Monday, April 02, 2007

Pax on Proust

If you've ever thumbed through the pages of Vanity Fair, you might have seen the final page that always features some personality given the "Proust Questionnaire". Often I've wondered what my answers might be...finally, I figured I'd administer this questionnaire to myself.

Here goes:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Personal satisfaction, financial security, friends and family within arm's reach (but not too close), and good health.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Benjamin Franklin; not that I am anywhere as intelligent or creative as he was, but I understand that need to know about everything that one comes in contact with, to question everything and to offer advice to others (even if it is not requested).

What living figure to you most admire?
Former President, Jimmy Carter. In my humble opinion, he was the last decent president this country ever had (and by "decent" I mean in character). I so admire how he's spent his post-presidential period doing for others, putting his money where his mouth is instead of seeking glory. What a class act.

Which is the trait that you most deplore in yourself?
My laziness. Hands down, I always put off till tomorrow what should have been done yesterday.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Smugness and cruelty.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Five dollar coffee drinks at Starbucks.

What is your favorite journey?
The type that happens accidentally. I am walking somewhere or driving somewhere and take a wrong turn and come face to face with something I've never seen before. It might be a building, or a statue, or a piece of land ... then I kind of feel like I've discovered something new through happenstance. That always makes my day.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Abstinence. Why deny yourself something that gives you pleasure? Provided you are not harming anyone else (including yourself), I say dive in! Life is too damn short not to enjoy.

On what occasion do you lie?
If it's of no grave consequence, I always lie to spare other's feelings.

Which living person do you most despise?
It seems to me that we are awash in despicable people these days. I can't waste my energy pouring hate and outrage out over every damn fool I find despicable. I try to ignore them, or at least educate others to why these people are dangerous.

What is your greatest regret?
That I did not stay in L.A. or Boulder, Co when I had the chance.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I am one of those lucky people, I've had three great loves. The first one had no idea that I was in love with him. The second one was my partner for six years, and the third one lives with me now.

When and where were you the most happiest?
Two summers ago in the lobby of Fox Chase hospital when we discovered that my father did not have cancer.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing, or play the guitar.

What is your current state of mind?
Right now, surprisingly calm.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I did not suffer from male pattern baldness.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Considering that I was almost killed twenty-some- years ago in a car accident; the fact that I am still here.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Probably a dog, what a life!

If you could chose to come back as, what would it be?
A superficial, handsome, Californian beach boy. I can't imagine the power that comes from being one of the beautiful people ... Yup, next time around, I want that!

What is your most treasured possession?
I have this old bureau in my hallway, my mother bought it a week before I was born and it's been with me all of my life. It's nothing special, but I plan on keeping it for the rest of my life.

Where would you like to live?
Southern California or Boulder Colorado.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I have been told that I am a good listener; someone once said that I should have become a therapist.

What do you most value in your friends?
Humor, compassion, and the ability to put up with me.

Who are your favorite writers?
Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Armistead Maupin, Garrison Kellior, and Ms. Toni Morrison.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
OK, this is going to sound really trite, but the character of Tony Soprano on the television program, The Sopranos. I identify so much with the side of him that is conflicted -- his Italian upbringing, his issues with his mother, his panic attacks, his self destructive behavior, his anger, his need for normality, as well as a need to control all at the same time. I also relate to how he ponders what life would have been like had he chose another path... Now, don't get me wrong, I have no plans of joining the Mafia, nor do I have any desire to "whack" anybody. But purely from a psychological point of view, I do identify.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My father and my late god-father. Both of these men came from blue collar lives, and defied all odds in getting their slice of the pie. Nothing was handed to either of them.

What is it that you most dislike?
The current political climate, built on lies and greed. This current administration has created one of the most horrid times in American history.

How would you like to die?
With no warning, in the blink of an eye.

What is your motto?
"I would never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member."

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