I know this has kind of been Personal Factoid central around here lately, but Jason was hugely unsatisfied with my “25 things” post on Facebook and demanded that I answer “things that people might actually care about knowing about”. I was immediately excited by the idea of being interviewed, to some degree, by a friend, kind of an adult version of truth or dare, where you’ve cast off the silliness of seeing each others undies. I expected deep, probing, personal questions about specific moments in my emotional and sexual development. What I got, instead, was this.
1. When did you first become aware that you were a sexual being?
I was about 13 and had invited another boy from my class home for a sleepover. I’m not sure why I did it as we weren’t very close friends, but he came anyways and we watched some movies, and then I suggested we play truth or dare. I became aware over the course of the night that I desperately wanted to see him in his underwear, and felt some unknown “desire” wash over me when he eventually took his shirt off. It was the first time I had a fully formed sexual thought about another person. I dared him to run around my back yard with his clothes off, he refused. I don’t think he ever spoke to me again after this night.
2. What’s the most important material item you own and why?
While I’m an immensely material person, as regards my goals, prime motivators, and day to day existence, I don’t really tend to focus on individual items. If the house were on fire and I had only enough time to run back in and get one thing, I guess it would be my laptop, though that’s less about the laptop individually and more about what the laptop represents: communication, entertainment, intellectual challenge, and sexual release. A significant amount of my “sexual activity” revolves around internet pornography (specifically the alt.sex.stories text repository). If I were just going back in to get the most irreplaceable item, it would be my copy of Catch 22, given to me by Jason K. Watkins. But all told, I’d much rather just make sure my dogs were safe.
3. What would be the most hurtful insult someone could hurl your way?
I don’t really freak out when people attack me with insults, the ones I’m more apt to get upset by are suggestions that I don’t care or I’m not listening. When someone begins to say that it’s obvious I’m not paying attention, or not into it, I get very hurt. I’m always listening, I’m always paying attention, I’m always wishing I had more to give.
4. What exactly would you be willing to die for right this moment?
If I could die to ensure a family member would live, I would do it. I’m not big on causes though, it would have to be something incredibly major. If I could die to create a cure for cancer? Possibly. Dying for my country? Not so much.
5. If you were crazy enough to kill the POTUS, how would you do it?
I think that if you’re a skilled enough sharpshooter to kill the president from any range that you could possibly get a rifle to undetected, you’re probably already on the radar of the secret service, so I think the best chances are a John Hinkley, Jr. “pistol and plan on getting caught” type assassination. I for one would probably go with an explosive because the chances of killing the target and then yourself with a gun are much lower.
6. What is the closest you’ve ever come to death? Did it change you?
I’ve rarely ventured anywhere close to death. The time in my life I was most concerned I was going to die was while being wheeled into the hospital with my broken leg (I was six, I think). I apparently screamed “I DON’T WANT TO DIE” while they wheeled me back to set my leg. I believe it may have been too early for me to consciously know how it’s affected me, but looking at the photographic evidence, that was the absolute last time in my childhood that I was thin and athletic. From that moment forward, I was more sedentary, fatter, and introverted.
7. If you could be known as any one thing for the rest of time, what would it be?
If everybody just knew me as a good friend, I would be happy. If I couldn’t have that, but instead only something professional, I wish people would know me as a writer. But secretly, more than any wide renown professional or personal, I wish that just one person knew me as an amazing lover.
8. What ethnic group are you most prejudice against and why?
Blacks. I try to be very nonjudgmental, but I certainly hold the highest amount of stereotypes about black people. I’m extraordinarily attracted to them, physically, but tend to generalize about them more than other ethnic groups. Hispanics I grew up around so I never really had to get past that whole “they’re people too” barrier like I did with black people.
9. What is one major crime you would like to be able to commit?
If I could get away with it, I’d like to be part of a vault-and-all bank robbery. The entire process appeals to me, from the psychological hacking element of crowd control, to the science of cracking the safe, the in-the-field battle experience of knowing when to run away, the high intensity driving of a getaway. Most other crimes have one or two of these elements, but bank robbing has the entire package.
10. Who is your best friend and your worst enemy? Why?
My best friend, the person who knows the most about me, is probably Brad. We’ve never met in person, but by grace of the amount of time we’ve been talking, he knows more about me than anyone else. The irony here is that if I died, he’d probably never find out. There’s something comforting about the semi-anonymous element of our relationship that lets me really be myself.
Edit: Just realized I never named my worst enemy. I try not to hold grudges, and I’m not gonna name names, but the guy who sided with the crazy girl, despite having been in the room with us, and corroborated her story, leading to my arrest? He’s not gonna be on my christmas list anytime soon.
11. What is the irrational thing that freaks you out — makes your skin crawl — the most?
Bacterial infection. I know I’m unlikely to get tetanus, or flesh eating bacteria, or MRSA, and most of the time I just go about my business not caring. I don’t have any OCD handwashing behaviors. But as soon as I get a cut or puncture, I tend to freak out about it. I’ll check and recheck myself and the wound for symptoms of infection, make laborious internal arguments about whether it’s better for the wound to breathe or have antibiotic goop on it, and usually have a hard time sleeping that night.
12. If you could meet any living person, who would it be and why?
I’d like to meet the Dalai Lama. It’s trite, but true. He seems like a really fun, joyous person, and I’d like to know the secret to how someone whose entire life is beset on all sides with such struggle can be so happy. Even if he’s just faking, it would be worth knowing.
13. If you could look like any person on earth, who would you choose to look like?
Matt Damon circa the first Bourne movie. Fit but not bulging, clean, simple clothing, effortlessly masculine. If I were going to look like a woman I’d want to look like Anna Paquin as Rogue, though I’d probably wear less leather skinsuits. Maybe I would, I don’t know, but as either I’d spend the first six days in front of a mirror beating it like it owed me money.
Special bonus fact:
When I was in college, I slept with (it would be disingenuous to call it dating) a Peruvian exchange student named Denise. We were talking about things one day and she asked me if I ever thought about having sex with men. I told her that I did, but that it was a little embarrassing. She looked over at me like I was a slightly slow child, and said, “No, embarrassing is knowing that if you put sweetened condensed milk on yourself, a dog will lick you.” I wish I could say that her admission of bestiality was revolting, but I found myself powerfully turned on.