Alvin: Who are you, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
Jim: Short answer: a busy dad doing his darndest. I figure I can’t ever fail if I describe myself in that manner. If you want the long answer, you might need a degree in therapy first because you might as well get paid for it. Let’s go with the medium answer. I’m a full time working dad trying to balance out hunting bacon with building Star Destroyers out of Legos, poop explosions and date night. A Jedi master of all trades. What do I enjoy most out of it? The variety. I have to put on so many different hats in the span of a week that it keeps things interesting. And all of these lives cross paths in the most amusing ways. For example, I just wrote the most significant business development proposal of my professional life last week, and in it, I referenced Googling dinosaur facts. A few years ago, my son and I discussed the benefits of providing a conference room in my kid’s pirate castle. My life may be tiring as hell, but it’s never boring. (cartoons I draw in my son’s lunchbox each day)
Alvin: Pick any man in the world as your role model who would it be and why?
Jim: Dexter. Did you just back away slowly? Ok fine, Alton Brown. I love to cook and I love to teach people stuff. I’ve also always dreamed of being on TV. He does all three. But so do a million other people. Why is he my role model? Because he was a regular dude like me who had a ridiculously unattainable dream and a bright idea. And he did something about it. He quit his day job, enrolled in culinary school, started at the bottom of the restaurant industry and acquired the credibility and experience to film his pilot. And it became a crazy wild success. I admire that level of motivation and dedication, and only hope that one day I will have the balls to do the same, whether it’s a cooking show, business venture, a book or whatever.
Alvin: What do you wish to accomplish 1 year from today?
Jim: 40 unbroken pull-ups. I’m realistic. Life is about setting tangible goals, and 12 months isn’t a lot of time to change the world. Plus, I work 50 hours a week. Physicality has always been central to my life (I did Muay Thai/Martial Arts/MMA for 15 years), and those goals are easier to chart than abstract ones. A fat pay raise would be nice too. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.
Alvin: What has been your greatest experience so far as a dad?
Jim: So many… but one of them has to be teaching my boy to ride a bike. It was an endeavor that took two entire days and in my eyes, it symbolized everything about fatherhood. I had to harness my kid’s desire and turn it into a reservoir of motivation that he could draw from throughout a day and a half of failure. I had to smile and encourage him in the face of my own exhaustion — that first day was pretty much me running with him, while trying to hold the bike up. I had to let go when I thought he was ready, and be there to catch him when it turns out he wasn’t. But when he took that first pedal and stayed up, followed by another, then another, then another, I got to share in the sheer elation that he felt. This was the first thing we accomplished together. Something that neither of us could have done on our own. And that is what fatherhood is all about. Also, the back pain. Oh, the back pain!
Alvin: What has been your largest step to manhood?
Jim: Selling my beloved truck. Last year, my wife and I decided that the public school that our son was enrolled in wasn’t good for him. We bit the bullet and enrolled him in private school. A few years back, I had bought a beautiful Chevy Silverado dually. Although it was no longer my daily driver and just sat in the driveway (6 mpg at today’s gas prices meant that I’d have to be clinically insane to drive that thing), I had grand plans for it involving me. my son, tons of fishing equipment and a large boat in the future. However, the present demanded about $14,000, and that truck was worth that much. So I sold it. This was the first time I made a tangible, significant sacrifice for the sake of investing in the future. To me, that symbolized that life was no longer about me, but something bigger. When you realize that, you have become a man.
Alvin: What has been the best advice you received about being a man?
Jim: No one has ever given me advice on how to be a man. I wish my dad hadn’t passed away so early into my journey into fatherhood. I bet he would have had something wise to say after giving me a few years to test the waters myself. I’ve pretty much been winging it the entire way. Improv works for comedy and blues, and those are pretty much the building blocks of parenting so I figure I’ll just keep plugging away until somebody claps.