Q. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Once upon a time I won a national rock ‘n’ roll trivia contest and was awarded a car. That’s why I am proud: I won a car. I then sold the car right back to the dealer for much, much less than what it was worth.
Q. You want to be remembered for …?
I would like there to be another Ben Greenman that comes along in a little while, like maybe 50 years, and he should be good at something completely different. Professional sports? Science? Identity theft? Then in the distant future people will remember us together, and confuse us.
I want this sentence to happen in the future: “He wrote novels and robbed banks, and one never got in the way of the other.”
Q. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
I like people who struggle with internal questions.
Q. Your hidden talents … ?
I can type pretty fast with a minimum of errors.
Q. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
There are two things that spring to mind. One came a long time ago, from my grandfather, who used to be annoying about things like the best way to prepare food or the best way to watch a baseball game. Once, in a fit of self-awareness, he said, “There’s a right way to do everything, though it’s not always the most interesting way.”
The other came from my older son. He was right around two, maybe a little older, and I was holding him up to the window to watch a snowstorm.
“Dad,” he said. “Where do the birds go when it snows?” I started to answer him. I think I said something about eaves and certain kinds of trees. He tapped me to interrupt me. “Who cares?” he said. My interpretation of that is that we don’t have to have opinions about everything, and it is very liberating to remember that.
Karen Zarker wrote this story for Popmatters.com