10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

With sharp glances at Violet DeTorres and James Finn for sucking me into this— I mean, cordially inviting me

We have a library. Bookcases on three walls. Other bookcases are scattered throughout our home, including hallways. We like books. But most of you already knew that, eh?

Without further ado…

My Blue Nose card. Undated, because it has the sub’s name on it (location + date + identity = classified; I’m not making that up)

7. Our family name was originally Hörlacher, pronounced (in the US) as HER-lock-er (not THEIR-locker, not HIS-locker, just HER-locker). My great-grandfather changed the spelling because he got tired of answering to WHORE-latch-er.

8. I was going to be a Navy spouse, father, and house-husband at one point. Not because I saw it as a life goal, but because that’s what my first wife wanted, and I wanted to make her happy. I was getting out of the Navy, she was staying in, she would continue in her career, and along the way we’d have kids. It didn’t work out (for a lot of reasons) and based on true-life tales of actual stay-at-home dads, I would have totally sucked at it. Fortunately my second-and-final wife brought along nieces and nephews, and it turns out being an uncle is like 80% of the fun with only 10% of the work.

9. I sold my first professional (as in, I got paid) article to the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings in 1987. I got this wonderful acceptance letter saying they loved my article, and they had a few minor changes but it was good to go. Then they sent me the “minor” changes they were making, which was something in every last paragraph (not counting the several that got axed); I felt like it was a good thing my great-grandfather had changed the spelling of our family name, or they’d have fixed that too. In letters to the editor in later issues, there was one short letter that liked it, and one long letter that thought I was off-base, stupid, and obviously yet another sign of the decline of the Navy’s officer corps. Well, hey, they read it, right?

10. I’m brain damaged. I was in a civilian plane crash in 1982; among my other various injuries I had a traumatic brain injury that left me with aphasia and a loss of motor skill on my right side. The hospital cleared up the external symptoms with drugs, and everyone thought I was okay, but other problems crept up later. I do okay, pretty much, when left to my own pace, but I have trouble processing when the pressure is on; for this and other reasons, the Navy decided it would be best if I not be running nuclear power plants, and I was removed from submarines. I ended up in computers, so there’s that, but there are times when I remember when I used to be smart, and that makes me sad.

Hey, is it too late to tag Dusty Craig and The Solitary Cook?