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Username: polk
First Visit: Sep 7, 1999
Last Visit: Tue, Aug 7, 2007, 12:02am
Location:Chicago, Illinois
About You:"First, I am born. Then the trouble begins."
-Steven Soderbergh ("Schizopolis")

Life of Neal: A Timeline

Jan. 1975: I am conceived, likely in the second-floor southeast bedroom of our home in Penfield, NY, likely in the same bed my mother currently sleeps in. This was no accident -- my parents had been trying to give my brother a brother since the late '60s. I was a child of age of science -- specifically, the fertility pill. For once in my life, my arrival is eagerly anticipated.

Aug. 1975: Pregnant with me and therefore miserable from the heat, my mother convinces my father to purchase our first window-mounted air conditioner. This will be the only air conditioner in our home on a permanent basis until 1989. Like the bed, the air conditioner is still in service. (They don't make 'em like they used to...) Though this is probably unrelated, I will always prefer my atmosphere to be a little bit on the cool side.

Oct. 23, 1975: Nearly three weeks behind schedule, I am finally pushed kicking and screaming into the bright, scary world of Rochester (NY) General Hospital, undoubtedly assisted by The Machine That Goes "Ping." Childbirth was "natural," though my size, clearly, was not: 10 lbs, 12 oz, 24-1/2 inches long. In the process, my mom earns an irrevocable lifetime absolution for any and all sins. I will never manage to get myself down to a normal size, and I will rarely be on time.

Oct. 31, 1975: While the gentile children run from house to house gathering bags full of candy, I experience the original "slasher" movie as I am forcibly initiated into my Tribe. The procedure involves a nice Jewish man, a very sharp knife, lots of wine, and my privates. I am told it took quite a bit of the wine to get me comfortable with the whole freaky scene.

Summer 1978: A whirlwind of activity. I take my first trip on an airplane with my family -- to Florida, naturally, to experience the nearly brand-new wonder that is Walt Disney World. We visit relatives I probably won't see again until my bar mitzvah, but who have a neat collection of 78s and in whose home I learn that orange juice pulp is disgusting.

Later in 1978, I am introduced to my first big-kid bed. For some reason, I don't remember being traumatized at such a drastic change in my everyday life. I guess you can get used to almost anything when you're not quite 3 years old.

Summer 1980: I go with my mom to register for school, the concept of which still mostly eludes me. The school people (or perhaps just some other people present at school registration) give me my first calendar, which I hang on the wall of my bedroom above my first record player. I will go on to own and ignore many calendars in the years to follow, but this will be my last record player until 1991.

Later in 1980, my parents -- encouraged by our good family friends the Rubins, and Mrs. Rubin in particular -- "ask" me if I'd like to start taking piano lessons. It seems I was fascinated by the Rubins' baby grand, and we had just acquired an ancient upright piano that my brother decided he didn't really want to play. This began my musical education, which included 10 years of piano lessons with Mrs. Gostomski and almost 15 total years of involvement in the "listen and play" Suzuki Method of instruction. I still can't read piano music to save my life.

Sept. 1980: I begin kindergarten with Mrs. McGlory, and almost immediately realize that while other kids are unpredictable and generally mean, adults are usually fair and easy to please. For many years, this understanding will shape my destiny. I find reading to be easy, writing less so. I am placed in a special extra gym class for kids who are apparently too clumsy for their own good. I become appallingly introspective, lost in my own universe much of the time. I am traumatized by a movie that depicts a child who doesn't take care of his things leaving an LP on a radiator, which prompty melts and warps the black vinyl. For the next 5 years, I will be terrified whenever we get a long movie on a yellow plastic reel.

Coming soon: "1981-1997: The Education of a Shy, Sensitive Jewish Boy on the Planet of the Bullies."

"I'm shy. It's endearing."
-Andy Richter ("Controls the Universe")

LU:	       "And who are they?"
DR. KLAHN:      "Refuse. Found in waterfront bars."
LU:	       "Shanghaied?"
DR. KLAHN:      "Just lost, drunken men who don't know where 
they are, and no longer care."
PRISONER #1:    "Where are we?"
PRISONER #2:    "I don't care."
LU:	       "And these?"
DR. KLAHN:      "These are lost, drunken men who don't know 
where they are, but DO care. And these are men who know where 
they are and care -- but don't drink."
PRISONER #4:    "Wait a minute -- I don't know where I am."
PRISONER #3:    "Yeah, and I don't drink."
DR. KLAHN:      "Guard!" (to #4) "Do you care?"
PRISONER #4:    "No."
DR. KLAHN:      "Put this man in cell number 1 and give him a 
GUARD:	       "What do you drink?"
PRISONER #4:    "I don't care."

"A world that loves its irony must hate the protest singer."

"There's a place for those who love their poetry
It's just across from the sign that says 'prose only.'"

"Remember when we said there was no future? Well, this is it."
-"Blank Reg"

"One moment please. I bring you a message.

"Exactly six miles north of Skagg Mountain, in the Valley of Pain, there lives an evil devil-monster. His name is Bingo Gas Station Motel Cheeseburger With A Side Of Aircraft Noise And You'll Be Gary, Indiana. And he LOVES to hurt people. The last time I saw Bingo Gas Station Motel Cheeseburger With A Side Of Aircraft Noise And You'll Be Gary, Indiana, he told me what he wants to do -- he wants to come down here and kill each and every one of you. But I said to him, 'Bingo, wait a minute!' And the reason I said that is because I believe in you people. I believe you can do the job. I believe you can help each other. I believe you can make this world a better place to live in.

"That's it."

- Alan Arbus as "Jessy" Christ in Robert Downey's "Greaser's Palace" (1972)


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