Years ago, I used to watch Inside the Actors Studio, where James Lipton would interview famous actors. He was known for asking every actor the same ten questions:
· What’s your favorite word?
· What’s your least favorite word?
· What turns you on?
· What turns you off?
· What sound or noise do you love?
· What sound or noise do you hate?
· What is your favorite curse word?
· What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
· What profession would you not like to do?
· If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I confess that I have not made it past the first item, and even there, I have to use two words: “and yet . . ..” Why? you ask? I’m drawn to the words because they pivot my thinking in a way that is related to what I learned in college about critical thinking. When you think you have an answer, look a little deeper, or look from another perspective or angle, or maybe entertain a counter-argument. I just like doing the kind of thinking that “and yet” suggests, even though it might make me appear to be a bit indecisive, even wishy-washy.
Kim, by the way, chose “serendipity” as her favorite word. She did not hesitate. It’s a perfect word for her. I believe that serendipity is more a matter of how you see and experience the world than it is the accidental circumstances you encounter in the world. And yet . . ..
I cannot come up with a least favorite word. There are words, of course, for things that I don’t want to be called, but I don’t hold that against the words themselves. I like words. And yet, I’m sure I could come up with one or two. Maybe “meme” (and yet, when I finally looked up the definition, I rather liked it). Or “E-Z” (as in “E-Z open”). How about that troublesome word, “love?” There’s an old joke about The Three Great Lies:
· “The check is in the mail.”
· “The government will take care of that.”
· “I love you.”
· (I’ve added a fourth to the joke: “I have read these Terms and Conditions.”
“Love” is difficult to define, means different things to different people, etc., etc. I use the word daily, always with sincerity, and I’ve never lied about it. And yet . . ..
If you have the energy, send me your answers to any of James Lipton’s questions that engage you.