This is an earlier draft of a piece that appears in my collection of essays and other random stuff, Raised by Turtles: A Book in American. Some day, I will take the final version and reformat it and paste it in here, but for now it is only available in print for
$4.95 $6.44 (I guess inflation has hit Amazon too – I can’t make it cheaper as there is already no profit in that price).
I have a look that is apparently fairly common and people are often mixing me up with other people and with Las Vegas. I’m not sure of any easy shortcut to explain how to tell me from Amir Kierdan, but I have some tips for people to help tell me apart from Las Vegas.
So if you are looking at something and are trying to decide whether you’re lookin at me or Las Vegas, run down this checklist and by the end you should know one way or the other.
|Speaks English in Paris
|Speaks French in Paris
|Dean Karnazes (author of Ultramarathon Man, one of my all-time favorite books)
|Noxious fumes from car exhaust
|Noxious fumes from beans
|Cicero (defender of the republic)
|Fake Renaissance Architecture
|Genuine Renaissance History
|Swiss Army Knives
|Scaled Down (Eiffel Tower, State of Liberty, etc)
|Larger than Life
|Red Zinger (climb in Yosemite)
|Siegfried and Roy
|Ben and Jerry
|Wayne Merry (1st ascent of El Cap)
|Royal Robbins (1st ascent of Half Dome)
|Tale of Two Cities
This was originally written for a friend or two who know me well enough to get all the references. I’ve added links or short annotations for some of the obscure ones or to clarify why I like Cicero better than Caesar, for example. Some are just what they appear — Tale of Two Cities is my favorite Dickens tale and I like it better than David Copperfield, Great Expectations or A Christmas Carol, though at this point I would be hard-pressed to remember any details of any of them. Several others are obvious if you know that I’m a climber and trail runner and live in Yosemite — Royal Robbins, Wayne Merry, Claude Fiddler, Red Zinger (the climb, not the tea), Dean Karnazes. Some are just my predilections — asceticism and Q&A. Anyway, I would guess that my wife and I are the only ones who fully understand that list, but so be it.