Ten things I have done that you (probably) haven’t

I’ll be honest. I’m about to go on a big trip, and I’m–for the first time in a very long time–a little nervous about it. It’s the good kind of nervous, but the anxiety is real and it’s manifesting itself as a niggling marmot of distraction. My focus on the big Ps (printing, packing, prepping) is shaky, which is how I ended up going to the comforts of Scalzi’s blog to see his Ten Additional Things I Have Done That You (Probably) Haven’t. At the end, he invited his readers to create their own list, and because my head-noodle is doing everything it can to avoid everything I need to do in the next 24 hours, here’s my list.

Ten things I have done that you (probably) haven’t

1. Talked with Willie Nelson on his bus after one of his shows

2. Fractured my sternum on a lectern

3. Stood in the middle of an interstate highway looking into a body bag half full with charred remains

4. Been the first to hear a murderer’s confession

5. Fired a fully automatic weapon

6. Had an intimate dinner with Norm Macdonald

7. Caught $10,000 in cash thrown from across the room

8. Had a bank robber use a “your mom” joke on me

9. Watched a pile of marijuana as big as a truck burn

10. Been (wrongly) accused of and interrogated for the hit-and-run of a bike-riding child

So, that passed ten minutes. Only 27 hours more to procrastinate before I board! Have your ten things you’ve done that I (probably) haven’t? Leave them in the comments.

Bonus: Watched an empty street suddenly fill with thousands of revelers during Carnival in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Just before the craziness started in Brazil

Just before the craziness started in Brazil

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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28 Responses

  1. Dan England says:

    I have actually done four on your list. But we were in a similar business.

    Here’s a few things I’ve done that not many have:
    • Felt the steam from an active volcano’s top after I’ve climbed it.
    • Been caught in a rock avalanche.
    • Saw the sun rise twice while hiking before stopping.
    • Held three snakes that could kill you either with a bite, a spit or constriction.
    • Collided with an elk – yes, collided – during a trail run. (Narrowly missed getting hit three other times, once during a race).
    • Interviewed Motley Crue.
    • Enjoyed a beer on the summit of my last 14er.

  2. RICHELLE says:

    Feeling inspired to take a moment and think about those 10 possibilities in my life.

    1. Stood in the Green Bay Packers locker room with naked professional football players.
    2. Interviewed President George W. Bush
    3. Got a role as a movie extra.
    4. Spent the night in federal prison.
    5. Rode a bus in Mexico with chickens riding in the luggage racks.
    6. I’ve eaten everything from fried squirrel to grilled raccoon.
    7. Got hit on by Jackie Mason.
    8. Performed a motorcycle stunt with the Russian circus on live t.v.
    9. Flew on a C-130 with the Marines.
    10. Hiked the 2nd largest waterfall in the U.S.

  3. Tim Lavalli says:

    I have my ten but I think I’m too private to put them out there, but I will say about yours… who hasn’t done #7!

  4. KenP says:

    6. Had an intimate dinner with Norm Macdonald

    Have we (or your wife) a cause for concern?

  5. One can never hear it too much, so I’ll say reiterate many before me … you inspire.

  6. susannah says:

    🙂 still chuckling over number eight.

    The only thing I could come up with that wasn’t typical wacky reporter stuff:

    Something I’ve done that you probably haven’t: I’ve been knocked off my feet and into a lake (betacam and all) from a vicious right hook by the wing of a two-seater sea plane. Ouch.

  7. Bracelet says:

    Jesus. I came up with a whopping three things. One wasn’t even all that interesting. Sad.

  8. Let’s see if I can come up with anything good.

    1. Seen my book on a bestseller list with Stephen King.
    2. Designed lighting for a national rock tour.
    3. Shot a commercial with Kasey Kahne.
    4. Been sprayed with champagne by Jeff Gordon (another commercial gig)
    5. Crawled along a ledge on the outside of the 7th floor of a hotel in my swim trunks.
    6. Sat in the anchor chair at multiple TV news station while never being a TV news anchor.
    7. Performed spoken word poetry for members of Congress
    8. Had dinner with Doc Watson
    9. Been consulted as an expert in gas station cuisine
    10. Run lights for a concert with 15,000 people in the audience.

    I think some of those are cool.

  9. Joe Hampton says:

    Great post and an excellent idea. It reminds me that it’s a pretty interesting life even though much of it seems mundane. And makes me feel a little less guilty about my own procrastination.

    1. Had a drink with Morgan Freeman and made him laugh
    2. stood on an open plain in Zambia with herds of zebra, impala and giraffe visible at the same time while drinking lemonade and eating cake.
    3. Got drunk on three beers at the Heineken museum in Amsterdam
    4. Worked on the set of an Oscar-Winning film
    5. I’ve eaten jellyfish sauteed with onions in Chinatown with a grown man who was wearing black nail polish.
    6. Written eight full-length feature film scripts
    7. I’ve seen ancient urns under a Viennese cathedral that contained the entrails of royalty
    8. Driven from South Carolina to California twice and California to South Carolina three times
    9. Won $100 in a karaoke contest singing “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder in a room filled with 200 people in which I was the only white person present.
    10. Asked for and got Lou Gossett Jr. to call me “Mayonnaise” and then was ordered to drop and give him 50 push-ups.

  10. Bryan Polcyn says:

    1. Sat in the booth of a St. Louis Cardinals game with Jack Buck and Mike Shannon, circa 1989.
    2. Rode through the streets of downtown San Francisco on a rented moped.
    3. Crowd surfed to Collective Soul at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO.
    4. Sang “Welcome to the Jungle,” karaoke style, in the French quarter, alongside my college TV news director, moments after sucking down a 32 oz. mind eraser for my birthday (thanks Otis).
    5. Pooped in the snow in the middle of a blizzard in between liveshots.
    6. Said “holy shit” live, on the radio, after a tornado ravaged the small town of Moberly, MO, coming within a block of the radio station.
    7. Won a free trip to the Ozarks in a Jimmy Buffet karaoke contest at Mizzou (can’t recall the name of the bar, but we hung out there a lot).
    8. Skied the back bowls at Vail, Colorado, in 2-feet of fresh powder with my dad and brother.
    9. Used computer spyware to catch a cheating spouse.
    10. Nearly fell down a full flight of stairs at the “Trans World Dome” after Ricky Proehl caught the game-winning touchdown in the 1999-2000 NFC Championship Game.

  11. Heather says:

    Oh my turn
    1. stood with Angel Merkel as she took office for the first time on election night in Germany
    2. Interviewed the Mayor of Berlin
    3. Stood in the church in Germany where the uprising began that took the wall down
    4. Jumped up on live TV to bring anchors various things many many times
    5. Given birth at age 43
    6. Was sexually harassed by Ronnie Dunn from Brooks and Dunn
    7. Sat in Church with President George Bush
    8. Watched Face the Nation from the booth with the producer
    9. Stood at the podium at the White House where the Press gathers
    10. Had car break down on the way to the KISS concert, walked the streets of San Francisco as Gene Simmons to get to the concert.

  12. CJ says:

    1. Had a conversation on bus with Shannon Elizabeth, her friend and Bobby Bracelet. We were the only ones on the bus.
    2. Managed a newsroom through 74 hours of wall-to-wall hurricane coverage.
    3. Watched a baseball game in 10 different major league baseball stadiums.
    4. Asked Bob Costas, in person, what he thought of baseball adding the wild card.
    5. Threatened to sue the mayor of a moderately-sized city in a phone conversation.
    6. Lost $400 in 20 minutes playing poker just so I didn’t have to pay $20 for parking in New Orleans.
    7. Joked about Dennis Kucinich’s wife’s attractiveness with Dennis Kucinich.
    8. Hired people for their first reporter job who are now in Houston, Atlanta and San Antonio among others.
    9. Created a budget of more than $4 million as part of my job.
    10. Driven from the banks of Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico in a day.

  13. Teamscottsmith says:

    1. Landed in a helicopter atop a glacier.
    2. Went skinny-dipping within 20 feet of the bottom of glacier. And skinny-dipped in two other glacier rivers.
    3. Saw every single species of frog in SC, in the wild.
    4. Rode on horseback over a pyramid.
    5. Made tea in a steam fumarole.
    6. Went skinny-dipping in a 108 degree river, downstream from a boiling lake. Yeah, there’s a skinny-dipping habit.
    7. Rode an iceberg.
    8. Trekked through a swamp and found a Ghost Orchid.
    9. Have eaten dinner with a Prime Minister.
    10. Drunken Tree Spelunking.

  14. Dr. Chako says:

    I can probably come up with 10…

    1. Held a beating human heart.
    2. Been in combat
    3. Made an Al Qaida terrorist laugh
    4. Hang glided over Rio
    5. Ignored Laura Prepon so that I could talk to Bobby Bracelet
    6. Invited my ex-wife to my wedding
    7. Fallen asleep standing up in an operating room.
    8. Rode a Ninja motorcycle from NY to Florida
    9. Jumped out of an airplane at night with 95 pounds of gear.
    10. Had my arm broken while arm wrestling.

  15. Steve Wood says:

    Thanks for this Brad. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

    1. Raced up Mt. Wilson in an Austin Healy Sprite against a friend in his Triumph Spitfire. Crashed the Sprite. No one said these things had to be smart things.

    2. Saw the Monkees live in concert twice, Strawberry Alarm Clock once. No one said you had to be proud of these things.

    3. Spent the better part of two years in a Federal corrections facility, including six weeks “awaiting transportation” in the LA county jail. This for refusing to participate in a war that was later deemed to be a stupid mistake. This one I am proud of.

    4. Bought a large Victorian house from a house mover I was working for at the time, helped chop it down to a movable size and hauled it out to an acre of land bought for $1000 in NE Oklahoma. Remodeled it an called it home for several years.

    5. Auditioned for Roy Clark of Hee Haw fame. This thanks solely to my talented and beautiful wife’s singing ability. My less than mediocre picking ability was no doubt a factor in not getting the gig.

    6. Founding member of a Dallas area start-up that created a unique software product for community banks. Made a bunch of money, retired at 49 and moved to Mexico.

    7. Blew a solid six figure retirement roll by age 57(gambling on Wall Street crap).

    8. Worked for an online poker company based in San Jose Costa Rica until age 62. Retired again.

    9. Have driven between NE Oklahoma and the Pacific coast of Mexico many, many times. Once passed within earshot (two blocks)of a running gun battle between police/army and a drug gang in Nuevo Laredo. This at two in the afternoon.

    10. Lived in a working class Mexican neighborhood in a coastal resort town writing stuff on a magic machine that people all over the world can read. This one is a thing that I “have done”… and am doing.

    Bonus Item. Wrote a reasonably successful (over 60k copies sold over 5 editions) geek book about programming in Turbo Pascal. Used copies are still for sale on Amazon.com… which didn’t exist until 20+ years after the book was written. Called “Using Turbo Pascal”.

  16. Brad Willis says:

    This is all further proof my friends are 100% more interesting than I am. I like it that way.

  17. Harry Brumleve says:

    01. Been hugged and called awesome by Ben Harper (I turned down an offer to trade shoes with him earlier that day).

    02. Been laid off the day before Christmas and told my newly ex-boss he’d be visited by 3 ghosts that night.

    03. Told the CEO of Anheuser-Busch to “help a brother out” with our project’s budget (he did).

    04. Part of 4 small teams that disrupted the telephony industry, the logistics industry, the health insurance industry, and traditional botany research respectively. (working on disrupting the publishing industry right now)

    05. Moved to Europe on a whim.

    06. Told a group of aggressive Germans trolling for a fight with me and my buddy that I would “Roll over them like Patton through the Rhineland.” (they left)

    07. Decided to become a First Aid/CPR practitioner the day before the 2013 Boston Marathon (didn’t see any action but I was only 1 block away from ground zero).

    08. Started 3 companies which focused on helping start-ups develop their ideas but never got to cash out with them (dammit).

    09. Had at least 2 beers in every tent at Oktoberfest within a 24 hour period (harder than it sounds, and led to …)

    10. Had a beer with the mayor of Munich at Oktoberfest (he was sitting alone in the Lowenbrau tent, so I just walked up and handed him my other beer).

    BONUS: I think Stephen Spielberg handed me chips to double down on an 11 against a 4. This was verified by the dealer and pit boss, but I was crazy hammered and only vaguely recognized him and his hat.

  18. Bracelet says:

    I’m proud to have shown up in two top tens. Maybe all of my ten things should have been running wingman for others in their top tens.

  19. Brad Willis says:

    I’ll say this, Bracelet, I could have used you at the dinner with Norm Macdonald for sure.

  20. Gracie says:

    Michelle’s right. This is more fun than the giraffe game. I LOVE seeing everyone’s responses. Here are mine.

    1. Hung out completely myself in Nancy Pelosi’s office, courtesy of Tony Nardi’s friend. And swiped a Ghiardelli’s chocolate. (Another Nardi makes the list.)

    2. While living on Rue Dumaine, my commute to work was spent walking through early morning, silent and misty French Quarter streets. It was like living in a time machine.

    3. Got hosed down at the floor of the stadium at Live Aid.

    4. Live in a geodesic dome.

    5. Was busted out of a charity tournament by Orel Hershiser. But I also busted Wil Wheaton out of a different tournament, so all things even out in the end.

    6. Was a Guardian ad Litem and testified in court to have someone’s parental rights terminated, while looking directly into the dead eyes of the asshole infant abuser.

    7. Got yelled at by Huey Lewis of The News for getting in his way on stage with a boom mic during ESPN’s 10th anniversary party at Lake Compounce.

    8. At a taping of David Letterman, inadvertently pointed at Paul Shaffer like he was a zoo animal and he gave me dagger eyes. Celebrities are not fond of me.

    9. From the 15th floor across the street, watched with apprehension as Sears Tower got evacuated several times after 9/11. During one such evacuation, a hazmat team stormed through the emergency exit of MY floor, announced our area was quarantined and rushed into the men’s room. (Some ding dong reported the dust from a paper towel dispenser was suspicious.)

    10. Princess Diana and I share a 17th Great Grandmother, Lady Sarah De Stokeport. This ancestor is also Prince Charles’ 19th Great Grandmother, Winston Churchill’s 16th Great Grandmother and Priscilla Mullins’ (who came over on the Mayflower) 9th Great Grandmother. This one shouldn’t count because you are likely related to her too, but I can prove it where you probably can’t.

  21. Eric says:

    I’m extremely glad I was only there for one of those things, and even more glad that it happened to be the awesome Bonus thing.

  22. HookieT says:

    Brad… you’ve got the coolest friends. My top ten pale in comparison. Please excuse my using suggestions above as starting points.

    1)Closed out the night drinking Crown straight-up with Willie and his sister backstage in NYC. (puked)
    2)Stood over a naked, beating heart in the OR (didn’t puke)
    3)Rode in the Goodyear Blimp and commandeered it over our neighborhood pool to wave at friends.
    4)Survived 96,000 bitter Bulldog fans in Athens after the Tigers neutered them between The Hedges.
    5)Have been pick-pocketed, mugged and burgled while living in NYC.
    6)Mushed a dog team across a glacier.
    7)Interviewed every Pres since Reagan, but most honored to have chatted with Pele’ and Mike Eruzione. (Do you believe in Miracles?!)
    8)Was the recent USTA state champ in tennis.
    9)Cried when thanking Billy Jean King for fighting for Title IX.
    10)Retraced Princess Di’s final steps in Paris starting at The Ritz, but only after doing significant “research” at the Hemingway Bar.

  23. Drew says:

    Awesome idea, Brad! Here’s my list:

    1. Lived in Italy for four years.
    2. Haven’t cut my hair to a short length in 17 years.
    3. Sang Ave Maria with a choir for a Catholic Church service in Paris.
    4. Built a wooden dock from scratch for a local park.
    5. Performed as Pluto and Roger Rabbit for a 4th of July carnival.
    6. Visited Yugoslavia.
    7. Went sailing in Germany.
    8. Broke my leg in a limbo contest.
    9. Wrote and voiced a radio PSA for the AFN radio network.
    10. Played in the Northeast Regional NAIA billiards tournament.

  24. Nolan Dalla says:

    Wonderful list from Brad as well as lists from some people I know, and some I don’t, who I think I now know. Make sense?


  25. Brad Willis says:

    Makes complete sense! (Not to mention the fact, you were at that same dinner with Norm and carried our end of the conversation, thank goodness)

  26. nick says:

    Some of the same – fired M16 full auto; flew on C-119 w Green Berets; lived in Japan and then cruised 12 days to Calif; Catamaran sailing off San Diego; driving and taking train coast to coast at least twice.

    But my friends did the most unique things – two awarded Air Force Cross, two awarded silver star, one awarded Medal of Honor.

    Things I have done that you (probably) haven’t
    1 – Outlasted Greg Raymer in 4 Tournaments, two were at same table.
    2 – Spent 4 hours in holding cell at LAX as suspected terrorist.
    3 – Watched a motorcyclist’s front tire blow, then saw him get run over by a car, and flagged people down to raise car off him. (they had no jack!)
    4 – Experienced mother and step mother dying before I was 17.
    5 – Survived cancer and a stroke.
    6 – found my birth family after 60 years.

  27. nick says:

    must add the saddest – I heard Taps too many times as member of honor guard detail during Vietnam war at over 50 funerals, seeing young mothers cry as they held babies who wondered what was going on.

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