Five Easy Pieces

I have been drawn into a meme going around. I requested five questions aimed specifically at me they have been delivered.

1. You and your wife are about to embark on the life-long journey of parenthood. What aspect of this unknown voyage has you waking in a cold sweat some nights wondering what the heck you're getting yourselves into?

Well, my wife is mostly concerned that I'm going to forget to pick the kid up from soccer practice. I do have a terrible memory but if that's the worst I can do to this kid, then I'm set. I really don't know what to expect. I think the only thing I truly fear is having a child I hate. I can even tolerate a child I don't get along with but to hate one's own child would really, really suck.

I mean as an infant, there's not much to hate but children are born with their own personality. As much as nurture can do, nature has its fair shake. I get a good shot at shaping the kid but once he starts to make their own decisions, the important ones, I'm out of the picture.

I can only trust my child not to make decisions that would make me chew through my old man's cardigan but he will have to live with the consequences. And while there are only some extreme decisions that would result in my hatred, I can't imagine anything worse than hating your own child. So much so that even the remote chance of hating my child makes me quake in my boots.

I'm inviting a stranger into my house; he better not be a total ass.

2. You have a Masters (of the Universe) degree in Physics, are a member in an improv troupe and are writing (have written?) a book. What do you really want to be when you grow up?

I did my physics degree because I wanted to know more about how the universe works. I did my Master's because I was unsatisfied with my Bachelor's. I felt there were still too many unanswered questions. Once the Master's classes were done, I felt it was time to jet.

As I was doing my BSc, I got into improv. I love it but I live in Montreal. It's just too difficult to make a living doing English improv here. So that's not even an option for me.

The first draft of the book is (more or less) done. I'm editing it (or at least I'm supposed to be). The plan is to get three first chapters in shape and start sending them around with the outline. If it makes as much money as I made on EI, I could possibly take another year off and write another. However, I can probably make double that with a new job and triple it pretty quick.

So, if I want a semi-secure, high-paying job, I work the 9 to 5. If I want to follow the dream, I need to sell the book. I'll leave it to the reader's imagination what I want to do when I grow up.

3. We've all been wilfully victimized by addictive activities. Which one do you most wish you could rescind and reclaim the lost time, health, money, intangibles...? If none, why not?

I have a very addictive personality. When I get fixed, boy, I go all in. I recently bought and played through Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door. I beat the game with 71+ hours logged in about two weeks. But I don't regret it.

I own a lot of Lego. More than I reasonably need. No regrets. A bunch of comics. I enjoyed reading them. A megaton of Magic cards that I spend hours (literally hours) simply sorting and indexing. I play with them every week in what has been called a "boy's quilting bee" with a bunch of my bestest friends.

I do improv at least twice a week. I blog on three sites (this, a sketch-writing-site-cum-internet-hang-out, and the improv troupe's site). I hang out on two message boards (an author's and fark.com). I've started a crazy writing website. I edit my book. I look for a job. Oh, and my wife is pregnant so I'm occupied with all that that entails. I attend to my addictions with careful time-management. Well, my best impression of time-management.

I had an operation in 2003, the only serious loss of health I've really expereinced and that seems to have disappeared which I don't think was brought about by any addictive activity. I bought a house and a car, the only major losses of money (the house isn't really a loss; a car always is) but I get great use out of both.

I'm a pretty conservative guy. Don't take a lot of chances, don't push too close to the edge. I carefully leave a margin of safety on nearly everything I do. So, no, I haven't really gotten burned in any significant way. Yet...

4. Describe in as much detail as you can recall / are willing to
share, the most vivid dream you've ever had.

Ok, I just wanted to take a moment to say I just felt the baby kick for the first time ever. Wow.

I almost never remember my dreams. The ones I can recall are few and far between. I've had my fair share of naughty thoughts. I even had a recurring dream of being in a bike race as a child.

One that stands out in recent memory, however, is the one where a good friend of mine and I are on a small plane flying over a snowy mountainscape. As we were zooming along, chatting idly, he suddenly leaned in and kissed me full on the mouth. And, at that same instant, the plane suddenly began a nosedive into the mountains below. The plane bounced and I came to (yes, I dreamed passsing out) and I was surrounded by snow, as though I had been caught in an avalanche. Being in dreamland, I don't recall being hurt but I distinctly recall the sensation of not knowing which way was up. I experienced what my imagination considers weightlessness and disorientation. It was very bizarre. I then remembered that you can drool and gravity will pull the saliva down so you can dig your way up. At that point I woke up.

I talked about it the next day with the friend in question. We had a good laugh. Then we made out.

5. Thirteen years later, you have the opportunity to spend one single
day with your dad. What do you do?

Hm. I didn't really know my dad all that well. He spoke to me when necessary and did all the fatherly things without much joy. I don't have a lot memories of him being happy; he was not the kind of person who was ready with a friendly smile.

I can recall him talking to me about a trip he had taken to Cuba. My parents had been separated for a couple years at this point and the only way I knew he had gone on the trip was when he called from Cuba to say hi.

When he got back, he sat down on a chair in the tiny computer room in my mom's old house (he was visiting; I was still living at home). And we talked. For the first and last time, my father talked to me like a person and not his son. Whether or not I hadn't really been listening to him before that moment is hard for me recollect, and I don't discount the possibility, but that conversation stands out so clearly as him treating me as an equal that I can't imagine having missed it before. I was 17 and I hungered for it.

He didn't have a great trip. It had been pretty cloudy in Cuba and he felt bad for having all the good food and money while so many people had so little. He was warned by the Cuban government not to tip anyone but, talking to the service people, he found he could leave bars of soap (and other small luxuries) as a tip. I asked him a bunch of questions about what he did and what he did like (the sunny days were really nice on the beach). It was the first time my dad actually talked to me like a person and not his son. And the last.

Less than month later, he was dead.

Today, I would fly to Europe with my dad and take him to the biggest soccer game I could find. I get my love of soccer from him. During the Montreal Olympics, the only thing he went to was a Soviet soccer game (don't recall the opponent). I'd tell him pretty much what I'd been up to since he had died. We go out to a bar and have a drink. I'd tell him about my wife and the baby. I'd ask him about what he'd done before he came to Canada. I'd just try to get to know him over a beer (I have a lot of memories of my dad with a bottle of Guinness in hand). I'd have another talk with my dad, as a friend.

If you want to get five personalised questions from me, email me.