Whenever I hop on the internet or check my emails or go about my daily business or even when I’m just walking down the street, I’m constantly bombarded by people asking me questions. (All right that’s all a blatant lie, but let’s just pretend it’s true for the sake of this post ok?)
Many of the things I’m asked are fairly predictable like – ‘Michael, what’s the meaning of life?’ ‘How do you manage to stay looking so young?’ ‘What were you thinking?’ and ‘Do you seriously think that shirt goes with those pants?’
But over the years there have been some less expected and certainly more interesting queries. So for your edification I’ve recorded below ten of these INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS along with my actual responses at the time.
QUESTION 1. From a Year 8 boy in a class that had been studying my book Don’t Call Me Ishmael!
Yr 8 Boy: Did you write Moby Dick?
Me: No. That would be my good friend Herman Melville.
Yr 8 Boy: Is he coming to our school too?
Me: I certainly hope not.
QUESTION 2. From a Year 10 boy in a class that had been studying my book The Running Man.
Yr 10 Boy: How come when you wrote this book, you like, didn’t put anything, you know, interesting in it?
Me: I don’t know. I guess just so I could annoy you and make your life miserable.
Yr 10 Boy: Yeah well, it worked.
QUESTION 3. From a helper at a writers’ festival.
Helper: Would you like to set yourself up at the book-signing table next to Shaun Tan?
Me: Sure. I’m right into public humiliation.
QUESTION 4. From a Yr 9 student at a German school.
Student: Do you like AC/DC?
Me: Yes. And guess what, back in Australia I live next door to Angus Young.
Me: Actually that’s a lie.
QUESTION 5. From an older German student.
German student: Is it true that in Australia you all came from the prisoners and in the Outback they use beer for money?
Me: Wow! Those Australian Tourism Ads are really working a treat!
QUESTION 6. From a Grade one boy after I’d read and talked about my chapter book You Turkeys! for around half an hour while seated beside a prop of a stuffed scrub turkey in a sealed glass case.
Grade One-er: Is that thing alive?
Me: (shaking the case to make moth-eaten stuffed bird wobble) No look, it’s just been asleep the whole time!
Result: Three classes of innocent and angelic grade ones faces filled with shock and horror. Too easy.
QUESTION 7. From a teacher as we make our way through a school playground narrowly avoiding riots and food fights.
Teacher: Michael do you ever miss full-time teaching?
Me: Would it be rude and insensitive if I just laughed hysterically about now?
QUESTION 8. From a Careers man when I was in grade 6 or 7 at school.
Careers Man: Michael if you could be anything in the world, in your heart of hearts, what would you be?
Me: Anything? Ok I wouldn’t mind being a Ninja if I could!
Careers Man: (Looking at my report card) Well I think I can safely say that you’ve probably taken the wrong subjects to be a Ninja.
Me: Oh …
Careers Man: How you ever thought about being an Accountant?
QUESTION 9. From Yr 9 students in an Adelaide school after I’d just finished a talk.
Adelaide students: Can you say ‘school’ and ‘pool’ for us?
Me: Sure, schooooool and pooooool.
Adelaide students: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Apparently my Queensland accent is amusing to some people, eh.
QUESTION 10. From a teacher just before I’m due to give a talk to a theatre full of students.
Teacher: Will I introduce you or do you want to do it yourself?
Me: No, that’s fine you can do it if you want.
Teacher: Great. And sorry, who are you again?
I think that probably clears everything up you could possibly want to know but if you do have other pressing questions on any topic feel free to send them in and I will attempt to give you the benefit of my lack of knowledge.