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.