This is the only post I’ve ever written in English on this blog. I did it because it is intended for a mostly English-speaking Twitter audience.

So here are seven things you may not know about me:

Our house burned down when I was 17. Bizarre story, really. For several years, our next door neighbor—a retired man in his sixties—had been providing board for younger male guests in his house. One of them was this junkie who, desperate for drug money, broke into our home when no one was around. Perhaps upset that he couldn’t find any cash or jewelry, he set the house on fire, burning pretty much everything inside it. The house itself, which is made of concrete, didn’t burn to the ground, but was unlivable. During this time the only ones in this house were me and my father, so I moved in with my mom while my dad fixed the house by himself over the course of several months. He slept in the garage during this whole period.

I lost all my stuff, of course: books, music, drawings, my drumkit, a computer and more, but I gained a whole new respect for my father and the meaning of family and community support. It also made clear to me the concept of living life without being tied to material things, and I say this in the most cliché-free way possible.

The aftermath of this incident, specifically regarding the neighbor and his guest, go way beyond the scope of this post. I may do a full article on this story later.

I am completely addicted to all pop trash that is at least thirty years old. I love retro kitsch and have talked about my love for every bad piece of pop culture produced before 1985. I have seen every Italian Zombie film made in the 70’s. I love exploitation movies, and seek out even the most outrageous titles in every possible category (you know, the ones that leave you feeling icky for a week after watching them). One of my favorite musical genres is latin ballad from the 60’s through the 80’s; if you’re from Latin America you know what I’m talking about. The list goes on.

I am a boring, introverted obsessive-compulsive. Let me break it down one by one:

  • Boring. I can be witty, but not quick-witted. Really not good at all with small talk, so I’m definitely not a conversation starter. Because of this, I can be perceived as a very boring guy when you first meet me. When I was single, I don’t think I ever made the first move on a girl (my wife can attest to this, she being the one who seduced me.) Once I get to meet someone, however, it’s completely different; I’m a hoot, at least when drunk.
  • Introverted. I’d written about this before. This may relate to being perceived as boring, but the main point is that while I really enjoy social situations, there comes a moment when I need to withdraw and be alone. I also think things many times over before I say them, hate talking on the phone, and prefer long, philosophical conversations over chit chat.

    Also, long walks on the beach.

  • Obsessive-compulsive. Not really OCD, of course, but over time—and especially these last few years—I have become more and more obsessed with order, cleanliness and simplicity, a neat freak. I guess it’s a side effect of taking care of a daughter; it is so much easier when you have discipline and organization. I’ve recently noticed my daughter neatly lining up her toys, only satisfied when they are perfectly spaced and straight. This both pleases and scares me.

I once fell off the roof of my house and now have a large, very visible scar in the back of my head. I was cleaning the gutters after a pretty nasty hurricane hit the island and fell off the top part of a stepladder, hitting my head with the pavement. The next hour was a blur; I slipped in and out of consciousness and only faintly remember my dad being freaked out and yelling “staaaaay wiiiiith meeee!!!!” on the way to the hospital. Fortunately nothing serious happened; they stitched me up and that was it, but not before spending 15 hours in a neck brace at the emergency room getting all sorts of tests.

Did I ever tell you about that time in second grade when that girl punched me in the face and I also hit my head on the floor, which rearranged my jaw and made my teeth crooked, thus prompting five years of painful dental procedures? That’s a story for another day.

I haven’t gone to a barber shop in 15 years. I’ve used a hair clipper at home since I went to college, which is why I sport this hairstyle which, while not at all creative, is appropriate for my receding hairline.

Also, no, I’ve never tried the Flowbee.

I lost 60 pounds in one year. I’d always been a short, somewhat skinny guy, but I started gaining weight until I got to about 200 pounds at some point in my college years. In 2003 I decided this needed to change, so I did the Subway thing (yeah, the Jared diet) for a year. I lost 60 pounds and as of today, I weigh about 145. After that year, however, I haven’t been able to eat Subway food ever again; I even find the smell disgusting.

I have witnessed three exorcisms. Although I am now atheist/agnostic, I was raised christian, and during my time in church I was witness to some of the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen in my life, exorcisms being just one of them.

Our church youth group used to go on spiritual retreats, a weekend away on a camp where everybody prayed, sang and basically “renewed their relationship” with god. It was on these retreats where we saw several exorcisms being performed on some of the teenagers. Now, protestant churches do not have to wait for approval from some Vatican-like authority, so the church elders decided when to perform these rituals—right there on the spot—and they were usually performed after an emotionally-charged worship session. In case you’re wondering, people do not levitate and there’s no projectile vomiting. You may have seen stuff like this performed by a televangelist, but unlike the I-touch-you-once-and-the-demon-is-out spectacle you see on TV, these were long sessions, where elders would try for hours to rid a screaming girl of her torment. One important thing to note, though: every person involved in this ritual really believed what happened was real, even the teenager, and especially me. I also remember being told to kneel and pray while this went on, because “when that demon comes out, it is going to be looking for another body to enter, and you don’t want it to be you.” Holy crap.

Freaky stuff, for sure, which I don’t believe anymore. Did I ever talk about how I used to be absolutely convinced—mostly through “prophetic sermons” at church—that the world was going to end with the first Gulf War? Right, I’ll tell that another day.

Bonus: I can make a grown man cry. However, I cannot make a dead man come.

I think most people I follow have been tagged in this meme already, so how about some local (Puerto Rican) tweeps? I tag:


Do it if you want, but don’t if you don’t feel like it.

Presiona para mostrar los comentarios (9) o añadir un comentario. Comentarios (presiona para esconder)
  1. Katsushiro enero 14, 2009 5:12 pm

    Ah, crap, I’ve been tagged.. but this kinda looks like fun. I’ll post something up tonight. 😀

  2. Yanisa enero 14, 2009 6:56 pm

    Anda pal’ diache, Rafi!!!

    ¡Escribe sobre el aftermath del fuego!

  3. mutantreptile enero 14, 2009 7:21 pm

    Oh dear. This might mean I might resurrect my blog. Btw, I think you might answer affirmative to the “Were you dropped on your head as a kid?” question next time somebody asks you, just to see their reaction.

  4. Sheila Torres enero 15, 2009 10:14 am

    I realize you limited the list to 7 items, but being your sister, I think I can add 3 more items to make it an even 10 (I feel like Monk). What you think?

    8. When he was younger, his diet consisted mainly in white rice, french fries and ketchup. I still don’t know what happened (but I guess Mariela has something to do with it), now he enjoys trying exotic foods. Big improvement.

    9.He was a GI Joe fan. His room was filed with action figures and accesories. In fact, thanks to him I can sing (even today) the whole theme from the cartoon series. His dream was to have the aircraft carrier, but was too expensive (by the standard at the time). By the way, what happened with all that stuff?

    10. My dad found him reading the encyclopedia once. Yes, reading it as if it was a book. Now, every time people are talking about weird stuff about their kids, my Dad has to mentioned that Rafi (Omar, as we call him) used to read the encyclopedia just for fun.

    Bonus (you know that this days all list have at list one) – He used to have a go-kart. Once when he was riding it, he took a closed turn and flipped over. He bruised his face and shoulders (don’t remember if it was the left or right side). For months, every time somebody was taking a picture, he would appear sideways to disguise the bruises.

  5. Gabriel enero 15, 2009 7:27 pm

  6. afreytes enero 21, 2009 12:36 am

  7. Tania enero 24, 2009 3:57 pm

    I always thought the reason you were so “quiet” was not that you were boring or an introvert, but that you grew up in a family full of women. How could you get a word in??? Love ya

  8. Micro enero 25, 2009 5:47 pm


    This is interesting. I was surfing the web for images on “intelligent design”, and i found the one i needed on your webpage (obviously i gave you credit for it)

    I’ll be around

  9. Roommate abril 10, 2009 10:27 pm

    …and what about the time i found in your room by yourself….

    forgot your sister also reads this blog..let me change the subject….

    what about the fact i’ve been living in the US for 10 years and still don’t know english…rafi have translated every time i’ve asked for a promotion at work…