This isn't really a guest post - it's more of a fun post. A group of friends of mine - led by Mena Mirhom who has guest posted on my blog before - decided to come up with a list of the TOP TEN THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT FR. ANTHONY. They sent it to me and it was just too funny to keep to myself. So here it is. Enjoy and feel free to send all your comments/hate mail to Mena on twitter @Mirhom. :)
Hello. We're the "New York guys" – as Fr. Anthony often refers to us – who he has been putting up with us for many years. Road trips to random places, showing up to his house unannounced – you name it, we’ve done it. So we figured we'd write this little post of fun facts. We don't have a blog or twitter but we did end up on TV once! (sort of.)
1) HE'S BETTER THAN YOU AT BASKETBALL…A LOT BETTER!
You know how sometimes on a retreat your favorite priest or bishop will play a sport with you to humor you? And you say things "wow, they're so cool!" or "aww" – so you let the score a few points, you Instagram a few pictures and call it a cute bonding day? That’s not how it is with Fr. Anthony.
When he starts shooting around with you and hits 17 straight free throws, he ain't being cute (though he doesn't usually shoot around much due to his belief that you only get a certain amount of makes per day, so don't waste them on warm ups). You quickly go from "aww" to "oh, snap. I ain’t guarding him." He may teach you a thing or two about humility as he hits some contested step back jumpers in your face.
But overall, he's not really trying to bond with you at the moment, he's trying to beat you, by a lot... but, he's usually pretty cool about it. Usually.
2) EVERYTHING IS A COMPETITION TO HIM.
You think we're exaggerating when we say everything. We wish we were. Even things that are completely subjective and could not possibly make a competition, find a way to be ranked in the AA world (AA, aka Abouna Anthony, aka Fr. Anthony).
"What's the best sport? Your favorite color? Ideal name for a pet kangaroo?"
There's extensive AA logic to why one is a good answer and yours is hopelessly inefficient. You'll also learn this very quickly if you ever share a meal together. Before you ever raise your fork to begin, he will be on dessert. (And he'll be sure to let you know that you're eating slow and he's officially the champion of that lunch.)
3) HE HAS A SYSTEM, FOR SYSTEMS.
It'd be easy to call Fr. Anthony OCD or as he's termed it OCPF (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Feature – he sees it as a feature, not a disorder), but he makes the average OCD person look like a disheveled homeless person. He has a system from eating to bowel movements and everything in between. And that's all you need to know about that...
4) HE WASN'T ALWAYS A TALKER.
He's a big time preacher now but there was a point, way back in kindergarten, when he went the whole year without talking! That's got to be a world record, especially for an Egyptian person. We haven't stopped talking since Moses asked to let his people go.
5) HE'S ANTI-COLOR.
God gave him the gift of never having to select an outfit again. Being color blind put him in some awesomely awkward situations in his younger pre-Abouna years (including an era of some purple/blue shorts that we won't get into).
6) HE'S A 'MOALIM' (AKA HYMNS GURU)
You may only see him as the American-born Coptic priest who doesn't speak much Arabic and you may question his Coptic hymns game. But you'd be wrong. All those 25 minute Coptic hymns we all know and love (ie, Pekethronos, O Monogenis, etc.) he not only knows them, but he loves them! Long before there were Coptic hymns in English, Fr. Anthony had the Coptic hymns down...in Coptic…the long way.
Oh baby... now with that said, his voice remains... interesting to the untrained ear.
7) HE'S HALF POLAR BEAR.
Maybe 75%. Some of us have had the pleasure of sharing a room with him on mission trips, and we can all agree that we have a strong suspicion that he was raised in the arctic and not Virginia. At one point, I put my head in the freezer to warm up. Fr. Anthony lives in sub-zero temperatures that are foreign to most mammals. His explanation has always been "because of the fire of his spiritual life." Who can argue with that?
8) HE'S NIKE SPONSORED - ALMOST
As the Coptic "Peyton Manning", a sports sponsorship would be the next logical thing. So, Fr. Anthony tried to give it a shot and go with a low budget group called Nike, or something like that. Strangely enough, they didn't go for the Nike black dress idea. Go figure.
9) HE'S ACTUALLY HOSPITABLE
No, really. He is. He may edit this one out of the post because he doesn't want that kind of rumor to spread, but he really is. Though he's been known to joke about "hey guys, come over. But you know the routine, eat and go to the bathroom beforehand." We've actually crashed at his house dozens of times, many of those may have been totally unannounced.
Disclaimer: don't try this at home. We've had to sleep in the garage a time or two.
10) HE ISN'T CHEAP.
We know, you don't buy this one either. This is a another tough sell because Fr. Anthony is a self proclaimed cheap guy; however, we've seen throughout the years that he's extremely giving. He gives of his time, his energy and even (shhh) his wallet.
Cheap people tend to be cheap across the board, but Abouna is honestly one of the most selfless and generous people we've ever met. Just don't act surprised if the next time you go out to eat with him he "forgets his wallet" again. I guess there aren't a lot of pockets in that cool outfit of his.
And there's one more BONUS thing you didn't know about Fr. Anthony... HE'S OH SO ROMANTIC! Sometimes he needs a little bit of help but we know that at least for his 10 year wedding anniversary, he pulled off an extravagantly romantic weekend - Broadway show, fancy hotel and all!
Smooth moves double A. Smooth moves.
Thank you Fr. Anthony for being a great friend and a great father throughout the years. May God continue blessing your family, your ministry and your walk with Jesus.