one do that? To ski off the roof?

  9. A reasonable guess to be sure Jo, but I did have a good reason. We lived outside the city of Ketchikan Alaska, where it rains over 150 inches per year. Our household water supply was collected into a large cistern from the roof. To minimize the chance of running out of water, I sometimes shoveled the snow up to where it would melt and run into the tank. Is that in the 'crazy' or the 'fun' category?

  10., that's neither fun nor crazy, but I have to say, it's unique to me! This list is getting smaller!

  11. Not sure--but why wouldn't they teach the Gospel at a Catholic Seminary School? I'm a bit curious there--

    Also--you and fires!! LOL--not only did you set your neighbor's garbage on fire--you and your wife frequented restaurants that burnt down the next day!! YIKES!!

    Great post--no idea where the 2 lies are--when will you reveal?

    Cheers, Jenn.

  12. I'm going with the not learning the Gospel at a Catholic Seminary. Wouldn't happen.


  13. The second 'lie' is in the last item on the list where I suggested that I am 'such a young man' LOL.

    It seems the other lie is well hidden, for it has not yet been guessed.

    I had a great time in the seminary, despite the fact that it was another institution run by man. We attended Mass 6 days a week and had morning and evening prayers every week day. I heard a lot of Scripture read (and IT 'does not return void' we are told). However, the main theme of Christ's redemptive work; His paying the penalty for my sin, His gift of salvation given freely through the grace of God ('not by works, lest any should boast'), was never expressed to me. Thanks for asking me to clarify that Jenn. I hope I brought it a few degrees clearer.

  14. I am sure Joyce, that there are Catholic seminaries, and churches, that do teach the whole Gospel as I described my understanding of what that means above, but mine was not one of them.

    There are a couple items in my list that I would not deal with so lightly.

  15. "I was sued for ruining a couple's sex life." I'm guessing that one is true, and I'm dying to hear the story.

    As for the lie, I'm gonna say, "When I fell off a roof and landed on the sidewalk below, my first words were "They said it was inevitable."" I'm choosing that one because if I fell off a roof, my first words would undoubtedly be a bit more colorful.

  16. Of course your words would be more 'colorful' Beth; you are the Word Nerd! But alas, no. Both of these parts are true. I think I should save that story until the appropriate theme comes up, though I have no idea what that would be!

  17. Bozo's circus! Wow, Mike, what a life you've been leading. What's next? First man to fall out of a space shuttle? *wink* Loved reading this.

  18. It's gotta be the unicycle. Who really rides one of those things... except Bozo.

  19. No fair guessing after the winner was announced Langley. Oh, but you still got it wrong; never mind.

    And welcome back!


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