(Sunday Paper, Year III, Issue 51)
This is fun.
For the third straight year with the new iteration of the Sunday Paper, the second-to-last Sunday Paper of the year is dedicated to answering your questions.
Both years - and then again this year - people threw questions at me when I asked and I am so grateful for the response so that we’re able to do this fun little post at the end of every calendar year.
So what questions await answers this year?
Let’s get to it.
We don’t have a ton of questions this year, but the ones we have are good ones - I think they’ll lead to some robust, possibly humorous discussions.
So without further ado, Diana weighs in with this question to get us started:
At a Mets/Red Sox game, how does the family divide?: This might be hard for you readers to believe, but I have not tried to influence in any way my daughters’ baseball rooting interests. I know that statement will be met with skepticism, but listen, why would I do that to my kids? It is not fun being a Mets fan. Sure, there are fleeting moments of joy, but most of the time it’s a miserable slog. Also, I don’t want to make my daughters do something - they can make their own decisions. Maybe this is something I took from my own parents - my dad never sat me down and said, “Root for the Jets.” I just decided to root for the Jets. (Big mistake.) But somehow my daughters decided to be Mets fans. Despite how fun it is to be a Red Sox fan…and although they showed some interest in the Red Sox’ World Series run this year, I can’t say they were more excited about October than they were about the Mets and their hot start in April. But when it comes to Mets versus Red Sox (which we happened to experience this year), Kathy roots for the Red Sox, no matter what. (Though, and this may be the nicest thing she’s done in our entire time together, she is very tolerant and supportive of the Mets every other game.) The girls and I root for the Mets…though one who shall remain nameless sort of pretends not to care and then drifts towards whoever’s winning. Luckily this is a situation that presents itself only about once every three years….and I’ll be honest - for the sake of our family I’m hoping there’s never another Mets-Red Sox World Series.
Diana has one more:
Here’s another (smiling cry face emoji) how did it feel to have your own birthday celebration and not have to share? (smiling cry face emoji x3): I think I need to explain a couple of things here as background information before I get into this. First of all, Diana and I were born about fifteen days apart and growing up shared many a party. And secondly, you may (or may not, I don’t know, it’s not something that really came up) remember that over the summer I turned 40…and I had my own birthday party where Kathy gathered some of my favorite people and we spent the day with my (aforementioned) favorite team. But what Diana probably doesn’t realize as she asks this question and inadvertently touches on a nerve is that my birthday is no longer just my birthday…it is also my friend Justin’s daughter’s birthday. She was born last year. (On my 39th birthday, if you’re keeping score at home.) And she’s adorable and all that…but I’ve already done the math and realized her 21st birthday will steal the thunder of my 60th. I think about it a lot, and I spent some time thinking about it at the Mets game back on July 7th. I really wanted to talk to Justin about it…but he couldn’t make my party. He was too busy celebrating at his daughter’s.
Number one Sunday Paper fan Elizabeth asks a good question that surprisingly hasn’t come up on one of these end-of-year Q and A posts before:
I know you love watching many sports, but what’s your favorite sport to play? I haven’t thought about this in a while…and unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to play much recently either. So let’s work through it a little bit. Growing up I loved playing baseball, and for a while in my twenties I thought about finding a men’s league where I could continue playing but nothing ever came to fruition. So it’s been a good twenty or so years since I played baseball so that can’t still be it. I wrote earlier this year about how I got bitten a little bit by the golf bug again…but I haven’t picked up a golf club since that day in August so I can’t rightly say it’s golf. I like playing catch with a football (and a baseball) but that’s not playing a sport. And I’m no good at throwing a frisbee. I’ll occasionally play tennis but I make too many mistakes when I play someone in tennis so I can’t say I enjoy that. I suppose my favorite sport to play is basketball - it’s the one sport I can just step on a floor and be probably as good as I ever was in my life…which is very average. But I can hit a jump shot, grab a rebound…the only thing now is I’m much more likely to roll an ankle - or maybe suffer a heart attack - running up and down the floor. Not that i’ve run up and down the floor in a basketball game recently either - but I’d enjoy it if it were to happen.
Old friend Laura asks this question - a meaty one but one worth spending some time on. And I’m going to add some commentary on her question in brackets because I think my inner monologue reading her question is funny enough to share with everyone:
Hi John! [Hi Laura!] You may have mentioned this (as I admit to not reading all of your Sunday articles) [rough start here Laura] but I am quite curious about your comedic side. [Go on…] What made you take that leap of faith from teacher and coach to comedian and writer? (I’m sure you have written about that, so here’s another question to ponder) What was scarier for you - your first day as a teacher or your first comedic performance on stage? Perhaps you had been practicing some of your material on your students for years. I remember you cracking quite a few jokes when I was your assistant basketball coach back in 2011. [What?! 2011? That seems too long ago! That was a fun year of basketball.] Thanks for providing a great read on Sunday mornings. [Strong finish. Nice recovery Laura.] Good luck with those leaves. [Oh, right. Laura asked this question during Sunday Paper Live! The leaves got the better of me this year.]: OK. Lots to get into here. I don’t know that I ever really got into what made me take that leap of faith. I’ve often alluded to the fact that if you wanted to buy me a beer sometime we could get into it…but I don’t think it’s worth writing about. I do think about it a lot though, and I think overall I made the right decision for myself. I miss teaching, I miss coaching…but I don’t miss everything else that those jobs entail. (You’ll appreciate this Laura - I’m back to coaching a little bit, helping out with my daughter’s basketball team.)
Next question - I can’t say I was particularly scared my first day of teaching or my first comedic performance. In both cases I guess I might have been a little nervous but in a strange way I felt like I was where I was supposed to be and I was capable of doing the task before me. That’s not to say I never get nervous though - there were certain days in the classroom I dreaded - a particular parent meeting, say, or a visit day or a lesson observation - and there are certain performances I have anxiety dreams about the nights leading up to them and I get short of breath before I go on-stage…but it doesn’t happen all the time. I do think teaching and performing, in a sense, every day in the classroom was good prep for performing for stand-up audiences…and in some cases doing crowd control or commanding everyone’s attention. Also, whenever I told a joke in the classroom or at a basketball practice…I think those audiences were much harsher than a comedy slub audience will ever be.
That’s a wrap for the Q & A post. We’ll be back next week with a recap of 2018 and a preview of 2019 - I am thrilled about the year I had and I’m looking forward to the year ahead so I’m excited to write that one and share about it with you. I’m also thrilled with the December I’ve had - it’s been a lot of fun. Partly, I guess, the elf videos have contributed to that - I’ve had some fun with that. (Today’s will be posted later today, and then I think we’ll go with that through Wednesday or Thursday - we’re hoping to create a blooper reel and then maybe one more post-Christmas one, so keep an eye on the Facebook page for that.) But the other great thing about December - or at least the past week-plus, is that I’ve taken it easy and just spent time with the family instead of running around from show to show and that’s been nice. I figure the comedy won’t go anywhere during the holidays. And then the first week of January (and New Year’s Eve!) I’ll hit the ground running again - the ‘Comedy Shows' link above has been updated with most of what I’m doing in January, so check it out. And thanks for reading - hope you enjoy your Christmas if you celebrate it, and if not, well, I hope you have a nice week.