Trying to pick up the pace, I’m on page 4 of 3000 Questions about Me—here’s another round of prompts I haven’t seen before, so all answers are off-the-cuff and spur-of-the-moment.

Do you think Great Britain should be a part of a United Europe? (0046)

Wow, diving into geopolitics with this one. My stance on government and free association is that the people of a nation should be encouraged to elect leaders who truly represent their views, and for those leaders to faithfully execute the trust place in their care, and to be held accountable for failing to do so. Misinformation, spin, and outright propaganda have so tainted modern politics, not just here in North America but in so many countries across the globe, that I believe it’s relatively impossible for any one person or body to say with objective certainty that solution X or process Y is the best next step for a nation. I think a united Europe is a great concept both economically and politically, but we are seeing—and have seen—many of the failings and the loose ends that haven’t been well-tied.

Have you ever eaten a whole tube of Pringles by yourself? (0047)

I absolutely have. Not only over the course of long nights of study or spending time with friends, but also on water polo or swim trips where my body was demanding carbohydrates. Previously I’ve written some of my experiences with the Boy Scouts hiking to Evolution Valley, but I don’t think I’ve ever put to paper that, on the long drive home after that week of thin provisions, we stopped at an In-n-Out and my best friend and I engaged in something of an eating contest. We each started off with a 3×3 (triple-patty burger), fries, and a shake, and went back to the counter for at least two more double-doubles. We were so ravenously hungry that we stuffed ourselves past the point of satiation, and slept the entire rest of the van trip home.

Do you like champagne, if so what is your favorite brand? (0049)

I don’t drink, and as such can offer no opinion on champagne, “sparkling wine,” or any other variant of bubbly. Over my life I’ve yet to find a term that I can use for my aversion to drinking without adding additional context. “Teetotaler” sounds like an 18th-century noble and “straight edge” brings to mind a lot more militarism than I have for the subject. I have very little concern for what others do with their lives, I just know what I will and won’t do with mine.

What nervous habits do you have? (0049)

In addition to the aforementioned addition of “honestly,” “realistically,” or “seriously” to my sentences, I do a lot of fidgeting, not only in general but also particularly when stressed or nervous. Whether it’s bouncing my leg, rubbing my fingers together, or glancing around the room, I always seem to be on the move somehow. For lack of a better term I think it’s fair to say I have a lot of nervous energy that I feel needs to get expressed somehow.

What do you do when you and your best friend get into a fight? (0050)

Luckily I’ve grown out of the point in my life where I have “fights” with people; the energy just isn’t worth it. For those precious few in my inner circle, there really isn’t much that would be so contentious as to cause a rift—we may disagree or see the world differently, sure, but one thing we respect is each others’ autonomy and our ability or freedom to live life as we choose. In the past, when things have come up, it was largely talked through, after a fair amount of cooling-off time. If anything, I think we would be disappointed in each other rather than mad, which is even worse.

What do you think should be a wonder of the world that currently isn’t? (0051)

When I think about modern wonders of the world, the one that comes to mind is modern medicine, meaning the proven efficacy of germ theory and vaccinations. I converse with a number of healthcare professionals and enjoy hearing about advances in medical technology and patient outcomes, but I think I’d have to boil it all down to those two concepts, which both revolutionized the entire field and lead to what we know today when it comes to treating disease, infection, and the prevention thereof. I genuinely wish more people realized what “medicine” and “treatment” was like before these two amazing advances, these methods and practices have been proven over and over again. Whenever I see someone hawking a “toxin cleanse” or homeopathic “remedies,” it makes me want to scream and pull my hair out.

What comforts you on bad days? (0052)

It may sound silly, but what comforts me most on bad days is knowing that my wife is at home with me. We don’t even have to be in the same room, but knowing she’s there for hugs, to lay my head against, or to listen to me complain makes me feel better even if I don’t take advantage of it at all times. She’s a constant source of reaffirmation and support, and that means the world to me, particularly when I’m not feeling at my best.

Do you treat yourself and your body with respect? (0053)

Please give me a moment while I let out a hearty belly laugh. While I don’t drink or do drugs, I have a functionally sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, and my constant mental state isn’t the best. I imagine much of it is a feedback loop, and so with some changes I’ve made recently—particularly with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications—I can get into a healthier mental routine, and a more active physical one.

Something you eat that other people would find gross. (0054)

Generally I’m not a very adventurous eater. While I have a much greater and broader appreciation for cuisine than I did in my youth, I tend to stick to specific favorites—once I discover something I enjoy, I keep going back to those staples. With Peruvian food for example I’ve developed a great fondness for aji de gallina (shredded chicken over rice in an egg sauce), and while there are several Peruvian restaurants near me, I keep going back to the same dish because I know and trust that it’s good.

Have you ever broken the law and didn’t get caught; if so how? (0055)

I can neither confirm nor deny that I have ever done something illegal for which I was not caught—see my post about Freedom and Anonymous Data for more information. I would say that revealing any crime, no matter how minor, would not be in anyone’s best interest, and would caution anyone from doing so, particularly on an open forum like the internet.

While my answer was tongue-in-cheek, just this week there was an article about how many modern criminals keep talking about or posting clues about their crimes on Facebook and other social media sites. I have no qualms about people sharing whatever they’d like online, so long as they understand there may be consequences for doing so.

Something you fear might change you. (0056)

I genuinely worry that, whatever changes I make for my own mental and physical health, the next several years of United States and global politics will make me cynical to the point of being jaded. I want to have hope, I want to think that things will improve, but I really think that my fears are going to be realized time and time again and that eventually it’ll be too difficult to find that hope when things really do warrant it. From the blocking of Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court to the continued presence of US troops across the Middle East fighting a war on “terrorism” that still hasn’t been ratified by congress and the utter lack of accountability for any public official in all levels of government, the direction this country—and the rise of nationalism in many parts of the world—really has me scared for the future.

What personality trait in people raises a red flag with you? (0057)

I actually had a whole blog article planned out about this topic some time ago, but never quite had the inspiration to put my thoughts to paper. Something that immediately turns me off when meeting someone new is identifying that they have a deep-seated need to impress. Last summer I was introduced to someone through mutual friends, and though we were just having a casual lunch, I was almost instantly disinclined to get to know the person better because everything they said revolved around trying to impress me with their worldliness, their command of foreign languages, far-off sites they’d seen, the value of cars they worked on, and so forth. They didn’t talk about their drive to see and learn about distant places, which would have been interesting and engaging, but rather presented a list of “here’s why I’m cool” with what felt like the expectation that I’d be bowled over and want to be this person’s friend. I work with a lot of salespeople, and I very often run into the same temperament, and it is fairly grating to me.

Have you ever resented someone, if so what for? (0058)

I’ve written about it before, but I think this question brings up the necessity for me to define envy versus jealousy. As a writer and occasional orator I try to be particular in my word choice, and the difference between these two means a lot to me, particularly in context. For me, envy is the feeling of wanting something someone else has—seeing someone on a hot day with a cold ice cream cone may make me long for an ice cream cone of my own, for example. In a related but different vein I define jealousy as the feeling of wanting something, instead of the other person having it. Jealousy would be the feeling of seeing a coworker get an award for working hard when by all appreciable metrics that award belonged to me (again, just an example).

From where I sit, resentment is far closer to jealousy than it is to envy. I try very had to identify when I’m feeling jealousy and to discern whether or not the feeling is warranted or justified. Usually it isn’t and it’s just me being emotionally irrational, and so I try to take the time to process the feelings surging through me, before they can inform my words or actions. This is a continuing process, and one I certainly haven’t always been particularly good at. In the past I’ve been resentful of an ex-girlfriend’s new beau, or that someone else solved a technical issue by approaching the problem differently than I. It’s something I try to watch out for, but at the end of the day I’m still human and the intellectual and emotional sides of my brain are often not aligned, to varying degrees.

Do you have a favorite t-shirt, if so what’s on it or what does it say? (0059)

Years and years ago my father gave me a shirt from the LA city fire department, one that I decided to wear to my first day of eighth grade. My parents weren’t fond of the idea, fearing the first impression I would make wearing a shirt with a large skull on the back, but it became tradition for me to wear it on the first and last day of things. I wore it to the first day of each year of high school, the last day of each year, the same through college, and even as an undershirt when I started or finished new jobs. Nearly thirty years old, the shirt is still holding up strong, and it’s become a recurring motif of mine when starting in on—or walking away from—endeavors.

How old do you think is too old to have a baby? (0060)

Paraphrasing a quote from the comedian Steve Hofstetter, I believe it’s irresponsible to have a child when you can’t provide for its needs; raising a well-adjusted child takes time, energy, money, and love, and not everyone is in a proper place in their lives to afford to share those things. For me I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily a maximum age range, but I think it’s important to question why someone has decided to have a child. If they’re 60 years old and likely won’t live to see them graduate college, is that providing the best opportunity for the child? It’s an answer I can’t give for someone else.

Four pages down, 196 to go! Thank you all for taking this journey with me and for exploring the questions and answers presented in this series. My aim is always to be as honest and open as possible, and I think these prompts provide a good opportunity for people who want to know me better to get a peek behind the curtain into what makes me, me.

Header image of the Pyrenees by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay