Interview w/ Mike McGee • Poet

SM: When was the last time you went on an unexpected detour?

MM: April 4, 2002. It was the first time I hung out with the woman who would become my girlfriend later that summer. Her name was Maranda and we were headed to the beach. I hadn’t ever really been on a date before and neither had she and we both thought seeing the beach would be a good idea. We talked and walked for hours, but when we got back on the road we got lost and drove throughout the city for about two hours looking for the freeway, taking what was probably 30 different detours. We never got bored throughout the process of being lost because it became a good excuse to keep talking and getting to know each other.

SM: Who or what would you prefer to introduce you to whatever waits for us in the afterlife?

MM: Don Knotts or a talking bowl of chocolate pudding. I would never believe tapioca.

SM: Which would you rather have, a bag or money or a bag of answers to all of your questions?

MM: Money. I’m more inclined to work for my answers. I’d feel bad not learning answers. I don’t care if I didn’t earn the money.

SM: Please contribute an anecdote to our growing collection.

MM: One time, when I was employed at Kinko’s Copies on the graveyard shift, a college student came in late to apply the finishing touches to a school writing project he was working on last minute. I helped him with computer stuff and some printing. The night shift is a great time for sleepy banter between two people who both don’t care to be at Kinko’s at that moment, only I was the one getting paid to be there.
Somehow, probably through me, the topic of spoken word came up and his interest was piqued. I asked him if he had ever attended a Poetry Slam, which I frequented quite often. He said that he hadn’t but that he had a friend who had been to several poetry slams throughout the Bay Area. This friend of his had bought a poet’s CD from one of the shows and played it often for him and their friends. He recommended that I check out a “really funny poet” named Mike McGee. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had heard my stuff before. He might not have believed me in my uniform anyway. Such a rare event is it that one’s art is recommended to themself that I didn’t want to burst any bubbles.

SM: If you were heard to exclaim,” Get away from that!”, what would you likely be referring to?

MM: The TV remote when Family Guy, Bill Hicks, or The Simpsons are on.

SM: Please recommend a four word combination to lift a curse from some golden coins we’ve discovered.

MM: Go away stupid curse.

SM: What’s to be done with the flatterers and frauds of the world?

MM: They should be sent to an island to flatter and fraud each other. We should fill all of their cupboards, drawers and pockets with the sucked out fat of the now pretty. We should berate them with mumblings and gibberish. We should sell them to the meek. We should not allow them entrance to 7/11s and Circle Ks. We should always point and laugh at them, especially in public places. We should forgive them and show them how wrong they’ve been. We should teach them to read and send them to college.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

MM: Having been born with Spina Bifida, I was in the hospital quite a bit as a child. At nine years old, I resided at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. for spinal surgery. Most of the children in my ward were cancer patients. They went to the playroom a lot. I never did. There was this one nurse who was a very big, young, black man—from Texas, I believe. Sadly, I can’t remember his name, but I would joke with him and the nurses. They really liked me. I tried hard not to develop friendships with the other kids in the hospital because they were dying and I wasn’t. My nurse-friend got mad at me one day and explained that I needed to help the other kids laugh through their pain. He was right and I’ve never forgotten that. I went to the playroom everyday from that point on. I do what I do today because of that specific moment in my childhood. It changed my life for good.

SM: When was the last time you felt real, undeniable joy?

MM: Nearly everytime I connect with an individual person on an above average level, or with an entire audience of any size. I’m pretty social. I live for it really. I would throw in the time I lost my virginity, which was undeniably awesome, but due to improper timing, the radio station we were listening to decided to play Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville”, making that moment slightly less joyful than it should have been. So, yeah, the social thing is number one in my book.
Damn you, Jimmy Buffet.