WASHINGTON — Facebook is encouraging people to write lists of 25 random facts about themselves. Here is mine.
1. When writing checks in January, some people forget to use the new year. I still sometimes write "19—."
2. If I wake to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, my dog often moves up from the foot of the bed to take my place. Rather than start a fight with her, I move to another bed.
3. My car is older than Jamie Lynn Spears.
4. I can still remember every uniform number of every starting player and the entire pitching rotation of the 1961 Yankees, including Cletis Boyer, whose number changed that year from 34 to 6. I cannot, at this moment, recall my Social Security number.
5. The apartment I grew up in had two bathrooms, one of which was reserved for the exclusive use of our dog. I didn't know how bizarre this was until I got married and matter-of-factly mentioned it to my wife.
6. I am embarrassed about how unruly my hair is, but never comb or brush it because I don't want to seem like the kind of person who cares what his hair looks like.
7. There are eight people I consider very close friends. Four are men and four are women. The average year of birth of the men is 1955. The average year of birth of the women is 1975. I contend this says nothing significant about me.
8. There are 26 clocks in my house. Most are antiques I have repaired myself. One is from 1792. Another is worth $2,100. The only clock that always has the right time is the one on the microwave.
9. I dress badly but still feel qualified to say that Michelle Obama dresses badly, too. I realize this opinion is taboo. Also, Lucille Ball was never that funny.
10. I am a devout atheist but can't explain why the moon is exactly the right size, and positioned so precisely between the Earth and the sun, that total solar eclipses are perfect. It bothers me.
11. I always sleep on the top sheet. My wife always sleeps beneath it. You perceive the problem.
12. In high school, I was the mastermind of a forged-hall-pass ring. I was the forger. I can still sign the names of teachers Herman Slutzkin and Rosalie C. Tornello exactly as they did 40 years ago. If they are still alive and I could get their checkbooks . . .
13. I turn off the lights to go to sleep only if someone else is in the room.
14. I can barely hide my contempt for people who do crossword puzzles in pencil.
15. I own 84 neckties but wear only one.
16. People think I am forgiving, but I am just absent-minded. It's not that I don't hold grudges — I just never remember whom I am supposed to resent, and why.
17. You know those cans of whole, skinned tomatoes intended for cooking: shapeless, sinewy sacs of bland pulp? I like to eat them, salted, right out of the can.
18. Every time I find myself waiting for something — like for water to fill up the coffee carafe — I time it by silently counting backward from 10, and then start the process again if necessary, keeping track of how many 10-groups I have used. Because it's important.
19. I will never step on a scale naked. I always wear some clothing, to which I can secretly attribute any weight gain.
20. I firmly believe in crossing at the light unless there is an opportunity to jaywalk.
21. If no one was looking and there was no chance anyone would ever find out, I would probably try maple syrup on steak.
22. If I am in the bathroom and find myself without reading material, I will read the contents of my wallet. If I do not have my wallet, I will read the labels of pharmaceutical products. Afrin has oxymetazoline hydrochloride.
23. I've interviewed Nobel Prize winners without a sense of awe. But I am deeply envious of anyone who will go on a roller coaster.
24. If someone spells poorly, I will not take him seriously, even if he is, say, Albert Schweitzer.
25. I cannot tell the difference in quality between $300 jeans and $30 jeans, but I can taste the difference between a $6 six-pack of beer and an $8 six-pack.
26. Because I have issues with authority, I tend not to follow directions.
Gene Weingarten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can chat with him online at noon Tuesdays at www.washingtonpost.com.