Wednesday Wickedness is “like other memes in that we will ask you ten questions each and every Wednesday. But our little ‘twist’ is that each week we will pick a famous person and pick ten of their quotes. Each of our questions will be based on the quotes.” The one from September I decided to pick, in honor of him receiving the Kennedy Center Honors in December, is Sir Paul McCartney.
1. “George wrote Taxman, and I played guitar on it. He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what could happen to your money.”
No one likes paying taxes. But do you think the tax system is fair?
Well, no. It is well-documented that the so-called middle class’s wages have been basically stagnant over the past 3 decades, while the richest Americans have become super-rich. In Washington state, they were having a fight over having an income tax only on the richest folks; Bill Gates supported it, but most of the other wealthy folks opposed it. Thing is that I’d be willing to pay MORE for human need (i.e., universal health care), but LESS for military expenditures that even the Secretary of Defense suggests can be cut.
2. “I definitely did look up to John. We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest.”
What did you think of John Lennon?
As often stated in this blog, John was my favorite Beatle. When we charged the neighborhood kids to watch us lipsynch to Beatles VI, I played John. He could be prickly, he was a terrible father to his elder son, and not a great husband to Cynthia. But like most of us, he was figuring it out, and he was doing it in public.
3. “I saw that Meryl Streep said, I just want to do my job well. And really, that’s all I’m ever trying to do.”
How do you approach your job whether in the workplace or at home?
An interesting question is that I have had a shift in my mind about this in the last year. My job description talks mostly about doing reference for our counselor’s client. My attitude, though, has been to try to do what is best for the organization. So, if no one is answering the main phone, I answer the phone. If no one is blogging at our blog, I’ll write an extra piece, or solicit others to participate. It may not be my WRITTEN job, but after this long, I feel my job is to help the organization operate as best it can.
4. “I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.”
Have you found that you have more tolerance for unusual people as you get older?
Probably, though my tolerance is probably higher than most. The State Museum was doing its annual display of the AIDS quilt, and a few years ago, some transgendered person was having a difficult emotional time. I could just tell that the other workers on the floor, who were geographically closer to him – I was also volunteering – were uncomfortable, but this person and I had a nice chat, which seemed to be helpful. I say this not because I think I’m wonderful – I’m not – but because SOMEONE needed help, and SOMEONE needed to help. This reminds me, the AIDS quilt will be on display today through Wednesday at the Egg.
5. “I don’t take me seriously. If we get some giggles, I don’t mind.”
How seriously do you take yourself?
I used to take myself far more seriously than I do now. It’s like that line from Dylan’s My Back Pages: “I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.” When I was a kid, I didn’t understand that line. At all. I thought it was a poetic affectation. Now I GET it.
6. “I think people who create and write, it actually does flow-just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down. It’s simple.”
Does your blog writing just flow from your head, or is it a lot of effort?
It depends. Arthur, that American transplant in Kiwiland, once wrote about the blog writing itself. Or maybe I wrote it, and he commented. Regardless, sometimes the thing writes itself, and sometimes, it wants to be ornery. If it gets TOO cranky, though, I’ll abandon the post. And as I know I said before, often, it will take me in a direction that I had not anticipated, which is usually a joy, but occasionally a little scary.
7. “Think globally, act locally.”
Do you do anything to help your local community?
I’m on the board of the Friends of the Albany Public Library. I joined the PTA. My church is one of the FOCUS churches involved with a food pantry, among other activities. I used to be much more involved with FOCUS, doing its online community page on the local newspaper’s website. There have been other activities I’ve done over the years, but I’m quite fond of one-off activities.
8. “When you first get money, you buy all these things so no one thinks you’re mean, and you spread it around. You get a chauffeur and you find yourself thrown around the back of this car and you think, I was happier when I had my own little car! I could drive myself!”
Have you ever had a period where you felt that you were set financially?
No, although I’m probably closer to that now than at any time in my life. I mean, if we were SET, the bathroom and kitchen would have been remodeled years ago. But I have no debt other than mortgage debt, and that wasn’t true in the past. My credit score is very good. I blame my wife, who now makes more than I do.
9. “Lyricists play with words.”
Do you think what you write on your blog is clever or just ordinary and why?
Depends. It’s like jazz; it is where the muse takes me. Sometimes, I’ll giggle aloud over a turn of a phrase I’ve just written and wait for the adulation of my adoring fans, which never comes. And sometimes, I’ll plod out something, only to find out that it was more affecting that I could have possibly imagined.
10. “Where I come from, you don’t really talk about how much you’re earning. Those things are private. My dad never told my mum how much he was earning. I’m certainly not going to tell the world. I’m doing well.”
Who in your circle knows how much money your family makes?
A timely question, actually. There is an entity called See Through NY that has posted the salaries of several New York government entities – state employees, e.g., some, but not all of the people in my office, are considered. So I know the salaries of my bosses. And my wife’s salary, as a teacher, is out there too. Currently, my salary, as a quasi-governmental Research Foundation employee, is NOT there. However, the Hearst newspapers, owners of the Times Union newspaper in Albany, sued under the Freedom of Information law to force the RF to reveal this info, and, I believe, won, though the RF is appealing this. Frankly, I don’t care one way or the other; if it’s revealed, people will just know how LITTLE I make. 😉