5 Minute Interview: Chase Reeves
Alvin: Who are you, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
Chase: I’m Chase Reeves, I’m the director of marketing at a tech startup in Portland, OR. I say “tech startup” for three reasons: 1. It sounds sexy, 2. The logistics of the company are not sexy, 3. I try to be sexy whenever possible. Regardless, this “sexy” job is my day job… 9-5.
Alongside the day job I also design and develop websites and run a blog for new dads. I’m trying to figure out what in the world I want to do in the future, you know, like, for a “living.” But for now these are the things that I consider “labor” in the best sense of the word.
That’s all the “for moneys” stuff… when I’m not doing that I’m smoking a cigar, playing with my dastardly 2 year old son, making some cocktails, and trying to make my wife and friends laugh (I’m *that* guy).
Alvin: Pick any man in the world, who would be the most influential to you and why?
Chase: The most influential man in my life up to now… for better or worse I’ve got to say my dad. BUT there’s some necessary clarification here. My dad and I did *not* get along all that swimmingly for most of my life. I don’t remember much about my developing years, but all through Jr. High and High School I basically hated the guy. He didn’t hit me or harm me in any way; he loved me a ton (which I can see now), but, suffice it to say, he wasn’t good at being a dad for a long time (like so many of us); I don’t hold it against him – we all suck at this at first!
So, how did he influence me? I think he’s fundamentally responsible for a lot of my personality… not only the genes, but also the insecurities and concerns that sort of grew in me organically as a result of our relationship. I’ve been forced to wrestle with those insecurities over the years, and I’m really grateful for the resulting make-up of my personality. I love the limelight, I’m great on stage and in a crowd, I’m confident in board room meetings and sales calls, I’m actively trying to build a life of substance, and I have horrible love handles… all of these are my dad’s fault. And that would make him the most influential person to me. (and I should mention that my relationship with my dad now is gangbusters, much better than it was when I was a punk).
And if you want to go the non-family route… I’d say someone like Bill Murray, Robin Williams, or Eddie Murphy. Those are guys I idolized when I was young… though I don’t like cocaine, so I kinda drifted away from them over time. However, nowadays, these guys are still legends to me.
Alvin: What do you wish to accomplish 1 year from today?
Chase: One year from today I hope I’ve created some matterful stuff. I could spend my time catering my life to sell things and make a buck here or there, or I could build something that the people I admire really dig – a book, a site, a design, a post, etc. I’m listening to a lot of Merlin Mann (a current-day idol of mine) and he speaks well on this stuff… building something you care about, building something good, getting outside of the 4 hour work week mentality and inside your own gut. I think there’s a way to sort of center myself over myself, build something out of that place and make enough money to support my family (and my gin habit).
So, yea, a year from now I hope I have created or have been creating the kind of thing the guys I admire would admire.
Alvin: How are you different as a father with your child then your father was with you?
Chase: Good question… see the answer to #2 Well, my main goal is to be curious about my kid. I think the thing I wanted most was for my dad to be interested in my life and to refrain from offering advice at least some of the time. I don’t blame the guy, but everything I was doing and getting into (punk music, guitar, drums, soccer, etc)… he had something to say about all of it, and unfortunately the net effect was that I never wanted to talk to him about what I was getting into. We just didn’t talk about things, questions, passions, etc., and the relationship suffered for it. Like I said, I don’t blame him – I think every single dad defaults to that kind of thing… it takes a lot of work to break that mold.
My goal is that when my son is 15, when he’s in the early throws of that adolescent “whatever dad I hate you and want to be with my friends all the time” stage, that I could ask him something like, “so, what are you geeking out about these days?” and his response would simply be, “well…” and actually think about the answer, as if he cared what I thought, as if he trusts me to listen, as if we have that kind of relationship. I don’t even care about what he says next… if he engages with me in a conversation like that, I haven’t fk’ed it all up. That’s my dream… I hope I don’t f’k it alup.
Alvin: What has been your largest step to manhood?
Chase: Well, there’s masturbation, there’s marriage, there’s having a baby, and then there’s life after you’ve had a baby. All are critical. Though I think masturbation and life after you’ve had a baby have the most fallout; that’s where you can really get in trouble. For the sake of cleanliness, I’ll go with the latter.
Life after a baby, after the little raisin phase, after those wonderfully magical days in the hospital and back at home… when the logistics of the rest of your life start to come into perspective, come into focus, and beat the sh*t out of you… that’s probably gotta take the cake as “largest step to manhood”… but only if your new life doesn’t choke you out. The smell of rotting diapers, the absence of nights out, the distancing of friends who feel uncomfortable around your responsibility… if you survive this and make it till your kid’s 3 or so? You’re a man.
Alvin: What has been the best advice you received about being a man?
Chase: I think I have two answers to this one, a big one and a small one. The small one is: spend as much time as possible with with your infant on your bare chest… get a ton of that skin to skin bonding with your baby. Remember, we’re not weird, like moms, who let these things live inside them for a while like some alien… We’re better than that, more clean. We have the bare-chested tummy time, that’s our time to bond and prove to these kids that they want us around for the long-haul.
And the big one… lets see… it’s honestly – and this is going to sound bad – it’s advice I get from myself – and this is going to sound bad because of that “egomaniacal” element, but also for another reason – It’s advice I think I get from that part of me that I associate a lot of the insecurity with – oh, this should be good – and it may sound a little dirty, but I mean this seriously – oh god, I can’t wait to hear this! – it’s this: Don’t be a Wuss.
I don’t mean that in a barbed-wire tattoo having, gun toting, “lift with your back” kind of way… I’m not telling myself to sack up and bench-press more… I’m telling myself to quit being a wuss, get off my lazy ass and make love to my wife, or do the g’dam dishes, or put work away and actually engage my kid… etc.
Again, I apologize for the language on this one, but I mean it. Being a wuss is the thing I’m most afraid of… there’s this drill sergeant in my head yelling at me about it as I write this. And I’m trying to co-opt that voice for good. Because it’s not just about doing the dishes, it’s about being a man…
I watch this one guy on American Idol, and he’s an awesome singer, tons of talent, a great look, but it’s like he’s not willing to assume a masculine posture on stage… I’m not talking a “hey don’t look at my girl or I’ll kick your ass” posture, I’m talking a “I know who I am, I’m here for me, I’mma do my thing” kind of posture. I don’t know if that makes sense… I’m still working on it, but maybe a way to put it is: being a wuss is not knowing or being able to accept who you are. So, yea, don’t be a wuss.
Chase Reeves… signing off. Thanks so much for listening to my crazies!0