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December 23, 2006

The Magical Mystery Meme Is Coming To Take You Away

By Neil the Ethical Werewolf

Having been tagged by Ezra, I'm doing this meme his way -- four of the following stories of me are true, and one is an invention.  Readers, it falls to you to separate the tall tale from the truths.  I'm guessing that this will be a fun puzzle for those of you who've been reading for a while, so have at it! 

1.  About ten years ago, I learned how to eat fire.  It's served me quite well -- I won a heavily contested student council election at Harvard by going to every dorm room in the district and eating fire for the residents.  I've added some interesting wrinkles to the trick since then, like blowing sparks and eating fire while balancing a 42" broadsword horizontally in my mouth. 

2.  I knew Cate Edwards (John's eldest daughter) back when I was a high school student in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I hadn't heard of her dad at the time -- I graduated in 1997 and he ran for Senate in 1998.  She was cool and athletic and pretty while I was a Magic-playing geek, so we didn't interact socially much.  But on the occasions when we talked, mostly in AP Biology, she seemed really nice. 

3.  From 1999 to 2001, I was the research director of a dorm-room hedge fund. My friend Ed Chen got about $100,000 together from various rich folks, with which we bought lots of tech stocks.  Sadly, we were typical tech bubble maniacs, buying high-risk stocks and using them as collateral for margin loans with which to buy more high-risk stocks.  We tripled our money in 4 months... and then lost almost everything.  I'm a much saner investor now.

4.  From 2000 to 2001, I ran Donkeybusiness.com, which was like The Onion for financial news.  My first article, "Japan Replaces Yen With Beef", described how Japan had decided to use a perishable meat as its currency to stimulate spending.  Probably my best article came out when the Nasdaq crashed after Election Day 2000. It was about how Florida retirees using a confusing voting interface had thrown the market into chaos by repeatedly selling stocks that they actually wanted to buy.  TheStreet.com paid me $250 for an article on urban decay and gang warfare in Silicon Valley in the wake of the tech collapse.  And it's the tech collapse that did me in -- when the news was basically the same for 2 years, I ran out of jokes.  The domain registration has since lapsed. 

5.  I lost my virginity with a girl whom I feared was fleeing the country to escape murder charges.  By her own admission, an old man was dead, the police had initially investigated it as a homicide, and a creepy relative had convinced her parents that she was a suspect.  The guy she was staying with before me (not the deceased) had turned abusive, so one night she fled to my apartment and stayed there for two weeks while she got her travel documents together.  For the first few days, I slept in the grad student lounge to give her space and because I was totally freaked out, but after enough time together the intimacy began.  She went off to Israel and I haven't heard from her since.  I've always thought she probably wasn't really a suspect, but it's not a fun thing to be uncertain about.  And it made the sex really weird.

So there you have it.  Guess away, and I'll reveal the answer next week or so.  I'm passing the meme on to my fellow weekenders -- Nicholas, Shakes, and John.  And Lindsay, and Stephen.  By the way, I'll be in DC from December 26 to January 7, so any readers in the capital who want to hang out are invited to send an email my way.  If you pick the right answer and it turns out not to be #1, I'll eat fire for you! 

December 23, 2006 | Permalink


It's number 4 - you're trying to hard to leave no trace by saying that the domain has lapsed!

Although, it is very helpful that you specified there was one lie - it you had left it open ended I probably would have guessed only #4 was true!

BTW - maybe it was losing your virginity that made the sex really wierd...

Posted by: Chuck | Dec 23, 2006 9:35:59 AM


Posted by: Matt Stoller | Dec 23, 2006 10:39:13 AM

Most. Opaque. Comment. Ever.

Meanwhile, I'm calling bullshit on #2.

Posted by: Ezra | Dec 23, 2006 11:49:44 AM

I know I know!

Posted by: Tony v | Dec 23, 2006 12:27:23 PM

I'm picking no. 2 for the following reason: Recently, Edwards was in the news for buying a videogame console from Wal-Mart, for his kid(s). Unless he really spread them out, they'd be too old by this time to want one.

Posted by: Alear | Dec 23, 2006 12:40:49 PM

Alear - if Wikipedia is to be believed, Cate Edwards was born in 1982 and graduated from high school in 2000 - meaning she would have been a freshman when Neil was a senior, which makes his assertion that they were in AP Bio together very, how you say, suspicious. But she has two much-younger siblings - Emma Claire, eight, and Jack, six - the latter of whom the PS3 was bought for. So I think you're right - #2 seems like the lie - but for a different reason.

Posted by: Minipundit | Dec 23, 2006 12:56:40 PM

I don't buy it because i think neil would've mentioned it.

Posted by: Ezra | Dec 23, 2006 2:16:06 PM

1, 3, and 4 check out. I'll join the crowd doubting #2. Could be #5, but Neil's clever and motivated enough to make the "guilty" one less conspicuously peculiar. Plus what Ezra just said.

Posted by: Sanpete | Dec 23, 2006 2:34:07 PM

I say #2 also because I think Neil would have mentioned it, although I sort of hope for Neil's sake it's #5 because, in my mind, it's playing out like a Vincent Gallo film, and that's never good.

And this--"Japan Replaces Yen With Beef"--is hilarious.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Dec 23, 2006 2:35:15 PM

"I've always thought she probably wasn't really a suspect, but it's not a fun thing to be uncertain about. And it made the sex really weird."

You say all that like it's a bad thing...

Posted by: Petey | Dec 23, 2006 3:32:21 PM

If Tony V knows, then I think it's actually 1.

But I think it's 5. I can't believe you'd (a) put the story of how you actually lost your virginity on the internet, and (b) that that would be the story.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Dec 23, 2006 5:02:36 PM

1 is ridiculous. A contested student council election at Harvard?

Posted by: Noah | Dec 23, 2006 5:33:31 PM

Nice detective work, and I accede your point. I'm still with no. 2 however, for a different reason. From Neil's own mouth:

"At the end I got my picture taken with him [Edwards] and some other folks. I told him that I'd volunteered for him, and that it was good to finally meet him. "

I'm doubting he wouldn't have mentioned being in class with his daughter. But: 9th grade AP biology isn't beyond the pale, suspicious, but not unheard of. Probably not.

Posted by: Alear | Dec 23, 2006 7:09:49 PM

I'd say number one is the lie.

Posted by: rtaycher1987 | Dec 23, 2006 8:32:40 PM

You forgot the obligatory flamebait comment from some anonymous AEI Staffer...

"All of them are lies because you're a dirty liberal hippy that worships Satan!"

Posted by: Andrew | Dec 23, 2006 10:26:44 PM

I'll stir the pot a little. If everything I said above was true, the following stuff would also all be non-deceptively true. And in fact, most of it is true:

Chuck, 5 years is a long time to pay registration and hosting for a defunct site.

Tony (in fact) knows.

I didn't mention having known Cate in my pro-Edwards stuff before because I thought it'd make my strategy posts seem excessively girl-motivated.

Petey, I have nothing against sex that's weird (as in unusual). But my partner possibly being a murder suspect is kind of nerve-racking and stressful in a way that keeps me from getting into it the right way.

Nicholas, I'm willing to tell just about anything about myself to an interested audience unless (1) it's really embarrassing or (2) it might have negative effects on someone else.

Your comment is generally accurate, Noah, but that race was freshman year, and freshman elections are more contested than upperclassmen's elections.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Dec 24, 2006 2:42:42 AM

Andrew doesn't know what he's talking about. I imagine Ezra knows who this anonymous AEI staffer is, and, well Andrew, piss off. No I'm no longer there, but you know, there were even some liberals (OK, me and one other guy) there. Find the right scholars (i.e. Wallsten) and you've got a place with the best food ever and really interesting coworkers.

By the way it's two. The details are too good on the others.

Posted by: Anonymous AEI Staffer | Dec 24, 2006 2:46:11 AM

Bah, the "Japan replaces yen wih beef" story sounds like an homage

Posted by: NickS | Dec 24, 2006 2:11:25 PM

I'm going to guess #5 because you've stolen one of my 28 ongoing fantasies. My favorite is getting kidnapped by an all-female motorcycle gang, but that's off topic.

Posted by: KnightErrant | Dec 27, 2006 12:31:58 PM

I guess the dorm room hedge fund. It seems to have less verisimiltitude than the other choices on offer.

Posted by: Battlepanda | Dec 30, 2006 1:29:08 PM

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