Questionnaire 16.

1. HOW DO YOU DEFINE HONESTY? The willingness to make thought and speech reflect fact and reality.

2. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR OR WORRY? That the AC will stop working.

3. WHAT IS THE MAIN THING THAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE? A tiny fraction of my DNA.

4. IF YOU HAD TO EVACUATE YOUR HOUSE IMMEDIATELY, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD GRAB ON THE WAY OUT? A pre-packed bag of clothing, toiletries, my contact lenses, cell phone, laptop… I can say this with great authority. When this happened, I was fortunate to have packed a bag a few days earlier for a short trip. The trip was cancelled, but I hadn’t unpacked the bag yet.

5. WHAT FACIAL EXPRESSION OR MOVEMENT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE LYING? Whichever one is necessary to convince my audience that I’m telling not just the truth, but the most profound and inescapable truth ever told.

6. WHAT IS THE OLDEST ITEM YOU OWN? That I can think of off the top of my head: some artifacts from the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg).

7. IF SOMEONE WERE TO GIVE YOU ONE GIFT, MONEY IS NO OBJECT, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO RECEIVE? My needs are small. As it turns out, I have this affinity for beachfront property… Australia.

8. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE COURAGE? The willingness to do something despite fear.

9. DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME? Yes.

10. DO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME? WHAT IS IT? Yes. “Mr. V.”

11. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SPECIAL MAGIC, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I’ll go with one I haven’t mentioned before: perfect memory and recall.

12. IF YOU HAD THREE WISHES, WHAT WOULD YOU WISH? See #56 from Questionnaire 2.

13. IF YOU COULD PREDICT THE FUTURE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE? Abuse it, probably.

14. IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME THE PAST, PRESENT OR THE FUTURE? The past was my favorite, the present is my favorite, the future will be my favorite.

15. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 20 YEARS? Earth. If not there, then Mars.

16. WHO IS THE ONE PERSON THAT HELPED TO MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE TODAY? In the most technical sense, probably one of my parents. Aside from either of them, and again in the most technical sense, either Dave Thomas or Dick Portillo. Maybe the guy who runs General Mills.

17. IF YOU WERE PUNISHED FOR A CRIME, WHAT TYPE OF PUNISHMENT WOULD YOU CHOOSE? …the lightest one possible?

18. DESCRIBE A TIME YOU GOT INTO TROUBLE. My senior year of high school, I yawned in class, and my physics teacher yelled “NO YAWNING!” I finished yawning, and then must’ve smirked because he yelled “NO SMIRKING!” It took me a long time to realize that he wasn’t being a jerk, or rather wasn’t just being a jerk, he was doing it to entertain himself. The guy really was a good teacher. He also looked like a viking.

19. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FIRST WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Turn off my backup alarms.

20. WHAT MAKES YOU A GOOD PERSON? As I’ve pointed out in the past, I exchange oxygen gas for carbon dioxide as well as any person alive. So, that.

21. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST REGRET? I’ll go with something conventional: that upon graduating from college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do and no decent plan.

22. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE STANDING ON A BEACH LOOKING AT THE OCEAN? Loud. On my last trip to a beach, I missed about half the conversation.

23. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT TO WEAR? Shirt. Jeans. Belt. Underwear. Socks. Shoes. I like to accessorize that little ensemble with a wristwatch and my contact lenses.

24. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING ALONE IN A CAR? Listen to the radio or my playlist.

25. IF A FRIEND IS BEING BULLIED OR HARASSED BY SOMEONE, WHAT DO YOU DO? When you say “someone”, do you mean me? Hopefully I’ll stop; that wouldn’t be very nice of me.

26. REFLECT ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR BEST FRIEND. WHAT MAKES HIM OR HER SO SPECIAL? He hasn’t tried to kill me yet, as far as I know.

27. CAN YOU KEEP SECRETS? DESCRIBE A TIME YOU DIDN’T. I can keep secrets, but I won’t describe a time I didn’t. I figure describing it would only exacerbate the betrayal of trust. That said, when someone asks if I can keep a secret (in the sense of asking me if I’ll keep his/her secret), my response is “I can, but fair warning: I will exercise my own judgement regarding whether I will keep that secret.”

28. HOW DO YOU SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR OTHERS? An elaborate ritualistic dance-like agitation in which I puff up as much as possible, pound my chest, and howl in an effort to demonstrate dominance and fertility.

29. WHAT IS THE NICEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR YOU? [REDACTED]

30. IF YOU COULD BECOME ANYONE’S FRIEND THAT YOU WANT, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Bill Gates.

31. ARE YOU THE TYPE OF PERSON WITH LOTS OF FRIENDS OR JUST A FEW CLOSE ONES? A few close friends, many acquaintances, many more people I’m vaguely aware of having encountered.

32. WHAT IS ONE QUALITY YOU ADMIRE MOST IN OTHERS? I’ll be lazy and go with honesty and courage.

33. DO YOU PREFER TO BE WITH THOSE WHO ARE YOUNGER OR OLDER THAN YOU ARE? I’m indifferent.

34. IF YOU COULD ASK ME ONE QUESTION, AND I HAD TO ANSWER YOU TRUTHFULLY, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW? I don’t need you to answer truthfully. I already know what I need to know about you.

35. WHAT IS THE MEANEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE TO SOMEONE? I dare not repeat it here.

36. DESCRIBE AN ACTIVITY THAT YOU THINK IS TRULY ROMANTIC. We’d spend an evening rejecting rationalism and the scientific method, reading counter-Enlightenment poetry, and maybe writing short bits of Gothic horror.

37. IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A LOVE NOTE TO YOUR SWEETHEART, WHAT WOULD IT SAY? “DEAR X, DO YOU LIKE ME? [ ] YES [ ] MAYBE”

38. WHEN YOU ARE IN TROUBLE, WHOM DO YOU CALL FOR HELP? Trouble’s arch-nemesis: Robert Baukman.

39. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THE MOST? They know who they are.

40. IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE PLACE IN YOUR TOWN TO BRING A TOURIST, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? My house.

41. WHAT IS THE ONE CAUSE THAT YOU FEEL MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT? Economic education.

42. IF YOU LIVED IN THE PIONEER DAYS, WOULD YOU HAVE TRAVELED WEST OR STAYED PUT IN THE EAST? Tough call. Probably stayed in the East… life was tough enough without having to take on the elements, and bears, and pissed-off Native Americans, and the Scots-Irish.

43. WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION? WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP THEM? I suppose it’s Clemson University’s scholarship fund, because I send them the most cash.

44. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO SPACE, WOULD YOU GO? Yep.

45. WOULD YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD ON A BOAT IN THE SEA? Nope, unless I knew the boat would not stop moving forward. Motion sickness, y’see.

46. WHEN YOU TRAVEL AWAY FROM HOME, DO YOU MISS IT? A little.

47. WHAT IS THE GREATEST CRISIS WE FACE AS A WORLD? “Stupid economic policy” covers a lot of ground, so I’ll go with that.

48. DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE VACATION. Probably my 2009 summer vacation, as described in a series of blog posts at the time. I also enjoyed my spring break trip up to Maryland/DC/PA in 2004, which was based at Mole’s Mountain.

49. IF YOU COULD WRITE YOUR OWN BILL OF RIGHTS, WHAT WOULD YOU INCLUDE? Long story short: in addition to what’s already in our national Bill of Rights, at the very least I’d add the right to make contracts, the right to own/buy/sell/bequeath/divest property.

50. WHAT IS GOING ON TODAY IN THE WORLD THAT AFFECTS YOU THE MOST? Sunbeams cascading upon the good Earth.

51. WHAT BAD HABIT WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO GIVE UP IF IT GUARANTEED YOU WOULD LIVE TO BE 100? Do you mean “at least 100” or “exactly 100”? Either way, probably chewing ice.

52. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO EAT? …food?

53. WHAT IS ONE FOOD THAT YOU WILL NOT EAT? I should probably stop eating crustaceans. Those things are disgusting, the more I think about it.

54. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO EXERCISE? Aside from playing soccer, I’d go with riding a recumbent bike.

55. IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE TO BE BLIND OR DEAF, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK? Deaf.

56. IF YOU COULD HAVE SOMEONE ELSE’S FACE, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE? My evil twin’s face.

57. DESCRIBE A VIVID DREAM YOU HAVE HAD. I do a lot of that already. Click on the “dream” tag.

58. WHAT PHYSICAL FEATURE DO YOU LEAST LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? Whatever physical feature makes breathing difficult.

59. WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW THE EXACT DAY OF YOUR DEATH? I suppose so. It’d give me some real advantages in terms of asymmetrical information.

60. IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE HERO, WHO WOULD IT BE? To do what? Better safe than sorry: Superman.

61. IF YOU COULD PICK ONE THING TO CHANGE ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL OR JOB, WHAT WOULD IT BE? It’d pay thirty times more than it currently does.

62. WHAT ARE MOST PROUD OF? My humility.

63. ARE YOU THE KIND OF PERSON WHO WANTS TO BE THE BIG FISH IN A LITTLE POND OR THE LITTLE FISH IN THE BIG POND? I don’t want either.

64. DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU WANTED TO QUIT, BUT DIDN’T. In summer of 1998, I started at an utterly soul-crushing job. I’d walk in the building, take a deep breath, and it’d smell like despair and hopelessness. But I didn’t quit, until October. Then I quit.

65. IS COMPETITION GOOD FOR YOU? Yes.

66. IF YOU COULD STUDY ANYTHING YOU WANTED IN SCHOOL, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT? More economics.

67. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED IN SCHOOL THAT YOU THINK IS USELESS TO YOU TODAY? My 11th grade “logic” course was an utter and complete waste of time. It had nothing to do with logic, formal or otherwise, and was essentially just goof-off time for the teacher. I always suspected the admins gave him that course in hopes that he’d do less damage there than elsewhere.

68. WHEN SOMEONE FAILS AT SOMETHING, WHAT SHOULD HE OR SHE DO? Assuming that the “something” is something constructive, fun, or otherwise positive, he or she should try, try again. If the “something” is something negative, he or she should stop immediately.

69. IF YOU COULD PICK ANY CAREER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE? Professional money-spender.

70. DO YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS? No.

71. IF YOU COULD BECOME A CHARACTER IN A TV SHOW OR MOVIE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOSE TO BE? FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.

72. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OUTSIDE ACTIVITY? First, breathing. Second, soccer.

73. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY AND HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE IT? My birthday, and however I damn well please.

74. HAVE YOU BEEN ON A ROLLER COASTER? WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE? I have. It was unpleasant. I get dizzy walking sometimes, so you can imagine how the roller coaster went.

75. IF YOU HAD TO SPEND A DAY NOT USING ANY TECHNOLOGY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Walk around and look at stuff. But not, like, any technological stuff.

76. DESCRIBE THE PERFECT PARTY. Read this.

77. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF ART? Good art.

78. WHAT SPORT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE BEST AT? If by “the best” you mean “personally most proficient”, then soccer. If you literally mean “the best” as in “best in the world”, then… soccer.

79. IF YOU COULD BE A CARTOON CHARACTER, WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE? Space Ghost.

80. DO YOU KNOW ANY JOKES? IF SO, TELL ME ONE. I know jokes. This one came from my niece:

X: Knock, knock.
Y: Who’s there?
X: Banana.
Y: Banana who?
X: Grape.

81. WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH THE HARDEST? Tough call. Perhaps some old “Whose Line” re-runs, from the Drew Carey and Clive Anderson days.

82. WHAT MAKES YOUR FAMILY UNIQUE FROM OTHERS? I’m going to have to go with the DNA thing again.

83. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAMILY’S TRADITIONS? Pizza and shrimp on Christmas day.

84. DO YOU KNOW HOW YOU GOT YOUR NAME? I bested the previous Vincent Dominic Viscariello in trial by combat and won his title and lands. I spared his family.

2 comments

  1. “Trouble’s arch-nemesis: Robert Baukman”
    Perfect.

    Regarding #11…I don’t know if that would be such a great thing. I know that the internet has shown me things that I couldn’t wait to erase from my memory..to be stuck with them forever? I’ve always wanted the ability to selectively forget things, although I’d probably just end up watching Empire Strikes Back over and over and over again.

    Like

    1. Ah, but you’d have a perfect memory of the first time you saw it, and could in theory relive the joy of that first-time-watching at your whim.

      Like

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