It certainly has been some time since the last Lizardman Q & A column or any Lizardman column for that matter. The hiatus was not planned but sometimes things just get away from you — basically, shit happens. The good news, and I hope you agree that its good news, is that I am looking to get back on a regular schedule of writing for BME. In order to work out some of the unavoidable ‘rust’ and get some momentum going I asked for submissions for a new Q & A. As always, IAM members provided me with a wealth of amusing and insightful questions…
This one seems particularly a propos to start us off:
Do you ever get tired of answering questions?
It all depends on the question and the context. There is a sense in which I was I was tired of every question before it was ever even asked but, thankfully, it is often a genuinely fun and interesting experience to field questions. I wouldn’t have started this Q & A thing if I didn’t enjoy it enough to want to do it. If I do get tired of it, I will simply stop answering.
If you had to let Orbax fuck you in the ass, in order to “steal” part of his act, would you? And if so, which part would you “steal”?
This is one of those questions I tired of before it was ever asked but since I can spin this into a cheap plug for my upcoming Canadian Tour with Orbax (Sept 11-28), I guess I will dignify it with a response. Orbax doesn’t have anything going that I would need to “steal” and even if he did I doubt it would be worth getting fucked in the ass — at least for me, since I’m not into getting fucked in the ass. I do enjoy using the phrase “fucked in the ass” though and so I am thinking of ways to extend this response making further gratuitous use of it… FUCKED IN THE ASS!!!
Toilet Paper: Over the top or around the back?
Excellent question! An inquiry that strikes at the very core of one’s being. However, my toilet paper dispenser at home holds the roll in a vertical fashion thus avoiding the dilemma altogether. I don’t want to seem to be dodging the question though, so let me just say that in a perfect world those who prefer around the back would be wiped from the face of the earth as is deserving of such a scourge upon decent people.
Where did I leave my keys? haha, just kidding. What is the best positive reaction you’ve had from someone regarding your appearance?
Kid all you want, I’m answering — your keys are in the last place you left them. Ha.
I think the best reactions are the very simple ones. I love it when someone is stopped by what they see and can only manage a ‘wow’ or ‘oh my god’ and obviously mean it appreciatively. I see this as praise on very basic and instinctual level. Often they will end up talking to me more afterward and articulate a number of positive things but it is that initial honest hit that really speaks to me.
What’s you favorite thing to bite?
I’ve never given it much thought. I have bitten quite a few things including a number of people. As much fun as living things can be to bite, if I have to pick a favorite, I know this is boring (but tasty) — pizza.
How can you make this article about me?
Hmmm… I guess I could try by answering Miss Spook’s question.
Do you think my babies would be cute if I made them with Shawn Porter? Why or why not?
I would think that your babies would not be cute but making them with Shawn is irrelevant because I don’t find babies to be cute. Certainly I could rate them on a relative scale as more or less cute than another given baby but objectively I don’t use cute to describe babies. To me babies are odd and often interesting looking little creatures but I would only ever call them cute as contrived social gesture.
What do you think of “serious” theatre?
I have a great deal of respect for serious or traditional theatre and it is only through my experience with and study of it that I have been able to be as successful as I have been. It is some of social culture and institution that has developed around the theatre, much like with the world of fine art, that I have come to abhor and often reject. As the saying goes, you have to know the rules to know how to break them. One of the biggest problems, in my opinion, with a lot of performers in genres like sideshow and suspension performances is that they make basic mistakes that an intro / survey course or just a little personal research in theatre would prevent.
I would certainly have more points of agreement with Hitchens than with Falwell — despite being on the opposite side of the fence from him on more than a couple issues. So that may bias me in his favor but I think the real reason to pick him in this fight would be his drinking. A man with the sort of drinking experience he has professed would likely have some good bar fighting experience, so I am giving him the edge. Besides, I find people who bluster in Falwell’s fashion tend to be cowards if challenged physically. For all his fire and brimstone hate speeches against homosexuals I think Falwell would have offered to suck a dick to avoid a beating and maybe even been thankful for the excuse to do it.
Is the size of earth relative to the size of Reverend Phelps ego?
I assume you mean this asshat since I am not aware another Reverend Phelps. No, the size of the Earth is not relative to the size of his ego, the size of the earth is a relative constant of small stature in the universe whereas his ego would seem to be a never ending, constantly expanding miasma dwarfing not only my own ego but also providing us with perhaps an even better practical example of infinity than the reaches of space.
Why don’t people get addicted to nicotine from passive smoking?
I have no idea and my brief ‘googling’ of the subject wasn’t much help either. Maybe it is a dosage level issue? On a somewhat related note: I don’t smoke and smoking bans are rapidly making it so I don’t have to worry much about dealing with other people’s smoke anymore. Smokers who complain about the bans amuse me because if someone came into a restaurant and sat at the table next to them stinking of shit, they would complain rather than defend that person’s right to stink — just as non-smokers complained about smokers. Health issues aside, smoking is often an offensive invasion of other people’s personal space and the case can be made for limiting it under the law for that alone — as we do with noise, for instance.
How do you feel about the way you look now, in comparison to the way you felt ten years ago?
I feel about the same. I am happy with how I look but I also have plans for how I will look in time from now. Of course, much of the work I had planned ten years ago has come to be now and I quite glad for that. In this particular respect though, I think happy is happy. I wasn’t unhappy ten years ago I simply had unrealized ambitions.
What is your grand plan in life, as far as retirement and taking care of yourself during those years?
I’ve never really had a grand plan for life other than just trying to enjoy living it. As for retirement, it isn’t something I think about a lot but I have made what I hope are some reasonably intelligent financial moves to assure that I can survive comfortably in the event that I experience a severe reduction in the amount of work I get or even have to stop completely. One of the many benefits of being an entertainer is that there is effectively no age limit to my career. I know of at least one sword-swallower who worked into his eighties. The whole trick, as it were, is not to kill yourself and then you can just keep on doing it.
What are your favorite books and films on freaks?
To be fair, I will leave my own as yet unpublished works out of the running. But thanks for reminding me about my horrid procrastination and delays. Really, you’re a good friend.
In terms of books, the bar has been set, and set fairly high in my opinion, by Robert Bogdan’s work: Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit. I also really enjoyed both Mannix’s Memoirs of a Sword Swallower and Howard Bone’s Side Show but the latter two should be viewed suspiciously in terms of the level of factual content. They are the sort of works that get people hurt when they treat them like textbooks.
I don’t really have a movie recommendation but Tod Browning’s Freaks is, of course, a cult classic and while not a personal favorite for me in terms of cinema it does feature a number of classic sideshow personalities.
What is the best part about living in Austin, TX?
I could compare it to other places I lived, in which case I would say the weather, cost of living, and local entertainment are far superior but I’m not sure any of those are the best thing. What really matters to me about where I live is that I feel comfortable when I get to be home and I really do feel comfortable in Austin. A city that prides itself on maintaining weirdness is good fit for me.
I know how it feels to come home from being on tour, but seeing as you have been doing it a lot longer than I did, do you still get that feeling? Or have you just adapted to your surroundings? And what’s the best thing to come home to, outside of your wife?
From my own experience and having gotten to work with people that effectively tour their entire lives I would say that you never adapt to the point of losing that feeling. Lots of people adapt to the point where they actually do better on the road but everyone still seems to have that home feeling and need to get at least a little bit of it now and then. I absolutely love and thrive being on the road but I also have a home life and just as I get itchy to travel again when I am home, I get itchy to be home sometimes on the road. The best thing about home beyond getting to see Meghan and the ferrets are the basics that most people take for granted but that you don’t have on a tour bus or when jumping from one city to another — full size beds and bathrooms, making your own meals in a real kitchen, stretching out on a couch and watching TV alone instead of jammed in a bus lounge with four other guys, having access to all your stuff and being to have it all out at once.
What type of reactions have you received from people of non-Western cultures (for example, when traveling or from recent immigrant communities, such as ethnic Hindus, Nigerian farmers, Buddhist monks, Chinese students, devout Islamic folks)? What type of perception do you think would most knock your socks off if you were able to read — or invade — their minds? For example, worship due to descent of ancient deity, alien invasion, instant fatwa of death to such an infidel, immediate sexualization, animation come to life due to bizarre drug flashback, Samadhi enlightenment state due to realization that everything is possible…
I haven’t really had enough contact with people that weren’t already ‘westernized’ to a fairly significant extent. In my travels it just seems more and more of the world I have gotten to see has at least had enough contact with western culture to have a frame of reference for me. One encounter that does stand out in my mind happened on a cruise ship elevator when I got on with a porter who seemed visibly disturbed by my appearance. I’m not sure where he was from but when one of my friends said “Pretty weird, huh” in a friendly manner his reply was “I’m afraid I dream of that tonight and I die.”
Of the reactions you listed worship makes me uncomfortable regardless of the motivation. I like to be appreciated and respected, even glorified to an extent but worship is something I just don’t abide. Alien invasion is one I have dealt with thank to the David Icke crowd and I find they are best to simply move along away from rapidly. I haven’t quite seen the level of fatwa and attack but I have been condemned by various flavors of religious zealots. Sexualization — many people do have mod fetishes and I get my share of propositions. Animation come to life would be a new take but causing people to suddenly recall something from a drug episode is not that uncommon. I have, intentionally and accidentally, toyed with people under the influence of various chemicals on several occasions. Enlightenment would be overstating the case but I one of the things I set out to do is to shake up people’s ideas and perhaps help break them out of their mental cycles. What would really knock my socks off, as you say, would be someone very simply accepting me right off without even being curious.