Elsewhere on this site is the OAQ File, a compendium of what I dubbed "Occasionally-Asked Questions," which may or may not actually have been asked, occasionally or otherwise, but which might be considered reasonable in light of the general nature of the site and of its proprietor. Like the FAQs of yore, the OAQ is intended to anticipate your question, and to save you the trouble of asking it in the first place.

Pre-emptive strikes of this sort, however, have distinct limitations, since there's no way to predict what someone will want to know. There is, likewise, no way to predict what someone will not want to know. Not that this will stop me from presenting herewith the official NAQ: Never-Asked Questions. (And if one of these has actually occurred to you, kindly keep it to yourself.)

How is it that every time you rag on poor people, you turn into exactly the sort of snotty elitist you rail about elsewhere?

You're reading it sideways. My own recovery from the brink wasn't made possible because I'm such a wonderful person; were I all that wonderful, I never would have gotten that close to the brink in the first place. The thing is, I'm not all that damned special, but, with a little help and a little more pluck than I thought I had, I did manage to reverse the spiral and come out slightly higher than when I started; I assume that most people in similar situations are at least as capable as I, if not more so. There is no shame in being poor; what's shameful is being poor and thinking that nothing can be done about it.

You used to bitch a lot more about work. Is there any particular reason why you stopped? Fear of being dooced, perhaps? Or have things actually improved?

I think it's mostly a function of getting older and feeling less compulsion to give a damn. And I have remarkably few readers among the staff, which makes it unlikely that someone's going to read anything I might scrawl about corporate perfidy and send a link to El Jefe. My immediate supervisor reads it, but then he agrees with me except in those instances when he's paid not to.

How high will gas have to go before you start making serious changes in your lifestyle?

At least twelve dollars a gallon. With the exception of July, which is the annual World Tour, I drive maybe 600 miles a month, which in my present vehicle requires the consumption of about 25 gallons of gas. At three bucks per, this is a mere $75; jack it up to $300 and suddenly you're talking real money. I must point out, though, that if diesel prices rise accordingly — and they almost certainly would — you can expect the purveyors of public transit to raise fares to compensate.

Why do you even bother remaining a Democrat when your sympathies are obviously with the GOP?

The same party as Ernest freaking Istook? Oh, please. Besides, somebody has to stay around and keep one foot in the real world, and, well, Zell Miller is getting on in years, so it might as well be yours truly. And it's not that my sympathies are with the Republicans, particularly: it's that the GOP's delusions are generally merely annoying, while the present-day Democratic insistence that the government regulate seemingly everything that doesn't actually involve sex or the products thereof borders on self-destructive. I've been self-destructive, and let me tell you, it sucks. Greatly.

How do you ever expect to find anyone if you never get over the one you call She Who Is Not To Be Named?

Short answer: I don't. Less-short answer: They say that the only cure for a woman is, well, another woman. Actually, it all depends on what the definition of "get over" is. I don't expend any substantial amount of emotional energy bewailing the situation; it simply exists. But in addition to whatever other notions I may have, I think of her as a benchmark: any subsequent prospect, assuming one exists, is going to have to be both more accessible and comparably desirable, and on the latter criterion, the bar has been set pretty darn high. Nobody, of course, is perfect. Still, there are essentially two options: take what you can get, or wait for what you want. I tried the first, and it failed. The door isn't closed, but not just anyone can walk through it.

If you could have any female blogger you wanted —

Don't go there. I mean it.

How much would you have to win in the lottery to quit work entirely?

A sum sufficient to clear up existing debts, including the mortgage, with enough left over to draw about $1500 a month indefinitely; I'm guessing that it could be pulled off for about $600,000 after taxes.

Would you ever consider running a corporate blog?

Depends on whether that was the only thing they wanted me to do, and whether I'd have to give up my own in the process.

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate George W. Bush.

Five and a half.

The Vent

  8 October 2005

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 Copyright © 2005 by Charles G. Hill