Will the Pride of Abraham Lincoln High School Please Stand Up?

Greetings, people. Number 23 here.

Hope you’re all enjoying the weekend.

I convinced that guy who usually writes this stuff that it might play better if I spoke to you directly today. You know, just me and all of you, in my own sort of way. (Yeah, let’s give that other dude a breather. Old bastard probably ate too much turkey and ‘fixins on Thursday anyway.)

And besides, this could be fun. Right?

Okay, so if you’re cool with this, just a few things to keep in mind before we get started:

1. If you remember that old program, “What’s My Line?,” think of this as your chance to play!
2. Think carefully about all the clues I give you; promise you
no tricks.
3. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t figure out who I am right away. Let me tell you; I’m no Justin Bieber.
4. If you think you figure out who I am early on, don’t blurt out your answer. Please give the others a chance.
5. Lastly, you have to dispel reality a bit. (Thing is, I’m not currently alive.)

Here we go:

  1. I was born in Coney Island, New York on 1 May, 1923.
  2. Speaking of 23, and oddly enough, I became pretty famous for another number.
  3. I wrote a short story when I was in high school about a fictitious Russian invasion of Finland. (I tried selling it to the New York Daily News but was turned down flat.)
  4. Speaking of high school, I graduated from Abraham Lincoln High (Ocean Parkway/Brooklyn, NY) in
    June, 1941.
  5.  Not convinced I could make any kind of a living writing, I worked as a blacksmith’s apprentice, a Western Union messenger, and a file clerk.
  6. Tiring of those sort of odd jobs, I did stick with my work as a file clerk, deciding to do that job in the U.S. Army Air Corps, joining in 1942.
  7. Only 19 years old back when I joined up, and with no other legit career plans, I stuck around the service for the next two years. (Actually, I managed to stick around even longer than that, graduating from officer’s candidate school in 1944. And oh yeah, I flew 60 combat missions aboard a B-25 bomber. Oh, don’t be too impressed; a lot of those missions were really more like
    “milk runs,” and I never really got a scratch.)
  8. After World War II ended, I went to USC (California) for a while and then came back home to New York, graduating from NYU. I stuck around New York to attend Columbia University, earning my M.A. in 1949. For a few years after that, I worked as a college professor, most notably at Penn State University.
  9. Some time in 1953, I was just sitting around my house, and I came up with the idea for my most significant work. It started out as no more than a novelette, really, but I managed to get the first chapter of the story published in 1955, in New World Writing. And six years later in 1961, I became pretty famous pretty quickly. And nine years later, my first – and most famous – novel was made into a movie, starring a future Oscar winner and featuring one half of a famous NYC-based folk singing duo.
  10. Remember that I mentioned I was famous for a number near my birth year of 1923? We’re talking really near 23. Like right next to it even.

So, did you figure out who I am yet? (If not, don’t beat yourself up. Got another clue for ‘ya.)

In addition to the famous saying that my 1961 novel turned into a household expression, I also penned “…Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you…”

Really enjoying hanging out with you today! If you’re still not sure who I am, I’m sure it’ll come to you soon.

In the meantime, that old dude (yeah, the one who usually writes this stuff) says he’ll catch you tomorrow. (-:

Good luck with the rest of the countdown.







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