November 25th, 2002

NPA

(no subject)

And now, for no greater reason than that I just bought an issue of Vanity Fair, I complete the Proust Questionnaire. (For those of you unfamiliar, the Proust Questionnaire is the last page of any issue of VF. It's the same set of questions each time, asked of some kind of celebrity or whatever. I can't tell you what the connection to Proust (presumably Marcel) is, but I'd guess there is one.)

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting in a movie theatre, in the instant before the feature starts. Most of the time, the darkness and silence are an unparalleled comforting embrace.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I am alarmingly servile at times. While it's not without its place, too often it's just weakness.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Dishonesty. You can't be any harder on me than I am on myself, so just tell me the truth about what you think.

What is your greatest extravagance?
The constant supply of reading/listening/viewing material I keep buying.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Thrift. Too often it's just an excuse for self-denial.

On what occasion do you lie?
When my mother asks how I'm feeling (or, really, when she asks me anything). I don't want to scare her.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I need 60 pounds to go away. Now.

Which living person do you most despise?
Heavens, so many to choose from. Jerry Falwell, I suppose.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Frankly". "In all honesty". "It occurs to me".

What is your greatest regret?
Most of the years 1995 and 1996.

What talent would you most like to have?
The ability to write for long periods of time without losing focus.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Surviving nearly 25 years without giving in to myself.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Something like a rabbit or gazelle. Prey, not predator.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
An African elephant.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Food poisoning.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I don't think 6'2" is all that tall, but many think differently.

Who are your favorite writers?
James Ellroy, Neil Gaiman, Andrew Vachss, Hunter S. Thompson, Oscar Wilde, Douglas Coupland.

Who are your heroes in real life?
I don't really have any. I may admire peoples' work, but "hero" implies a validation of lifestyle.

What are your favorite names?
Lilith, Warren, Veronica, Max…just to pick some at random.

What is it that you most dislike?
Ignorance and blind acceptance of authority.

How would you like to die?
Quickly, in a time and place of my own choosing.

What is your motto?
"Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth." Isaac Newton said that.

For what it's worth, the subject from the particular edition that I took the questions from is Deepak Chopra, whose response of "I am impeccable in my use of language" would seem to run counter to his stated motto of "Don't take yourself seriously".

JHR
11/25/2002 12:39 AM