In an effort to give anyone who is interested a startling insight into my personality, I present my answers to the erroneously titled Proust Questionnaire.
1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Regret, especially in the face of death.
2. Where would you like to live?
In a humble house with a good yard, a dog, a cat and a wonderful wife. Wait a minute…
3. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Clear kitchen counter and a cupboard full of clean clothes. As of late, if you throw in a bottle of Aquafina Yumberry Pomegranate Vitamin Water I will curl my toes.
4. To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Tardiness. Look, I get it–we’re all very busy, but it still pisses me off.
5. Who are your favourite heroes of fiction?
Edmond Dantes, Bix (from David Gilmour’s “How Boys See Girls”), Michael Moore
6. Who are your favourite characters in history?
William Huskisson, Dr. Howard Thurman, Dracula
7. Who are your favourite heroines in real life?
Hillary Clinton–she’s a fine stateswoman and, seriously, a saint of a wife.
8. Who are your favourite heroines of fiction?
Janie Crawford, Nola Darling, Kathleen Piper
9. Your favourite painter?
Tony Bennett. Yes, that Tony Bennett.
10. Your favourite musician?
11. The quality you most admire in a man?
The ability to not be taller than me.
12. The quality you most admire in a woman?
Hailing a cab with authority.
13. Your favourite virtue?
14. Your favourite occupation?
I hate to dust off an old chestnut but, d’uh.
15. Who would you have liked to be?
Tough one–there are those whose work I admire but whose life I wouldn’t want for all the wishes in the world. I can’t say that I am absolutely happy with the person I am, but I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.
Maybe the person who invented the water sprinkler. That shit’s dope.
16. Your most marked characteristic?
Affability. Which is about as pathetic a characteristic as I can fathom.
17. What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty blended with delicacy. I’m a bit of a shrinking violet.
18. What is your principle defect?
Sloth. I imagine that the perfect title for my biography would be “Mr. Seventy Percent”.
19. What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
A life without friends or family, second only to writing jokes for Jay Leno.
20. What would you like to be?
Thirty pounds lighter.
21. What is your favourite colour?
Pale yellow. Weird, right? I find it relaxing and stimulating.
22. What is your favourite flower?
23. What is your favourite bird?
I’m not good at bird types. You know the one that has a call that sounds like Curly from The Three Stooges? I like that one.
24. Who are your favourite prose writers?
Mordecai Richler, John Irving, Rohinton Mistry, David Gilmour
25. Who are your favourite poets?
I’m not good with poetry, so I’ll say Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Doom and Joe Pernice.
26. Who are your heroes in real life?
Entrepreneurs who, in the face of good taste and ignominy, profit from tragedies by depicting Osama bin Laden as a cartoon character getting fucked up the ass by an American Bald Eagle. Classy.
27. Who are your favourite heroines of history?
Elizabeth I, Gertrude Stein, whoever came up with the idea that women going topless in public was empowering.
28. What are your favourite names?
“Jesse” and “McLean”. I also like “Elliott”.
29. What is it you most dislike?
A toss up between thuggery and buffoonery.
30. What historical figures do you most despise?
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and, for no particular reason, Louis Riel. Look, he did good things but seemed kind of superior about the whole thing.
31. What event in military history do you most admire?
32. What natural gift would you most like to possess?
33. How would you like to die?
Long, drawn out and wracked with pain, like reading a Tom Clancy novel. Zing!
34. What is your present state of mind?
Lively and open to the events of the future. That will change by time I finish typing this sentence.
36. What is your motto?
It used to be “Viva Il Duce” but as it turns out that’s got some discomfiting connotations. I’ll do more research before I get another tattoo, I’ll tell you that.
And with a nod to the obsequious James Lipton…
37. What is your favourite word?
38. What is your least favourite word?
Pulchritude. It exhibits characteristics that are the direct opposite of what it describes.
39. What is your favourite swear word?
Goddammmit. Sacrilegious yes, but somehow it sounds more grown-up that going straight for the Big Two.
40. What would you like for dinner?
Someone else to make it. That’s my favourite.
Jesse McLean writes humour, film and television criticism and published the book Kings of Madison Avenue: The Unofficial Guide to Mad Men with ECW Press, where he has also published a guide to How I Met Your Mother. His work has appeared in PopMatters, Reader’s Digest, Yankee Pot Roast and computer screens the world over!