I know you. I know the type. Sitting there, staring at the screen, waiting for some answers. You want answers? YOU WANT ANSWERS?! No sooner did I ask for some answers, then answers appeared in droves:
I'm going to stop typing “answers” now and instead share some of my own:
1) Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. Name any one thing in your life that you were ungrateful for, and how you feel about it now.
Up until last Thursday, I'd planned to name being sent to an all-male Catholic high school with a dress code for four years as the thing I was ungrateful for. But I think I'm going to change my answer to my mom's cooking, specifically Thanksgiving dinner, because after mincing onions and celery and slicing carrots and potatoes and washing a turkey with water and scrubbing it with salt and removing its organs and baking a pie and everything else, I now understand why she usually started cooking the night before and why her responses were so terse whenever my dad or I would pop our head in and say, “How's it going?” It's really something I took for granted, although maybe I was never ungrateful per se, since that term implies intent. I definitely didn't appreciate wearing a suit everyday, three hours of homework every night, and being separated from my friends in public school and, more importantly, the opposite sex. Of course, reading accounts of sub par students being pushed through public school, and hearing stories of gangs, drugs, and teen pregnancies, as an adult I can see how a parent might choose an option their child would hate them for, knowing they'd be better off as a result of it.
2) What kind of superhero would you be? An inspirational icon like Captain America or Superman, or someone dark and tortured like Wolverine or the Batman?
This is a tough question. Who comes up with these? If I allowed more options, in reality, I'd probably be a put-upon sidekick like Arthur. Working with the options I presented though, I'd have to say someone who tries to be an icon, fails, and ends up dark and tortured as a result. This question evolved from a discussion I had with a friend who was underwhelmed by Superman Returns, which in turn led to a discussion about “corny” iconic heroes versus the grittier modern ones. Sometimes I like to be inspired, need to hear a positive fanfare and see a flag waving in the background. The darker vigilantes are a closer reflection of reality, but that's why we need to escape sometimes with shinier role models. ”The World Still Needs Heroes.”
3) What's the weirdest or freakiest dream you've ever had? Have you ever had a recurring dream?
I have not had a recurring dream, as far as I'm aware. I often have weird dreams that blend geography and reality. Once I dreamt I was walking through my high school, went down stairs and emerged directly into the lobby of a train station. Fun stuff. The dream that freaked me out the MOST as a kid was relatively simple. I saw nothing but black, then these white characters started slowly scrolling like movie credits. They were weird hieroglyphs with no meaning to me, but the part that terrified me was the mumbling chanting monotone I heard. A little nine-year-old MCF sat up in bed and couldn't get back to sleep for hours, finally thinking about Laverne & Shirley, something benign and innocent to comfort myself. Another weird dream from childhood would be the time I found myself playing in my dad's old repair shop. As I ran through the garage, some boxes tumbled from shelving suspended near the ceiling. I threw my arms up to shield myself AND IN REAL LIFE FELT TWO THINGS HIT THE BED SO HARD IT WOKE ME UP. Shaking, I finally got up and ran to the light switch. There was nothing there. Nothing fell on me, and there were no signs of any cats. To this day, my best theory is that my legs had been up in the air and dropped to the bed, waking me up. Who knows?
4) If you were chosen to be among the first pioneers to settle in a space station orbiting the Earth, would you accept and if so, what role would you play in the community?
It'd be an exciting proposition, but a huge change in my routine. I think I'd initially consider declining, until some good friends called me an idiot for never taking chances to improve my life and pointed out that it'd be a rare opportunity and more important than my current job. I'd miss my family and friends, but in Earth orbit I'm sure I could catch a shuttle home on holidays. I'd probably design brochures, labels, posters and anything else that had to be printed on the station. In true improbable fashion, I'd be careless with my food and leave crumbs in an airlock that would later propel into my suit in some freak accident, rupture it, and cause depressurization. My body would explode, but somehow they'd save the head, attach a robot arm, and send me back to my old job, where my friends would call me an idiot for taking such a risk in the first place.
5) No! Not here! Anywhere but here! You swore you'd never come back, and now suddenly here you are! Where are you?
This is a no-brainer. In hindsight I may realize the wisdom in my parents' decision to send me to a private school, but that doesn't mean I want to ever go back. A potential alternate answer could be my ordeal in the hospital a few years ago, but it's inevitable that I'll need to be in a hospital again someday, and everything that was done the last time resulted in me continuing and resuming my life. High school, traumatic for anyone, is a one-time trial-by-fire that no one should have to go through twice. College is great because you choose a major of interest, learn what you want to learn, and find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar tastes. For me high school was prison, and while my mom thought ”Heaven Help Us”
was a cute rental for family movie night during the course of my sentence, it hit too close to home and she didn't understand why I wasn't as eager to come home from school and watch a movie about a similar school. I enjoyed a visit to my old college since graduation, but I'm never setting foot in my high school again. That might change if I ever decide to send any of my kids to the same place,
but I'll deal with that when the time comes. The important thing is I don't have to deal with homework, harsh gym classes, or running through a park filled with attacking kids from a nearby public school to get to the train station at the end of each day. Never again will I have three minutes to lug a stack of thick textbooks from one end of a building to another, or worry about someone reversing the lock on my locker during such a three-minute interval. More importantly, aside from weddings, I never have to worry about getting food stains out of a tie ever again.