Born 1 March 1977 in Louisville / 194 cm / 93 kg / Brown eyes / Favorite Atari game: Pitfall!
PHOTOS BY LINDSAY CAMERON
ARE YOU GOOD AT WASHING DISHES?
I’m great at washing dishes. Absolutely. I’m not good at using a dishwasher, I’ve recently learned. But I’m an enthusiastic dish washer.
DO YOU WASH YOUR DISHES OR DO YOU WASH YOUR CLOTHES MORE OFTEN?
My dishes more often than my clothes. My clothes aren’t believed by any stretch. My washer and dryer are very close to my kitchen sink also, which really doesn’t have much to do with anything, I suppose. It’s freaking me out right now, to be honest. [laughter]
WHAT HAPPENS IN MOST OF YOUR DREAMS?
[six seconds] I’m not particularly good at remembering my dreams. So I guess what I would say is a recurring anxiety dream that I have – or I assume that it’s an anxiety dream. I don’t have it all the time, but when I do have it, it’s almost exactly the same.
I am showing up to a math class.
ALWAYS A MATH CLASS?
It’s always a math class that I have missed the entire semester of, and then have to pass a final to pass the class. Kind of a concomitant of that dream recently was that I found out that I didn’t have a high school diploma, and I was trying to figure out if that invalidated my college degree.
SO DID YOU FIND OUT IF IT DID OR NOT?
I didn’t. I didn’t work that out.
ALRIGHT. WHAT IS THE FIRST IMPRESSION YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE OF YOU?
Well, I’m very tall.
WHAT DO THE WORDS AL QAEDA MEAN?
[Much laughter] I wish I knew what that meant. [laughter] really, I don’t know. I mean, you know, my guess would be something like “struggle” or something jihadist, I guess, or relevant to… jihad? [laughs] But I don’t know. I’d LOVE to know! Do you know?
I DON’T KNOW EITHER. YOU WOULD THINK SINCE I WAS GOING TO BE INTERVIEWING YOU, THAT I WOULD HAVE LOOKED THAT UP.
I’ve never really thought about it. It’s so funny, you know? It has all these connotations and it kind of takes care of itself in a certain way, but obviously it means something. There’s a literal translation of it. But I don’t know. I’m going to find that out as soon as this interview is over.
OKAY, SO BACK TO TALKING ABOUT BEING TALL, DO YOU THINK TALLER PEOPLE TAKE LONGER SHOWERS THAN SHORTER PEOPLE?
[laughter] no, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. That sort based on the assumption that you would lather up every inch of your body. And if that’s the case, if that’s how people shower, then I guess the answer would be yes. But I don’t think that people shower that way, which has kind of recently come to light to me, in terms of YOU taking showers, actually.
I do lather up every inch of my body. So in terms of me, I think I do think I take longer showers than short people. In general, I’m going to say it is pretty much about the same. It’s probably more based on how much hair you have on your head than height.
If ANY RELATION TO HOW MUCH HAIR YOU HAVE ON YOUR BODY OR JUST…?
[laughter] I don’t think it’s a hairy body question! [laughter] Or a question of how much hair one has on their body.
WHAT SHOULD SOMEONE TAKE ON A PICNIC?
Beer, for sure. [four seconds] I guess when I think of going on a picnic, I sort of conflate that with going swimming, but they’re really not the same thing. Something else that comes to mind is sun block, which really seems kind of stupid… well, not really stupid, but kind of lame… but beer, bread, cheese… I’m really a big fan of olives, so I would definitely bring olives. An avocado. Hummus is good.
IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?
Yeah. Salsa and hummus is probably pretty good, too. I guess you need something to carry all that stuff in, too, but really anything’ll do. A bag. A picnic basket seems a little bulky. A little contrived. [four seconds] Maybe some good music, too.
DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT A BIRD IN THE HAND IS BETTER THAN TWO IN THE BUSH?
I think I would rather have two birds in a bush. I mean, I’m being sort of literal about it, but I’d rather not touch a bird at all. I don’t think. [laughter] So I’d rather they be in the bush. I mean, it seems kind of nice to watch them. Once it’s in your hand, I’d kind of wonder what to do with it. I’d probably be thinking about washing my hand. Or hands. I’d probably have to hold it with both hands. Maybe against your body, too.
PROBABLY SO. YOU’D HAVE A LOT TO WASH AFTER THAT.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH BY THE TIME YOU’RE 40?
Ah ha! Well, I’ve sort of been obsessed with buying a home recently. I just went and looked at a house for $17,000, probably about an hour before we sat down to do this [interview].
I DIDN’T KNOW THAT.
I did. [laughs] It is facing [Interstate] 65, and it is really, REALLY loud, which I guess is why no one wants to live at the house. So I’ve been on that kick recently. I guess I’d like to own a home by the time I’m 40. I kind of aspire to work on that home. It seems really influenced by cable television…
[laughs] …television shows.
OKAY, WELL, LET’S THINK ABOUT SOME THINGS THAT MAYBE AREN’T CABLE TELEVISION…
Well, I work for myself. I hope that that’s still going well. It’s going okay now. I mean, I’m here now in Louisville, which was a goal of mine, to get back here. I’ve been away for a long time. I left at 18 and I’m 34 now. Now I’m back just within the past four months.
So being in a place that I felt more comfortable and a place that felt like home was a very big goal for me. It’s not really an achievement, necessarily, but that has been satisfied now.
I have wanted to work for myself and that’s been going on for a couple of years now. So I’d still like to be in a position of perpetuating that. I think that I will be. Yeah, being in a place where I’m comfortable, not hating what I do for work, having a home that’s gonna be a little nicer than a $17,000 house [laughing…] facing 65. I think that would be pretty good.
YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF…
[laughter] I do work for myself. [laughter] Imagine like two of me. Like one of me bossing the other person around.
SO THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS [WHEN SOMEBODY WORKS FOR THEMSELVES]? THERE’S TWO OF YOU AND ONE…
…bosses the other one around. But the other one is like totally quiet and says “you’re not the boss of me” a lot. [laughter] Ahh… I work as a letterpress printer. [six seconds]
TELL US MORE!
[laughs] Well… As in “what is letterpress printing?” Is that the question?
WHATEVER YOU WANT TO TELL US…
What it is, is the original print process. Another way of talking about the printing surface that you print from is that it’s a “relief print” process, which means that you are pushing paper into an inked, raised surface. Woodblock printing, for instance, is an image that you would print on a letterpress. Although I never do that kind of a thing, but it illustrates how you’re transferring an image to paper. You’re applying pressure to that paper through that ink-raised surface.
I’ve worked as a printer for the last ten years. I started doing that in New York at a place called Soho Letterpress. I moved to Alabama to go to school for that same stuff, then moved to Birmingham for a job, and then went out on my own there. I just moved [back] to Louisville. I was working for myself in Birmingham for the past two years.
How I feel about it? I really love doing it. You know, I guess I feel fortunate to practice a craft. That’s sort of like a word you see a lot and it seems like kind of a trendy thing. I don’t know if it’s unfortunate or not. I guess it’s not unfortunate at all. It’s pretty cool in some ways.
I like getting better at something and I like getting to work at that thing every day. It’s become a job to me, for sure, where it used to not be as much of one. But, you know, I love doing it. I definitely have kind of a perfectionist streak, and to do it well I think you have to be that way. I really like the focused attention that it requires and being in the moment with it, and working with the machines – understanding or continuing to learn about [the] equipment. It really allows you to do so much and I really love doing it.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB AND WHAT, IF ANYTHING, ARE THE COROLLARIES BETWEEN IT AND YOUR CURRENT JOB?
[laughs] Technically, the first job that I ever had was working for the Louisville Icehawks [hockey team]. Gosh, what was the guy’s name? It’s really not important, but he was a friend of my brother’s and we were special employees of the owner of the Louisville Icehawks.
We would just kind of do whatever needed to be done at that particular game. I remember just taking tickets. I remember going out on the ice and… There was some thing… Like if someone’s seat was called and they got to go out on the ice and shoot so many pucks into the net. I remember counting how many goals they scored. I remember sitting in the locker room quite a bit and just making sure that no one came into the locker room. I was 14 years old doing that job. Which, a side note, Jake Ricketts worked once or twice at that job also with me, but then was not asked back and was not [laughs] paid for his work either.
I guess I owe him some beers or something for that. I haven’t thought about that since, gosh, since I was 14 years old. But then, really the job that I think of as being my first job is working at Little Caesar’s Pizza. I worked there all through high school. I started making $4.25 [an hour]. I worked there for four years, all through high school, and during that time my hourly rate was increased a nickel. I started at $4.25 and finished and $4.30 an hour.
I worked there, I guess, because it was so close to my house. I would always take a nap when I came home from school. I could sleep for an hour. I would start working at 4. I can’t even really remember when school let out, but maybe 2:20 or something. Sounds right. I could be home at probably quarter ‘til three and sleep until 3:55 and still be on time to work. So that seemed like a pretty sweet gig to me. I would work from four until seven.
And how it relates to the work that I do now? I was probably pretty obsessive about getting perfect slices into those pizzas. I also really hated that job [laughing] but I guess I didn’t want to do a job that I hated. I don’t know how they relate to each other. [laughs] It’s a stretch! I don’t think they have much to do with one another.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ATARI GAME?
Oh gosh, I didn’t have Atari growing up as a kid.
BECAUSE YOU’RE TOO OLD?
No, I’m right at the age of Atari. I had a game called Odyssey, which was before Atari. Then Colecovision, which came after Atari, but I didn’t have Atari. My dad was kind of the impetus for those things, he was a big video game fan. I was terrible at them from the beginning. But Greg Percefield from down the street had an Atari, and the games I remember liking were Pitfall and Frogger. I would have to say Pitfall, I guess, which probably everyone says.
IF YOU’RE HEARING NEW MUSIC, OR SEEING A NEW MOVIE, ARE GENERALLY MORE INCLINED TO LIKE IT OR TO BE CRITICAL?
That’s a very good question. [four seconds] I think it really depends. I can definitely be a pretty big hater, for sure. But it really can go either way.
There’s definitely no… I can definitely be pretty critical towards things. It’s not a good quality about me.
I’M GONNA NAME THREE THINGS, AND HAVE YOU TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ALL OF THEM HAVE IN COMMON.
Okay. Three things…
…and what they have in common.
BUT NOT YOU. YOU CANNOT BE AN ANSWER.
NEW YORK. ALABAMA. [laughter] AND KENTUCKY.
What do all three places have in common? [eight seconds] Gosh, and I can’t be one of those things. Well, I guess they all have good food there in different ways. I found that all of them had pretty good music. What else do they have in common? I mean, I guess there’s just obvious things in that… [laughing…] they all have people living there and building and roads. It’s still the same thing and they inhabit the same sort of basic things of how people live, I suppose. But really, really different culturally. That’s a pretty simple thing to say. I can’t believe I just said that they all have roads! [laughter] The all have a Broadway.
By the way, I’m sort of halfway lying about the Broadway thing. Come to think of it, I can’t really thin of where Broadway is in Birmingham.
It’s gotta have a Broadway.
ALRIGHT. ALL TOWNS HAVE TO HAVE A BROADWAY.
I wish I could think of one…
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DANCE MOVE? [laughter] AND IF SO, WHAT IS IT?
AND YOU CAN’T SHOW IT…
[I have to describe it…] It doesn’t have a name, but I definitely have a go-to move that you’ve pointed out to me. It’s not a good one… I don’t know that it’s really necessarily unique to me, but it’s the one I do.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE MOTIONS INVOLVED? CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE?
Yeah, for sure. And you’ve pointed it out to me in a way. What you said is that it sort of looks like the way a baby dances. Where it… like you bounce your butt, I guess? But I’m really not bouncing my butt in a sexy way. It’s more like how a kid would bounce its butt. And I guess I stick my lips out and I sort of shimmy my shoulders a little bit. I didn’t say it was a good dance.
That might be several dance moves, though.
IF YOU HAD TO NAME IT, WHAT WOULD YOU NAME IT?
Hmmmm. Gosh. The Heavy Diaper, maybe? [laughter]
YOU’RE A BIG TALKER. WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT?
Ehhh. I don’t know. [uneasy] I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that I DON’T like to talk. I DO like to talk. So yeah. Yeah, I’ll go along with that statement.
SO THEN, HAVE YOU EVER MET SOMEONE WHO CAN OUT-TALK YOU?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. … Definitely someone who can out-talk me is my own mother. She exhausts me. But I guess the older I get, I recognize how many tendencies she has that I share, and it kind of drives me crazy. But definitely my mother can out-talk me. You know, there are definitely people who can out-talk me, but she’s… she’s the champ, for sure. [laughs]
ARE THERE ANY TENDENCIES YOU THINK YOU SHARE WITH YOUR FATHER?
Uh, fewer. My personality seems more like my mother’s. But I think physically, I look more like my dad. I notice my legs, which I guess I’ve been aware of for a long time, are my father’s legs. Which his are getting … he’s never been a hairy guy, but now there’s absolutely no hair on his legs, and he’s maybe 66 or 67. I guess that’s sort of alright for an older guy, but I guess I see the future [in him].
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL EVER GO TO OUTER SPACE?
[much laughter] No. [laughing] No, I don’t. But I read something about Lance Bass yesterday, really randomly, and one of the things they were talking about was him [laughing…] traveling to outer space. [laughs] No, I don’t think so. I’m not that curious. I’d be really, really scared. I guess it would be a pretty cool thing… [laughter] “A pretty cool thing” – to put it mildly – to look back at the Earth! [laughing…] I can live without that experience. No, [laughs] the answer is: no, I don’t think that I will ever go to outer space.
WOULD YOU ADVOCATE FOR OTHERS TO GO?
To go to outer space? Sure! Absolutely! [short pause] Well, I mean, what “others” are you talking about? Like just an average person on a vacation to outer space?
ME? YOUR MOM?
Well… No, I don’t think I would advocate for that, because that would just seem like a leisurely thing to do and [laughing a lot…] First of all, it would not be a good use of your finances. [laughter] I can’t imagine that you guys could afford it!
OHH! ZING! [laughter]
No, I mean, I hear it’s pretty expensive to go to space! But…
SO, OKAY, HOLD ON! SO WHAT IF TWENTY YEARS FROM NOW GOING TO OUTER SPACE IS ROUGHLY EQUIVALENT TO…
…flying to Europe, or something?
GOING TO EUROPE.
Well, yeah! Go to outer space, for sure! If it’s like that, then let me change my answer. I will be ALL OVER going to outer space. But I can’t imagine that it would be that inexpensive.
DO YOU THINK… AND THIS IS YOUR FINAL QUESTION… DO YOU THINK THAT THERE’S LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS?
[hesitantly…] Yeah, that… [long pause] Yeah, that’s a really good question. I really don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about that. I think that at a certain point I felt really certain of that. But it seems like the existence of life, or what we… The existence of life is really an incredibly rare [laughs] thing. That’s obvious because we’re talking about this to begin with![laughs] So I do think it’s possible that it’s just us. But then I guess you’d have to define what life is exactly. I’m not really prepared to say what that is, but I think probably there’s something else taking place in a way that is outside of our realm of… or the way in which we define life.
ALRIGHT. ANY LAST WORDS?
I think that’s it.
It was a pleasure.