Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Results of the Probe

Well, I've closed my quiz, finally. Most questions had several answers worth more than five points, yet the scores weren't that high. Perhaps that's because, in good standardized testing fashion, I tried to ask questions where the answer could be discerned without knowing the answer. Somehow, that made it harder, not easier.

Here are the annotated answers.

1) Where was I born?

Back in the mid-1990s, I had the misfortune of flying back from Toronto to San Francisco through Calgary. American customs is in Calgary, which means that there are "Americans" who want to live there and enforce our borders from abroad. Not having a passport, I brought my birth certificate. When the customs agent asked me where I was born, I answered, "Easton, Pennsylvania." Then they put the dogs on me. Forty minutes later, after another agent had inspected every mini-shampoo to see if it contained hash oil, I was finally allowed to go. I looked at the birth certificate on the plane and noticed that it read, "Borough of Wilson."

That pleased me, since Kim and I had an ongoing "contest" in which she would say "Williams" and I would object, "Wilson." But it clearly got me in trouble in Calgary.

Another faculty member in my department who grew up in Easton pointed out that the only hospital in town isn't actually in town, since it's west of 16th Street and therefore resides in Wilson Borough.

Easton was worth 9 points, though.

2) Whom did I have a crush on growing up?

I wasn't into blonds or the bimbo type. I adored Kristy McNichol, star of Family (10 points), loved Tatum O'Neal from Bad News Bears (9 points) and always liked Kate Jackson (7 points) far better than the other Angels. Cary Grant (6 points) has always been a fave.

3) Which version of my name do I like least?

It used to be "Chuck" (7 points) that I liked least, but Henry Sume eventually made me like it better. I've never liked "Charles" (10 points) much and now really dislike it. "Charlie" is preferred, naturally. But John Fielding won me over to "Chas" with his delivery.

4) Which branch of the military did I aspire to join as a child?

I have a 4th-grade essay, just brought back from my parents home in Maryland, in which I talk about wanting to be in the Air Force. But what I really wanted was to be in the Army Air Force (7 points) during World War II, fighting the Nazis in my P51 Mustang or P47 Thunderbolt. I played World War II obsessively, made models, read books and so on between the ages of 8 and 11.

5) Which caliber do I prefer?

If you had noticed that "Army Air Force" was the one anomaly in the previous list of answers, you might have been able to recognize that ".50" (10 points) is the anomaly in this one. I don't like guns. But I did like playing World War II flying ace. And .50 caliber machine guns were the standard armament on both P51s and P47s.

6) Which body part do I fetishize most?

I've never been into breasts (0 points). Give me an alternative locus of interest. You could have guessed that "midriff" (10 points) was the correct answer just because the way that it looks and sounds, I suppose. Knowing how Kim used to dress in the summer would aid considerably in the guessing. I suppose I mean something more specific than midriff, like "three inches above the navel and one below it." But the Brittney Spears flat midsection is no good. There has to be a curve, some sense of human frailty.

Shoulders (9 points) rank a close second.

I do have a boot fetish -- matte finish, mid-rise, normal heels, black -- but not because I like ankles.

7) Who is my favorite painter?

I like everyone on the list. Picasso (3 points) has never been a favorite, though. I love Blaue Reiter Kandinsky (8 points) and sometimes paint and draw like he did then, but his later work is a bit mechanical. I love the colors Emil Nolde (9 points) uses, particularly in his watercolors. Andrew Wyeth (10 points), though, the underdog, looked-down-upon "populist" painter is my fave of favorites, however. I miss my rural Pennsylvania very much. He gives it to me, with just enough abstraction to sustain my interest.

8) When did I first, you know, like. . .?

The big answer here is nineteen (10 points), when I had the freshperson orientation in sex, drugs, and rock and roll compressed into one mindblowing month. More importantly, though, I lit my first match.

I started graduate school at 23 (6 points) and did something else too.

9) Which food makes me most incapable of performing?

Give me a spoonful of honey (10 points) and I get very hot, start to sweat this viscous stuff, and become incredibly irritable.

All sugar is a problem in this regard for a mild hypoglycemic like myself, though it isn't as severe when the sugar is suspended in fat.

Carbs like spaghetti (5 points) make me content, but sleepy.

When I want to make like Marvin Gaye, I should eat strips of lean beef, topped off with a glass -- not two or three! -- of sparkling mineral water.

10) Who is my favorite baseball player?

A bit of a trick question. Barry Bonds (8 points) is the current player I follow most closely. As a teenager in Maryland, Eddie Murray (8 points) was the one. My first favorite among active players was Phillies' second baseman Dave Cash (9 points) back in the mid-1970s. But Willie Mays (10 points), whom I saw in the very first baseball game I remember watching -- 1973 World Series, playing for the Mets -- has always been my favorite of favorites. I read his biography over and over as a kid. And he shares a birthday with Orson Welles, Sigmund Freud, and myself.

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