Auntie Fatcat's

Sit down, have a cookie, and chat for a spell.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Pivot Questions

My favorite thing about Inside the Actors Studio is the list of questions that host James Lipton asks each of the guests toward the end of the episode. It’s called the Pivot Questionnaire, named after Bernard Pivot, who apparently used it on some French show a while back. Since we’re in the “getting to know me” phase of this blog, I thought I’d take a crack at answering the Pivot Questionnaire myself. (I’d love to hear any of your answers, too.)

What is your favorite word?
I actually keep a list of words I really like. The winner right now is toothsome, but there are a couple dozen runners-up, including widdershins, torpor, lachrymose, callipygian, and thews.

What is your least favorite word?
Like most editors, I despise utilize. It’s just use with a cheap suit on.

What turns you on?
Intelligence, more than anything. I prefer my intelligence in a nice emotionally stable sauce with a side of moral integrity, but even the plain stuff smells good to me.

What turns you off?
Willful stupidity. People who aren’t very bright but still try their best don’t bother me (much), but people whose brains have rusted shut invoke my desire to smite.

What is your favorite curse word?
For everyday usage, nothing beats the f-word. (I’m not normally so delicate, but I know my mom’s gonna read this.) I also like the old medieval swears, like God’s wounds or God’s balls. The really best swears, though, are Catholic swears, like my friend Lisa’s jumping Jesus cows. It doesn’t make enough sense to be blasphemous, yet it’s quite satisfying to say after you’ve just sneezed while brushing your teeth and gotten toothpaste all over the cat. Believe me, I know.

What sound or noise do you love?
My smaller cat purring herself to sleep at night. It’s very comforting, particularly when my husband’s away.

What sound or noise do you hate?
The hacking sound that means another round of “Find the Cat Barf” has begun.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’d enjoy being a philanthropist--at least, I’d enjoy the part where I get to identify worthy causes and write them big checks. I’d probably be less good at raising and managing the funds, though. Any conversation that includes terms like financial instrument and equity assets tends to make my eyes glaze over.

If that didn’t work out, I think I’d make a pretty good advice columnist. My column would be something like Miss Manners, but instead of solving etiquette dilemmas, I’d help people sort out effective ways to say difficult or emotionally touchy things. Like how to tell your boss you deserve a raise, or how to persuade your spouse that having your in-laws over for a whole week is not a good idea, or how to answer questions like “Does this make me look fat?” I think I could handle that, and it’d be fun to see what kinds of questions people would come up with.

What profession would you not like to participate in?
Anything that involves making split-second decisions of life-or-death importance. Military, law enforcement, medicine, air traffic control, any of the sort of things they make movies and TV shows about because they’re so inherently fraught with drama. I can handle either weighty decisions or light-speed decisions, but not both at once.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I think all of us, in our hearts, want to hear the same thing: “I always loved you best.”


Post a Comment

<< Home