Generik's Responses

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By Erik Wilson Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.

Because I asked all of you to answer the set of questions that I sent out, I figured it was only fair for me to answer those same questions. And because I’m the author, and have no restrictions (or shame), I also figured I could make my answers as long as I wanted. So I did.

What makes you want to cap?

The same thing that makes me feel the need to turn every comment or bit of conversation I hear into a joke. The desire to come up with the snappy comeback, the witty rejoinder, the bon mot. What makes anyone want to be a wisecracker?. Long before Caption This! or MST3K existed, I remember watching old black and white horror and science fiction movies on TV, and making rude comments at some of the hokiness of the sets or costumes or ridiculous plot twists. The fact that not all of them really were black and white probably escaped me at the time -- this was in the days before every household had color television, so any program I saw was necessarily in black and white. Perhaps that’s why I like it so much to this day. To me, movies shot in color just don’t have the richness of tone, or the depth of feeling and texture that the old black and whites have. Very often, as a kid, my folks would send me off to one of the local theaters on Saturday to join a few hundred other kids approximately my age watching double- and even triple-features all afternoon. There would be cartoons, short films, old newsreels, all sorts of stuff. There were a few summers I remember in Pomona when my mother and the mother of one of my friends bought us a series of tickets from the Fox Theater, a thin piece of cardboard with tear-off squares for every Saturday from the middle of June until the end of August. Each little perforated square of cardboard had the date and the names of the movies being shown that day, and the total cost worked out to about twenty-five or fifty cents for each week. With another quarter or so for a sucker and a bag of teeth-destroying Sugar Babies every Saturday, I was set. I would sit in the cool, air-conditioned theater, out of the oppressive Southern California heat, and watch movies that ranged from stand-up-and-cheer wonderful to sometimes enjoyable to puzzlingly mediocre to completely incomprehensible to fall-down, laugh-out-loud bad. My personal favorites were always at the extreme ends of the spectrum, but the pantheon included: Hercules movies. Westerns. Tarzan adventures. Bomba the Jungle Boy. Mushy love stories (yuck!). War movies. Pirate movies. Space adventures. Dinosaur movies. Comedies. Some of the films I recall seeing back then have since made their way to MST. Others haven’t yet, or may never, but many of them certainly deserve to. Obviously, horror and scifi were my favorites. Any movie with the word “Attack” or “Space” or “Creature” in the title was prime fare as far as I was concerned. There was It, the Terror from Beyond Space. The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Queen of Outer Space, with Zsa Zsa Gabor. The Giant Gila Monster. The Blob, with a young Steve McQueen. Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman. The Crawling Eye. The Hypnotic Eye. The Devil Bat. Attack of the Mushroom People. There was Frankenstein and Dracula and the Wolfman and the Mummy. Sometimes Abbott and Costello showed up, meeting one or more of those archetypal monsters, and making it seem funny and scary at the same time. There was the Invisible Man (“He’s naked!” I pointed out, much to the shock and embarrassed laughter of the kids around me). There was Godzilla, doing battle with every manner of rubber monster, including Raymond Burr, and destroying the tiniest, cheesiest plastic replicas of Tokyo ever seen. It was pure heaven. I would sit with my friend Craig Harwood and his two little brothers, or my sister if I had to, and crack wise in side-of-the-mouth stage whispers. As I got bolder, and the rest of the audience got more and more fueled by the pounds of pure sugar being consumed, my comments got louder. Sometimes I would come up with a crack that I thought was a can’t-miss, sure-fire laugh-getter, and I would make absolutely certain that the whole audience heard me. In those moments, I was a capper. I had the near-anonymity of a dark theater protecting me, and the Jesus-on-speed rush of instant feedback. When that audience laughed -- which they did, as often as not -- it was Christmas and my birthday and fireworks, all wrapped into one. Finding a treasure chest full of gold, or learning how to fly like Superman might have been close to the feeling of satisfaction that I got from coming up with a good line and being acknowledged for it. But not much else. Somewhere inside me, that 10 or 11 year old boy still exists -- probably closer to the surface than I’d care to admit. He’s the one who likes to cap. Blame him.

How did you first learn about the existence of Caption This?

Some time before MST moved from Comedy Central, my friend Marty -- who is a big fan of the show, but, for some reason, doesn’t cap -- informed me that there was a rumor going around that the show was moving, and that it would end up on the SciFi Channel. I honestly don’t remember the exact date, but I do recall sending an email to the Dominion in favor of just such a move. It was encouraging, then, to receive a reply thanking me for my opinion, and saying that the wheels were in motion, and to look for MST in (I believe) January or February of 1997. (As an aside, in my original message to many of you, I was off in my dates by a year or more. I blame the California educational system, sunspots, and El Niño.) Not long after that, Marty actually found the Caption This! site, and told me that I should take a look if I got the chance. He found it amusing, but not something worth spending hours at a time participating in. I, on the other hand, disagreed once I saw it. In October, 1995, I had changed jobs at the company that employs me, and had moved into a position that allowed me much greater freedom and opportunity for slack time. I also had my own computer for the first time, instead of sharing a few common ones with a number of other people. In the following months, I spent a significant number of hours exploring the Internet, finding it to be an incredibly rich source of information resources, amusement, trivia, educational material, and flat-out crap. Not to mention porn. Wait -- porn? Forget I said that. By the time Marty told me about CT, I was fairly well versed with the Internet and how to get around on it. The site seemed a natural for the smart-ass wiseacre within me, yearning for the chance to make what I considered witty remarks from the safety of the dark movie theater. Veni, vidi, voce. I came, I saw, I capped. (Keep those cards and letters, Latin scholars.) After about a year and a half on the job, my boss, in an effort to help me “enhance my computer skills,” asked me to learn some basic HTML and put together a web page for the company Intranet. This meant that I could spend hours a day on the computer with impunity, calling it “research” if questioned, which I rarely was. I had been capping sporadically by then, only when I thought no one would disturb me, but after that directive, it was all over. Open the floodgates. Katy bar the door. I thought nothing of spending an entire morning, from the time I came in at about seven until I went to lunch around noon, just capping. And getting paid for it! I remember Dark Shadows and The Twilight Zone were some of the programs I saw most often back then, but it really didn’t matter. I’d cap anything. There were far fewer people on the site in those days, it seemed to me, and very few who are still around. I had no computer at home then, and so missed the late-night bonding experience of some of the acknowledged Grand Masters of the site, such as Jazzsoda, Hippie, JoeCrow, GuloGulo and Artanas, among others. There was very little in the way of conversation between cappers (or “Captioneers,” as the night-time crowd called themselves) back then -- at least while I was on -- and I personally found the few people who did attempt to chat annoying. It was my opinon that there were plenty of chat rooms for those who wished to indulge in conversation, and that Caption This! should be reserved exclusively for humor. Perhaps I was a bit antisocial... As I said, though, there were far fewer people tuned in to this brave new experiment. One morning in particular, I recall filling an entire page with my own caps on a Twilight Zone episode, then reloading over and over to find no change. It made me feel rather like a schizophrenic on the street, talking and laughing to no one in particular, carrying on an endless, one-sided conversation that was more monologue than dialogue. I began to spend less time on the site after that, even though the concept of it still spoke to my need for creative expression and recognition.

Unfortunately, while this was all going on, I was getting no closer to making a web page than I was to growing antlers. I had ordered some software on the company’s dime, looked at it a couple of times, and gone back to capping. I finally had to buckle down and create the page in question -- taking valuable cap time away, I might add -- because I knew my review was coming up soon. So that became a further distraction, and a reason for even less time spent creating captions. A period of upheaval -- I changed offices twice in just a few months, spent days with architects and facilities people designing our new labs -- left me farther removed than ever from the gallery. When the dust settled, I found other sites and amusements in which to waste my spare time. Among the websites I began to frequent were The Miraculous Winking Jesus, and the two SpinnWebe sites, The Dysfunctional Family Circus and It’s A Dysfunctional Life. These are all basically capping sites. There are others, similar to the SpinnWebe sites, such as The Bertha Chronicles, but I didn’t visit them much because I didn’t find the quality of humor there to be high enough for my taste. The Winking Jesus site is a one-note riff on a crude, animated gif of Jesus Christ blinking his right eye. Contributors make comments about how the Winking Jesus has changed their lives, or how lame the site is, or how awesome or ridiculous they find the concept of Christianity. Many times it becomes a battleground for the born-agains versus the secularists. The SpinnWebe sites are an opportunity to cap either Family Circus cartoons (the DFC), or real-life pictures taken with a digital camera and updated every few days (IADL). The problems with these sites are many. In the case of the Winking Jesus, the only visual comes on the first page, never changes, and the bulk of the site is simply comments that are often nothing but maliciousness directed from people at one end of the religious spectrum to people at the other. Some are screamingly funny, many others bland or even pathetic. There is no assignation attributing individual comments to a particular contributor, and the site owner often edits out comments he finds objectionable or repetitious or otherwise unworthy of posting. The SpinnWebe sites, on the other hand, offer more in the way of variety in terms of visual fodder for capping. At any given time, there are five pictures or cartoons available, and all the older ones are archived on the site. The problem, though, is that there are only five available at a time, and the static nature of it can be frustrating. The sites are updated once a day -- sometimes not even that often -- so there is no incentive to quickly produce a funny, insightful cap in a few tension-filled moments, the way CT forces you to. Anyone with a computer can submit as many caps as he or she wants to spend time typing. Worse, though, is the seemingly arbitrary and capricious nature of the editing. Because so many captions are submitted, one of the webmasters spends a few hours each day picking those that he thinks are worthy of displaying, the “winners,” essentially. Of the remaining submissions, some are assigned to the “okay” file (caps he feels are all right, but need improvement), some to the “stupid” file (badly misspelled, lame, or eye-rollingly unfunny lines), and these are displayed separately for as long as the picture in question remains active. The rest are discarded. For someone used to the immediacy of Caption This!, the format leaves a lot to be desired. A person could potentially submit ten or twenty caps for one picture, and, after waiting twenty-four hours or more, find that only one or two -- or even none -- were accepted. Instead of writing humor that could appeal to many different people, I found myself trying to write strictly for the narrowly-defined tastes of the SpinnWebe editors. Sometimes I was succesful, but more often than not, I found myself wondering why a particular caption or set of captions that I submitted -- that I knew plenty of people would enjoy -- weren’t even considered. So, after many months, like the Prodigal Comedian, I came back to Caption This! I hadn’t visited the site in some time, and the change was noticeable. There were more people by far, and many of them were conducting brief, paranthesed conversations at the same time as they capped. It seemed that there was a much larger female presence than I remembered. Most importantly, though, was that the majority of the people posting were funny as all get-out. It felt comfortable, and I began to wonder why I had stayed away for so long.

What do you like best/least about the site?

I like the quick wit and intelligence of some of my fellow cappers. The variety and range of references continually amazes me. Allusions to philosophy, literature, history, pop culture and quantum physics, among thousands of other diverse topics, make appearances daily. Either you get them or you don’t -- there is no arrogance, but there is no condescension, either. There is a bit of a competitive nature to it -- albeit a friendly competition, to be sure -- a kind of “Can you top this?” or “You think that’s obscure? Try this!” that I find extremely stimulating. It’s that pressure to outdo one another, I believe, that inspires some of the best caps. Without that, it would be easy enough -- at least, for me -- to often just go with the cap of least resistance: Pull my finger. Cops love donuts. Honey, the Viagra’s working. By pushing myself to think beyond the cheap laugh, the immediate, easy cap, I tend to take more risks. They don’t always work, but when they do, it’s golden. Not just for me, but for a lot of cappers. Sure, sometimes one of my caps falls flat on its ass, lame and achingly unfunny. Sometimes a lot of them do. Sometimes I’m sure that I’m the only one who thinks my cap is funny -- which is still okay, I suppose, in a Somerset Maugham kind of way. (Somerset Maugham said that his idea of the perfect comedian was a person sitting in a room alone, laughing out loud at the jokes he made to amuse himself. Sounds a bit like that schizophrenic again...) But occasionally one goes out that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is making some of my fellow cappers laugh out loud at their computer screens. I live for those moments. That sense of friendship -- of having other people to share humor with, to laugh with, to make laugh -- is the other part of Caption This! that appeals to me. There is a real camaraderie that goes beyond just the fact that most of us are MST3K fans, or members of the Wired World (the “geek nation,” as Jon Katz put it). When I get in the gallery and recognize a number of screen names, it’s like walking into a party in full swing and being greeted by people having fun. Cappers acknowledge each other, are happy to “see” one another. Some of us keep in touch through ICQ, through email, or even meet in person, if possible. I feel like I’ve made some lastng friendships that would endure even if Caption This! disappears... though, of course, I hope it never does. As long as the Internet is around, there will be a Caption This!, or its equivalent, I believe.

What I like least is not as easy to put my finger on. The variable speeds come to mind... like the slow server when there are problems down the line, or the time it takes to upload the pictures when I’m capping from my Power-less-book at home (not CT’s problem, obviously). When fifty people are on at once, and the caps fly by so fast that even the fastest of us miss some, I think that is extremely frustrating. It’s tough enough to keep up for a lot of us slower typists; when there are a lot of people all trying to be heard (read) at once, it’s even more difficult. Though I must say, I think my typing skills have dramatically improved by spending time on CT when it’s crowded. I’m also not crazy about cappers who attack others (the dreaded CapNazis), or just spew hate and invective in general. I try to ignore them as best I can, but it can be very annoying. As in every part of life, there are occasional conflicts between people, but these generally play out in areas outside the immediate confines of the gallery. It’s natural, I suppose, with a group as large and as diverse and as constantly changing as ours is, that there will be people who don’t see eye to eye with each other. As long as there is civility in the room -- which there almost always is -- it seems a minor problem. I’ve been known to be a bit critical about some of the cappers who just can’t seem to get a handle on the basic rules of spelling or grammar, but I think that’s just the frustrated English teacher in me. I don’t mind a few misspelled words; that comes with the territory. But the few cappers that seem to be tossing undecipherable word salad, making no sense whatsoever, do tend to get under my skin a bit. Again, though, I think ignoring caps I don’t like for one reason or another is the best way to handle any potential conflict, rather than get into a flame-war over it.

Who do you think are the best cappers around?

I hate to play favorites. I think almost everyone who spends any time on CT is funny in one way or another. Just the fact that a person would seek out our little corner of the Internet speaks volumes as to his or her twisted sense of humor. For that reason alone, I tend to give a person the benefit of the doubt. That said, there are quite a few people who consistently make me laugh, who I look for whenever I log on, and am disappointed if I make a cap that I know would be appreciated by that person, and he or she isn’t there. If I must single out cappers by name (and apparently I must), I would have to start with Geier in the afternoon. He is consistently right there with caps that no one else, in or out of his or her right mind, would come up with. His is a singular vision of the world that I (and many others) find, cap after cap, ROTFLMAO (Rolling On The Floor, Laughing My Ass Off) funny. It’s fitting, I suppose, that his handle is nothing but his last name. One of the funniest damn guys on the site, and when it comes to picking a creative handle, he picks -- his own last name. Two more people with that type of singular vision -- that made me take notice right away when I returned to CT -- are MirandaRamsey and amycamus. There is just something that is so appealing about the approach that these two have to capping. It is more than just out of left field... it’s beyond the bleachers and the parking lot and walking around somewhere on a sidewalk miles away, laughing by itself, or occasionally howling at the moon. It speaks a language all its own, and, once learned, that language is funny. Xtree is another capper who constantly surprises me. His warped view of the world often echoes my own. He, like Geier, often makes me wish that I had written a particular cap -- which, to me, is one of the truest forms of appreciation. Shaft I think is a genius. BuckFifty, MadSigntist, Agent_Moldy, bugwber, JoeCrow678, CaveDweller, SunSinner, Elle and JorGGirrrl all give me fits. Being in the gallery with any of these people -- and especially with a lot of them all there at once -- is a guaranteed laff-riot. I’ve mentioned some of the late-night, old-time cappers such as Jazzsoda, Hippie, JoeCrow, Artanas, E_B_A, and others. A lot of their work I’ve found in the various cap galleries that have sprung up across the Web, but I’ve also spent time capping with them on occasion. I think every one of them can be absolutely brilliant at times, and all are consistently funny even on a cold streak. During the afternoons and early evenings, which is when I usually cap, there are almost too many to mention. And there have been so many at all times of day, it gets nearly impossible to name them -- but in the interest of fairness, allow me to try. (Deep breath, and...) Here goes: Beedo. empressv. GersonK. darkvortex. clover. D_Idaho. Cerg. Kit. AgentQ. NightTrain. Scouty. Mr13. Ash_Skywalker. ToeBandit. omniknight. ArsenalXIII. Imac. JD1036. Weird_1. Coakley. Dibbley. Ragbot. Seltaeb. Angel_Noir. keogh. Russ_Thornton. TravisBickle. GuloGulo. Occupant. Widget. Wingnut. Cosine. HanoverF. Cari. BigMac. LuvBJones. Passion_Pleasure. MST3K_Lover. Steve_Reeves. MrBungle. Scypha. JediClone. FirebrandX. Vendebar. PezCat. Dairai. DrSeruzawa. Phibes. Xigeous. hardrock. suggs. Annakie7. Shandi. DiscoBoy. Tumbler. Balderdash. MrTim. YibbleGuy. rogersbuck. rogeemoto. DancingQueen. JustinThyme. idlehands. Shifter. WaffleKing. KINGDINOSAUR. MadamRazz. RoninM. rockfish. Daleman. GotMilk. Acrylic. Sondheim. CaptZero. YingYang. Giladriel. Berwynne_the_Grey. Varan. LizardQueen. All of these people have made me laugh at one time or another; and many of them are flat-out brilliant (and please don’t feel offended if I left your name off this list -- it’s hard to remember everyone).

What would your ideal movie/TV show for capping be?

If a black and white movie from the Fifties called Attack of the Space Creatures existed, that would have to be it. Really, though, anything cheesy and relatively well-lit would work. The worst movie I can imagine ever trying to cap would be My Dinner With Andre. Nothing but head shots -- that would get very old in a hurry. I enjoy any show with a lot of changing scenery, action and maybe strange-looking vehicles or equipment or creatures to give fire to the imagination and rise to the creative juices. Ed Wood, the strange and wonderful through-the-looking-glass fiery-nuclear-train-wreck genius responsible for such gems as Bride of the Monster, Glen or Glenda, and one of my personal all-time favorites, Plan 9 From Outer Space, is right at the top of my list when it comes to directors whose films I would love to cap. Roger Corman, David Lynch, and John Waters are right behind him. Because of the absence of dialogue on CT, the visuals are the strong point. Any Republic serial, like Commando Cody or Satan’s Satellites, would be fun. I also think it would be great to cap movies that aren’t necessarily “bad”, but are visually compelling... like the Wizard of Oz, for instance, or Gone With the Wind. Most any Alfred Hitchcock or Akira Kurosawa or John Huston film could be rich material, suitable for strip mining by good cappers, if given the chance. As for television, I’m still partial to the older, more obscure shows. I’d love to see Topper, or SeaHunt, or The Ernie Kovacs Show on the screengrab. Highway Patrol, with Broderick Crawford. The original Candid Camera. The Outer Limits. Even kid’s shows like The Little Rascals or Gumby could be fun.

What’s the story behind your handle?

My name is Erik, and I work for a company called Genentech. When I first started there, I discovered that there was such a thing as “Genenspeak” -- e. g., “Genentime”, “Genenchecks”, and so forth. I was working then in a manufacturing area, and had to wear white coveralls, just like everyone else in that particular facility. (Thankfully, I’ve long since moved on from that job.) Out of sheer boredom and a small dollop of creativity, one day I took an over-sized Magic Marker and drew a big bar-code on the back of my coveralls. On the front, I changed the name from “Erik” to “Gen-Erik”, in keeping with the corporate custom. I was trying to illustrate that I was really just another faceless, “generic” worker. Another biotech clone. A few people found it funny, and the name stuck. I also like that it reflects my attitude toward brand-names in general. I won’t wear anything with a Nike logo on it, for instance. I don’t eat at McDonald’s or Burger King. And I never drink Budweiser or Coors or Miller beer if I can help it.

Do you use more than one handle?

Yes. Yes I do.

Why or why not?

Sometimes the anonymity of being Generik just isn’t quite anonymous enough, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Occasionally I like to try capping from a different angle, or with a different style. And every once in a while, I just don’t feel like engaging in the sometimes-endless rounds of hellos and goodbyes that are so prevalent when the room gets crowded. Maybe it has to do with the phases of the moon or something, but there are times when I just feel a little anti-social. It’s not that I don’t enjoy greeting my friends -- and being greeted when I’m there -- but sometimes I just want to get in, write something funny, spend a few minutes, and get back to work, or whatever. I don’t mean to offend anybody by doing this -- I know there are a number of other cappers who do the same thing. It can really give you an interesting perspective to be in the room as someone else. But I try not to use it duplicitously, or as a means of hurting people. The last thing I would want to do is alienate one of my fellow cappers, so I try to be very circumspect about what I say when using another handle.

Do you think there should be rules about who caps or what can or can’t be said?

No. I think we do a great job of policing ourselves when it comes to people being rude or offensive to one another, and I would hate to see any outside force try to “make” us cap a certain way, or deny someone the opportunity to enjoy CT freely. While there are certain types of caps I don’t particularly care for, and there are a few cappers that I’m not overly fond of, I would not want the Dominion or anyone else stepping in and taking away the freedom to write whatever we damn well please at any given time. Many cappers use a type of self-censorship when it comes to four-letter words; others just write what they want and let fly. Personally, I am not at all bothered by swearing, but I rarely do it, if only because I don’t find it very humorous except in certain contexts and situations. I know there are some cappers who find four-letter words offensive, and wish that others would refrain from using them altogether. But as a great believer in the First Amendment, I have to agree with Salman Rushdie, who said “What is freedom of speech? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

Do you feel a sense of community in CT?

You’re damn straight I do, Bucky. I think the people who frequent Caption This! are some of the wittiest, most intelligent people on the Internet, and I’m proud to consider them my friends. The genuine pleasure expressed by others when someone we know and like enters the room is something I wouldn’t trade for all the tea in Fort Knox. Or all the gold in China. Or whatever. The friendships and relationships that I’ve seen develop through our mutual appreciation of rather twisted humor is still amazing to me. To think that I’ve got friends -- people that I would honestly consider real friends -- in Missouri and Texas and Georgia and New York and Washington and Ohio and dozens of other far-ranging places is nothing short of astounding. The fact that I will most likely never get to meet any of these people face to face takes nothing away from my feelings of camaraderie, and the sense of connection I get when I am capping. As Artanas said, “It’s not everyday you can walk up to a stranger and yell out ‘Porky Spice!’” In the gallery, you can yell out “Porky Spice” and not only get away with it, but, depending on the context, get big laughs. And that’s what it’s really all about: getting big laughs. Amusing one another. Being appreciated for a quick wit. I live for those moments when one of my fellow cappers tells me that a cap I wrote made him or her LOL (laugh out loud). That instant gratification that comes with the recognition of my peers is a powerful, powerful draw -- one that never fails to make me want to come back for more. And while I do feel a strong sense of community within the CT circle, it’s not as if I don’t have a life or interests outside the group as well. I’m happily married, and have been for many years now. I have a career; I have friends and activities and concerns that range far afield from the capping arena. So while capping is not my be-all and end-all, it is a part of my life that I prize very much; and the people who make CT what it is are the reason I value it so highly.

What other websites do you visit on a regular basis?

I think Agent_Moldy had the best answer of all for this question: “There are other websites?”

I like a number of political and current event-type sites, such as Jim Hightower’s daily rant, Salon Magazine, HotWired occasionally, the Life Picture of the Day, the Astronomy Picture of the Day, or The Gate, which is basically the two local San Francisco newspapers online. I also enjoy satirical or off-the-wall sites like The Washington Pissed, or White Trash Cooking, or Roadside America, or any of the Peeps pages. I could spend days (and have, during slow periods at work) following the links on CEA (the Centre for the Easily Amused, a British-owned and operated site dedicated to finding the strangest and funniest websites on the Internet). And it goes without saying -- or it should -- that I always enjoy perusing the various cap galleries that have been set up to preserve the funny work we do that would otherwise be lost in the ether forever. There is always a great thrill, for me, anyway, to find a cap of mine that I had long ago forgotten about turn up in someone’s gallery.

Is Caption This! addictive for you?

Why... I could quit anytime I want to. All I would have to do is get every single capper whose email address I have now to write me and expect a reply. That would keep me far too busy to get on and cap... or not. Okay, the truth is, “My name’s Generik, and I’m a capoholic. I don’t want it, but I gotta have it!” Praise and recognition are more powerful than any drug I’ve ever tried, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve been late for dinner, put off work assignments, even come in to my office on a weekend when I had no work to do just to use the computer for capping. If that isn’t addictive behavior, I don’t know what is.

Do you cap at home or at work or at school?

I cap mainly from work, but please don’t tell the company that. As long as my real work gets done (and it almost always does), I feel no guilt about spending time on CT and getting paid for it. On occasion, I do cap at home as well. This is generally late at night, if only because the number of participants is usually reduced quite a bit, and my Power-less-book with its slow modem cannot keep up very well. There is definitely a difference in the daytime crowd and the late-night crowd, with little overlapping.

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?

No, but I hate like hell when I put it back in my mouth the next morning and have to deal with all the splinters.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

I’m sick of being tired and I’m tired of being sick. And I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. And two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights do make a left. And if I weren’t so sick and tired of it all, I’d be sure to remind you that wherever you go, there you are.

Do you know what to do about that waxy yellow build-up?

Never underestimate the power of prayer. Or battery acid. Then again, a regimen of purgatives, laxatives and leeches can work wonders. And if all else fails, remember the secret ingredient: Placebo.