Welcome to my Blogoir (Blog/Memoir)

I’m a neophiliac, addicted to new experiences. I’ll watch a TV show about people who dive for sunken treasure and for days that’s all I can think about. I pass a funeral home and wonder what it would feel like to drain blood from a corpse and replace it with embalming fluid. I keep a list of occupations to try next on a three by five card. Sure, I’ll write about them, but journalism is just a cover story to give my childlike curiosity a patina of respectability. I scan my list of possibilities: “Bounty hunter? Carny?”

I’ve learned that people expect me to have a logical reason for the things I do. I thought it might be a fun adventure, never seems to quite cut it. It sounds irresponsible, less than adult. When a ten year-old says he wants to be an astronaut and a spy, we smile and encourage his belief in life’s limitless possibilities. When a forty year-old says he still wants to be an astronaut and a spy, we worry about them. Settle down and be a miserable drudge like the rest of us, they say.

To some extent, it’s Helen Keller’s fault. At an impressionable age I read one of her quotes and made it part of my firmware. “Security is mostly a superstition,” she wrote. “It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” If a deaf and blind woman could be that gung-ho, I had no excuse. I would let it ride, take door number two, say “yes” first and consider the consequences later.

As a result, I’ve become a magnet for bizarre experiences; my life, a pastiche of incongruous juxtapositions. I’ve been a stripper and a minister. I earned three degrees in rocket science from M.I.T., but threw my education down the toilet to work in film and TV and become a humorist. I was hired—and fired—by the CIA in twenty-four hours. I know what it’s like to be in a gun battle with FBI agents and what it’s like to be threatened by the Russian mafia. I worked on President Clinton’s Transition Team and jogged with the President, only to become a footnote in the Clinton sex scandals. I’ve shot Charlie Sheen in the movies, and I’ve saved Martin Sheen from being shot on television. I’ve been a stunt driver, a hand model, a sperm donor, and a graphic novelist. And, oh yes, I’ve logged my time in a cube farm.

Even my friends and family have a hard time forming a coherent picture of me. As an editor once told me, “You may not be famous for any one thing, but at least you’re obscure in many fields.”

About Steve Altes

Steve Altes is the author of several humor books, dozens of humorous adventure essays, and the comedic graphic novel Geeks & Greeks, set at MIT and inspired by MIT's culture of hacking and Steve's own experiences with hazing.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous Jive. Bookmark the permalink.