Today is my birthday, so that means I dust off this old chestnut, update it where needed, add a question, and parade it back around the place. My birthday has often been the time of year that I crave some sort of newness, some degree of reinvention, just something different. If you know me, think about the number of times this time of year I have shaved my head. In the middle of winter. Why? I can only explain that I was in need of some kind of change, some amount of mixing it up. This year, I am toying with bleaching my hair silver/white and/or getting a new tattoo. Nothing yet.
1. When you are day dreaming, what do you dream about? Having a chance to say all the things I should have said to people when they were alive.
2. What is your greatest extravagance? Skincare.
3. What was the happiest moment of your life? The easiest answer is ‘the best is yet to come’, but I operate in the mid-range by nature. The highs don’t come without the lows and maybe I have had my fill of lows? I like being stoic, inscrutable, etc. I mean, it’s not that I’m not happy or unhappy, I have curated my range to be less arcing.
4. What have you done to make the world a better place to live in? I chose a path for myself that was less destructive.
5. Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? Having a mentor would have made this so much easier. I have always professed that there were no special teachers or adults in my childhood life that I looked up to for guidance. There weren’t. Most of the feedback I got from adults was that I wan’t smart and wasn’t their favorite.
6. Which living person do you most admire? Jimmy Carter.
7. If you had to choose one cause to dedicate your life to, what would that cause be? Curing HIV. But, I’m not a scientist, so I guess I will dedicate my life to highlighting inspiring stories.
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Honesty. When opinions are masked as honesty and used as a weapon or a defense for being mean, ‘just being honest’ is an excuse.
9. Who has been the kindest to you in your life? I remember my maternal grandfather being a source of safety, comfort, and unconditional love.
10. Who is your hero of fiction? Nick Carraway. They sympathetic witness, the confidant, the friend with no ulterior motives.
11. What is society doing now that in 20 years will be laughed at and ridiculed? Electing presidents. Caring about social media.
12. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? You can continue on a lot longer than you think you can. Nothing is permanent.
13. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning? My schedule, commute, and outfit.
14. What advice would you give to your teenage self? My teenage self would not take any advice from a time traveling future me, he would not believe anything I said. So my best bet is to just tell him to buy Microsoft stock. If I could break through the insolence, I would tell him that nothing that has happened or is happening right now is going to matter in ten years, keep your head down, get out, and don’t look back.
15. What would you NOT do for 5 million dollars? Give away my dog.
16. What are you proudest of? The distance I have traveled.
17. What is your motto? Hic Sunt Leones. It is a latin phrase that used to be put on old maps of uncharted areas that mean “Here There Are Lions”. I used to want it tattoo’d on my chest. Because I need to be reminded of my bravery at times.
18. What is your current anthem? I think it hasn’t changed for the last few years. “Not Your Kind of People” by Garbage, “Artificial Nocturne” by Metric, and “Now or Never Now” by Metric
19. What’s the biggest doubt you have? That Stevia isn’t just the next Aspartame.
20. When in life have you felt most alone? I always feel alone. Maybe in that way I am lucky?
21. What is something that most people get wrong? The comment section. You know that rule to not make a comment on social media that you wouldn’t say to them in person while standing in front of your mother or clergy or your own personal moral authority. I want to take it a bit further and say, just don’t comment. Stop. Just be silent. One of my personal goals is to not comment anything that is negative and to not read any comments from other people. I mean, I will read the comments that I get on the content I post, but I want to stop reading the comments that other people get on their posts. That goes double for news articles. That, and merge lanes. Most people get those wrong.
22. If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be? Summer nights out at the lake house in front of the fire pit, listening to my maternal grandfather tell my sister and me stories about when he was a kid. I started to write that memories cannot be taken away from you, but they can. Not the way a tangible item can be taken, but time can soften the focus on your memories.
23. What is your least-favorite food? Probably eggplant. I just don’t get it.
24. What is your most treasured possession? The ring on my left middle finger that was my maternal grandfather’s wedding ring. Or it may be my father’s wedding ring. It’s a bit unclear and I haven’t had the chance to look at old photo albums to determine which.
25. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Grass-fed beef, and broccoli or brussels sprouts. I do have it whenever possible.
26. Who is your favorite author? David Rakoff. His last book breaks my heart. He recorded the audiobook of it right before he died. I listen to it at least once a year.
27. How has your life been different than what you’d imagined? As a kid and teenager, I didn’t imagine my future. My daydreams were always about what I wished my present life was. Hoping and wanting seemed to only cause disappointment.
28. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? My maternal grandparents and my father.
29. What do you most dislike about your appearance? There are times that I catch myself in a reflection and don’t recognize myself, bur for the most part, I do not dislike my appearance.
30. How would you like to be remembered? That I left the world better than I found it.
31. Do you have any regrets? I regret that I didn’t figure out my situation earlier.
32. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Ideally, I would like to come back as a gay guy’s dog.
33. What are you tired of hearing about? What someone tweeted.
34. You are in charge of making insects a popular food item. You have 1 billion US dollars to achieve your goal. How do you do it? Give 1 billion people a dollar to eat a bug.
35. What does your future hold? Diet and exercise.
36. How would you like to die? In my sleep when I am 95 years old or in a hail of bullets. It just depends on the day.
37. What movie do you wish life was more like? The Goonies. Water slides, pirate ships, trap doors, treasure hunts, lovable ogres, inept villains, and Martha Plimpton.
38. What is your favorite word? Absolutely.
39. If you could learn only one magic spell, but it could only do something mundane and boring, what would the spell do? Twitch my nose and move the garbage/recycling/yard waste bins to and from the curb on Tuesdays.
40. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Have you taken your lunch?
41. What random fact about you do you not even really understand? It has been about 4 years since I have had a drink of alcohol. I didn’t originally stop for a specific reason, then it seemed like I didn’t have a good reason to start. So I haven’t.
42. What is your favorite curse word? Motherfucker.
43. You wake up suddenly in the middle of the night. What would be the scariest sound to hear after waking up? Shovelfuls of dirt landing on my coffin.
44. What would be the consequences of a scientific discovery that extended the life span of humans to 500 years? Electric scooter traffic jams.
45. What high level job do you think you could lie your way into with no experience and no one would notice? President of the United States of America
46. Who are your icons? I have spent several years chronicling the lives of people who I find inspiring in some form or another. I take parts from him, pieces from her and mash them together to create the type of person I aspire to. Here are a few: Andy Warhol, Anna Wintour, Buster Keaton, Cary Grant, David Rakoff, Diana Vreeland, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Paul Newman, Richard Neutra, Steve McQueen, Thom Browne, and Tom Ford.
47. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You got here without the book? Right on!
48. What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned? I wear either suits or sweats. I need a better casual wardrobe. Some day, I will find the perfect pair of denim, until then, I will wear the same chinos from Uniqlo, a grey sweatshirt, and converse.
49. What do you want for your birthday? More time.
I have deleted/deactivated all social media. It’s an experiment. It doesn’t pay my bills. It feels good right now. Never say never, never say forever.