I receive a lot of personal questions via email. Many of these are common questions while others are downright bizarre. I have compiled the most frequent questions and answered them using the Q and A format.
I’ll quit wasting time:
Q: Hi, Sean, I am an angry religious person and I want to know why you mention beer so often in your writings. It’s offensive and it sets a bad example.
A: Hi, friend. I freely admit that I like beer. Always have. I also frequently enjoy the company of Episcopalian priests who drink beer with me. Reverend Peter Wong, I’m looking at you.
Q: Where is home for you?
A: The Florida Panhandle. A place which used to be a rural fishing village but is now a spot where tourists come to hear beach-bar guitarists sing Jimmy Buffet songs about Key Largo even though we are located 794.8 miles away from the Florida Keys, a distance greater than the combined width of two average Midwestern U.S. states.
Q: Where exactly in the Panhandle? I mean, what’s your address?
A: Slow down, you haven’t even bought me a beer yet.
Q: I want to be a writer, how can I do that?
A: Just write. I know it sounds simple, but you would be surprised at the people I meet who want to write a book, but haven’t gotten around to it. Just start moving your pen.
Q: But what if my writing sucks?
A: As you can see from this column, this never stopped me.
Q: Speaking of columns. What do you call this? A blog? A column? Essays? Stories? Articles?
Q: No, seriously.
A: You can call it whatever you want. I like the name “column” because it has nine letters whereas blog only has five.
Q: Are you really as in love with your wife as you claim?
A: My wife and I have been married for nearly 20 years. We can sit in a restaurant for upwards of three hours without saying a single word other than “Pass the salt?” and have the best evening of our lives. That’s love.
Q: Why do you promote the consumption of bad food, cholesterol, sugar, beer, and white flour in your columns? Don’t you know that gluten is bad for you?
A: I’ll bet you’re fun at Mardi Gras.
Q: No, I mean it. Why are you always talking about unhealthy foods? Don’t you know that these things will kill you?
A: If you were to travel 100 years back in time, you’d see people eating egg yolks and bacon and calling them “healthful foods.” My grandparents’ generation ate this way and often lived comfortably into their late 30s.
But then, about 60 years ago, “experts” came along and said eggs and bacon were bad for you. After which a few years later—surprise!—experts changed their minds and said, “No, wait! Eggs and bacon aren’t bad for you! It’s carbs!”
A real life example of this was when I recently visited two separate doctors within the same week who had different advice regarding cholesterol.
One physician said, “Eat more grains, fruits, lean meats, and avoid all cholesterol.”
Three days later another doc said: “Avoid carbs, avoid fruit sugar, and all grains; but don’t worry about butter, cheese, fatty meats, or cholesterol, bacon is good for you.”
Q: Are you serious?
A: As a heart attack.
Q: So what should I eat?
A: I have no freaking idea.
Q: Why do you bring up the subject of suicide in your writings so often?
A: Because I am a survivor of suicide. No event has had a bigger impact on my life than my father’s death. I believe talking about suicide and depression is like draining an infection.
Q: I am the survivor of suicide. My mother, brother, sister, father, friend or relative committed suicide. It has changed me as a person. How do I move on?
A: You never fully do. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But there’s a difference between moving on and pressing on.
Q: Do you actually write a column every single day?
A: Yes. For eight years now.
Q: Literally each day?
A: Literally. I once wrote a column in a hospital bed after outpatient surgery beneath the influence of hardcore anasthesia.
A: Because painkillers are powerful narcotics.
Q: So what keeps you going?
A: The fact that I’ve never had more of a connection with other humans than I have found within this column/blog/whatever-you-call-it.
I have met people from every U.S. state, and all over the globe, who have changed me. Each day I get emails from the most exceptional people on planet Earth. People who have helped me become a better person.
Q: Are you a religious person?
A: Next question.
Q: No, seriously. Answer me.
A: It’s a loaded question.
Q: Pretty please?
A: Well, all right. What I can tell you is that I believe the teachings of Fred Rogers, Will Rogers, and Roger Miller.
I was raised in church and I keep with the old hymns. I believe in dinner on the grounds, all-day singings, and in my humble foot-washing ancestors who cared for widows and orphans.
Sadly, I know many too many “religious” people who don’t tip their waitresses well and treat their dogs badly. These are not my people.
Q: This pandemic has been the hardest period of my life. Do you believe that we’re going to get through these times?
A: With all my heart, I do. I believe that every bad thing that ever happens is always followed by unbridled good things. If you read history textbooks, you’ll find that the happiest eras in history always miraculously follow the worst ones.
So if you ask me, we’re in for some heavenly times ahead. I for one am expecting them to arrive any day now, although they must have taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque.
Q: Hmmm. That sounds suspiciously optimistic. Are you sure you’re not religious?
A: Yes. Because remember, I drink beer.
Dawnie B - April 5, 2021 7:41 am
Lol! Just a regular fellow, like the rest of us, except we drink in your warm & enlightening stories like hot chocolate at a bonfire!
Carol - April 5, 2021 10:49 am
I do SO enjoy it all!
Leigh Amiot - April 5, 2021 11:27 am
Enjoyed column as always, but today I am even more impressed by the art—cornbread in an iron skillet is my choice way to make it!
Had a couple over for Easter dinner yesterday, all four of us took the shot. It was such a happy occasion to have people over again!
Lost13 - April 5, 2021 11:45 am
Today, you gave me a reason not to kill myself. Been close for a month.
Leigh Amiot - April 5, 2021 12:11 pm
Dear Lost, my heart skipped a beat when I read your post. I paused right then and there and prayed for you. This world definitely will not be better without you, please realize that thought train simply isn’t true. Sometimes our thoughts lie to us. Your worth is immeasurable. I don’t know you, but I care. Hang in there. This, like all things in life, will pass. Hold on until it does, please. At the top of this page, there is a contact link. Please reach out to Sean or someone. You are loved. People care.
Alice T - April 5, 2021 2:47 pm
Oh Lost13, please stay with us! You are worth so much more than the thoughts inside your head right now. I don’t know you but my heart actually hurts at the thought of your pain. That means I care. I care enough to reach out through this column to tell you that. I’d give you a hug right now. You are cared for and loved even though it doesn’t seem so. Sean is right – better days are just around the corner. I’m praying for you!
Helen De Prima - April 5, 2021 2:50 pm
Your courage to survive is a light in a dark room — don’t let the light go out.
Carol Price - April 5, 2021 12:03 pm
Look forward to reading your column each day.
Johnnie Blackburn - April 5, 2021 12:21 pm
Sean, I’ll drink a beer with you anytime and I’m a Baptist…at least until someone reads this and kicks me out. Then I’ll just be, Forgiven! Have a blessed day!
Alicia Folds - April 5, 2021 12:21 pm
LOVED “Questions From Others” Seriously laughed the Entire way through!
Bob Morgan - April 5, 2021 12:27 pm
Another good one, Sean! Humor is the best medicine – thanks for sending some out today!
kim powell - April 5, 2021 12:31 pm
I appreciate your honesty! You’re a fine man!!
Jan - April 5, 2021 12:35 pm
Love your honesty and love you, Sean!
Dear Lost, you are a person of great worth. Please reach out to someone. There are people who care and I am one of them. Do not let today go by without talking to someone. Prayers for you.
Dean - April 5, 2021 12:48 pm
Great column as always. Hope i live to see things so back like they were before. I miss getting to hug people and get to go out to eat. I am blessed with family that help take care of me but my outing are dialysis and doctors but very fortunate to be able to do that.
Eddy - April 5, 2021 1:05 pm
Atta Boy! Sean For President….. nah, you’d never have any time to blog, write your column, or whatever it is you do 🤪… ✝️🙏♥️
Bob E - April 5, 2021 1:08 pm
I will call your ‘column’ whatever I want (as you suggested) – ‘inspirations’ and ‘lessons’.
Bless you and keep columning (nine letters).
Harriet - April 5, 2021 1:15 pm
Great column thingy. We WERE going to go to Walton county for a summer vacation BUT it is WAY to expensive now. If I ever go there I will look you up Sean!
Funny, funny post today!
Alabama German - April 5, 2021 1:20 pm
I think you could easily classify yourself as a German Baptist, or free-evangelical as they also call themselves. My parents were Southern Baptist missionaries in Germany and were initially shocked to find that the pastor, elders & deacons met in the local Kneipe (bar) to discuss church matters and consume delicious German beer. We learned quickly that if it was good enough for the father of the Reformation (Martin Luther), all evangelicals should follow his example, so “Prost!”
MamaB - April 5, 2021 1:22 pm
Leigh, THANK YOU for speaking out to Lost. This column that Sean sends out faithfully day after day I deeply feel has changed and saved many lives ALL over this entire WORLD!!! I too did what you did…prayed!! It doesn’t matter that we don’t know this individual, but God does! Thank you for not being ashamed to show others you believe in the power of prayer!!✝️🙏🏻 May you have a very blessed day! 💜
Leigh Amiot - April 5, 2021 1:39 pm
Love you, MamaB. Sean has, more than once in this column said to all of us, many he’s not met, that he loves us. What a wonderful example. Lost especially needs to hear that today.
Phil (Brown Marlin) - April 5, 2021 1:37 pm
I think you may not necessarily be “religious” but you are a Christian – otherwise, why would you hang out with us beer-drinking Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians? Oh, I forgot – you like the old-time music and the pot luck meals.
BTW, I also happen to know some beer-drinking Baptists and members of the Church of Christ.
Linda - April 5, 2021 1:38 pm
You sound so much more spiritual than religious. Someone said Religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.
Amanda - April 5, 2021 1:54 pm
Dear one or many contemplating suicide: sometimes it seems like we just can’t take the pain anymore! We must have some relief! Trust me, even though you don’t know me. There are other ways to get a nice rest and there are healthy ways to manage the pain. Survivors like me are fortunate to have learned this even if it was the hard way. Not everyone is so fortunate, but I have experienced almost 40 additional years of life! Hang in there! There is help available. I join the many today who are praying for you.
Sandi Buntin - April 5, 2021 1:59 pm
This one was right on tract, thank you Sen for beginning my day with gentle , good thoughts. And by the way, yes you are religious 😉🥰
My friend wants to subscribe to your daily column, how does shecdo that? Thank you
Al Cato - April 5, 2021 2:07 pm
It’s between you and God, Sean. Our opinions are just that, opinions. PS..denominations don’t matter to Him. Worship the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. AND, Love your neighbor as thyself. Oh, read the Bible. It illustrates in great detail the flaws and sins of man that have been with us for 2000 years and are regularly seen on CNN, MSNBC and the alphabets. It can help guide you and us every day. Sinner saved by His Grace.
Mike - April 5, 2021 2:27 pm
You often hit home to me, but never more than the comments about Christians and “not my people”. I have known some “fine upright Christians” who were total racists (really), who would look for reasons not to tip a waitress, justify short paying someone they owed, or push a lie for business reasons. But God forbid they would associate with anyone that drank a beer.
Those are not my people either.
Brenda Kern - April 5, 2021 3:04 pm
Great column. I look forward to reading your post everyday. Thanks and keep up the great work. Hugs to you and Jamie.
Ernestine T. Wambles - April 5, 2021 3:12 pm
Sean, I am sitting here laughing and you made my day. My question to you is will you ever have a book of nothing but questions to you and the answers? I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Think about that. Your fans would love it.
Christina - April 5, 2021 3:26 pm
This why we hang around here every day with you.
Suzanne Moore - April 5, 2021 3:29 pm
I loved every single answer!
Jim Thomssen - April 5, 2021 3:39 pm
When you get ti Idaho, I’d be honored to buy you a beer!
Patti - April 5, 2021 4:26 pm
Lost13, please do NOT despair. I’m praying God will send you a reason to keep going, one step at a time. He loves you you even when you can’t sense it.
snortinshatzie - April 5, 2021 5:52 pm
Sean: I do so enjoy your daily “column” and your humor always brightens my day. Your kind, compassionate heart shines through your writings and I know that the Lord looks at you as one of His children. Thanks for the joy you bring to so many people, me included.
elizabethroosje - April 5, 2021 6:05 pm
Blessings for Lost13!
Sean, I love your column. Since Mr Rogers was a minister you are at least 1/3 ‘religious’ 🙂 of course my Husband (we are Orthodox Christians, i.e. the first major split in the church was Catholic and Orthodox, before Protestants came on the scene) says ‘I am religious but not spiritual’ 🙂 Humour is huge. BTW, I thought of you and Jamie when I came across as writer (Who was also on radio pre-podcast days) who I think you would like because he wrote about ordinary people, his name was Studs Turkel and this reminded me of you (the following sentence describes his first book) “The result was “Division Street: America,” published in 1967 to rave reviews and best-selling success. It told the stories, in their own words, of businessmen, prostitutes, Hispanics, blacks, ordinary working people who formed the unity of America and also the divisions in society.” https://studsterkel.wfmt.com/about-studs-terkel
I enjoy drinking beer with my Dad and take part in my husband’s family when the guys get together doing whisky tasting. I think hard cider is my personal fave, tied with Drambuie that we were given as a gift. thought I also love red wine that pairs well with chocolate… 🙂 … of course, we are lightweights and don’t drink tons. But my Husband knows of high ranking Orthodox Slavic clergy drinking everyone else under the table! 🙂 Jesus first miracle was making wine (of course we could say His last miracle was also transforming wine into Himself but that’s another topic) and what I would have given to taste THAT wine. Once I had some red wine at an Orthodox monastery that was the best wine I had ever had, it was so good, fruity with a depth I had never tasted in most wines. That made me realize that Jesus’ wine at that wedding must have been out of this world, literally and in taste! 🙂
Linda Moon - April 5, 2021 6:19 pm
I laughed out loud just now as I read about “downright bizarre” questions and wondered if some of my questions and/or comments might fit into that description. After reading the entire column, I did my own tally of agreement with your answers: Beer. Writing. Love. Bacon and Eggs. Surviving Suicide. Connection With Other Humans. The Three Rogers. Old Hymns. I’ve even had a few bugged-out Turns In Albuquerque….literally. I think I might be one of your people. And I promise I won’t bug you with too many emails. The first one I would send (but won’t) would be: “Your Writing Doesn’t Suck, Columnist”.
Rebecca Souders - April 5, 2021 7:03 pm
“I’ll bet you’re fun at Mardi Gras.” and “Next question.” Brilliant. Don’t stop writing. Please.
Jackye Thompson - April 5, 2021 7:06 pm
So glad you like beer and Father Peter Wong .From an Episcopalian and a citizen of The Panhandle .
Peace Be With You .
Marilyn Brown - April 5, 2021 8:31 pm
Hi Sean, I enjoy your blog and your optimistic observations. I admit to being a hopeless optimist and would rather look for good than acknowledge negativism. But, a couple of years ago it hit me when a customer service person described how she dreads Sunday. She explained that church people come in after church and treat them poorly. I talked to others in the service industry and heard similar stories. This hurt my heart! As a follower of Jesus, I know godly people should not act this way. Kindness and compassion is what Jesus taught. He turned water to wine so He’s probably ok with beer. Our church feels so strongly about this that we have started an outreach called Kindness Matters. We take lunch on Sunday to local businesses and tell them we are sorry about the way they are treated. Some managers have cried…. Tractor Supply, Big Lots, Lowe’s, police and sheriffs departments, and local EMS and ER are some of the businesses. Our premise is that kindness is important to God so it Matters to us. After reading many of your blogs, it’s obvious kindness matters to you too. Come visit us at Shepherd of the Mountains Church, Murphy, NC. 28906. You will find people who tip well, love our neighbors, feed the hungry, and practice kindness daily.
Linda Holmes - April 5, 2021 8:53 pm
I laughed out loud (lol) so many times,my husband asked, “What is so funny?” It must be funnier when you read it to yourself.
MAM - April 5, 2021 10:15 pm
I loved the way you tied up your column/Q&A/blog, whatever you want to call it! You somehow ALWAYS manage to come up with an appropriate zinger at the end.
Leesa - April 5, 2021 10:55 pm
Rogers, Rogers, Miller, beer, FL panhandle. Love it. What a great column, Sean. BTW, I don’t care if you are religious or not. Not important. Your insight, empathy and genuine kindness are reassurance to me that you are a great person. Cheers, Sean!
Julie - April 6, 2021 3:32 am
What she said. Will Rogers!!! Fred Rogers!!! Florida-where I lived as a child. True Love. Really appreciate your tenacity.
Question: I write. I enjoy writing. I would like to try a column/blog/short daily entry of optimism. How did you start “getting the word out there?”
Lisa Perkins - April 6, 2021 3:58 am
Haha!! You totally brightened my day – I really needed a laugh! I lost my mother in February and then we just lost my oldest brother in March…..42 days later. Laughing soothes and lightens the crushed spirit. Thank you so much Sean.
Kenny Barnes - April 6, 2021 12:15 pm
Hey Sean. About the healthy food topic. To quote one of my favorite writers, Erma Bombeck. She said she always wondered how many people on the Titanic the night before it sank turned down the chocolate pie because it wasn’t good for them.
Never know what tomorrow will bring so enjoy today.
We love you Sean. Met you at Trussville, AL. My wife had the service dog Chloe.
Victoria Gillis - April 6, 2021 4:54 pm
I have often struggled with how to describe my religious beliefs in the spectrum of religious beliefs. Your description of believing in the teachings of Fred Rogers, Will Rogers, and Roger Miller is spot on for me. BTW, I am also a survivor of suicide, my father and my youngest brother, and you are absolutely right. You never get over it, you just move on.