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Getting to know: Dave Madden.

September 16, 2011 \am\30 11:00 am

[In which WWAATD asks vapid questions culled from various teen magazines to non-vapid, non-teenager types.]

Full Name: David Collin Madden

Age: 33

Height: 6’1″

Currently Live: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Hometown: Herndon, Virginia

Instruments: I own a regular acoustic guitar and a smaller (like, beginner’s?) acoustic guitar, and a ukulele, and an enormous accordion, and a nerdly Bb clarinet, and a Casio SK-1, and a larger Yamaha keyboard, and a melodica. When I play them all I stop and say “Wait” and then mess up again.

Car: 2000 Saturn L-series, hunter green, still missing a tornado-shattered window.

Secret Talent: R2-D2 impersonations, sad/bewildered category.

What is the best thing about your job? Easy: the students. They are smart and driven and inspiring, even when they’re being lazy students.

What was your most embarrassing audition moment? Once as a squawky, just-pubesced preteen I tried out for our school musical by standing in the middle of an empty stage to sing the first two lines of R.E.M.’s “Hairshirt”—a capella—before they thanked me and eventually tossed me into the lineless role of Background Maltshopper.

If you could live in any past era which would it be and why? This is a tough question for queer folks to answer. The past wasn’t always so rosy. So…ancient Greece?

Who is your role model and why? Joan Didion. For why, I’m gonna quote Michael Silverblatt: “She has a mind that aggressively finds the flaws in an argument and the places where you’re trying to burnish your weakness with pretty words. And her attitude is ‘Everybody’s lying and life is the story we’re telling ourselves in order to stay alive. And an artist sees through the story. Sees through the fakeness of the story to the very bare and difficult impossibilities of the coping mechanism functioning in a true situation of devastation.'”

What do you do for fun? Come up with games no one wants to play. Like this one I don’t have a name for yet (Laffricates?), where Player A decides in her mind which of /ch/ or /j/ she wants to utter, and then utters just that sound without anything aspirant fore or aft. (Not /chuh/ or /juh/.) Player B gets to then guess which of /ch/ or /j/ Player A just uttered. No prizes for correct guesses. Just cosmic glory.

Do you have a good luck charm? No. Though an authentic rabbit’s foot keychain would make a really nice present.

Wackiest fan encounter: My mother once slept too close to a box fan as a child and woke up with a weeks-long case of Bell’s Palsy, which is more sad than wacky but I don’t have any fans so this is the best I can do here.

Before I die, I want to: Figure out maybe how not to.

When I fly I have to have: An aisle seat due to these ostrich gams.

If I had to spend $10 at my favorite fast food joint, I’d order: Oh, burger, fries, shake, burger, fries.

My coolest article of clothing: Was the pair of Jams that all the other fourth-grade kids pronounced out of style upon my first day of sporting them.

My first financial splurge was: A Super Nintendo Entertainment System, though I did go halvesies on it with my friend across the street.

When friends come over, we: Talk about the other friends none of us invited.

Do you like to cook? If so, what? I don’t like it, but I do it if I can follow a recipe. Only once did I make up a thing from scratch and that was mushroom stroganoff.

TV show I never miss: 30 Rock. Louie. (Technically I miss these every time they air, but with the Internet….)

If you could interview any celeb whom would it be and why? Louis CK, to talk about his writing process.

Anything about yourself you wish you could change? Oh, where do I start? I’ll start with being less self-involved. I’m trying these days to be less self-involved. Of course, the worst part of confessing that one is too self-involved is that it’s just another indulgent statement about the self.

I’ll eat sushi, but not: Wear it nude for businessmen to chopstick off my tender parts.

What are your best and worst subjects in school? Best = reading. Worst = handwriting. I learned what the word atrocious meant when my father looked at my report card and saw the U and said “No wonder, your handwriting is atrocious.”

If you could be granted 3 wishes, they’d be… 1. Ban marriage. 2. Ban PACs. 3. Perpetual blank checks for public schools.

If I could gay-marry anyone in the world, he/she would be… From the future, or living in a state I don’t live in right now. (This is my least favorite question, not that you asked.)

Where on earth are you most dying to go? Tie: Hawaii and Paris.

What’s the last thing that made you cry? The final scene from Rushmore, dumbly.

Do you ever wish you could just be a normal kid? Every day.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I used to be a member of Youth to Youth, which was a chiefly Mormon student group in high school that traveled to elementary schools around the county performing puppet shows about how alcohol and drugs are a bad idea.

If you had to name one song as your theme song, what would it be? Operation Re-information‘s “Bubble Sort”

Have you had a starstruck Hollywood experience? Who was it with? Oh, god, yes. So I used to work for the Westin William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh (now the Omni William Penn), running food and other amenities up to rooms. Anyone shooting a movie or playing at the Starlight Amphitheater (now the Post-Gazette Pavilion) stayed there. Matthew Broderick was in town shooting Inspector Gadget, and I got a ticket one night to run him up a salad or some such. No drink order. And because he was Ferris Bueller I decided that maybe he’d like a Coke, too, but because both he and co-star Joely Fisher had treadmills installed in their rooms I also thought maybe it should be a Diet Coke, and so without any sure idea I just comp’d him one of each, then explained all this to him just as ramblingly in his room, and then, after he thanked me, pulled out a piece of paper for him to sign. Pathetic. Oh and I twice served breakfast to Vanna White, who is tiny but literally stunning in person. I couldn’t figure out what to say.

Favorite Actor/Actress: Right now I’m kind of into the guy who voices Tina Belcher on Bob’s Burgers, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Melissa McCarthy does on SNL this fall.

Favorite Movie: Purported = Six Degrees of Separation. Actual = Labyrinth.

Favorite Body Part: On me? My feet. On others? Not their feet.

Favorite Singer: David Bowie.

Favorite Song: Archie Bell & the Drells’ “Tighten Up”.

Favorite Candy: Take 5.

Favorite Philosopher: Bob Ross.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip.

Favorite Sport: Marathon Nosepicking.

Favorite Sports Team: In theory, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Favorite Athlete: Oh gosh, three sports questions?

Favorite Book: Oversung: Infinite Jest. Unsung: Carol Shields’s Unless.

Cell Phone or iPod: I own one of each, I guess.

Summer or Winter: It’s summer now, for about another month.

Ice Skating or Gymnastics: If I were one of my sisters growing up I’d never be able to give you an answer, but seeing as how I’m not one of my sisters I’m able to say neither, please.

LA or New York: I’ve never been to LA.

Skiing or Snowboarding: Après-ski sweaters.

Chocolate or Flowers: Cathy Guisewite joke.

Dogs or Cats: I’m allergic to cats.

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4 Comments
  1. Richard D. Allen permalink
    September 21, 2011 \pm\30 11:01 pm 11:01 pm

    I spent just under half of my upbringing in Herndon, VA and am roughly the same age as Mr. Madden. Therefore, I demand to know which elementary school he attended.

    • September 22, 2011 \am\30 8:00 am 8:00 am

      (E. Barbour) Hutchison Elementary, on good old Parcher Avenue.

      • Richard D. Allen permalink
        September 29, 2011 \pm\30 3:00 pm 3:00 pm

        Wow. I was at Hutchison from 1985-1988 (4th – 6th grade). Which teachers did you have?

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