Charles “Hamburgers” Sweeny is the most Hamburgers person I know. For one that has never met Charlie, experienced his vibrancy and mania, that descriptor is meaningless, but for the lucky consortium that have had the pleasure, it holds as much meaning as words can. The facial expressions that he produces when playing geetah are as intangibly beautiful as anything in nature. In the ninth grade, a monumental snow storm left Charlie and Georgie Gutierrez trapped within the confines of my house for nearly a week, with scant supplies and scanter resistances to cabin fever. It was one of the best near-weeks of my life. I have played a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” with two Sweenys as a rhythm section. He and I came so close to goading Fleet Foxes into a full banter encore. Most affectingly, Charlie introduced me to the sincerest sculptor of my adult life: the vodka gimlet. I cannot cheers him enough. He is hilarious, skeletal, discerning, girly-haired, girly-panted. He is many things, but, more than anything, he is Hamburgers.
Interview Series Day 22: Charles “Hamburgers” Sweeny
CP: Where and when were you born? Where do you currently reside?
CS: I was born in Porstmouth, New Hampshire on July 12, 1988 in the middle of a record hot summer. I currently live in Venice Beach, California.
CP: This is gold. Journalistic gold.
CP: What is your first memory?
CS: I have this memory that’s sort of difficult to describe. I don’t know where I was, but it was on the shore of this small lake underneath a tree with large roots sticking out of the water. My Mom was holding me above water and I remember watching my sister wading next to me. I think it was probably in New Hampshire or something. Definitely the northeast.
CP: I think you were definitely by a lake.
CS: By a lake, in the lake, in and around the lake.
CP: Oh, the wonder that is memory. Memory gold.
CS: Oh, the wonder that is the band Yes. “In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky, they stand there.”
CP: Yes Yes.
CP: What is your animus or power animal?
CP: The mythical nymph that has eight vaginas?
CS: No. They can change shape and color, live in the ocean, and imagine how much stink finger you could play if you had 8 arms!?!?
Note: At most, eight simultaneous sessions of stink finger.
CP: What was the gayest moment of your life so far?
CS: Making out with my roommate Panda. Definitely the gayest.
CP: You live with a panda bear?
CS: I used to but the authorities were notified.
CP: When you started, getting gay with it?
CS: His real name is Anthony Mai.
CP: This is a real true person, with feelings and arms?
CP: Even gayer.
CP: What is the last song you listened to and how did it affect you emotionally?
CS: I’m listening to Tyler, The Creator’s album Bastard and I guess it makes me pretty fired up. I don’t know what emotion that would be. Mixture of Anger and Excitement?
CP: I just texted Obama’s Emotions Czar, and fired up is a recognized emotion.
The Sentence Completion Portion of the Interview
CP: My name is Burgers, whilst foraging for berries, I begin to hear two distinct sounds in the distance. One is a child, clearly in distress, another is a sultry female voice in the grips of orgasm. I quickly dash towards _______.
CS: The chick. The kid can get raised by wolves.
CP: My name is Burgers, and the best sandwich I ever had was _______.
CS: Either my own homemade tomato basil hummus/avacado/tomato/sea salt and cracked pepper on toasted whole grain wheat bread, OR the Santa Fe Chick’n (fake chicken) sandwich from Veggie Grill.
CP: My name is Burgers, in my previous life I was _________.
CS: The Dali Llama.
CP: He’s still alive?
CS: That one is a fake. They didn’t find me at birth.
CP: My name is Burgers and I just won a billion Canadian dollars I’m totally going to______.
CS: Pay off all loans for my Education. Then I’d buy my parents a house in Sea Girt, NJ, one in Santa Barbara, and one in France. I don’t know what else I’d do with that money, because I don’t live expensively and I like my life now. I’d probably just save a lot of it until I could figure out a good thing to do with it. I’d donate some to Nader’s campaign for 2012.
CP:My name is Burgers, and if I would love to fuck ______, murder ______, and marry _______.
CS: Blank 1:Sarah Palin. Blank 2: Tyra Banks. Blank 3: Oprah.
The Basically Personal Questions Portion of the Interview
CP: What four brands best describe you?
CS: Insight, KIA, Mac, Bumblebee Tuna.
CP: Do you believe in God? Why not?
CS: I don’t believe in a conscious higher power or anything that could have/would have ever made decisions. Innocent little kids die every day because of AIDS. There is no god.
CP: What stereotype do you believe best describes the demographic it maligns?
CS: White people can’t dance well. GOD AWFUL! I wish I were black, so I could bring the funk.
CP: What is your third-choice dream job?
CS: 1. Professional traveling free surfer. 2. Photojournalist 3. Journalist for National Geographic.
CP: What is a professional traveling free surfer? That sounds like four separate jobs.
CS: Most professional surfers are by contract required to compete in contests around the world, but I hate surfing competitively. Free surfers basically just travel around to perfect wave set-ups with a photographer and they get paid to surf however they want.
CP: What aspect of accounting do you most envy and why?
CS: I mean it’s cool to know the math of everything so you can keep better track of funds, but those cocksuckers are always hiding resources and making political plays.
CS: I envy their math skills?
CP: You have been elected The President of the United States in a landslide win over your alter ego, Archibald Saltwater-Taffy, in the 2016 election. What policies would you enact? Which would you discontinue?
CS: I would put an end to the Two Party System and outlaw factory farming. Then I would destroy all but 20 of our Nuclear Weapons. Then I would move the courts to Prosecute G.W. Bush for war crimes and murder.
CP: Must get Nader in the White House.
CP: What viral video best describes you and why?
CS: The easy answer would be “Charlie Bit my Finger,” but I’m not going with that one.
CP: You’re more of a road-not-taken kind of guy.
CS: Obviously, I wear tight pants and have long hair. Nobody does that.
CP: Girls have been doing that for forever what are you talking about.
CP: If given the option, would you trade lives with someone else? If so, who?
CS: I’d trade lives with Mubarak the day before leaving office. Because that nigga was like, “Fuck it you bunch of whiners you can bitch all you want but I’m chiiilllliiinnn”!!!! I want to know what that having balls that size feels like.
CP: Three dinner guests living or dead who would they be?
CS: John Lennon, Bill Hicks, Malcolm X.
CP: Redo one moment in your life?
CS: There was this one time I was super mean to my brother Ben when I was in high school and I wish I could take it back. We’re both really good friends now and he forgives me.
Note: Sure he does.
The Word Association Portion of the Interview
The Favorite Anythings Portion of the Interview
CP: What’s your favorite way to forget the pains of existence?
CS: Listen to Helplessness Blues. Duh!
CP: Is that a scene in Black Snake Moan?
CP:What is your favorite song lyric of all time?
CS: They’re always momentary, but I really like “She said I kissed like her brother but I close my eyes” from Driftin by Deepakalypse.
CP: Who is your hero?
CS: John Lennon. He was right: War is Over (if you want it). I think the politicians learned from that and then in turn learned to hide war and atrocity from our eyes. He had faith in people to make the right choices. I go through moments of that.
CP: What’s your favorite part of the male anatomy?
CS: Chest/shoulders. They give us a better center of gravity than the female anatomy provides.
Charlie’s Question for Carmen’s End of the Month Self-Interview
Q22: If you could only spend one more day/night with every one of your interviewees, what would that day/night entail? Money and boundaries are insignificant here, and you gotta do one for everyone.