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August 16, 2005

Secrets and Lies

Some of the things about me below may be true. Some may be false. I'm not going to say which is which.

1. When I was born, there was a weird lump that came out with the afterbirth. My mother tells me the doctors told her it was my undeveloped twin.

2. I once bit off a mole, just to see if I could handle the pain.

3. In the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school, I dated a girl I worked with at Del Taco and didn't tell any of my friends (I went to boarding school, remember, so I could actually get away with this). I broke up with her after about two weeks because her hair smelled like refried beans, which was really disturbing. Also, because she kissed like I imagine a manatee would. I also quit my job at the Del Taco. I never ate at Del Taco again, partially because working at the place kills any desire to eat the food, but also because I had a morbid fear I'd see her still working there. After 20 years, I doubt she works there any more. But there are no Del Tacos near where I live, so the point is moot.

4. I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

5. I have been sexually propositioned -- twice! -- at highway rest stops.

6. I voted for Bush, just so I could have something to write about for the next four years.

7. I was so afraid of drowning as a child that I would practice holding my breath for extended periods of time, just in case I ever had to. I once held my breath for almost four minutes. I can't even come close to doing that anymore.

8. I once faked a seizure for attention.

9. If I don't chew gum at least one a day, I get antsy.

10. I had a friend who I helped out by posing as her boyfriend at a dinner date with an old boyfriend and his new girlfriend. She didn't want him to know she was still single (and still wanted him back). The irony is that I had a serious crush on her at the time. So there was me pining for her who was pining for him, who was clueless (although I suspect the new girlfriend had it all figured out; she was pretty sharp). It was a most uncomfortable dinner.

11. I had one tooth come in twice as an adult tooth.

12. I once gave serious thought to becoming a Mormon.

13. Until about the age of ten, I had an intense dislike of carrots.

14. When I was eight, I was chasing a neighborhood cat with a squirt gun when it ran into the street and was hit by a car. The car didn't stop and I didn't admit the guilt. Years later I adapted the event for a plot moment in Agent to the Stars.

15. I tear up almost every single time I hear the song "Purple Rain" by Prince.

16. I'm generally pretty secure, but my inability to handle really spicy food occasionally makes me feel unmanly.

17. If you want to get in an argument with me, wearing yellow helps. Conversely, I can't ever remember arguing with someone wearing green. No, I don't know why. Green is my favorite color, but outside of a clothing context, I have nothing against yellow.

18. I wrote, submitted and had published a romance novel when I was still in college, under a female pseudonym. I wrote it late at night on a computer in the Chicago Maroon newsroom because I didn't have a computer of my own. I was paid $4,800 for it, which I used to help pay for my final year at the U of C. The only person I told about it was my grandfather, because I had to explain to him why I didn't need him to send me $100 a month anymore, like he had been doing through college.

19. When I go to a restaurant and I ask for Coke and they ask if Pepsi is okay, I always give a big show of being aggravated, but honestly? I can't actually taste any difference. At all.

20. At least one person who reads the Whatever knows which of these are true and which are false. I'll be very interested to see if that person shows up in the comment thread.

Posted by john at August 16, 2005 11:11 AM

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Chris S. | August 16, 2005 01:01 PM

Please please please tell me #6 is a lie.

(Jury's still out on #4)

Chris S.

Steve Brady | August 16, 2005 01:02 PM

I definitely do not believe 4, 6, or 12. I tend to think you wouldn't do 19, but I've only been reading you for a year.

If you want to get in an argument with me, wearing yellow helps. Conversely, I can't ever remember arguing with someone wearing green. No, I don't know why. Green is my favorite color, but outside of a clothing context, I have nothing against yellow.

Maybe you should become a Green Lantern.

Bryan | August 16, 2005 01:11 PM

No. 19 is false. I know that you can tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke. I also doubt that you make a big deal about it. Although I seem to remember you writing that you sometimes order something different if the restaurant serves Pepsi.

Good Guesser or answer to 20 | August 16, 2005 01:41 PM

True: 2,3,5,7,8,10,11,13,14,1 &18

Good Guesser or the answer to 20 | August 16, 2005 01:42 PM

that would be 16 not 1

Brian Greenberg | August 16, 2005 02:14 PM

My guesses:

True: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 18, 20
False: 3, 4, 6, 11, 15, 16, 17, 19

I assume there will be prizes for the person with the highest score?


Kel Brown | August 16, 2005 03:08 PM

You sob like a drunk when you hear Purple Rain but the rest are all lies.

Brandon | August 16, 2005 03:15 PM

One that I'm sure (I hope) is false is #12. I don't believe that anyone could get hoodwinked by the Mormons unless they were indoctrinated from birth.

Scott | August 16, 2005 03:54 PM

True or lie, avoiding Del Taco is a shame and a crime.

If not for the fact that you live a thousand or so miles away from the nearest one I would demand you get back on that particular horse!

I mean... just one spicy-jack chicken quesadilla... it wouldn't hurt anybody, right?

Paul | August 16, 2005 04:13 PM

You've always thought #4 was true, haven't you? I didn't die. I'm still alive. And I'm coming for you. MUWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!oneone

woofy | August 16, 2005 04:21 PM

Scalzi, absolutely nothing would suprise me about you though I did hear a very amusing story about you (getting nervous yet?) just to try it out..... BIG HAIRY MONKEY FACED CHIMPS!!!!

John Scalzi | August 16, 2005 04:23 PM

You're trying to make me laugh, aren't you.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden | August 16, 2005 04:47 PM

I don't know if #18 is true, but unlike some of the others, it's believable.

Spencer | August 16, 2005 04:57 PM

Remember folks, John is a fiction writer. Which means he is a professional liar. I wouldn't be surprised to find out all of them are false.

On a side note, I hope the one person who knows the truth and you're hoping will show up here is your wife. Otherwise Lucy, you got a lot es'plaining to do. hehe

Erbo [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 16, 2005 04:57 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and say they're all false. Including #20.

(No, I don't know that they're all false, which would make #20 true and thus invalidate my reasoning; I merely suspect they're all false, but I don't really know either way.)

mythago | August 16, 2005 05:42 PM

re #2: so, could you?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden | August 16, 2005 05:47 PM

You're saying John is a fiction writer? Now you tell me.

John Scalzi | August 16, 2005 06:19 PM

Spencer writes:

"Remember folks, John is a fiction writer."

Yes, but I also write nonfiction.

Q | August 16, 2005 06:50 PM

Re: #2

Depends whose mole it is.

Laura | August 16, 2005 08:57 PM

Man, are you ever trying to get out of finishing your novel. Such a list! But I bet it is republished. This is how you can get away with this.

Best of luck on finishing your novel. You have my heartfelt support.

Jim Winter | August 16, 2005 09:02 PM

I suspect 4 & 6 are true when combined. You once voted for George Bush in Reno just to watch him lie.

Kate Nepveu | August 16, 2005 10:24 PM

I think it's cheating to play this without agreeing to say. (I also think it's less fun to do more than Two Truths and a Lie, because it makes it too difficult.)

anonymous | August 17, 2005 12:03 AM

i am The One person who knows the truth, but you all can't really know if I'M telling the truth about being The One. only john and The One (who is me!) know if i am genuinely The One. it will be interesting to see if t/he/y tell.

Burns! | August 17, 2005 01:41 AM

I'd like to think I have a pretty good idea of which are true and which aren't. I think I'm more disturbed by the ones that I know are true, rather than the ones others hope are false.

Jess | August 17, 2005 08:52 AM

I don't suppose the scene with the pool at bootcamp was inspired by 7

18 would be so cool if it was true....do spill the details.

iain | August 17, 2005 09:06 AM

All well & good, but I note that there's no mention of those crack smoking, cat sodomizing rumors that have been circulating on the internets?

btw, a google search for "John Scalzi cat sodomizer" does indeed yield results. Congrats.

Robert | August 17, 2005 09:50 AM

I will have to ask mom about number one.And i think number 3 is also true, I seem to remember the del taco in laverne, or was it pomona ? Can't
tell the difference between coke and pepsi ? I am deeply ashamed if that is true Bro.

John Scalzi | August 17, 2005 10:15 AM

For clarification for everyone confused by that last post, Robert is my older brother.

John Scalzi | August 17, 2005 11:00 AM

"btw, a google search for 'John Scalzi cat sodomizer' does indeed yield results."

I did specifically avoid mentioning feline sodomy.

Tony Hellmann | August 17, 2005 09:58 PM

I have a hard time believing #18 is true. $4800 for a first romance novel over 10 years [presumably: I don't know when John graduated, I just remember he's a couple years older than me] ago? That sure seems high.

NK | August 20, 2005 01:57 AM

For what it's worth at this point...some are definitely true. But I'm not tellin which ones. ;-)

mythago | August 21, 2005 02:53 PM

Proof that #4 is true.

Anonymous | August 23, 2005 10:05 AM

$4800 for a romance advance ten years ago is no less realistic than it is for a romance advance right now.

With inflation, writers keep getting paid less and less and less.

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