Yes, you read that right. Renowned author James Patterson took the time to participate in The Questions Project. He learned of it via vigilant social media promotion, so thank you, dear followers.
I wish. James Patterson is my friend from Australia. He’s an exchange student at Mizzou this year and he’s wonderful. He’s in my computer assisted reporting class and when he first introduced himself as “James Patterson” I just assumed he was lying. He was not.
James is cool because he doesn’t get too annoyed when I send him covers of James Patterson novels, and he let’s me butcher the Australian accent and tells me how British I sound (which I actually quite take as a compliment so….). Also, my roommate and I were teaching him Southern phrases, such as “cattywampus” and then he later tried to use it, saying “cattywombat.” A+ for effort.
1. What was the last picture you took with your phone?
I was at Faurot Field and thought the sky looked beautiful in the background. Also the game was not starting well, so it was a nice distraction.
2. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop?
Nope, but I’ve not been driving as long as I should have.
3. What’s your heritage?
English on my mum’s side, Scottish on my dad’s, I think. It’s probably more complex than that, but we’re all from that bloody island.
4. What was the last lie you told?
Probably something about being tired. It’s a good excuse to not do something. Sorry, friends.
5. What’s the weirdest prank you’ve ever done?
I’ve been told, without remembering this, that I poured milk down my friend’s cast on his arm when I was 14 or 15. This was a friend who I sat next to in almost every class, so it wasn’t an intelligent prank. I also threw his shoe over a neighbouring fence during the same year in PE class. We’re astoundingly still friends. I’m apparently not funny.
6. Do you trust anyone with your life?
I automatically have to trust anyone I get in a car with, and I guess anyone else on the road at the time too as a result because cars hurt. That’s a scary thought. People here are terrifying on the road.
7. Describe the perfect pizza.
It is laden with vegetables. I’m generally not too fussy what those vegetables are, but onions, olives and pineapples are a must. A thin crust is nice because it means I can eat more.
8. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
I always wonder what time it is, and then think about what I have to do for the day. It’s the same process every morning, unless I’ve woken up somewhere like a cave. If I wake up in a cave then I’ll wonder why I’m in a cave.
9. You discover that your wonderful one-year-old child is because of a mix up at the hospital and not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake?
I don’t think I could swap them back. I’d be so attached to the non-me child after a year, especially because so many important memories are created in that time. Plus I’d have woken up to the sound of a baby crying for a year, so I’m not putting that work in just to trade it in for a different one.
10. Would you be willing to lie to a court for a close friend if it meant saving your friend from going to prison for life?
Oh, tough question. I don’t think this is quite black and white. It depends on the crime, the person, the reason for the crime, the location, and so many more things. I have offered one friend refuge with my yellow suitcase if they ever break the law though, so I guess I’m not totally opposed. I expect chocolate in return if it ever happens.
11. Would you be willing to eat a bowl of crickets for money?
No, I’m far too vegetarian for that. Apparently they don’t taste awful though. I don’t know how I know that.
12. If you could have anyone locked in a room so you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them?
I would lock Australian politicians up in off-shore detention centres. The conditions there aren’t fit for any kind of life to live in by all reports, so maybe some change would come about and ‘boat people’ would be treated as real living beings if our politicians were forced to accept the horrific nature in which these people – real, living, breathing people – are forced to live.
13. If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be?
Do I still get to be in the US? I’ll choose my current age if changing would suddenly transport me back to where I was at that age. Being a kid of primary school age (elementary school for probably every person who reads this) was pretty great too though. You don’t have any problems when you’re six years old.
14. Who was the last person you sang to and what did you sing?
I sang along with Call Me Maybe yesterday before Homecoming. That’s the worst answer ever. I don’t know who was around when I was singing, but I’m sorry.
15. What question do you hate being asked?
The last question. Also asking exactly what I want my career to be, because I really don’t know. I’d like to think I could do many things with my degree. Would I love to report on sports? Of course, but I love writing generally, I love journalism behind the scenes, and so much more. This degree is simply a chance to do some of those things, which ultimately aren’t even the most important part of my life.
16. If you could have only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chips and potato cakes as a Friday night dinner at home are lovely. Yes please.
17. How do you start a conversation?
I guess it depends on the context, but I generally just introduce myself and wait for them to leave.
18. If you had a brainwashing machine, who would you use it on?
US governmental officials to make them believe I’m American and therefore never, ever, ever have to leave.
19. Have you ever eaten a crayon? What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten?
I hope not. I used to eat Play Doh when I played with it as a kid though. That’s got to be the worst. Cheese and vegemite sandwiches (WHO THE F*** INVENTED VEGEMITE AND WHY?) are also horrific and strange.
20. Are you still learning who you are?
I think I always will be. Each experience in my life changes me in some way, and I’d like to think that will never end. I’ll never have experienced everything, and I’ll never know everything. Each new thing should help me learn about the world and myself.
21. What’re you afraid of?
Not achieving the goals I set myself in life, being a burden on other people, and, for weird points, eating Easter eggs freaks me out. Only the hollow ones though. I’m not a total weirdo.
22. Do you dance?
I bob. I don’t think I dance unless I’m doing it jokingly. That’s mainly because I know I’m bad, so if I do it in a self-deprecating manner then I’m in on the joke. LAUGH WITH ME, NOT AT ME.
23. What’s the weirdest thing about you?
I’m pale, vegetarian and don’t drink, yet I’m Australian. That’s pretty weird as a combination.
24. What’s the most normal thing about you?
In the context of society and the world of journalism at home, I guess that I’m a white male. Isn’t that a grim look at society?
25. What are your thoughts on honesty?
I would love to say it’s always best, but I know that’s not true. I think it should always be the first option, and ultimately should be striven for. Often not being honest is just taking what seems like the easy way out.
26. What do you want your tombstone to say?
There’s a quote from Frank Turner’s song Eulogy, “at least I f***ing tried”, which would probably be pretty appropriate. I can’t see myself actually doing that, so my name combined with my years and initials to show I’m not the author would probably do. Not my full middle names though, because I don’t like them.
27. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
To/two/too, your/you’re, there/their/they’re, then/than, and similar mistakes. I just like those things to be right.
28. What feels like love to you?
Holding my one-eyed, adorably scruffy cat. Who needs people?
29. What’s a skill you’d like to learn and why?
I’d love to learn a second language. The other international students here are amazing, and largely speak English in a more understandable way than me. I, by comparison, look quite stupid.
30. How would your friends describe you?
“He’s an idiot.”