Here under weight of suspended waters in crushing lightness I lay buoyant drowning. How sublime this that blankets an existence in brine turning bone to gelatin mass and rubbers tallowed skin, deforming into elastic tendrils seeking up to the green green light above. I would that I might swim in waters warmed but instead relent and sink back into craggy darkness, a sleep enriched coldness seeping into tendons raw and tight from a life long of running out front doors onto streets all doors locked, no light escaping from windows shuttered to wash out shadows made under enfeebled stars roaring possibilities, embers in breasts heaving to suck air, a light touch knocks with plastic consequence one chance at a time waiting for nothing but to move on and on and on ever anon.
There in the jars on the shelves amongst the specimens rests things; things that are more than not not kept but instead even more forgot and never more than least remembered and that till the light of a setting scene lays them out in pink and auburn hues in alien silhouettes dancing to music you cannot hear but still your heart knows and finds sympathetic beat. In your hand now lays the room ruddy temperature glass jar, your thumb wiping back the years to peer inside, inward through hazy fluid to what lays innermost and indiscernible. It jostles and tries to find a new equilibrium amongst the halting steps of this, your renewed waltz, that it from slumber it finds itself awoken to. One. Two. Three. Four. Onetwothree. One two three four? Who awoke whom? And who leads whom? And who has been shelved and put away to become in some later days, days that now converge today, foreign object to a landscape barren except for the endless shelves of jars?
You just wanna be a woman playing with a bow and arrow; you have been a temptress. In fields I smell desiccated flowers, poppies crumble under the laden gaze of youth remembered. Under trill and drummed beat query comes: “Did you really want?” Yes, I did and I do. How could I surrender? How can I ever?
There is just the remains, the remains of something I cannot hope to recall with ever less than clarion acuity. This scene languishes under the shade of trees drooping deeply into black waters near the shore, the pebbles jostle slightly under lapping pushed by a breeze from offshore, out of sight, beyond my reckoning as I am too cooled and brought to sway where I stand looking out beyond hope, over years to moments I wish to hang all the great moments that would make today instead That Day, Another Day, a day unlike This Day.
Or in other words, this is what happens when I listen to Portishead while reading “The Pale King” by DFW on my way to work.
The saga continues. Beasts of the most horrible ilk shall be slaughtered. Damsels of the most beautiful flaxen hair shall be saved. Interlopers will be crushed. Heathens will be burned. The righteous shall prevail. Well, not quite. This is just the third installment in a bet I am both bound to win and lose (since I made it with myself). If you have been following along then I salute you for you undoubtedly have as much, if not more, stamina than I. Your courage at coming even this far down the path into the inane and brutally boring world of my inner mind is to be lauded and commended. Now let us commence with the frivolities. Tally, ho!
Do you find its always green suckers that disappoint with their flavor, mint or sour apple when you want lime? I love mint and so I cannot complain on this front. But I concur that anything tasting of sour apple is never very good. I am not sure why anyone would ever eat this other than to prove their hatred for their tongue.
Do you have any racist relatives? Hell, no. We are all white. Honestly, I am sure we do. I certainly have religious relatives and I cannot make much of a distinction between people who judge another based on belief and those who judge based on melatonin.
What advice do you generally give to people who have colds? Get over it. Seriously, get a lot of rest and a ton of vitamin C (2000-4000 mg per day) till you are better. Also, cut the whiskey intake in half.
Are you intrigued by the lives of movie stars? Only if I cannot get to sleep.
Are you one of these people who’s always interested in match-making? If you mean in terms of me meeting someone for myself then yes; otherwise, no. Get your own date!
Do you like horror flicks? I rarely go in for horror flicks, but I do make an exception for either supernatural suspense and zombie films. And remember, kids: headshots count for two.
What tools do you own? As an engineer I am qualified to make an aeroplane out of duct tape, used toilet paper roll and tin-foil so basically everything I own qualifies.
Do you sometimes sing the alphabet song to remember the ordering of letters? Yes; it is the only way. And even then I still cannot make it through without making mistakes.
Do you ever think “el-em-en-o” was itself a letter? No. But I swore that “zed” was the 27th letter of the alphabet for years, especially since my mother put a horizontal stroke through it.
What lengths will you go to avoid hearing the sound of your own voice? I never talk anymore. I just stare people down. And then text them on my iPhone.
How many telephone numbers have you had in your life? If we include my parents’ numbers then less than 6. If we include those in Japan when I lived there then add another 8.
How many addresses? About the same.
Do you sneeze through your nose or your mouth? Ideally through my nose although I think that is not good, or so I have read somewhere.
Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach? All of them, but not at once.
Coke or Diet-Coke? Neither. But if I had to choose then Coke with cane sugar. Don’t ask; either you understand or you do not.
Do you own, currently, any furniture you’ve found on the street? Nope.
What items have you stolen? For a week or so I had a scam at Wegman’s to steal comic books. I would buy 1 or 2 comics and walk them out to the car. I would then empty the back and return to the store and put in the same amount of comics into the back. If asked I could show the receipt which, while had a timestamp, was still close enough to the time of the theft to not matter. I did it twice. I was 10. I never got caught but my Lutheran guilt convinced me that I was going to a Hell where there were only Archie comics.
Cats or dogs? Who steals a cat?
Do you have allergies? Yes. Thanks for asking.
How ripe a banana can you handle? I do not love super ripe bananas per se, but I will nonetheless eat them over seeing them go to waste.
Have you ever seriously done the limbo? No, but I have toyed with the idea from time to time.
Have you ever cracked a vase and then tried to hide the crack by rotating it to face the wall? No. But thanks for the trick.
Did your parents get angry, or take it in stride when you broke things as a child? I have no idea since they were always angry so I do not know whether it was they just never got over the first thing I ever broke, whatever it was, or if they just were always angry. Well, my mom was never angry, but my dad was a 24×7 convenience store of prickliness. Now, don’t you feel awkward for asking?
When replacing toilet paper, do you orient it so the sheets issue from the bottom or top of the roll? From the top. And if I am feeling generous, I will correct it when I encounter it at a friend’s who has done it (obviously) incorrectly.
Can you draw well? Better than a dog.
Do you prefer whole, 2% or skim milk? Only one of those qualifies as milk. The other two are just aberrations of nature and should not be consumed unless under duress.
Soy? I tried it but it is not my thing. Sort of like those heterosexual women who experiment with lesbianism in college.
What bones have you broken? My left forearm. I was 4 and I had just learned to ride a bicycle the day or two before. I literally rode it into a parked car and broke the arm where the car hood and grill met. I remember clearly the pain which I went to sleep on because my parents’ refused to believe me that I had broken anything. I was also devastated since we had hamburgers that night and it hurt too much to eat. I then panicked the next day when I recalled a friend of the family who was missing an arm, and I concluded they had amputated after breaking it. It was a very traumatic 24 hours for me. I think my mother still feels bad that she unwittingly made me suffer for so long. I am not sure I have wholly forgiven her. Joking! Jeez. Of course I forgave her (sort of).
Have you ever pressed your forearms against the jambs of a door so that upon stepping out your arms suddenly rise? I actually have no idea that this means. But it sounds like fun.
Can you give an example of the kind of lie you tell? I lie.
Do you litter? No.
Do you ever drop refuse on the sidewalk and then ten steps later, turn around, walk back and properly dispose of it? No. I do not litter.
Do you throw away Hamburger Helper, Rice-A-Roni, et al. boxes too early, then have to dig them out to check the instructions? No, I never eat out of a box unless it is cereal.
Have you given much thought as to what you’d eat for your last meal? Grass-fed steak prepared medium-rare. Roasted mushrooms. Roasted kale. Goat cheeses. Grapes and slices of pear. A nice bottle of Bordeaux wine. A slice of moist, hot brownie with a shot of 18-year Macallan whisky (it is not whiskey, that is the Irish spelling). But no, I have not thought too much about it.
Have you ever heard sex through a motel room wall? No, but I have when I lived in dormitories. Lucky bastards.
Have you ever in a motel moaned loudly and shaken a bed to freak the people out next door? No, that is depressing since then I know I am definitely acknowledging I am noot “getting any”.
What, if so, was the silence like afterwards? Awkward?
Which newspaper sections do you like? Comics. Science & Technology. International.
Do you prefer wide-rule or college-rule notebooks? College-ruled. I think this question is the closest you have come to asking me a religious question.
Do you like holding hands in public with a love? It is the best thing. Ever.
Do you feel bad, sweat-palmed, letting go, like you’ve just let the person down by letting go of her hand? Yes.
Do you like the ways lovers communicate? Yes.
How are you at holding urine? If I must then in a beer bottle. Otherwise, I never hold urine.
How old is the oldest article of clothing that still in your rotation? Twelve months old.
Do you own any complete sets (of dining room chairs, for instance, or figurines or commemorative plates)? No.
Have you been eager to complete these, or to keep these sets intact? No.
And why is there such satisfaction in any complete set? I haven’t the slightest idea. Why?
Is it because the tendency of all things and people is to drift, to end up apart, scattered all over the place, like a bouquet of helium balloons, released into the sky that comes down in little balloons bits in places so far apart it actually becomes something, something to relish and be impressed by, seeing how far it is they’ve managed to drift. What is this called? Entropy? You almost lost me at first in my thoughts that you had fallen off your rocker. But I must admit there is a certain logic to this, a sense of consciously imposed order in a world of chaos.
Do you ever ask aloud what the name of something is, even when you know? No. I never know the name of things so I am always asking.
Does your possession of uncommon knowledge make you proud or ashamed? More like embarrassed since I never quite know how I come about as much knowledge as I do. And it is not like it has really risen my quality of life or saved me from making some fabulously wonderful mistakes in my life.
When did you cease calling your mother “Mommy”? I do not recall ever calling her that.
In grade school, did you raise your hand a lot? No.
Did it snap up almost against your control, or did you look around first and then raise it slowly, like a periscope peeking out of water? Neither. I normally just did my own thing in class like read or draw.
What is the longest you’ve ever continuously driven? By hours I suspect I have driven 10-12 hours continuously, although I must imagine that I stopped to pee.
What’s the longest you’ve ever continuously wept? Maybe a few hours? I really do not know.
Do you save plastic drugstore bags, margarine containers, coffee cans, bottles? No, although I try to recycle them if I can. The one exception is a certain brand of jelly glass jar that I will keep for use as a drinking glass.
While showering, has it ever occurred to you that you wash the parts of your body in the same order each time? I think I generally follow a pattern, but nothing too specific.
When you stir with a spoon milk or sugar into coffee or tea, do you like to turn the spoon against the direction of the swirl? I do not like to stir my milk, instead opting for naturally occurring diffusion to do its work.
Do you ever ask someone a question only hoping that it will be asked back? On occasion. You must be dying from anticipation, aren’t ya.
Are you then frustrated if that doesn’t work and the talk leaps ahead to a new topic? On occasion, but I am only frustrated with myself for not letting the person to know by more direct means that I wanted to talk about the previous topic, too.
Have you ever carried a weapon? No. But I think my grin qualifies as a concealed weapon in the state of New Jersey. Gawd, that is a horrible joke, Ward.
Have you ever known a suicide? No.
Do you often feel like slapping door-opening or elevator-holding strangers who say, “You’re welcome” before you can thank them? Yes. But honestly, I am normally the one holding open the elevator for everyone.
What is the costliest item you’ve ever purposely smashed? My artwork.
Have you ever inflicted physical pain (even as simple as a deep thigh pinch) to escape pain of an emotional sort? No. Does that work?
It worked, didn’t it? I have no idea.
Have you ever won an award? Yes.
Have you ever received a loud ovation in a public place after dropping something? I think that frames much of my school days.
Do you tend to finish meals in restaurants or take home half in doggy bags? I normally never take home the remains of a meal.
Should I be embarrassed that the only flowers I can identify by sight are those found in my mother’s yard? No.
How many of Shakespeare’s 37 plays can you name? King Lear. Macbeth. Hamlet. Merry Wives of Windsor. Julius Caesar. Chamber Cymbeline. Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. Romeo and Juliet. Richard II and III.
Which wrist do you wear your watch on? I do not wear a watch.
Do you sing karaoke, and if so, what’s you go-to song? Mack the Knife.
What was your first remembered movie? Star Wars, Part IV
Do you eat the cereal that falls out of the bag and into the bottom of the box? I do not recall it ever happening so no, but I see no reason not to eat it.
What about food that falls to the floor? It depends on how hungry I am. I tend to not think much if it is dry food. But moist foods I tend to throw away. I do not think it really matters from the perspective of germs, though, based on what I have read of studies.
How large are your feet? (Are they, I mean, big or small for your body?) Average to small, I think.
Which brought you more satisfaction, when adults told you looked like your mother or your dad? Neither.
What is your favorite type of candy? Chocolate toffee.
What is your favorite shape of pasta? Long and medium thinness.
What is the fastest you’ve ever traveled in a car? I think around 110 mph.
After washing hands in a public restroom, does touching the doorknob bother you? Only if the place is filthy, especially if there is a strong stink to the place. Otherwise, I am not sure how to get around that conundrum.
Will you ever grab the knob with a paper towel, if only so as to prolong the period of cleanliness? No.
What was the first think you ever wanted to be when you grew up? Pastor; it made my mom happy. Then PhD in orbital mechanics; it made me happy.
How hight are your ceilings? 14 feet in the great room. 10 feet in the master bedroom. 8 feet in the guest bedroom.
Does the thought that in a few years phonebooks will no longer fill desk drawers or sit on the tops of refrigerators make you slightly sad? God no. I hated those things even when they used to be necessary.
How tall are you? 6-foot.
How tall is the tallest person you know? Somewhere near 6-foot-6-inches.
Ever wished this person could stand beside the shortest person you know? That is mean, no?
Would you agree that a ninety-year-old person today is significantly “older” than a ninety-year-old person two-hundred years ago, just in terms of all that person has seen? Yes.
Could you describe your wall hangings? With two exceptions they are all photographs that I have taken in recent years. The exceptions are an oil on silk painting that a friend brought back from India for me. The other is a picture I commissioned by my friend to paint.
Do you like or dislike having your picture taken? I used to absolutely hate it in any form. Nowadays I quite enjoy it now that I am comfortable with my huge mouth and consequent smile.
What color is your hair or was your hair or would your be if you didn’t color it? Brown.
Could you tell me, right now, the thread-count of your bed-sheets? 400 or 800.
How old were you when you first flew in a plane? I think I was an infant. My father has his commercial pilot’s license and instructed in his free time so I grew in and around single-engine airplanes.
Who was your favorite nightly news anchorman (Brokaw, Rather, Jennings)? I thought you were British. I really never grew up with these people, at least not at a time when I might care who was on the news. And anchorman, like printed phonebooks, are now obsolete, in my opinion.
Did you have a difficult time telling apart when you were young? Yes. One of them has a rug for hair, though. I am not sure which one, though.
Should I just go ahead and ask how old you are? Sure. I am 37.
How are you at impersonations? Horrible.
Do you stick with them when they aren’t going well or jump ship? I can never carry them on for longer than a minute at a time before I switch into another impersonation. They get all mixed up with each other and then I just end up doing my Donald Duck, which is maybe the only think I can do consistently.
One CD at a time, over and over, or always a mix? I used to listen to all my Queen CDs over and over again. Nowadays I listen to Pandora. What is that? That is after your time, I think. Which means I listen to a lot of different music all the time.
Do you look forward to your birthday? When I was younger I did not really look forward to it. Nowadays I actually enjoy the entire month of December as a birthmonth, not just a birthday. Beat that!
At what age did you cease looking forward to your birthday? I think from the age of 10 or 12 to about the age of 36 I was pretty indifferent to it. And I think my 30th birthday was my low-point, but not because I turned 30. It was because my then wife had just divorced me, electing to tell via Instant Message (IM) while I was abroad on business. Three weeks later I came home to an empty home. The next day I turned 30. So yeah, I was not too jazzed that year.
Were your parents younger or older than most of the parents of your peers? Older. Like grandparent old in spirit if not in body.
Did you lose your virginity to a virgin? No.
Which board games do you own? None. Sadly, too. I really like a good board game, but none of my friends play so I just play video games from time to time.
What’s your favorite? I used to enjoy Axis & Allies. It takes quite a few hours, if not the whole day, to play. It is a bit like Risk but a whole bloody more difficult.
What music did you like when you were thirteen? Queen. David Bowie. Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. Boston. Steely Dan.
Do you have siblings? Yes. I have two older sisters.
If white, do you tan or burn? I tan a bit, but I also burn a lot, too.
Can you recall a place that’s prompted you to say, “This is, without doubt, the prettiest place I’ve ever been”? Yes. I think of that often when I am on the bus on my way to work. As I cross over the bridge going south from the University of Washington on I-5 there are days when I can see the sun rising up over the Cascade mountains and part of the light is just kissing the Olympic mountains to the west. It is breathtaking.
Is there anything you can’t do that most people can (swim, ride a bicycle, drive, snap your fingers, whistle, wink)? I cannot do cartwheels. I also wished I could do cartwheels. I think it would be fun to just go to a park to do cartwheels.
How are you at naming a dog’s breed? Not too good, although not too bad. I guess I can guess some of the more popular breeds.
What name have you always thought would also be fitting for you? Who.
What name would have if you were of the opposite sex? Likely Wardreka, but that is because my youngest older sister would sadly have named me.
Do you like dancing enough to go out dancing? No. But if a group of people are going then I enjoy joining them. But in reality I do not think I know how to dance. This is another thing, on top of cartwheels, that I cannot do that others can do.
Is it your nature to give advice? No. But people seem to ask me for advice. I prefer to give suggestions, but I rarely find that giving advice is, well, advisable.
Do you ever take another’s story and make yourself the protagonist in its retelling? Only if I think it might embarrassing for them but where I think the story is worth retelling. I do not mind embarrassing myself.
When, while conversing, a flock of spittle flies out of someone’s mouth and lands on your face, is your tendency to pretend it didn’t happen, make a display, or subtly (after a pause) wipe it away? I think I would pause and then wipe it away.
How many ex-loves are you currently in contact with? Two.
Have you ever done hard drugs? No.
How competitive are you? I think I am innately competitive, but I find it much more rewarding to work cooperatively with people.
Do you attempt to refold clothes in stores after after having tried them on? It depends. I like to attempt to refold them, but I think the people working there are much better at it then me. But I think it is a nice thing to do if I can.
If no, is your reasoning that to fold and restock is somebody’s job and why should you help her with her job when she don’t help you with yours? No.
What do you do about indefinite pronouns? “He,” “she,” or the nearly impossible “he/she”? I really prefer to use “he” but I appreciate a lot of people like to make a point of using “she.” I think “he/she” is too hard to maintain so I tend to avoid it altogether.
Do you find you always exaggerate, at least a little, how little you’ve slept the prior night? No.
At what point do you round down to zero? Oh gosh, you are asking an engineer. That is too hard to answer.
Are you able to sleep well on buses, airplanes, backseats of cars? I can pretty much sleep anywhere. And buses and cars are the easiest and the best. I love grabbing a quick nap on the bus on the way home from work.
Do you get frightened when your hands, legs etc. fall asleep? I think I got frightened only once when I had absolutely no feeling and I could not stand. But it quickly passed.
“Oh” or “O”? Oh.
Do you go to the doc when sick or try to tough it out? I am a man. I tough it out.
Do you have health insurance? Yes.
Have you ever disappeared on someone? No.
At what age were you heaviest? When I was 18 and when I was 34. Both times I reached some 300 pounds.
Do you correct people’s small errors in pronunciation, by, to their unspoken embarrassment, correctly pronouncing the word in question in the next sentence? I have a hard time pronouncing words myself, so normally I am the one being corrected.
Do you completely remove pull-tabs from pop cans? Yes.
Do you call soda “soda” or “pop”? Soda.
What movies haven’t you seen that most people have? I have no idea.
Any piercings you want to tell me about? No. I have no piercings.
Have you ever been kicked out of school? No. But teachers called me “The Itch.” As hard as they scratched I always came back. Yeah, I was that jerk.
If someone swung open your refrigerator, would they find food, wonderful food and juices and fresh milk, or just condiments? Wonderful, fresh food.
Do your friends know one another? No. Some of them have met each other, but a lot of friends run in pretty different circles.
Do you have any friends with whom you’ve never had what you’d consider a “deep” conversation? Yes, but they are the exception.
If so, do you consider this a bad thing or just a thing. I consider someone a really good friend only if I can have said “deep” conversations.
In winter (if such applies), do you remove window air conditioners? No.
Ever licked a sucker down to its paper sticker? Yes.
Ever even tried? Yes.
What do you use to wipe yourself when out of toilet paper? I normally get more toilet paper.
Can you tell me a story that you find yourself telling people over and over? Yes. But I will tell you later.
Do you secretly miss sleepovers? Yes. I loved sleepovers.
If a band or brand becomes too popular, do you cease to like it? I used to think this way. Nowadays, I just decide whether I like something or not irrespective of other peoples’ inclinations.
Which do you prefer: keeping secrets or telling everyone? I think I like to tell secrets, especially my secrets.
Have you ever had surgery? No.
How many people from high school do you keep in touch with? A few of them directly.
Do you ever swallow your gum? No.
Have you ever fallen out of a tree? No. When I was younger I was too heavy (read fat) to easily climb trees and so never really had the chance to experience falling out of a tree. I think it would have done me good, as they say.
What is the highest height you have fallen from? Do you even read my answers before asking the next question.
What about figuratively? I have fallen straight down from the moon.
Do you plan to be buried or cremated? Cremated? Or maybe just kindly decompose somewhere quietly.
Have you ever sat down at a table and everyone has gotten up? No. And I hope I never experience it.
Laptop or desktop? Laptop.
Why is the inclination always to assume that a street musician possesses talent and a tragic story if the instrument he plays is a saxophone? I am not sure I have ever thought that.
Do you play the lotto? No.
What’s the most money you’ve ever given to a homeless person? I think it was a $20 bill.
What movies have you cried in? A lot of different movies. But I think IKIRU is the movie I cried through the near entirety of it.
Are you irked when a cashier hands back over a buck in coins? I have had it happen, but I think it would irk me. I know I really do not like the one-dollar coins.
At what age did age suddenly seem not to matter so much? I think somewhere in my mid-twenties. But then all of sudden turning 37 mattered to me. I think it was as much the fact that I realized that on the average I was half-way through my life. It became a very sobering realization for me.
Did you have braces? Amazingly enough no.
Front or back of a canoe? I am a mad good canoer. Back.
If you could date any celebrity (including dead celebrities, in their primes), who would it be? Audrey Hepburn.
What are the toughest pieces of mail you’ve ever had to open (give top three)? I cannot think of any pieces of mail that were hard to open. Seriously. But I think when my then wife instant messaged me telling me she was divorcing me was a low-point in my adult life.
Do you look before you flush? Yep. And then I think, “man, I got damn fine bowels.”
Do you divide people into opposing categories (such as “windows-up” and “windows-down” people)? I am not sure entirely what that means, but I definitely like people who like the windows-down when the sun is out and we are road-tripping.
Any trophies? Not that I have kept, but I have earned a few over the years.
Do you travel heavy or light? Super light. 30 pounds or less for three weeks abroad.
Is traveling light a form of showing off? Yes. And it is mighty fine showing off. People who travel heavy seriously can annoy me if they consider me their personal sherpa.
What is your opinion of jewelry on men? Very little.
What about clothes on dogs? I think it is hilarious.
When you find yourself, say, on a building-top as dawn whitens and you feel that unfortunate burst of energy shooting bright veins through your fatigue (all sound-tracked with birdsongs’ beginnings), do you find you always want to change your life? I think I feel that both in the morning while I am running and I see the sun come up over the mountains, or in the evenings as the sun sets over the mountains. Something about crystal clear mountains awash in colors will always make me think life is perfect … and that in that moment I wish to live eternally, timelessly.
Have you ever sued anyone? No.
When people are attempting to leave do you let them go or do your best to make them stay? Given I am the introvert, I am normally slightly happy to see my “me time” fast approaching, which is to say I am happy to see them leave and come back another day.
Faces or names? Faces. I can never remember names to save my life.
As a driver, are you aggressive or defensive? I used to be super aggressive. So much so that people would ask to ride with me on the “Ride to Hell” which including me driving at break-neck speeds on the roads immediately around the high school. After the ride either they decided they never wanted to get out of the car, or they never wanted to be anywhere near me when I was in a car driving. I could park a car between two other parked cars by coming in at 45 to 50 mph, doing a rear-wheel skid out and then pop into second gear to shoot forward into the open space. Or I could do a controlled 90, 270 or even 360 skid through intersections on both dry or wet pavement. Nowadays I rarely drive and when I do I believe I am a very defensive, sedate driver.
Have you ever fasted? Yes. I try a few days every year.
When naked, are you capable of forgetting you’re naked? Not really.
Do you ever think, “Yep, this will make a good rag”? No. The question offends me, too. You offend me. Just joking.
First job? I used to deliver the morning paper. It may have been the best job ever. A daily walk in the early morning before everyone was up. I loved it.
Worst job? Working at Boeing. Not a job specifically, but on the whole the company and I never ever really synched up.
Current job? I work as a technical program manager at the heart of online retail. The fucking heart of it all. If there is a center to that universe then I am about two plank lengths away from it. Seriously. It is pretty cool.
Ever had a job where you see face after face after face (cashier, club bartender, ticket-taker at a theater, toll-booth collector), one face after another, faces like bubbles that appear and then pop, although occasionally, as with a bartender, re-appearing so that a tiny relationship (made up of a few well-executed gestures) starts up? In some ways I have had the opposite in that I go to the same cafe night after night that I know most of the workers and other patrons at the place. We talk regularly and share our lives with each other.
Big, little or medium-sized dogs? Any size. But I do not like it when the dogs are too small.
How are you at keeping your word? To a fault.
Over the year, have you noticed your voice has changed? Never.
Do you tend to be praised by dentists? Nowadays they do. But that was not always the case. Still, the fact that I have never had braces and still have near perfectly straight teeth seems to be regarded on the same level as seeing the face of the virgin Mary in bread mold.
Do you send out a Christmas letter, filling people in on your year? I have done it once or twice, but invariably I find the task daunting. But I appreciate it when other people do it.
Have you ever been genuinely lost in a parking lot? Maybe for a few minutes, but I am not sure if that qualifies for genuinely lost.
Has anyone ever left without you? Yes.
Are you quick to admit fault, accept blame? Generally, yes. But I have my off-years like everyone else. I think it is the part of growing up and maturing out, as it were.
Do you have houseplants? Yes.
Do you save room for dessert? No.
Even when you know there’s no food, do you open the fridge and stare until the fridge’s motor begins to hum? I used to do that a lot. Not very often nowadays, though.
Are you good about turning out lights? I think I am too good at it. I can be a bit pedantic about it at a subconscious level and turn off lights behind other people. It used to annoy my then wife who liked to have all the lights on in the home at all times.
Do you often enter rooms to get something and then blank as to why you went in? Always. I am generally painfully absent-minded to myself and people around me.
Does this frighten you? No.
Are you frightened by your occasional slumps in memory, and do you tell others? No and no.
Have you ever lied about your age? No.
What’s the largest amount of years you’ve tacked on or shaved? 0. Zero. None. Nada.
Isn’t it miserable when you get home and have no clue what to with yourself? Yes. That is why I rarely go home except to sleep.
If you plan to be buried, with which objects would you like to share your casket? I want to be cremated.
Would you enter the earth in casual or formal attire? Burnt.
Would you enter in serious or ironic attire? I am not sure it would be ironic after it was burned. But ironic to start with.
Do you have any photos of just yourself in frames? No. God no. But I have a picture of my flaccid penis in the bathroom to inspire my all my guests. Seriously? You really believe me? You really have no idea who I am, do you?
What was I just talking about? You were asking if I have pictures of me wearing glasses. Naturally.
Do you live alone? Isn’t it patently clear: yes.
How many keys are on your key ring? Two.
What do they unlock? My house key and my car key.
Do you tell people when they bore you? Sometimes. Seriously. I need more social graces than I was granted.
Have you ever, through a window, seen a naked neighbor? Thankfully, no. Most of my neighbors are 70+ years old.
If so, did the sight titillate or revolt you? Neither.
Do you smoke pot? I have in the past. But not recently. I have no issue with smoking it or people who do it.
Have you ever worked in a strip mall? No.
Are you a fast or slow reader? Fast.
What kind of music do or did your folks like? Classical music. Big band. Zamfir on his bloody damn pan flute.
Can you chant me a chant children chanted when you were a child? Fatty fat fat. What can I tell you other than they were right: I was fat.
At what age did you know the most good jokes? I was in my late teens and early twenties when I think I told the most jokes.
Do you write things down or think, “I think I can remember that”? I always think I will remember it, but I do not. I only recall that I did not remember what it was that I said I was going to remember. So in some ays I wallow in my own self-induced shame.
Would you rather go first, generally? No.
Isn’t it crazy that at one point you didn’t know what a rose was, didn’t know your name or even how to blow your nose? Now that you mention it, yes.
About what subject have you forgotten the most? Astrophysics.
Have you more often broken up with significant others or been broken up with? People break up with me.
Do people tell you you look younger than you are? All the time.
Are they right? Yes.
How do you take compliments? It makes me feel awkward at times, at other times I think I am gracious about it.
How do you take rejection? It used to devastate me. Nowadays I take it in stride.
What is the most unsettling creature, such as a tarantula, that you’ve held or handled? A boa-constrictor.
A snake at the zoo? Actually, it was at the science center in Syracuse where I volunteered.
Do you open people’s medicine cabinets? No.
Do you feel, on the whole, guiltier when you get caught or don’t get caught? Caught doing what?
What are your feelings on reincarnation? It is a nice idea, but I do not think it is true.
It’s not a bad idea, is it? No.
Can you sit still well? Too well, I suspect.
Ever had a job where you pass people tools? No.
Dental hygienist? No.
Are you a good or bad assistant? I think I make a great assistant or team member. I really enjoy with my equals to solve a problem.
Have you ever tooted in a bathtub, (be honest) and bent forward to greet the rising stink bubble nose-first? Yes.
Are you fun? Yes, sometimes. But I am pretty intense so some people have a hard time keeping up with my gear shifts.
Are you quick to purchase new technologies? No, ironically enough. I really just want to ensure that whatever I own fits into my lifestyle. I hate gadgets for gadgets’ sake.
Have you ever been burned by a video game system that never caught on? I have owned Apple computers all my life so yes: every single Apple I have owned as burned me on games. But I love to play on Photoshop. I get high score all the time.
Is your can-opener electric? No. I do not open enough cans to worry about it.
What is your opinion of greeting cards? I like them, but I prefer to make cards for people when I have the time. But it can take a lot of time for me to sketch something and then write something specific to them.
Would you rather receive a note on loose-leaf and two bucks, or do you like the fact that someone went, for you, to a drugstore, and stood there in the card aisle, opening, deliberating, opening? I would rather that whatever they give me have more than my name and their signature in it.
Is there anyone out there who hates you? Yes. Sadly so.
Is there anyone out there who hates you justifiably so? Yes in so much as they see the facts. But I feel sad that they cannot forgive me if no other reason than I am not worth the hatred. No one is.
Do you care? No. It is their decision to hate me.
Do you like showing others your bruises, cuts and scars? It depends who it is. It can be fun to show off scars and the stories that go with them.
Did you ever believe that pro wrestling wasn’t fake? No. I always found it absurd.
What was the first “adult” book you recall reading? I think my friend Allen had found some old copies of Penthouse. We’d read the letters. We thought they were great. Nowadays I cannot understand all the fuss.
Do you like big round numbers? Yes. I love integers.
Do you like baseball? I do not hate it. I prefer to watch a game outdoors in the company of friends on a sunny day. The game is just an excuse for the rest.
Do you like to do things (get out of bed, leave a friend’s apartment, make a difficult phone call) at exact times (“I will get up off this couch at exactly 11:15PM”)? I have never thought about it but yes. What an interesting thing to think about.
Ever wonder how all would be without clocks? Lovely.
Do you find baseball boring and slow, or do you feel absolutely the opposite? Neither. It is somewhere in-between.
Have you ever wished your room could be dusted for fingerprints, as in the cop movies, just so you could see? I think it might be cool. But then I would have clean it all up and I do not think I would like that. So only if you include a cleaning service to come in and, well, clean up.
Do you, in general, like to see? Yes.
Do you like to open presents early? Absolutely. That is the best part.
When no one is around, do you do number two with the bathroom door flung open? Yes.
Why is this so damned great? It is my damn house, I can do bloody well whatever I want to do.