Brief Interview

A discussion with a stranger about her family.

How old are your parents?

They're actually both gone; they both died in their 60's.

Were they tall?

Always. My father was at least 6'3", and he had his clothes custom made. He could pick me up with one hand, until I was about 11 and I got a little chubby. My mother was 5'11".

What kind of games did you play?

Games? Not too many, really. Basketball. We never had board games, other than like Monopoly. Hide and seek with my brother. Or we'd make up games. You know the way you have ten thousand rules for everything? We used to go build things. I built a lot of doll houses with my dad in his shop.

Did you play Monopoly?

I liked Parcheesi a little, but board games, card games, are boring. I mean, you could be doing something.

Did you ever notice how the best games are all about touching other people? The only popular game that lets you touch someone is Twister. We didn't play that; I didn't play it until college, and then you'd be drunk and someone is grabbing your ass. But in theory it's a great game. When we were kids we used to goof around a lot, like when my dad would stretch out his boots on the coffee table and I would come up and climb on his legs, or he'd run my brother around on his shoulders. Or just splashing water on each other when you go swimming.

What about with your Mom?

You couldn't jump on her. She liked to pinch us, though. You'd lead up to it; she'd say, "here comes a pinch." And you'd make a face and pretend to be horrified, and she'd pinch your cheek a little, more of a squeeze. Dad was really physical; we were always pretending to box and fight. He played football in college, stuff like that. We had a basketball court out back, and since we were all tall we were all pretty good. My brother is 6'5".

What was your favorite thing to do with your Dad?

There was one thing I really liked. We used to play it until I got too old, like 10 or 11. My dad would stretch on the ground, put his legs up, and I would lean over so that his feet were pressing into my stomach. Then I would hold his hands, and he would lift me with his legs into the air, and then he would let go of my arms, and I was flying.




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

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Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

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