Well, I found him, Mr. Everyman, the Man in the Street, Joe Citizen himself. That’s right folks, I met and interviewed John Q. Public! He’s the guy we’ve been hearing about for a long time, the average citizen, a man with no solid opinion in the issues of the day, untouched by any bias whatsoever. According to popular lore, Mr. Public is a sort of a blank slate of a human being, a literary construct designed to bounce ideas off of in order to gauge the general reaction of the rest of the nation.

Well, to be honest, that sounded pretty idiotic to me. Why would anybody ask an opinion of a guy who had no opinions? I researched John Q. Public and found out he’s quite a nincompoop. Now I’m wondering why I’m bothering to interview such a jerk. He turned out to be a pretty nondescript looking guy, not memorable in any way. Now that I think of it I probably couldn’t describe the man if he had just robbed me at gunpoint, that’s how average he looked, in height and weight, brown hair and brown eyes, no distinguishing features at all. How odd. Well, I made the appointment so now I was committed, so here goes:

BC: “So, Mr. Public, thank you for agreeing to sit down with for an interview. I appreciate your time.”

JQP: “No problem. Mr. Dot Com.”

BC: “Call me Bob.”

JBQ: “Not bobcrespo?”

BC: “Boy, you really are an idiot, aren’t you, John Q. Public?”

JPQ: “Why do you say that? You think all the Publics are idiots?”

BC: “You have a family?”

JPQ: “Of course! My full name is actually John Quincy Public VII. My son is John Q. Public VIII. John Q. Publics have been a prominent part of America for many generations, I’ll have you know!”

BC: “I do know, that Mr. Public. I’m just wondering where you guys got eight women to produce your children. You and the previous six John Q’s have been famous for being ciphers, men with no opinions who apparently never read a newspaper, form any preferences or even think about much at all.”

JPQ: “Perfect husband material, Mr. Dot Com! I don’t know how much you know about women, sir, but we John Q’s know from long experience that a woman wants a husband to be the man she wishes him to be, not the man he actually is. Oh, they may pretend otherwise, but that’s what they want. If that were not so, then why do most women spend so much of their waking hours trying to change the man she married? My wife has no such problem. I simply be the person she wishes me to be. It eliminates a lot of problems in the marriage.

BC: “For her it does. Is that okay with you?”

JPQ: “I’m John Q. Public, a man with no personality, remember? And I come from a long line of John Q. Publics who had no personalities and they did alright. Opinions are overrated. John Q. Publics can be anything people want us to be. Wives, bosses, loan officers, anybody. We generally get what we want by seeming to be the person they expect us to be. Do you know that I make 500,000 dollars a year doing a job I don’t have a clue about? I just sort of act like I know what I’m doing. Being an idiot with no personality has some distinct advantages.”

BC: “And none of that bothers you? Don’t you ever want to speak your mind on anything?”

JQP: “Why ruin a good thing? My boss wants to get all blowhardy about some dumbass political position I agree with him a hundred percent. Next thing you know I’ve got a bigger office and a raise and a four day work week. My wife thinks everything Oprah says is gospel truth, and I agree wholeheartedly and we’re doing the horizontal hula that night. I need a loan for something and act like I’m doing the bank a favor for taking their money and I get more than I need, even pay a lower percentage than they advertise. The rest I invest for a tidy profit. And some political writer wants to interview me to back up his cockamamie ideas about what the public believes, I agree with him too. Then they pay me very well for my trouble.”

BC: “I’m not paying you!”

JQP: “Who cares? Nobody reads your stupid blog anyway.”

BC: “Then why bother letting me interview you?”

JPQ: “Even John Q. Public needs to not agree with somebody sometimes. You think it’s easy being a blank slate? It takes a hell of a lot of self control and personal denial. Discipline is like a rubber band, my friend; stretch it too far and it snaps! Once in a while I’ve got to let off some steam or I’ll go nuts. I’m sick of you writers using me to reinforce your idiotic opinions and then telling the world what smart fellows you are. And while I’m at it let me tell you that my boss is an insufferable gasbag and my wife is a shallow ninny without an original thought in her pin head!”

BC: “Well, Mr. John Q, it seems you’re having a fit of personality. You’re actually offering opinions!”

JPQ: “Feels good, too, let me tell you.”

BC: “And you’re not afraid you’ll be found out?”

JPQ: “Who’s the dope, Mr. Dot Com? Like they’ll ever read your blog! No, my secret is safe with you.”

BC: “So you do hold a lot of opinions.”

JPQ: “Who doesn’t? I’m a human being just like anyone else. I just don’t let them get in the way of making money, that’s all. There’s good money in being a blank slate. Beside, chocolate tastes just as good as vanilla when you come right down to it. Most things are like that, politics too. You think there’s a hell of a lot of difference between Republicans and Democrats? Guess again, bobcrespo,com!

BC: “You’re one cynical guy, Mr. Public.”

JPQ: “If you pay me to be then I am. If you want me to be naive and the money is right, then I’ll be naive. What do you want me to be?”

BC: “I want you to be out of here. You’re a bigger jerk than I thought you were. And I hope your boss and your wife read this interview.”

JPQ: “I’ll just deny it, say you made it all up and I never met you. Who are they going to believe, some marginal blog writer with an axe to grind or John Q. Public, all things to all men? There’s nobody better than me at convincing people I am what they want me to be, and believe me, my boss doesn’t want to believe he’s such a poor judge of character and my wife will never admit that her carefully constructed air castles are nothing but fluffy nonsense that I allow her to believe so I can get laid whenever I want. It is me that gives these people their identity by not having my own. They’re actually bigger ciphers than John Q. Public could ever be! Once I work my magic on them it will be you looking the fool, not me. Don’t worry about me.”

BC: “So nothing is anything to you?”

JPQ: “Not at all. Getting what I want is everything to me and to hell with anybody else. It’s a simple approach to life that I try not to clutter up with principles and ideals. Look how well it’s worked for a lot of the politicians in this country. Why argue with success?”

BC: “Maybe because principles and ideals are important?”

JPQ: “To who? You? Maybe that’s why you’re broke. All you writers are the same, trying to make sense out things that don’t make any sense, forming opinions about things you can’t change, railing against the unfairness of it all. Who cares about all that crap? Me, I go with the path of least resistance and rake in the dough. And I sleep like a baby.”

“BC: “What if it were you on the receiving end of some of the crap going on in this country and the world? Then what?”

JPQ: “But I’m not, and none of that will mean a damned thing to John Q. Public until that happens. And then I’ll just pretend to be on the side that’s winning and continue to make money and live the good life. Right and wrong are very elastic concepts to me. Whoever is in charge is right and they have my full support. Simple but effective. I don’t need a Plan B.”

BC: “Very simple. You’d make a good bureaucrat. For any form of government. You don’t ask a lot of questions.”

JPQ: “Questions usually come equipped with unpleasant answers.”

BC: “Like this interview…”

JPQ: “It was your idea to interview John Q. Public, not mine.”

BC: “Well, I guess I got my no-money’s worth. Good day to you sir.”

JPQ: “And to you too. That felt good! Now back to the business of looking after my own heinie.”

Another disappointing interview. Who knew John Q. Public wasn’t as malleable and compliant as he seems to be? Who figured him to be a smug, self-centered prick willing to say what others want to hear or pretend to believe anything that will ensure his continued comfort? So much for expectations, eh? I was never a big fan of asking other people to approve of what I have to say so I guess it serves me right for trying.

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