I am Carmen Petaccio. I was born in Point Pleasant New Jersey on October 23rd 1987 at 12:55 P.M.. I am twenty-three years old. I am sixty-nine inches tall and weigh approximately 160 pounds. I have hazel eyes. I have black hair. I currently reside in Davie Florida in Aunt Michelle’s cabana room. My first memory is attempting to murder my sister, Andrea Petaccio, with a golf club. My animus or power animal is a sasquatch. The best advice I ever received was “broads like shy guys” via my father, Brian “Big Gun” Petaccio. The last movie I watched was Scream 4 and the most prevalent emotion in me during said movie was: cheerful. The last book I read was The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht and the most prevalent emotion in me during said book was: awe. The last song I listened to was Kodachrome by Paul Simon and the most prevalent emotion in me during said song was: jubilation. I do not believe in God, but I believe in the permanence of the soul. Also, ghosts and aliens and ghosts that aliens become after they die. If I were elected President of the United States in a landslide win over Lady Gaga I would change so much that I’m going to require an separate blog post entirely to enumerate those changes. If given the option I would trade lives with no one, and if I had to, Justin Bieber. My three dinner guests living or dead would be: David Lynch, Memom, and Ernest Hemingway. I have too many re-doable moments in my life to adequately narrow down redoing. My favorite movies of all time are: The Royal Tenenbaums, [Synecdoche, New York], American Psycho, Happiness, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. My favorite books of all time are: INFINITE JEST by David Foster Wallace, Something Happened by Joseph Heller, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson. My favorite albums of all time are Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, The Bends by Radiohead, Frances the Mute by The Mars Volta, Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan, and Tomboy by Panda Bear (mmhhmm). I always say bless you when people sneeze around me, even strangers.
Exegesis: Few of life’s acts are as solipsistic and unnecessary as taking pictures of yourself and putting them on the internet, and I assure the whole world that an inordinate amount of inner rummaging-through was undergone by me with respect to this picture and my opting to post it here. The wailing babies of my self-consciousness have been up all night and pissy for nearly two months, basically. Under different circumstances I would have chosen a picture of say, anything but myself. At the same time, though, I am objectively adorable, have been countless times told by my mother that I am the most handsome boy in school. I will gladly forward testimonials to the fact to any disbelieving party, and apologize to anyone that I offended with my face.
Interview Series Day 28: Carmen Petaccio
Brian Tirpak: If you were the owner of a bar, what would that bar be like?
CP: In my mind, I see a skyscraper, roughly a thousand stories tall with an equivalent amount of subterranean floors, more bar than any mortal person could feasibly live long enough to see all of, more bar than I can feasibly describe here. What I can envision is this: floors will contain down-to-the-molecule reproductions of Captain Hook’s Pirate Bar, my condominium, the Power Ranger’s headquarters, Riggers, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the nine circles of hell from Dante’s Inferno, the Mojave desert, the Hindenberg, Bamboo, Karma, the Atlantic Ocean, a one-hundred acre trampoline, the Eight Wonders of the World, a Burlington Coat Factory, Shaq’s house, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Dusk, The Louvre, as well as multiple Quiznos, Firehouse Subs, and Taco Bells. The bar would offer only two drink options: vodka gimlets and Shock Top. Not even ice cubes. Ice cubes have no business diluting the gimlets. Every bartender would be an animatronic reproduction of a famous celebrity. They will be tirelessly cordial and accept no tips. There would be no cover charge and no exit. The bar would be called nothing.
Agnes “Noni” Ricci: Where do you [Carmen Petaccio] see yourself in twenty years ?
CP: I do my best to live my life second-to-second, but I suppose in twenty years I’ll be disastrously bald, slightly overweight, trapped in a marriage that becomes more loveless by the day, a marriage that has given rise to too many children that have already begun to resent me, and I will resent them right back. I will clean gutters and replace vacuum cleaner bags and my guts will churn with the bile of my unrealized dreams, the silent laughter of the people that never became people in my life, my own mediocrity. My life will only hint at life. It will be an exercise in repression, delusion. On Christmas, I’ll dress up as Santa and my children will make confetti of the gifts I took hours wrapping and villainously laugh in their matching pajamas and hug my knees and I will only be able to think, “Who are these tiny strangers? Where did I go wrong? There is no Santa. There is no God. There is only this house, this prison of unlocked doors that I can’t bring myself to step through.” I will stare at my slowly dying Christmas tree and the fading lights I’ve draped upon it and realize that I am that Christmas tree, that my wife, my house, my children, they are my christmas lights. I am gradually shedding what little life I ever had, ensnaring myself with farcical approximations of existence that, in the end, will only serve to garrote me. After Christmas, they will be stored away, to await the next tree, stolen like me from youth’s sunlit forest and filed here, forever, and I will be dragged to the gutter to await whatever comes next, hoping that that whatever is kinder, gentler than my life prior and knowing that that whatever is anything but.
Greg Zuk: What will your first novel be about?
CP: At this point, I only have two main story shells. I do have titles, though. Complex traffics in the intersecting lives of a Floridian condominium complex. Invention as a Kind of Saving is about a family cursed with magically-real diseases and the inventor that marries into it.
Michelle Farro: If the ghost of David Foster Wallace came to your bedside and told you that in thirteen seconds he would disappear, what would you say to him?
CP: I’d simply shake his hand and apologize for never getting the chance to while he was alive.
Kyle Kraig: Would you rather be an X-Man or a character from Captain Planet?
CP: I would be Gambit.
Jenna Otiepka Heffern: How could seventh grade me not want to go steady with seventh grade you, especially considering how incredible and handsome you were even at that formative age?
CP: How the hell should I know you’re you.
Angela “Banjo” Lombardi: Since you are the greatest fiction writer of your generation, where will you be in your writing career by the time you’re thirty ?
CP: Hopefully: I’ll have gotten my master’s thesis published, and maybe have a story or two in a major magazine. Most likely: I’ll be posting and over-analyzing memes on BPoFD. My all is going towards the hopefully, though.
Anthony Rombardo: Were you being pretentious, or did you really want to use the word sobriquet on your website?
CP: I was being pretentious.
Chris McGowan: If you had to marry one of the interviewees, who would you marry, where would it be, and which other interviewees would not be invited to the wedding, if any?
CP: I would marry Michelle of course because I’m obviously in love with her. I would marry her in her basil garden and everyone would be invited.
Alena “Laney Boggs” Crescenzo: How does it make you feel that every time I read your blog I have to use the dictionary widget on my mac?
CP: Conflicted. As a writer, my only true flashlight when writing is what I enjoy reading, and I, for whatever reason, enjoy learning new words when I’m reading, but not everyone is me, and I’ll do my best to limit my indulgence.
Anna Karenina Bodenhamer: How is Kermit the Frog existential?
Stefano “Steffy” Daneri: If you could write the screenplay for any book you have read, which one would it be (and it cannot be INFINITE JEST)?
CP: Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.
Theresa Petaccio: If you had to change one trait of yours, which would it be?
CP: I would make myself better looking.
Brian “Big Gun” Petaccio: In as little depth as possible, where do you see yourself in the future?
CP: I see the word FERRARI in the brightest red neon against the darkest black night.
Sarah Ramirez: Aside from David Bowie Petaccio, what would you name our three sons?
CP: Archibald Petaccio, Gnarls Barkley Petaccio, Clyde Frazier Petaccio.
Justin “Garber” Garber: What national holiday would you like to create, and which one would you like to eliminate?
CP: Festivus. I love the feats of strength. I would eliminate Labor Day to institute Endless Summer.
Will “The Zurich” Zurich: What would be your ideal heaven and your most feared idea of hell?
CP: Heaven: See Question 1. Hell: See Question 2.
Enrico “Rico” Caruso: At some point in the near future all women become inexplicably sterile. You are the last surviving woman on earth with viable ovaries. All men have moved to Chris McGowan’s Lunar colony (He and Sam Rockwell invented technologies to create synthetic Gravity). The only two suitors left on earth are George and Kyle. Which man saves humanity?
CP: George, his penis is gargantuan.
Sam Tacon: Wanna go out some time?
CP: No. I don’t involve myself with flakes.
Dahyun Lee: If you had the opportunity to make one movie-unlimited budget and unlimited resources-what would that movie be about? And who would be on the soundtrack?
CP: I would make a scene-for-scene remake of The Bucket List with myself and Morgan Freeman as opposed to Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, except the movie would be a documentary and we really do everything, including inject ourselves with terminal cancer. The only song on the soundtrack would be “The Whale Song” by Modest Mouse.
Nick “New School” Ray-Keeffe: What is your favorite song lyric of all time and why?
CP: Rightfully, I should devote an entire post to this, but superficially my favorite song lyrically is “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” by Bob Dylan, and my favorite individual lyric of all time is “Peel all of your layers off, I want to eat your artichoke heart” from “Atoms For Peace” by Thom Yorke. It’s simply a perfect lyric, concise verbally but expansive mentally, has imagery that is striking, otherworldly, yet entirely relatable, and it says something so, so basic and commonplace in a novelly beautiful way, which is all all great writing does.
Charles “Hamburgers” Sweeny: 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.
CP: This requires a whole post.
“Ryan” “Rudnicki”: I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for mystery and tan skin. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don’t know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip[?]
CP: I’m right there with you.
Eugene “Genesar” Sardoni: How did lesbianism affect The Crimean War?
CP: I don’t know what the Crimean War is.
Austin “Ausar” Sardoni: If Rolando was a character in the 1999 film “Big Daddy,” would he be in the scene where they pee on the brick wall? Why or why not?
CP: No, that scene was pivotal to the bond formed between Adam Sandler’s character and the little boy, and introducing a circular, animated, giant ball into the mix would make little sense in context of the film’s exaggerated, but nevertheless real reality.
Taylor “T” Sardoni: When you and Sarah get married, can I be best man?
Andrea Petaccio: Why are you never serious? It’s rude.
CP: It’s a defense mechanism and I’m hilarious.
Carmen Petaccio: Why do you do this yourself [me, you]?
CP: The pursuit of knowledge.