(A large, ponderous and entirely too well groomed man takes me from a long line of people, ushers me into his office, pulls my file and waves me to a chair for the inevitable interview…)
Let's see now, who've we got here? Outfoxed, you say?
Tell me a little about yourself.
Well, I'm middle aged, married with three kids and own a pretty nice home. I work at a construction business owned by my partner and myself and we do pretty well, middle-income speaking. Can't complain. In my spare time I like to fish and write and read what others have written. Oh, and music, I'm an absolute audio junkie.
I'm already nauseated.
What do you mean by that?
Well, I mean here I am interviewing you and there's no particular need, wouldn't you say? You've already got it all, you've certainly no need to be written up or spotlighted for any unusual reason.
I suppose you could assume that. I fit in pretty well. Most of my cohorts wouldn't think anything untoward about me, I don't think. I blend, I assume background colors pretty well. To look at me, you'd think that I was Joe American Average. But I'd like to think I'm not.
Okay, so what sets you apart?
Every now and then I throw some random printed words together and it sounds better than I thought it would. I like that. I've got three of the best kids you could ever hope for. I don't know how I got them to the teenaged years but I did. Or rather, they did. I was just sorta along for the ride.
That's not a lot to hang your hat on…
Means a lot to me.
You say you're married. Tell me about your wife.
I really don't want to go there.
This is interesting. Why not?
Can we just say that I don't understand women and leave it at that?
Of course not. Come on, gimme the dirt.
I wasn't raised that way. I'll not speak about the rights and wrongs of it, it's not anyone's business but my own. We have a couple of major differences of opinion on some things, I'm trying to work through them and we're not making any significant progress. It'd be easier to say that we were, wouldn't it? It'd fit the 'nice life category' you've got slotted for me. I'll tell you this much. I've been reading a lot of writings by other women in the past few months and I think I've learned more about women as a whole than I ever thought I would. But it's not the learning that's important, it's the being.
That's always the point of it all, isn't it?
Maybe it's the finality of it all that gets to me. You make your share of mistakes in life and try to put them behind you. And a whole new crop comes up and you start over. It's the finality that there is no final solution.
That's hardly a new thought. People have been dealing with that for thousands of years.
Maybe so, but in this environment? This merry-go-round of sensitivity? Hell, every time I open my mouth I have to worry that something's going to come out that offends somebody. And in the meantime, most everybody is getting more and more stupid about how they deal with life. You know? I mean, they're just totally irresponsible, they bitch and whine about the most inconsequential things, they all want a free ride without having to break a sweat to get there, they're suing each other over nothing at all. I mean the whole thing is just out of control.
…bitch and moan, they just bitch and moan…
Sorry I brought it up. What, are you having issues about this?
Issues my ass. People chose their own issues, what they don't chose is to keep their mouths shut about them. Or to do anything worthwhile to solve them. Always somebody else's fault, always the "It's all about me" thing going on. Does that solve anything? It most assuredly does not.
Let's move on…
Fine by me. Unless you want to hear some more misplaced anger and ranting.
No, no…I think we've pretty well established that.
Can you tell me where you'd like to be five years from now?
Oohhhh, this is a party favorite, isn't it? Okay, I'll play along. Five years? I'd like to see my kids out of high school, hey, the oldest one might be nearly done with college by then. I'd like for the business to be perking along with some hint that I might not have to work forever. I'd really like to have a lot to build my last house on by then, yeah…just a little house thing to retire to. It'll take me right up to the day I actually do retire to build it, cause I do tend to procrastinate on this sort of thing. But it can happen. If I want it to. And if my arms and legs hold up that long.
Your kids, you planning on helping them through college?
Help? Sure. Pay for it all, no. That's what you meant, isn't it?
I suppose so, yes.
Not happening friend. I love 'em and all, and I'll do anything I can for 'em, but they'll have to start fighting their own battles sooner or later. Handing them their future on a platter isn't my idea of teaching them anything. If they want it, they can do it. Maybe they will learn enough about desire and drive from me to know why. That's what I'm shooting for, at least.
What's your worst habit?
Probably not telling people what I really think until the moment has passed. If I tell them at all. I guess they tend to regard me as either really understanding or incredibly naïve, depending on how they relate to me. Or maybe incredibly stupid. Yeah, I get that a lot.
Why do you suppose you find it so hard to do that?
I tend to think the best of someone until it's too late. Then they disappoint/disillusion and I just sort of groan and go…"oh shit I did it again." Why? I'd like to think I'm an incurable romantic but that's the sort of personality slotting that backfires on you. Maybe it's because I don't want to think that badly of others.
You mentioned an interest in music?
Oh man, I could go on all day! So many interests, so many genres. I went into my personal shrine the other day, Circuit City. I swear I can go in there and just drool away the hours looking at different new ways to hear the sounds. Anyway, I was standing under this new surround sound setup and they started playing a demo CD - Ubi Caritas - it's a classical harmonic thing and the voices are coming from everywhere and I'm just standing in the middle of the store at a loss for words, grinning and humming and nodding my head like some freak. I mean, I had like 3 salesmen come up to do the vulture thing on me and I just waved 'em off without making eye contact. Sometimes that sort of really good music just puts me in another place. Probably good that it happens in music stores, they tend to be a little more understanding in there.
Anything big happening to you musically?
Going to New Orleans in two weeks for Jazzfest. It doesn't get much bigger than that, pal. Unless it's a Steely Dan concert. Or maybe Shawn Colvin. God, that girl's got a vision.
You sound as if you really enjoy that field.
Listen. I went to Maryland one time, in high school. It was an invitation only choir concerto thing, and I sang bass. Now, you might think that singing bass is essentially a throw-off occupation, but let me tell ya. The bass lines let you ruminate and run up and down and support the whole thing. Plus, we individually make more volume than any 5 sopranos do. I read something about choirs once that has always stayed with me. "I heard the voices of a thousand men singing, and I thought I heard the voice of God." And, I'll tell you, I heard the voice that day. You never quite forget it.
Sounds like you've had some varied experiences.
And thus it ever shall be. Why would I want to be bored?
I'd like to thank you for your time.
Most welcome. Who do I see about the money?
I'm afraid I don't understand.
You mean this wasn't the line for the Powerball winners?
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