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See Colleen....See Colleen smile.Chicago's a lot different from the lakeside suburb I grew up in (except in climate, unfortunately -- although there's less snow, which is never bad). Erie was recently downgraded from the third-largest city in Pennsylvania to the fourth-largest (curses, Allentown!). When the preliminary census data suggested this, the mayors of both cities made a bet over who would finally emerge on top. Allentown got the nod and a "no comment" from the mayor of Erie. Nevertheless, I would wager that Erie's population exceeds Allentown's again each summer, judging from the enormous influx of tourists from Pittsburgh. I can hardly drive down Peninsula Avenue some days because of the sheer numbers migrating to and from the beach. I don't understand it ... Lake Erie isn't exactly the cleanest body of water to swim in ... but I guess all those Pittsburgh people must be used to the pollution. (Ah, take that, city number two! I should work for the mayor.)

Hamming it up at the school concert.I used to think that most people had never heard of Erie -- it never seemed to appear on maps -- but over the course of my travels this summer to Paris, Seattle, and the Jersey shore, I have discovered that, although people may not know much about Erie, everyone seems to know someone who lives there. In Paris, I met a man native to France who lived in Sydney, Australia, but had a cousin in Erie. Erie, PA--the place where the world's relatives live.

And you know, you have to say it "Erie P-A" if you want to sound like a true Pennsylvanian.

In Erie, our main pastime, aside from scouring national news for that elusive mention of our fine home, is listing all the famous people come from Erie and reading the glowing articles about them in our local paper. I'll save you the trouble of looking them up and list them for you right now:

  • Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Director and former House Representative for Pennsylvania's 21st Congressional District (which is, you know, Erie)
  • Pat Monahan, lead singer of Grammy-nominated band Train, who is a friend of the family (yeah, Erie is that small)
  • Caryn Kadavy, Olympic figure skating bronze medalist (who was married to my grandfather's doctor)
  • Marc Brown, creator of Arthur, everyone's favorite aardvark (and who never visited my grade school like we were always told he would)
  • Billy Blanks, the man who brought us Tae-Bo (what more can I add?)

Intense concentration.Wow, I think I need to stop now and take a breath, all that star-gazing has made me feel almost faint.

What else would you like to know about me? Most people, when asked to describe me, are only capable of producing one word: "Smart." Annoys me to no end. Of course, I'm glad that people think I'm intelligent -- I think I'm pretty smart, too -- but I hate they seem to think of me as a brain and nothing more. I don't like being boxed in. I prefer that people simply accept that I'm smarter than they are (mwahahaha!!!) and go on to admire the other aspects of my wonderful, sparkiling personality. Especially now that I am in college and am constantly surrounded by other intelligent people, and it can hardly be considered a distinguishing characteristic anymore.

Perhaps it's just difficult for people to grasp me. Yes, my mind does have that certain labyrinthine quality that baffles those of lesser self-involvement.

The GraduateToo often, I contradict myself. I cruise through my days on my satirical sense of humor and easygoing attitude. But I am intensely serious when I am working, which causes almost comical literal-mindedness, leading to immense overreactions to people's questions and problems (the "almost" is my addition to soften the blow to my ego). Whenever I begin a project, I suffer total mind paralysis for far too long, but once I get going, I become excited and creative. I am a complete perfectionist, but I am usually too lazy to achieve perfection. I can passionately argue about a cause I believe in to my friends and acquaintances, my idealism overriding their opinions, but if I'm faced with people I don't know, I become inexplicably tongue-tied on the same subjects.

If anything about me is consistent, I do always like to play the devil's advocate. I can't let anyone get too complacent in their opinions. I like to keep an open mind and take in all information critically, with an eye toward possible counterarguments.

My brothers, their friend, and me.But that's enough about my personality for now. I can only describe myself so much -- I don't even completely understand myself. You should talk to me yourself if you want to experience my true essence.

Let me wrap this up by mentioning my family. My immediate family consists of my mother, father, and five younger brothers. Yes, you read that correctly: five younger brothers, DanSeanKyleSam'n'Zach. You may notice one extra boy in the family portrait on this page -- that's Andy, my brother Kyle's best friend and basically, another member of the family. I also have a very large extended family, with countless aunts, uncles, and cousins. You can see almost all of them on our family's web site, The Fischer House, which I designed but which I'm hoping my mother will help me maintain now that she has her certificate in web design. Visit the site -- it's cute and full of pictures and fun stuff, and it will let you see another side of me -- the less self-obsessed part.


Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002