This post is a reply to one by Sarah (AKA Half_Jack, AKA Hija de Rebujito) who challenged a number of Ipernitians to tell ten facts about themselves. I have no possibility of filming myself (thank God for that!), so unfortunately you’ll have to do with some text and a few new or unknown pictures.

Forgive me for not passing the assignment to others: I could mention your mom, to put some more pressure on her; otherwise, I fear I don’t know that many people well enough...

1) I am slow. You may have gathered this from the time I needed to answer, Sarah, and it’s true. I feel deeply ashamed. But it also feels good that some are slower.

2) This is where I went to school:

It is still called “Guido de Brès School”, but it is more colorful now than it was in my time (this kind of buildings don’t age very well, and attempts to defy age usually fail, as proven here). The sign says it’s a “Christian Elementary School”; it used to be a “School with the Bible” –perhaps to entrap Catholics who weren’t aware that Guido was a Protestant martyr? Though it was already there when I came (in 1960), you can still see that the second floor was added later.

I wasn’t happy there; only kindergarten was worse. My journey through the various educational institutions led me to believe that life just got better, a belief I still haven’t quite given up.

3) I can do this:

I can do this for hours and hours, depending on the number of cigars available.

4) In my entire life, I have attended two pop concerts, or three –if you’re generous. The first one was more or less obligatory, and I wouldn’t count it: a Golden Earring concert at school (the band had a few hits in the US, too). The second was Paul Simon in 1991; he was on his “Born At the Right Time” Tour, then, and Cora was due some months later, so symbolism was heavy. The last one was a Who concert, in 2007.

BTW, next August I hope to see Eric Clapton and band live.

5) I got involved in some pretty crazy sexual liaisons, ménages à trois and the like, with some scary women, which was all rather sordid.

is what I read in Eric Clapton’s autobiography (p.237, UK edition). I can tell you: I was shocked!

6) In the past, people have thought that I’m

– a girl (I was very little then, and wearing a hooded anorak, but I felt really offended)

– a homosexual (according to the landlady of my future wife)

– the musical clown of Zirkus Krone (it’s hard to recognize someone when he isn’t wearing make-up)

– a famous piano player (famous? yes! a piano player? no!)

– a maniac (walking Robbie, in the heat of the night, I scared a girl to death who had just watched “A Beautiful Mind”; I haven’t seen the movie, and I have no clue how this could happen)

– a Jesus look-alike. Last week, I spent my afternoon break downtown, and a woman distributing flyers told me I looked a lot like Him:

And I don’t even have a beard! Because she didn’t say I actually was Him I refrained from performing a miracle.

7) After not having mastered the guitar (acoustic/electric) and the ukulele, I’m now learning not to play the mandolin. It’s big fun! And because the mandolin has the same tuning as the violin, I eventually won’t be able to play the violin either!

8) The only head-banging I have done is after washing my hair, to help it dry. I stopped doing so because of a whiplash.

9) It took me 49 years to get into hospital. I even was born at home (my mother used to be a midwife herself, and put great faith in her profession), but finally a stupid fall on the Maximilianstraße in Munich led to a shattered elbow –diagnosticized three days later when I still hadn’t seen improvement, and visited a doctor. Two surgeries followed, one to fix the fragments, and another one to remove the metalwork. If you study the picture closely (which I cannot recommend) you can see that there are two cuts.

I pay a fortune for my health insurance, which granted me the services of an orthopedic professor. So the first thing I had to do was sign a document saying that I agreed with someone else doing the surgery, and in the end the professor only removed the stitches (he forgot one, and I had to do a professor’s job myself).

I can’t get my arm quite straight anymore: I’m a cripple ... for 15%, if I remember right. You wouldn’t notice it, though.

10) There are only nine interesting facts about me. When I think of all those people who could go on and on telling interesting things about themselves I feel deeply ashamed...

Oh, I have said that before! Well, at least we have come full-circle!