I receive a lot of questions in my email inbox. And I wish I could answer them all, but I can’t type very fast. So I have compiled a few common questions which I am answering here. Let’s get started:
Q: Your writings sometimes make me cry. Are you one of those sappy guys who cries all the time?
A: I never cry. Although my eyes perspire a lot.
Q: Are you a natural redhead?
A: Nobody has ever asked me this. So I called my mother to ask her. She said, “Well, the day you were born, the first thing the doctor said when he saw your head was, ‘Uh-oh, you know what they say about preachers and redheads.’”
However I never actually learned what they say about preachers and redheads.
Q: Why do you always feel the need to mention the pandemic in your writings lately? No offense, but it gets old. Move on.
A: Thanks for the question. May I ask where you live, because I think I would truly enjoy living on that planet too.
Q: Did you hear that Prince Harry has quit using social media because people were being so negative, and leaving hateful comments on all his accounts? He and his wife said it was wrecking their mental health. What’s wrong with our world?
A: You know what they say about redheads.
Q: Why are people being so mean these days? Do people ever send you ugly remarks?
A: Every day. But it got bad during the pandemic. Some comments really sting, too. Here are a few of the tamer remarks:
“What’s wrong with your head? It’s enormous. You look like a freak.”
“The problem is that any untrained [bad word] can become a writer these days… And you actually think people care about what you have to say. Shut up.”
“Everytime I see his face on my newsfeed I want to gag. And I’m just like, ‘Go away!’”
“It looks like his head was swallowed in hair, LOL!”
Q: So why do you keep writing if people are such meanies?
A: I will be honest, I am a sensitive wimp. I freely admit it, my feelings get hurt. There have been a few times when emails have gotten so ugly that I’ve considered dyeing my hair and going into the columnists protection program.
But then, inevitably, I will receive an email like this:
“I am 12 years old… I live in a foster home. My teacher told me to look at your writing because I don’t like to read and maybe I would read yours. I have all your books! And I told my teacher I want to be a writer like him. Do you think I should?”
Q: And that makes you feel better?
Q: How do you respond to the bad messages?
A: [cricket noises]
Q: Why don’t you write about your dogs as much anymore? I miss the latest installments about your dogs!
A: Well, mostly because I’m usually too busy walking my dogs through our neighborhood, wearing a plastic baggie over my right hand so that I can stoop to pick up their “latest installments.”
Q: I have read that you struggle with depression. Is that true?
A: Yes. I have gone back and forth since age 11. I didn’t have the greatest childhood. When I was a kid, I had a bleeding ulcer and a nervous stomach. After my father died, in a pretty dramatic way, I had post traumatic stress syndrome for many years, and my depressive tendencies have stuck with me.
Q: But that’s all over now?
A: Are you kidding? You don’t snap your fingers and get rid of depression. No more than you clap your hands and eradicate diabetes. You manage it. You have flare ups. This pandemic has been the pits.
Q: But, I don’t get it, you’re always writing about happy stuff.
Q: Hi, I am between ages 12 and 85, and I also have depression. What can I do?
A: My official advice? I have no freaking idea. Although here is one thing I’ve found that works: sunlight. LOTS of it. I am not kidding. I know it sounds utterly ridiculous, claiming that something as simple as sunshine will make a difference. But believe me, it will surprise you.
Q: I’m having a baby, and I’m afraid because it is a very stressful time to be having a child in a pandemic.
A: I don’t blame you. Hey, unless you’re living on Planet Zurkon, a pandemic ain’t easy.
But here’s something to cheer you up. Think about this. Some of the most exceptional human beings you will ever meet are those who grew up during the Great Depression. The depth of their character; their capacity for empathy; their understanding of human nature; their determination; and their love of family is profound.
Compared to these people, many of us are about as emotionally mature as a scoop of potato salad.
And the best part is, these elderly people ALWAYS tell you the same thing. They say that growing up during “hard times” made them better people.
Q: Are you serious about the sunlight thing?
A: Exposure to sunlight triggers an area of your retina to send a message to the brain to release a flood of mood-lifting chemicals and neurotransmitters like serotonin and sleep hormones like melatonin. It basically turns your brain into Woodstock, minus Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker.
So yes. I’m serious.
Q: Dear Mister Sean, I colored this piture for you cause my mom says you like it win kids write to you letters. This drawing is of you an me flying. Please write back if you have time. Love, Davy.
A: Dearest friend, I awoke having a bad day today. But then I received your letter. And now my eyes are seriously perspiring. Thank you.