There’s this website Curious as a Cat, and it asks one to three questions each week. Here are some from 2006 and 2007 I deigned to answer.
1. What is the one experience in your life that has caused the most pain?
Physical pain. Tie between a broken rib and oral surgery. Emotional, surely an affair of the heart.
2. If you had to pick one thing, what would you say is the single thing that can destroy a soul?
Telling so many lies that you start thinking it’s the truth.
3. What one thing always speaks deeply to you, to your spirit, no matter your mood or what else is going on in your life?
Music, always. I hear it all the time. Sometimes it’s something I’ve heard recently, but more often it’s a tune suitable for the moment.
4. What is the least appropriate thing to pray for?
Actually, the harm of someone else. But I get most irritated when sports figures seem to think that God was on THEIR side after a victory; I was reading a Guideposts magazine article recently, which said, and I agree, “God doesn’t care.”
5. If you could remove one of the current Supreme Court justices based on their moral positions, whom would you choose?
Tough. Clarence Thomas is SO awful, and ought to be impeached for ethical violations. But Antonin Scalia (pictured) tends to steer Thomas’ voting compass, so I guess I’ll say him; he ought to be checked out, too.
6. Name one event that changed your relationship with your family the most.
I think it was the rapprochement of my two sisters in the past few years, who used to argue a lot. They would (especially one of them) call me up and vent about the other. Now that that’s no longer the case, I get fewer calls.
7. If you were to make a collage to describe yourself to others, what sorts of pictures or symbols would you include?
Clearly, it would have a picture of red sneakers; I used to have a Christmas ornament of red sneakers, but it broke. A racquetball racquet, the picture of me as a duck, the cover of the Beatles Revolver album, the cover of a Howard the Duck comic book, a caricature of me singing several years ago, the front cover of the World Almanac, a picture of my two sisters and me when I was a kid, a picture of my parents, a picture of my wife & daughter & me.
8. Which year was the best of your life? How old were you? Would you want to live it again?
1978, when I moved to Schenectady, got a job I liked, had my first steady girlfriend in over two years. I was 25. Absolutely not.
9. What is your favorite way to travel?
By train. I like the light rail in San Diego a lot as well.
10. What spiritual concept, from any religion, is the hardest for you to understand? Is it something you have studied, or something you have only observed from the ‘outside’?
I think Christianity has a lot of difficult concepts: the virgin birth, the resurrection of the dead. But nothing seems to mystify as much as the notion of the Trinity, God in three persons. I’ve studied it a lot, but couldn’t explain it adequately if I tried. St. Patrick used to say it’s like the three-leaf clover, three flowers in one, but that falls short for me.
11. What is your earliest memory? Why do you think you have remembered that particular event or thing?
Trip to the now-closed Catskill Game Farm when I was three, which I remember because there were pictures. So it may be the pictures I recall, not the trip.
12. What position in any team sport is the hardest to play? Why? Have you played that position?
Catcher in baseball, and yes, I played it in a pickup league.
13. Imagine you could redesign your hands. Whose hands would you remodel yours to resemble?
Or would you keep the hands you’ve got?
I like my hands. I like the length of my fingers, the shape of my fingernails. I do which they didn’t have the vitiligo on the back.
14. What bothers you most in other people, generally?
Impatience. People four cars back beeping because the line isn’t moving, and it isn’t moving because some considerate driver’s actually letting an older pedestrian cross. Or the surge of shoppers at the front door on Black Friday openings, which is why I avoid that day like the Plague.
15. What one thing have you done that pleased your parents the most?
Graduating from college. Took five years. My one sister and I actually graduated on successive weekends, she from SUNY Binghamton and me from SUNY New Paltz, and my parents, who were by then living in Charlotte, NC, came up to both.
16. You have to choose one rich person to be forced to give all their money away to a cause or charity. Whom would you choose, and to which cause or charity will the money go?
Donald Trump, because he’s a twit. Planned Parenthood, because it’s constantly under attack.
17. Is there an emotion that you think has gotten stronger as you’ve aged? If so, why do you think that has happened?
I’m more of a sentimental sap, where songs or TV movies might make me a bit misty-eyed. I think it’s a function of the experiences, and the fragility, of life.
18. What kind of cowardice do you most despise?
Lack of conviction. I may hate Rick Santorum’s politics, but I believe he believes what he says (and that’s scary.) Whereas I think Mitt Romney will say just about anything to appeal to whomever he is speaking at the moment.
19. If the U.S. had to give up one state, which one would you pick? Why?
Texas. It was briefly its own country and still acts like it.
20. When were you most moved by a ceremony?
I’m often moved by ceremony – communion, weddings, a US naturalization. The funeral of a 20-month old, though…