The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust (1871–1922), the French essayist and novelist who believed that in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.
Since July 1993, Vanity Fair has devoted the back page of its magazine to the Proust Questionnaire, in which noteworthy persons such as Katie Couric, Ron Howard and Margaret Atwood answer a series of personal questions. Here, a non-noteworthy person (your truly) takes a pass.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sitting on a Caribbean beach with Abbi, a guitar, an ice-cold beer, and a circulatory system full of residual nitrogen.
What is your greatest fear? A fiery plunge from 30,000 feet.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Anxiety.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Vacuousness.
Which living person do you most admire? Bono.
What is your greatest extravagance? Beer. Or cabs.
What is your current state of mind? Flux.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Severitas.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? My bald head.
What is the quality you most like in a man? The strength to be vulnerable.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? The strength to be vulnerable.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Esoteric,” “Shit yo, wiggie wack whoa,” “Fuck!”
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My wife and my music.
When and where were you happiest? Anytime I’m with Abbi.
Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to play guitar as well as Edge.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d be fearless.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My life today: my marriage, family, friends, job, athletic and creative pursuits.
Where would you most like to live? Somewhere warm, quiet, and spacious.
What is your most treasured possession? My Martin DX-15 and/or Cannondale M900.
What is your favorite occupation? Rock star.
What is your most marked characteristic? Optimism.
What do you most value in your friends? Substance.
Who are your favorite writers? Tobias Wolff, Nick Hornby, Chuck Klosterman.
Who is your hero of fiction? Holden Caulfield.
Who are your heroes in real life? Fred Rogers, Paul Hewson, Cameron Crowe.
What is it that you most dislike? Snobbery, arrogance, hubris.
What is your greatest regret? That I’ve wasted so much time, and made so many mistakes.
How would you like to die? Sitting on the couch next to Abbi, and surrounded by a gaggle of children and grandchildren.
What is your motto? “We are made to persist, to finish the tour; that’s how we find out who we are.”