Local restaurants. Italian artists. Cities in Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Military leaders. Beatles songs. And, over and over and over again, the 67 counties of Pennsylvania in alphabetical order, always listed by memory. (Just before the book was published I discovered that Jamie has also memorized all 67 county seats.)
On the left side of row 18, you’ll find a list of questions on yellow legal paper. Jamie drew up many of these from 2007-10 (I know exactly when they started and why), and apparently on May 16, 2008, as we all gathered in St. Louis for Nick’s graduation from college, my mother was so impressed with one of them that she dated it and kept it. I found it while cleaning out her house after her death in 2013.
What are you, a box of All Bran?
What are you, a plate of cheese qasudia?
What are you, full of peanuts?
What are you, a plastic bag of pears?
What are you, a bottle of Hidden Vally Ranch?
... and so on for 28 lines. OK, so this routine began in March 2007, when Jamie and I were in Florida and I was speaking at Stetson University in DeLand. (We then took a couple of days’ vacation in Orlando, where Jamie wanted nothing to do with the Magic Kingdom or with Universal Studios.) Along the way, Jamie kept asking me, as I made our various plans for the day, “are you crazy? are you nuts?” and I would apparently sigh (“deep sigh,” Jamie says when he tells this story), “I am not crazy. I am not nuts.” Gradually this turned into, “what are you, full of cashews/ peanuts/ walnuts” and then into the cornucopia of “what are you”s you see here. I think Jamie did about a hundred or so of these over the course of a few years, and then outgrew the phase.
Some lists here are nothing but years– 1654, 1947, 1551, etc. in random sequence. When we see these, we know Jamie has been perusing his art books. He likes to write down the year each painting was painted– and nothing else.