Taller Than Hitler: My first interview
It is said that the three greatest fears people have are death, taxes, and public speaking. I have paid taxes, it sucks, but I don’t fear it. Death has alluded me, or I it. Public speaking has never bothered me. In college, I took an acting class, and did a one act play. One of my early jobs was as an instructor; no problem standing in an auditorium teaching to a crowd. So what had me pace my kitchen floor; a caged tiger in the green room waiting to get on the ‘Tonight Show’ with Johnny Carson (yes, I’m that old)?
I was going to be interviewed – on the internet.
How the hell did that happen?
Recently, under the banner of ‘Conflict and Scotch’ (I’m a brand!) my posts can be read on the 'The Good Men Project' website. Andy Grant, an editor at that website, became my editor. Turns out, Andy has a YouTube channel entitled ‘Real Men Feel’ . By the end of our initial conversation, I was booked as a guest.
On this particular March evening I prepared to talk to my computer in my living room. Make note, my living room is a mess. My house is usually a mess. It’s just me here, so the rules of domestic order are often lacks. For this interview, I needed to present an unrealistic representation of how I live. Turning the small, corner desk where I do my writing around, the only thing the viewers would see is the bottom half of an Andrew Wyeth painting (not an original) and my blank living room wall. It was more a hostage video set than an interview room; if I held a newspaper to show the date no one would have thought it strange.
At 8:45 p.m. I entered the Zoom Online Meeting Room, and we were on our way.
Andy gave me some tips on what was going to happen, how the meeting room worked, and some general topics we would cover.
After a few minutes of warm up, Andy flipped a switch and we were live to the group.
The initial topic was the good relationship I have with my ex-wife, Arlene, but then we just started to talk and went off in many directions.
Andy asked which post of mine received the most reaction from readers, and that was easily the one about my daughter’s graduation from NYU. After graduation, on a train ride back to New Jersey, there was a fire on the tracks and I described Arlene’s reaction to the situation (it was not stellar). To describe, let’s just say, in an emergency, Arlene will be the first one to the exit. That led to a couple of hundred comments, many asking how dare I talk about my ex-wife like that (Arlene never complained about how she is portrayed in my blog; in fact, I believe she enjoys the notoriety). The large number of comments prompted a friend to let me know about Goodwin’s Law. In short, the longer an online conversation goes on, the greater chance that someone will compare you to Hitler. At about comment one-hundred-seventy-six, someone did just that.
“Hitler?” Andy remarked when I told him this.
“Yes, Hitler,” I replied, “and I’m not sure why. I’m much taller than Hitler.”
I spoke about the time I came home from work and found two police officers in my house. Apparently, the wind blew open my unlocked front door and the neighbors called the police knowing I was not home.
As I mentioned before, my house is usually a mess (hence the turned hostage desk) and normally don’t really clean up unless I am dating someone.
I have not dated anyone in a while, so you can imagine.
“You live here?” the officer asked. When I said yes, he shook his head a bit, then turned away. He couldn’t even look me in the eye.
Friends told me after the interview that I shouldn’t have mentioned my living conditions, but if you can’t tell the truth to the interne, where can you?
It’s not like they’ll find me one day, smothered to death under stacks of old newspapers and magazines. Small animals to not have their mail forwarded to my address. I’m talking some dishes in the sink, laundry on the couch, you know, single-guy stuff.
Andy and I continued to talk about a variety of topics. After nearly an hour, we began to wind down the conversation. It was at this point that I finally figured out how the meeting room worked. Apparently, viewers where sending me questions the whole time, but I didn’t see the dialogue box at the lower right of the screen. Andy explained it to me in the beginning of the interview, but I missed it. Guess I was nervous.
In the video, you can see the look of befuddlement on my face as I realized what I missed.
“I feel like a chimp,” I said as I started reading the questions.
“The chimps figured it out sooner,” Andy quipped.
I’m sure they did.
Watch the interview...