There is a silly faux-psychology article that comes around every couple of years that says "there are the 36 questions you can ask anyone to have them fall in love with you". Below is a smattering of those questions to see if you will fall in love with me...
Q: Would you like to be famous? In what way?
As counterintuitive as this sounds on a website that is literally my name and has my picture posted all over it, the answer is no. I consider myself a more “behind the scenes” type of guy and prefer to do the work in anonymity and do not need the praise. There are a lot of downsides to fame and I would prefer to maintain a “normal” life, or at least my version of it, where I can go about in the world and do simple things like grocery shopping.
Q: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
First off, it would not be a dinner; it would be a late brunch or early afternoon affair. We go to bed by 10 o’clock, so I do not want someone over the house until 9 or later and then still have to clean up afterwards! And when we do things like this, it is usually who I always want: our close friends and family. It’s always nice to get us together and share a wonderful meal, especially if I am the one to have prepared it. Stop asking if you can bring anything; just coming down to see us is gift enough!
Q: What does friendship mean to you?
I will defer to Aristotle on this one, except I would not define anything below “true friendship” as “friendship” at all. Friends are the ones that can go years without talking and still pick up like it was yesterday, that would do anything you ask and you the same, that you want to see just because you want to see them and for no other reason. My friends are varied and many don’t like each other, but they all share an honesty and prickly nature that I find endearing.
Q: What do you value most in a friendship?
There is nothing I value more than trust, and by that I mean trust in both directions. I need my friends to trust me and I need to be able to trust and depend upon them. Challenging my fortitude, loyalty, and commitment to a relationship (any kind of relationship, personal or professional) is about as big of an insult as you can give me.
Q: Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Yes, both personally and professionally. Although I would not consider it a full rehearsal, per se, but more of going over the major bullet points that I want to cover. I do not find telephones the best way to communicate and want to make sure I am remembering everything so that the call is quality time for all parties. Additionally, I used to run technical sessions on calls, so it was important to be prepared in order to be productive.
Q: When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
Probably as I was walking around this morning while heading to the shower. And then my partner probably asked me what I was singing, so then I sang it to her. I have a whole set of special musical accompaniments that are just for her enjoyment.
Q: If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
What is the point in having a body if you cannot use it? If my body is in excellent health but I do not know where am and am not cognizant of the world or myself, what is the point? My mind is who I am. Still, I will keep up the workout regimen in order to try to retain the body to go with the mind (and physical activity helps maintain the mind as well).
Q: Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
I don’t intend on ever dying, so I have no hunches on that. Does it count as a death if you transfer you brain into a younger cloned body or into a digital realm a la the Matrix?
Q: If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
Absolutely nothing. I do not want to know the future because there is no fate, only what I put into it and the opportunities I can take advantage of that come my way. If I am told something, then I did not earn it—and this includes understanding myself. Self-actualization is a personal journey and not something that should be acquired with a shortcut.
Q: If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
Yes, I would use that year to take my partner and I around the world and try to see as many things as possible in the short time remaining. If I had so little time, I would want nothing more than to experience as much as possible in order to know I left the world having seen as much of it as I could.
Q: What is your most treasured memory?
Before my partner and I started officially dating, we were with a group of friends and strangers (it was a Meetup event), going to a drive-in. As we were driving back (we were being chauffeured by other people who came with us since it cost per car load at the drive-in, not per person), we were listening to the Weird Al Yankovic song “The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota”, each sharing one side of my earbuds. I have no idea what brought this song up or why we decided to listen and ignore everyone else in the car, but we did, and it started a secret language and history with each other that cannot be understood or shared by anyone else.
Q: What is your most terrible memory?
When my mother died, I walked right into the front door of my parents' house and I did not know her body was still there, splayed out right where she fell. As soon as I came through the door, I walked straight into her deceased body. The image is burned in my memory forever.
Q: Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
We both see the world and the people in it in the same way, with a hope that it can be better but still with a pragmatism that you have to deal with what people are like in the here and now. In the same vein, we are not materialistic people, but believe in living experiences (and putting the camera down to actually experience), and this especially includes travelling to the great sites of our world. And while physical adventures are a joy, we also enjoy culinary adventures, both from a restaurant and from a home-cooked perspective, and especially many unique plant-based options that use the original plants as their ingredients.
Q: For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I am most grateful for being able to overcome and persevere all that could have dragged me down at any point in my life. Some things were by chance, some by opportunity, some by sheer tenacity—but for whatever reason I have not been pulled down into the muck when I could easily have been.
Q: Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
It would be my childhood stuffed animal Baby Dog (who is actually older than I am). All of the physical objects I own are either replaceable or are not that critical. All my pictures and files are digitally backed up and in the cloud (please don’t hack me), so there is nothing of great importance there. At the end of the day, Baby Dog is the one item I’ve had with me my entire life no matter where I have been and I would feel awful abandoning him if I could have saved him.
Q: What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
Can’t say I’ve ever laughed at a Holocaust joke, but then again Gilbert Gottfried probably did do one that I did laugh at, so I may be a hypocrite in this case.
Q: Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
I have dreamed of opening up my own franchise of fast-casual plant-based restaurants. Already I have a name, website, menu, and a partially written business plan. Planning it out, I knew I was going to need to dive headfirst into it, and when the time came I had other projects I wanted to do first, including this writing. So for now, this is my focus.