you're reading...

Cornelius News

Modern Dad: Proust Questionnaire

Twice a year my mom brings over an old copy of Vanity Fair for my wife, who puts it on the back of a toilet where it sits for three months until my mom brings over a newer issue. The pages are filled with stories and pictures of celebrities and society types I’ve never heard of. So I usually just flip to the back, where each month a different celebrity offers their responses to the Proust Questionnaire, which was popularized in the 1800s by French writer Marcel Proust.  Proust believed answers to the series of questions revealed a person’s true nature. A glimpse of the subject’s neuroses, fears, dreams and regrets. I have never been satisfied with the results of any personality test I’ve ever taken, so this should be interesting. Vanity Fair meets Cornelius Today. Let’s go.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I don’t know. Is solitary confinement a bad answer? I feel like that’s a bad answer. What is your greatest fear? That moment when the vomit bug has torn through your family and you’re the last person standing. You know it’s just a matter of time so you plan your next meal based on the most pleasing thing to puke all night. What is your greatest extravagance? Most days at 4:30pm I pour myself a tiny bowl of these delicious rye garlic chips. They are so yummy. Sometime later my daughter will come into my office to ask me a question and tell me my breath smells terrible. Every. Time. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can’t keep junk food in the house because I don’t possess enough self-control and will eat an entire bag of whatever it is in one day. The day after Halloween I consume enough candy to kill a water buffalo. On what occasion do you lie? When my kids ask me to take them somewhere I don’t want to go so I tell them it’s closed. “The trampoline park is closed on a Saturday?” Yes, kids, all day. What is your current state of mind? A good nap sounds great. Is that a state of mind? Which living person do you most admire? Room moms. Team moms. Coaches. Any parent who volunteers to deal with other parents. Most parents are fine but the vocal minority is a cacophony of idiots who would be best served living their lives alone in a dark room. Which living person do you most despise? You know when you’re at Target and the parent in front of you decides now is the time to teach his or her three-year old how to work the credit card machine with two $5 rebate gift cards and then they count out cash and coins for the balance? That person. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Get in the car. Get in the car. GET IN THE CAR. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Such an easy one. It’s my children, of course. Precisely three minutes after they’ve fallen asleep. When and where were you happiest? I forgot exactly when this started happening but one day my kids finally woke up on a weekend and went downstairs to watch TV without waking us up. That moment we awoke and realized the sun was up, the kids were alive, and we were alone? Glorious. Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to sing so we didn’t have to listen to my kids’ choice of music in the car. I know all the words to Roxanne. No, not that Roxanne. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My socks. I’m not entirely sure but I think I’ve been wearing them for two days. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Getting my kids to the bus stop every morning with their teeth brushed and dressed in weather-appropriate clothes. This might also be the reason I can’t recall if I’m wearing two-day old socks. Where would you most like to live? Sometimes I think of moving to the first floor, where there is zero chance I will wake up at 4am because my daughter accidentally mule kicks me in the kidney after sneaking into our bed. What is your most treasured possession? Electric skateboard. I’m trying to start a gang of middle-aged electric skateboarding dads called Paunch and Jon. Our gang vest would be sleeveless LAPD shirts from CHiPs. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The state of mind of the reader who felt the need to project his or her misery on the columnist at a community newspaper by sending him a letter saying horrible things about his kids. What is your most marked characteristic? I’m bald and have oddly large calves. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a full length mirror I realize this could provide a genetically disastrous future for my daughter. Who are your favorite writers? The Pig and a Pancake lady. Every time you read a new one you’re like, “No WAY she can bring this back around!” But she does. Every time. Doesn’t matter if it’s a pig, a mouse or a dog. I don’t know how she does it. How does she do it? Who is your hero of fiction? Hard to beat Atticus Finch – who is somehow widely regarded as the greatest fictional father of all time despite the fact that he barely spent any time with his kids. Seriously, his kids would have been vagabonds without Calpurnia. What is it that you most dislike? People who take 75 items – 35 of which are non-scannable fruit and veggies –  into the self-checkout line at Harris Teeter. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Three summers ago during a late afternoon at the pool the Mother of Dragons had just enough Rose to join me and the kids in attempting, and succeeding, to build a four-person shoulder-on-shoulder totem pole. What is your greatest regret? When I was potty training my son I told him to just pee wherever when he had to go. He’s now 11 years old and won’t stop peeing in the front yard. What is your motto? Go to your room.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.