Sunday, January 21, 2007

5 things: an interview with a fictitious colleague

on december 20th, becky sent me the following email message:

I was blog-tagged and now, apparently, so are you. Supposedly, the "blog tag" assignment was to write five things on your blog that people might not have known about you. Tag. You're it.
i usually ignore chain-mail assignments, but i decided that in a blog-context like the 17 point scale there is no harm in babbling about myself. still, nothing struck me as both interesting and unknown, that is, until i found this odd passage from pages 204-206 of don delillo's white noise:

lasher [a professor] wadded up a paper napkin and tossed it at someone two tables away. then he stared at the 17 point scale [in white noise lasher is staring at another professor, but to accomodate the blog-tag, i have substituted myself in his place; i also used font colors to differentiate myself from lasher--there are no colored fonts in white noise].

"who was the greatest influence on your life?" he said in a hostile tone.

"i'm sure you realize that it's difficult to objectively answer a question like that. it reminds me of the postal service song where ben gibbard desperately tries to reconcile with his lover, and she responds with 'charts and graphs....[and] a lecture on why i have to leave.' it's an uncomfortable embrace of heart and mind. still, i'd wager that my parents have had the greatest impact on my life. that's a safe bet. my dad gave me an easy-going nature and an arsenal of animated facial expressions, and my mom introduced me to faith and morality."

"did you ever spit in your soda bottle so you wouldn't have to share your drink with other kids?"

"i don't recall ever spitting in soda bottles. after all, pop usually came in a can or in one of those waxy coke cups. in any case, my pop was protected by my peculiarity: when drinking soft drinks, i always used two straws. people don't like to admit it, but they find this behavior troubling. thus, my pop was safe."

"how old were you when you first realized your father was a jerk?"

"errrr...that's a presumptious question," i said. "i really can't recall him ever acting like a jerk. this christmas i had a chat with my uncle robin where i tried to dig up dirt on my dad--not real dirt, mind you, just unfiltered memories from my uncle's past. you know, questions like, 'did you guys ever get in fights? ' that kind of thing. all i learned was that robin sometimes 'borrowed' my dad's cars for joy rides, but that this never seemed to upset my dad--hey, aren't these questions supposed to help people learn about me?"


"i'm sorry, lasher, i don't know that your question is appropriate for this blog, and i'm also afraid that it might generate an unseemly set of keywords. but, speaking of dental hygienists, i suppose most people aren't aware of my orthodontic past. yes, i was lucky enough to have braces as a kid, and later, i had a neon green retainer, which i sometimes used to save gum. but generally speaking, i save gum in on my soccer and quizzing trophies."

"when you bite dead skin off your thumb, do you eat it or spit it out?"

"i chew it and spit it out. however, i have swallowed it before. is that unhealthy?"

"do you ever close your eyes," lasher said, "while you're driving on a highway?"

"no, never. i sometimes imagine myself careening across into the dividing barrier on highway 520, and i've often thought about drifting into oncoming traffic on highway 99. i smile to myself and think 'that'll surprise them.' but it's just the flighty wanderings of a bored commuter.'

"how much pleasure did you take as a kid," lasher said, "in imagining yourself dead?"

"my good sir, i refer you back to postal service's 'nothing better.' i think i refrained from morbid fantasies except when i was in trouble. and then, like any kid, i watched the hearse roll by and thought, 'yep, they'll regret that when i'm dead.' well, that's it, dude. i think we've already exhausted the average attention span of most internet users. also, if anyone is still reading this and would like to know more about me, feel free to comment."


Matt Basinger said...

great entry - very entertaining!


Mari said...

I'll be waiting for a response to my other questions. what happened to that page of queries? Alas alas there is still much left unsaid. But for your next blog entry, I think you should write about the State of the Union address, how Bush refers to 'the terrorists' rather than just 'terrorists,' and how uncannily it sounds like 'the others' from Lost!!!

Anonymous said...


(in the words of the Postal Service)...

you've got a lure I can't deny...

but you're not permitted to leave...

and I've got a cupboard with cans of food, filtered water, and pictures of you...'re wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the feeling that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by?

I need you to pretend that we are in love again.


andrew said...

matt, thanks.

mari, i promise to respond to your queries.

becky, nice postal service collage. i always thought that it was 'allure,' but a quick google search reveals that you're probably right.

again last night I had that strange dream / where everything was exactly how it seemed / concerns about the world getting warmer / people thought they were just being rewarded / for treating others as they'd like to be treated / for obeying stop signs and curing diseases / for mailing letters with the address of the sender / now we can swim any day in november / oh a woooh...