Thursday, October 22, 2009


Have you ever wondered why I blog under the name that I do? Have you ever asked yourself, “Who is this pretzelboy, this rolled and salted dough named blogger, this international man of asexuality?”

If you have—or even more likely, if you haven’t—I thought I would diverge from the more serious topics I’ve tackled of late and answer this question, sharing some lesser-known facts about myself and attempting to make it tangentially related to asexuality.

The highschool I attended, a private school with grades 7-12, had every year an event called “Spirit Week” wherein we would show our school spirit and participate in lots of random games, activities, etc., involving numerous competitions between classes, many of which were held at an assembly comprising the last 50 minutes or so of each school day for that week. My freshman year, we had a “Stupid Talent Contest” in which each class, having about 100 members, had to select one member to represent it and display their stupid talent.

I, being extraordinarily stupid-talented, volunteered to represent my class, a volunteering rapidly accepted as, evidently, they had already been considering asking me. Whether to view this as a compliment or an insult, I do not know, but either way, to make my stupid talent more superlatively so, I opted to combine two of my peculiar abilities into one act: my greater-than-normal flexibility and my ability to memorize stuff. So, on the day of the contest, I got up before the school and, on the gym floor, put both of my feet behind my head and recited, from memory, 95 decimal places of pi. Sadly, I had said I would recite 135, but my mind blanked and I had given a printout to the judges. Alas! I only got second place—beaten by the senior who put floss up is nose and out of his mouth!

As pi-memorization goes, it was nothing especially amazing—I had learned maybe 150 decimal places at my best. If you ask me now, I could do much less. The first 60 decimal places were memorized first and, for the cognitive psych folks out there, seem to have shifted from declarative to procedural memory. (Now, it just sort of comes out and I have little idea what I’m saying; it comes to me with such rapidity that even having to articulate it slows me down. Of all the useless things to be able to do…)

As for the name pretzelboy, I’m sure you can imagine why this nickname was given to me by my peers. A couple years later, during my junior year of highschool, I discovered that I could kick my left leg over my head and get it to latch around my neck and stay; I could then hop around for a little while like this, which proved to be a source of amusement among my peers and came to be known as “the leg thing.” As in, “Do the leg thing!” A frequent request while I was in college.

Now, many asexuals complain of the very limited range of responses people give to asexuality. They find it frustrating to get the same questions over and over and over again. With the leg thing, it was very much the same: basically, people asked one of two questions. “Does it hurt?” (No) “How did you learn that you can do that?” (Make up some crap because the actual answer was long, complicated, and not especially exciting.)

Since my senior year of college, I haven’t been able to do the leg thing except once while alone a few years back, and then only after stretching first. It seems that what happened was that I had started to get slightly less flexible, causing my leg to not quite go far enough on many of my attempts. And while being able to repeatedly kick myself in the back of the head while trying to do the leg thing may be an impressive feat in itself, it wasn’t one I wanted to show off too often. And now, if I try to put both feet behind my head, it hurts my back.

So there you have it: the origin of my blogger name Pretzelboy. It’s quite a lot more interesting than the origin of my blog name, which comes from a college algebra text book

1 comment:

Ily said...

This reminds me of when I was 12 and moved to a different state. I had a different accent from the kids at my new school and they were constantly asking me to say certain words. Drove me crazy! I lost most of my original accent, but people were actually still commenting on it when I was in college.