One. From 4th grade up to my late teens, I was a dog show kid. My parents bred and showed Miniature Schnauzers as a hobby, so just about every one of my weekends in my formative years was spent traveling to podunk Texas towns for shows. The Christopher Guest movie Best in Show satirized the larger, national events, but most of the shows we went to were held in small towns, at muddy fair and rodeo grounds, where we had to set up our grooming stations in barns. Larger cities like Dallas and San Antonio allowed for more civilized convention centers with actual floors.
Things you should know about dog shows: White dogs are covered in chalk, black dogs are dyed blacker, and the scene is probably more political than Washington. The smell of hairspray mixed with dirt and cigarette smoke is permanently engrained in my memory.
I did a few years of junior showmanship, but I spent most of my time reading, doing homework, wandering around bored out of my everloving mind, and crushing on a fellow dog show boy. And eating lots and lots of concession stand food.
Two. When I was in kindergarten, I tried to change my name to Elizabeth. My own name was full of random letters that made no sense together, and I thought Elizabeth was the most beautiful name in the world. When I asked my mom how to spell it, she wrote it on a pale blue Post-It note for me in her impeccable handwriting – E L I Z A B E T H. I took that Post-It directly to my teacher and informed her I had changed my name.
Unfortunately, since I had given her my cheat sheet, I had no idea how to actually spell ELIZABETH anymore. So I just wrote a jumbled mess of letters at the top of my worksheets: probably an E, maybe an L, and a Z. There was definitely a Z. I should have practiced more! Who changes their name and doesn’t learn how to spell it? A 5-year-old, that’s who.
Later in the day Miss Barrow, my kindergarten teacher, crouched next to me at my table and said, “I’m going to need you to write Leigh Ann on your papers from now on, okay?” And that was the end of my run as Elizabeth. It was good while it lasted. I think. I don’t think I really got any satisfaction from it since I couldn’t even write it.
Three. As a child and teen (and an athlete), I had kind of a love affair with the emergency room. I made 11 visits for various injuries including (but not limited to):
- chipping my ankle bone when I slipped off a step (1st of 3 times on crutches)
- splitting my head open on a diving board while back flipping (1st of 2 times with stitches)
- Spraining my ankle twice (2nd & 3rd times on crutches)
- Splitting my head open again in college (staples!). Beer, piggy-back rides, and metal hair clips do NOT mix.
- Splitting my pinkie finger open (2nd time with stitches). This one’s a story. I used to play fast-pitch softball. Coach gave me the signal to bunt, which as a lefty, I did often. I was thrown out at first base, but as I walked back to the dugout, my finger was throbbing. I blamed it on bat vibrations in the cold November weather, until I looked down and saw that my entire hand was covered in blood. Apparently the ball was inside and hit the bat exactly on my pinkie, causing it to burst open from the pressure of the ball. It didn’t explode or anything, but the more it swelled up, the wider the split became, and there was gross finger insides starting to stick out. Six stitches. I still have a scar.
I used to be able to recall all of them, but my memory fails me now. Best part is I have NEVER broken a bone.
Four. I have never been stung by a wasp or a bee or anything more harmful than a mosquito, and I am TERRIFIED of them. Like “sacrifice the children and run for the hills” terrified. Once as we walked from our front door to the car, a wasp dive bombed me, grazing my neck. I took off down the yard, leaving my poor children standing there on the front walk. MOTY. But that shit hurt!
A few weeks ago I was chatting with my neighbor when a yellow jacket (hornet? YOU BUGS ALL LOOK THE SAME TO ME) landed on my leg. MY LEG. I completely froze, and my neighbor was all, “Um, you have one on your leg.” And all I could muster was, “Getitoffgetitoffgetitoffgetitoff!” until he flicked it off for me. We’re very close in this neighborhood, flicking bugs off each other’s legs and all.
Five. I went to high school with that guy who was in Argo and Gone Girl. No, not Ben Affleck. This guy.
And by “went to high school with him” I mean we he was a year or 2 ahead of me, and we had no interaction whatsoever. I don’t think I ever would have placed him. I only remember seeing his name on the cast listing for Argo, and thinking, Scoot McNairy….Scoot McNairy….where do I know that name from? Then I saw where he was from, and it clicked. Back then he went by Scooter. And now he’s popping up in practically every movie I watch, so I can say, “Hey! I [insert finger quotes] went to high school [end finger quotes] with that guy!”
So….who do I want to see write up 5 random facts about themselves? Let’s see…
Corrin from Oh Hey, What’s Up?
Kari from A Grace-Full Life
Andrea from About 100%
Angela from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed
Amy from Banana Wheels