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25 Stupendously Boring Things You Didn't Want to Know About Me

There is some “25-Things” meme making its way around Facebook (and, from there, to the web beyond). I’ve been tagged a whole bunch of times. It has, after all, apparently been completed some five million times. Such memes are not really my thing. Some people take these things way too seriously and offer facts that, in other context, would be terribly humiliating. And yet they are kind of fine. I’ll take a different approach. Here are twenty five stupendously boring things you didn’t want to know about me. Do note that in order to compile the list I had to enlist the help of Aileen since she is one of the world’s foremost experts on me.

  1. Until seventh grade I was known as “Timothy” because there were two boys in my class by the same name and I wasn’t cool enough to be the one who rated “Tim.” Even today you can tell the old family friends because they will still call me “Timothy.”
  2. My middle name is John (after my dad). I was given a second middle name (Belford—my mother’s maiden name) but it never appeared on my birth certificate and, because I was embarrassed by it, I quietly dropped it in high school.
  3. My parents were both born and raised in Quebec but both spoke English as their first language. I’ve been to Quebec only a handful of times.
  4. I hated school so much that I trimmed a year off high school, a year off university, and six months from my year-long college course. My goal was to earn grades that were just good enough while spending the least amount of time possible in school.
  5. I was a very unmotivated student. One teacher told my parents “Timothy is a very average boy.” My parents mentioned this to their friend (the principal) who replied “[Teacher’s Name] is a very average teacher.” I always though that rejoinder was hilariously Churchill-like.
  6. When I order ice cream I almost always order strawberry even though I don’t really like it. It became a habit as a child when I wanted to copy my much cooler cousin who always ordered the strawberry.
  7. I am a “Belford” more than a “Challies,” which is to say that in many ways I inherited the traits of my mother’s family. The dominant careers in my mother’s extended family are journalism, teaching and ministry.
  8. When I was in seventh grade, I spent just about a year of my life in Scotland. I cut my time short by returning to Canada and spending the summer with a friend.
  9. I have a strong dislike toward swimming and utter disgust toward swimming in public pools. Though I can swim just fine, I never learned to dive.
  10. I learned to drive stick on the way home from the car lot after buying my first car (truck, actually. I was a Chevy S-10). That truck was wrecked in an accident I caused even though I was not in the vehicle when it got wrecked. Long story.
  11. Occasionally I convince myself that, given the chance, I could have been good enough to play baseball professionally.
  12. My grandfather was a Supreme Court Justice. He had a long list of cool titles like The Right Honorable, Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief Justice. I never met him as he died before I was born.
  13. My favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids (replacing Cherry Blasters which were the former favorites). High quality Dutch or English wine gums rate high on the list as well.
  14. I’m color blind. I discovered this the day a teacher asked me why I had colored all the lakes on a map purple instead of blue.
  15. In tenth grade I won the school’s General Knowledge contest, beating both the older students and the teachers. I threw out the ribbon and did not enter again the next year.
  16. I did not attend my graduation ceremonies for high school, university or college. I hate being the center of attention. Plus, as explained earlier, in every case I would have graduated with the year ahead of mine, and hence people I did not know.
  17. When I was a kid I had a pair of gerbils whose litter of babies fell one short of the Guinness Book of World Records. I didn’t bother calling to let them know.
  18. For two years while I was in university, I ran a student painting business, employing six or eight other students. They did the work while I drove the truck around. They also made all the money as it turns out. This was a good lesson in business for me.
  19. In high school and/or university I studied French, Latin and Greek. I still remember a surprising amount of Latin. I’ve forgotten most of the Greek (which may or may not be related to the fact that I attended only one or two out of every five classes. It was their fault for scheduling classes five days a week at 8 AM).
  20. I was entrepreneurial as a child. I would put coins on a train track near my house so they would get flattened. I would then sell them at school at a profit. I also ran a black market candy business in grade school where I would sneak off-property, buy candy, and then resell it at higher prices.
  21. I married the first (and only) girl I ever dated.
  22. The first rock concert I ever went to was Petra during their Unseen Power tour. The first Christian album I ever bought was Petra’s Beyond Belief. I organized and promoted a Petra concert during their God Fixation tour. Altogether I saw Petra in concert six or seven times.
  23. When I was eight years old I was outside playing when my mother and sisters came running out of the house saying the kitchen was on fire. I ran inside and put the fire out using what I had learned at school about grease fires.
  24. The first book I ever remember reading on my own is Pilgrim’s Progress.
  25. When I was in high school, I went to an aptitude counselor and did a long battery of tests. He told me that the two most likely careers for me were clergy and computers.