Ask me 20 dollars

Abandoning my standard format of whatever it is that I normally post, I decided to traverse the machinery of interview cultures. This is the point in the post where I usually hint at some moral statement. Okay,

[*A sincere "thank you" is due to the people that run Viva El Birdos for allowing me to leave up blogs that only vaguely reference the St. Louis Cardinals. Thank you all very much.]
let’s march onward toward the incredible igneous intrusion on the horizon.
To get the best story, sometimes you have to be the intrusion on the horizon and then also hire someone to interview the intrusion. That’s where @FWBluesFan comes in.
We met on Sunday in a large drain culvert under Interstate 44. Paid in nothing but a four-pack of Urban Chestnut, Mr. Blues Man rifled questions at me, many of which had nothing to do with one another. It was good and also fun. I recommend the culvert, 9.5/10.
If you’d like to read the interview's twenty questions and responses, keep reading. Otherwise, just go back to the other browser tab you have opened.

Crying_birds: Thanks for meeting me here. I’m nervous to do this type of interview in public and I love the when I get to comb drain lines for goodies, so this is an ideal meeting place.

FWBluesFan: How concerned are you that people you know in real life might discover your internet persona?

Crying_birds: My paranoia is the worst part. Much worse than any potential for Person-Persona Crossover. But I find most people online (with whom I interact) police themselves. You don’t give me much to worry about.

FWBluesFan: Do you think Joe Flacco is an elite QB?

Crying_birds: I’m not sure if he’s an elite quarterback, but I’ve heard from others that he’s a elite quarterback. Those people seem reliable and nice, so I side with them.

FWBluesFan: Does Nyjer Morgan seem nice?

Crying_birds: It’s so hard to know. I wonder if he regrets having such a loud schtick going during the 2011 season. If you talk a bunch of horsemess and call Albert Pujols a woman (haha! Calling him out for being 49.6% of the population! Classic.), you can expect to get knocked down a few notches by life.

I think that’s why life kind of happened to that guy. Last I knew, he was playing baseball in Japan, then his twitter account morphed in design to look like it was being run by a Japanese PR firm. He seemed nicer with that than ever before.

That’s just my opinion. He’s probably a down-to-earth dude and I’m the jerk talking garbage about him in a culvert pipe under the worst interstate in the state with the worst roads in the Midwest.

FWBluesFan: If you could bring one person back from the dead and drink a Big Flats with them, who would you choose and why?

C_b: So many people come to mind on this question. I could write an entire book. Can I short-list you here? Is that okay?

FWBluesFan: Yeah, that’s fine.

C_b: Richard Prior, Jimi Hendrix, Nikita Khrushchev or Joe Strauss.

Ultimately, for the sake of this interview, I’d probably pick Strauss over the rest. You can learn a lot about a dude by having a Big Flats with them. I firmly believed before his death that he had zero redeeming qualities. I was probably wrong and I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to be proved wrong.

FWBluesFan: Do you think Jake Arrieta is on any performance enhancing drugs?

C_b: He is on steroids. Big time. That dude looks like a bearded nightclub security guard that works at a health supplement store in the mall during the day. My source within the Cubs organization has confirmed his PED use.

He has shared with me pictures of Jake injecting needles in the locker roomcave at Wrigley Field. I’m not sure I want to live on a planet in which everyone is oblivious to the fact that he’s been juicing.

FWBluesFan: Mars seems nice. Would you live on Mars if given the opportunity?

C_b: Yeah, Mars seems nice if you ignore the harsh, lifeless realities of its landscape. Not unlike Earth, now that I think about it. I’d live on it if I were still alone in life, but the truth is that I’ve procreated one or several times, making one or more half-Bird, half-human-people.

It would feel irresponsible to leave them here on Earth to bake with the rest of @-everyone while I roll out to see what’s good on Planet Red. So I’ll stay here if and when I’m given the opportunity.

FWBluesFan: Who would you let punch you in the face?

C_b: I’ve received a high number of head injuries in my life and I feel like there aren’t a lot of circumstances that would make me willing to suffer a punch to the face. Unless the Make A Wish Foundation calls me tomorrow and says, "Hey, a cancer kid wants to punch you in the face", I can’t think of many people I’d allow to do that. I mean, I’ve deserved it many times, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to willingly let it happen.

FWBluesFan: Do you think Taylor Swift is the greatest artist of all time?

C_b: You’re going to think I’m lying here, but I think I can identify one Taylor Swift song by hearing it. My lack of knowledge probably disqualifies me from the right to proclaim her as good or bad, let alone the "greatest artist of all time".

FWBluesFan: Why do you think sports exist?

C_b: Humans were hanging out back in the ancient day. It was nice outside and everyone was happy, so some guy showed up with a sphere made out of cured animal flesh and stuffed with inedible plant matter and he said, "Hey let’s see who’s the best at making this sphere go into a large target net".

A group of guys got together and split into small groups and they paid in their local currency to join the Fleshsphere Netball League. Women tried to join and some jerk yelled, "This isn’t a co-ed league, you’re looking for the next town over! They allow women to play over there!". But there was no other town. This was the only league.

None of it mattered, though. After two seasons, the FNL rules started to change and it made the product more consumable for the casual fans, but it ruined it for the purists who believed murder on the field was bad.

Eventually Fleshsphere was so far removed from its original intended style that everyone cared a little bit, but no one cared passionately enough to follow every game. The only people who still liked the sport were the people gambling their rotten rodent carcasses on it, and they all died poor and diseased.

To answer your question: Sports exist to make us all unhappy. And it’s been that way since day one.

FWBluesFan: Would you rather give up music or the internet?

C_b: Most of the music I’ve genuinely given a chance has been suggested to me by people I know in real life. I’ve been weeks without internet and barely remembered what I was missing. I’ve never been without music for day without noticing.

FWBluesFan: What is your opinion of the letter H?

C_b: You mean capital Hs, right?

FWBluesFan: Yes, obviously.

C_b: I think they’re great. When you drop off the bottom right leg, and then place them in front of the mirror, the mirror image looks like the number four. Molina. Arm cannon. Hall of Fame. What’s not to like?

FWBluesFan: Do you think pears have any meaning in this world or are they just kind of there?

C_b: Pears are actually weird shaped, better-tasting apples that come with more desirable colour options. If I were you, I’d be asking myself why apples get so much respect. "Red Delicious"? What kind of dogbone marketing is that?

Oh, here’s an apple breed I need to pitch to the big apple companies: "Platinum Joycrisp". Eat it up, everybody, but not the seeds, because they will give you impacted bowels. Sorry, that’s the cost of good marketing.

FWBluesFan: If someone gave you $5 and forced you to use it to start a savings account for a pet turtle, would you accept it?

C_b: Am I the pet turtle’s Estate Executor? I don’t do anything without a little financial incentive.

FWBluesFan: Do you know why people can never have neutral opinions on Imos? They either love it or hate it, and I want to know why all people are like that?

C_b: Part of the issue is advertising. We are part of a broad generation of people that are advertisement-intolerant. There are a few stages of coping with advertising….

Step 1: We recognize an ad and develop an opinion about it, usually an opinion independent of how we would feel about the actual product.

Step 2: We burn out on the ad being played all the time (local cable’s short ad rotation does not help with this) and it becomes a mild annoyance.

Step 3: We are completely annoyed by the repetition of the ads within the rotation. We hate everything and everyone.

Step 4: The advertisements for a company are part of the background noise and we can easily filter them out without realizing they are happening. We regain our fondness for things we already liked.

If you’re a local person, you’ve seen Imo’s ads your whole life and can appreciate them for their Cute Local Factor. If you’re from out-of-town you get stuck in Step 3 for a long time regarding Imo’s ads.

Throw on top of this the fact that, objectively, Imo’s Pizzas in the ads look like they took a white garbage bag full of household trash and steam-rolled it, then microwaved it. To an outsider, they are not attractive pizzas, not even in the ads. People usually think of red tomato sauce and white cheese when they think of commercially-available pizza. Imo’s pizza has a brown color to it that messes with the brainspace.

Finally, there is almost no consistency between Imo’s stores. They can all claim to make the pizzas the same way, but the difference in sauce seasoning between locations is astounding. And when the seasoning mix is just a little bit off, it clashes with the provel cheese.

If your first experience with Imo’s pizza was a sauce-cheese battle royale of puke flavors, you’re probably not going to want to order again. And if you do, you’ve already got that negative perception going.

FWBluesFan: Why are players allowed to fight in hokcey?

C_b: People hate getting hurt and love seeing blood. And if you get hurt enough, it becomes part of your culture and you believe that getting hurt is cool.

Fighting in hokcey allows us to more quickly develop narratives through which to judge teams. "Their bruiser is a jerk that makes reckless decisions, but our bruiser beats people up to get the team fired up. He’s a team guy." Okay, sure, but they’re both skating around concussed and bloodthirsty. This is going to end well.

FWBluesFan: Have you ever thought about how colors were just arbitrarily assigned with words? Like the color blue just one day got called "blue".

C_b: More than that, I’ve thought about how our big, beautiful sky is the color blue, yet we use the word "blue" to describe things that are sad.


FWBluesFan: You seem like a very reserved and calm guy on twitter. Do you ever get #madinreallife?

C_b: Absolutely. This is a completely true story:

Some time ago, I was going through some personal issues. The specifics aren’t important, but times were genuinely tough and I was not handling it the best. I was spending extra time reading stats and tweeting to decompress a little bit. It served as an innocuous escape and a healthy place to reassert a positive attitude.

Lo and behold, I got onto baseball-reference and came across the entry for Aaron Hill, now of the Milwaukee Brewers, but formerly of the Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks. As I’m reading about him aimlessly, I come across the story about the time he hit for The Cycle twice in a season. "What a feat," I think to myself.

So I keep reading. And then I look at his career achievements and batting average. And then I realize he hit for The Cycle, not just twice in one season, but twice in an eleven day period. It was in that moment that I realized that hard work helps, but it doesn’t matter as much as we think it does: Life is truly an arbitrary assortment of happenings in which there are only hints of justice.

I’m not kidding when I say this hurled me into extreme grief. I was a sled of existential crisis going down a large hill with a barely-frozen pond at the bottom. I experienced all the stages of grief, including anger.

Luckily, I bailed out of the sled before I got to the pond. The Crying Pod Longcast & Shortcast were my off-season effort to make life a little more enjoyable and get out of that existential crisis. It worked, and not just because I got positive feedback from the seven people that were listening. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I did while writing and editing that.

To summarize, I do get #madinreallife, but I avoid allowing it to consume me for long periods of time by having a short memory, going out there and playing a hard nine and taking it one day at a time….all while not trying to do too much, because I’m happy to be here helping out the team.

FWBluesFan: I need a recommendation for a stock to buy. What is your hot stock pick?

C_b: Quest Diagnostics just developed a Zika test. I think it’s about to be approved for emergency use by the FDA. That’s going to be a big story this summer as mosquito populations in the United States get bigger. I’m not an understander of stokcey, but that seems like it will spell growth and publicity for Quest Diagnostics. Run with it,Mr. Blues Man!

FWBluesFan: What is your opinion of bridges?

C_b: Bridges are an important form of infrastructure and infrastructure is vital in any non-stagnant region. We need bridges for many things, including going over bodies of water. I do not like driving into water unless I really need to for travel, so bridges are good, in my opinion. I support bridges because they support me.

FWBluesFan: Did you have fun?

C_b: This was a great time. I do not regret participating in this. Do you?

FWBluesFan: [leaves to find his vehicle]