I’ve always thought I would enjoy being a journalist. Not the type that has to weather the elements every morning while trying to look happy, but the type that gets to sit in a comfy chair and ask people shockingly personal questions without seeming nosey. Picture Barbara Walters or Oprah. They both have an amazing ability to pry without offending their interviewees. It’s magical! And when’s the last time you saw either of them standing up during an interview? Talk about a dream job!
I recently decided to hold my very first interview. My main goals for this interview were to help my subject tell his or her story and to practice my looking concerned skills.
My mother was kind enough to be my test subject. Unfortunately for her, she was not aware of this. The following conversation may or may not have actually taken place. But probably not.
CC: Good evening, Patti. Thank you for sitting down with me tonight.
Mom: You’re welcome, I guess. I don’t really understand the point of this. And why are you calling me by my first name?
CC: Patti, this is a professional interview. I have to call you that.
Mom: Professional?! Carly, you’re wearing pajamas and eating a bag of candy. You have half a gummy worm hanging out of your mouth.
Mom: And why are you wearing glasses? They don’t even have lenses in them.
CC: These are my journalist glasses. Do you even watch TV?! You know what, fine. Let’s just move on. I’d like to journey back in time for a bit. 30 long years ago, you gave birth to your third child. Can you tell me more about that?
Mom: As we both know, you are my third child.
CC: Interesting. Patti, give me your hands.
CC: I can see you’re feeling vulnerable. It will make you feel more comfortable.
Mom: I’m not holding your hands. They’re sweaty. What is wrong with you?
CC: I’m now going to stare at you for a moment so that we can have a shared bonding experience. Then you’ll trust me and be more open to spilling your guts.
Mom: Ok, like I was saying…your father and I were very happy when you were born.
CC: I see. And at what moment did you realize I was your favorite child?
Mom: We didn’t have favorites. We loved you all equally.
CC: Patti. You can be honest here. This is a safe place. Perhaps you can tell us about all those times you would rock me, smile and say “third time’s a charm?”
Mom: I never did anything of the sort! Where do you get this stuff?
CC: So, how does it feel to have three kids in their 30’s? Do you miss hearing the pitter patter of little feet?
Mom: I’m ok with it. I have grandchildren now, so I’m happy.
CC: Um, that’s not really the answer I was looking for.
Mom: What? You were all great kids, but I’m in a different phase of life now.
CC: Mom! I brought a box of tissues! You’re supposed to cry!
Mom: Carly, I can’t cry on command. Why do you want me to cry, anyway?
CC: Because. That’s what makes for a great interview. Now, please tell me how I can get you to cry. What if I let you hold me like a baby, just like old times?
CC: What if I broke your nose again? Ha!
Mom: Is this over yet? I need to do laundry.
CC: But I have so many more questions! And I haven’t even practiced my sympathetic head tilt yet!
(Mom walks out of room)
CC: Hey, Dad! On a scale of 1-10, how emotionally fragile are you feeling right now?
(Dad walks out of room)