1. My full name is Travis Reid Farmer. My mother wanted to name me Mark. My father prevailed with his insistence of naming me after my mother’s father, Travis Reid, who he greatly admired. One of my professors at Tulane said I was the first student he had ever met with three last names.
2. I have a compulsive habit of writing my name, the date of purchase, and the city where purchased on the flyleaf of each book I buy. I’ve been doing that since 1972.
3. My only sibling is my sister Carol, who is six years younger than me.
4. People here know me as an archaeologist. I started out in that field, but economic circumstances prompted me to switch careers and I worked in management positions in aviation and aerospace manufacturing for many years. I’m glad that things have worked out for me to switch back.
5. My last job in aviation was in a business unit that manufactured and installed custom interiors in aircraft like Boeing Business Jets and Bombardier Global Expresses. Working in that business can involve you in some strange endeavors. For one client we had to conclusively prove to the FAA that installing and operating two Sony Playstations in the client’s BBJ wouldn’t affect the flight controls. For the same client I had to buy $25,000 worth of custom-dyed stingray hides that we used to upholster panels installed under the windows. I can’t tell you the client’s name but his family is related to Mickey Mouse.
6. When our two children were young, they looked a lot like me. As they get older they seem to take on more characteristics of Connie’s side of the family. But you could assemble a random selection of baby and toddler pictures of the three of us and a stranger couldn’t tell who was who.
7. Matt works at LSU, just up the road from my alma mater in New Orleans, Tulane. When I was in school they were deadly rivals in athletics, made deadlier on the Tulane side by the fact that LSU regularly thumped us in football. I can’t help it, but whenever Matt mentions his connection to LSU, inside my head I hear a derisive song we used to sing about our rival. The first few lines go like this:
“High above the Mississippi,
Standing in plain view,
Stands an old abandoned outhouse,
Known as LSU”
Nothing personal, Matt. It’s like a Pavlovian response!
8. The first time I heard Steve’s voice over the telephone I was totally floored. I knew he had grown up in Boston, but he had not a trace of that distinctive Beantown accent that I had expected. When I mentioned this to him once, he said he was the only person in his family that didn’t have the accent and attributed it to the private school he attended. He told me his brother jokes that the school was “…where Steve lost his r’s” referring to the distinctive “r” Bostonians want to tack on the ends of lots of words.