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Okay, my number is nine. So here goes…

9.) I once dressed up as Twinkie the Kid and wandered around downtown Chicago in an effort to promote the crème-filled snack cake’s 70th birthday party.

8.) At age 16, I landed my first job at Dairy Queen despite listing “Soda Jerk” as one of my preferred positions on the application.

Twinkie the Kid

Twinkie the Kid

7.) The best greeting card I ever planned at Hallmark featured a grinning donkey locked behind bars who says, “If loving you is a crime, then throw my happy ass in jail!”

6.) As a reporter in Florida, I was attacked by an umbrella-wielding escapee from a state hospital, interviewed a man who tried to sell both of his kidneys in a personal ad, and covered the capture of a 600-pound alligator wandering the streets of Ft. Myers. This all happened over the course of a week.

5.) It took me more than 10 years to write and find a publisher for my novel, A Plot for Pridemore, which will be released as a paperback and eBook next year!

4.) I quit my high school job at Blockbuster Video because my manager wanted me to work late instead of attending my own “surprise” birthday party. I understand that company has been going downhill ever since.

3.) My scariest reporting assignment was riding a C-47 transport plane with retired pilots who hadn’t flown that kind of aircraft since the Berlin Airlift.

2.) I once asked P.J. O’Rourke if he had any advice for an aspiring newspaper journalist, and he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Just try to get through it.”

1.) My best reporting assignment was covering an international business group called “Compass” in a nondescript bank building at 7:30 on a Tuesday morning in 1998. That’s where I met my future wife.