Questions for: FRED
[Fred to M. Lee:] A LOT! Heh. (Do we have a unit of measure for "valuing"? If so, tell me what it is and I'll rate my value on your scale!) I value it for its own sake, first off, because even if a lot of the crap you learn in high school and/or college is, ya know, CRAP, you have to put up with a lot of crap in real life too and school is supposed to prepare you. I believe a person has to prove he or she is worthy of it by taking the test drive, saying "Hey, world, I can take whatever you dish out and EXCEL at it!" And secondly, I value education because I think it's the hard-working, educated, honest and dedicated people who deserve to get the best jobs. These are the people running society. I want the people running society to be well-versed in the best knowledge humanity has collected.
[Fred to M. Lee:] I'm not sure what defines a "starving artist" either. Really, the only people I think are "a drag on society" are people who expect everyone else to provide for them or give them a handout when they have the ability to contribute. You're a child? Okay, you get to be supported. You have mental or physical issues that prevent you from getting a job (or make it really hard)? Okay, you get a break. But if you think you're just too good to work at the fast food place, or you think that the government owes you money because you keep having kids on welfare, or you're just damn lazy, you need a kick in the bum. That said, I don't think artists fall into this category. I admire artists--partly because I'm not very artistic myself in any of the disciplines--but even though they're contributing, if they're "starving" they may think their art is worth more than it is. They've got to be realistic as well as creative or they can become a drag on society too.
[Fred to SHO!:] She was almost sixteen and I was nineteen.
[Fred to SHO!:] "Wow, she's about my age and she has a JOB!" That was my first impression: I always thought my high school life was a lot to handle what with the whole go to school/do homework/worry about the future business, and then I saw this young woman dealing with all this plus helping out in her parents' flower shop after school. I'd heard that in immigrant families they sometimes have a really high work ethic and bring their whole families into it even if they're kids sometimes, but I didn't know how true that was. I was just really impressed that she seemed so confident but looked so young. I wanted to know who she was.
[Fred to SHO!:] Oh, well we used to have really long talks that almost seemed like debates in intensity except we were almost always on the same side. I loved being around her but she was so coy most of the time--I couldn't tell if she was just being friendly or if any of that passion I picked up was for me (not just the conversation). I pulled this dumb prank on her where I pretended I wanted her to recommend a bouquet for my sweetheart for Valentine's Day, and after I bought the flowers I went and put them on her door and wrote "from your secret admirer." I figured at least if she wasn't touched, she'd think I was funny. But it worked like a charm, and shortly after that we started dating and it was really a gradual realization that . . . "oh my God, I'm never going to run out of things to say to this person, and she's not tired of me yet." And even though she's serious and I'm a meatball head, we get along. I guess I "knew" she was the one when we started talking about our future plans and we both took it for granted that we'd be getting a place together. It seemed obvious. I'm so lucky to have her.
[Fred to SHO!:] I'm a big fan of spaghetti, actually. With lots of Parmesan cheese. I LOVE when we have that with just plain white bread coated with lots of butter.
[Fred to SHO!:] Well, I think Lissa Lee is a pretty lady, but I recognize that I think that because she reminds me of Meri Lin. They do look a lot alike. (Imagine that! They're related!) I do prefer Meri Lin's long hair, and the perky style Lissa Lee wears kinda goes with her personality's peppiness too. I don't think I'd be a good match with another high-energy person. I like Meri Lin's quieter passion.
[Fred to SHO!:] Without a doubt. She is one of the major reasons I have for living. I wouldn't change it for the world.
[Fred to SHO!:] Don't see why not. I call it "Experiments In Uncombed Hair and Crooked Smiles, Part at-least-60 of Who Knows How Many." You should have heard my mother complain. "FREDERICK! WHY CAN'T YOU SMILE NORMAL AND COMB YOUR HAIR BEFORE A PHOTO FOR GOD'S SAKE! LOOK HOW WELL-BEHAVED AND NICE DOROTHY AND CAROL LOOK IN THEIRS!" (Notice she doesn't mention my brother Art. He did the same thing I did and always got yelled at.)