Getting to know: Jason Schossler.
Height: 5’ 10”
Currently Live: Philadelphia, PA
Hometown: Ashtabula, Ohio
Instruments: A black Ibanez Gio electric, and a red Ibanez Masa Commemorative electric acoustic
Car: 2005 black Honda Civic
Secret Talent: I can walk on my knees in the lotus position
What is the best thing about your job? As a self-employed writer and adjunct professor, I generally get to work from home. Which means grading papers in my pajamas and, deadlines permitting, catching The Price is Right.
What was your most embarrassing audition moment? The summer before my freshman year of high school, my stepfather moved us to Hamilton, Ohio, where I didn’t know anybody. The night before school started, I got really sick and nervous, and called my dad collect for advice. He told me to smile a lot, how it would help me to make friends. So I did that. For the first three days of school. Until one of the cool kids came up to me after Homeroom and asked, “What the hell are you so goddamn happy about? You’re freaking everyone out.”
If you could live in any past era which would it be and why? Naturally, 1920s Paris comes to mind, but that’s a cliché. Hanging out at Hampton Court Palace during Henry VIII’s reign is intriguing, if it weren’t for Henry himself. Though I really dig the vast kitchens and the astronomical clock he added in his time there. And what about having a maze in your own backyard? And to be allotted 16 pints a day?
Who is your role model and why? Luke Skywalker. I was five when I saw the first Star Wars film in the theater. I knew we wanted the same things out of life from the moment he climbed that hill to stare off dreamily at the twin suns of Tatooine.
What do you do for fun? I buy a lot of unopened wax packs of 1970s trading cards on eBay. Teen Mom is fun. So is playing chess on my cell phone in the bath tub on a rainy morning. Is it sad to say that I really, really look forward to my first cup of coffee every day? And my first cigarette? Unless it’s raining, when I can’t go out on my porch. And floater pens! I love hunting for them in cheesy tourist shops in every city or country I visit. My favorite one is from Amsterdam. And not just because when you tip the pen, a very phallic National Monument inexplicably uproots from Dam Square and floats into the sky. But because the color of the plastic casing of the pen is pink. Not a common option in a floater pen industry dominated by red and blue casings, as any aficionado will tell you.
Do you have a good luck charm? A Chewbacca the Wookie pewter holiday ornament that hangs from the passenger side visor in my car.
Wackiest fan encounter: During the Q&A portion of my reading at Lake Tahoe Community College, a nine-year old girl raised her hand and asked, “Now that you’ve published a book of poetry, when’s the novel coming out?”
Before I die, I want to: Go to Mars.
When I fly I have to have: Pack my stuffed monkey “Joe Kuchiak.”
My coolest article of clothing: Cookie Monster pajama bottoms.
My first financial splurge was: My first real job in high school in the late 80s was bagging groceries for a Smith’s grocery store in Las Vegas. I spent my first paycheck on a complete set of old Star Wars trading cards, including all the stickers, which I’d been eyeing for months at my favorite comic book shop. Still have them today, in plastic pages in a black three-ring binder, just in case I ever need to impress someone when my witty banter runs dry.
When friends come over, we: Play Scrabble, watch Wonder Showzen, enjoy red wine, denounce trickle-down economics.
Do you like to cook? If so, what? Dark Chocolate Chip Hot Cakes. For supper.
TV show I never miss: 30 Rock.
If you could interview any celeb whom would it be and why? Gordon from Sesame Street. So he can tell me how to get there.
Anything about yourself you wish you could change? That I had the good grace to let my hair thin noticeably on top. Instead, I spend $29.95 a month on spray cans of “Good Looking Hair” to cover it up.
I’ll eat sushi, but not: couscous.
What are your best and worst subjects in school? I liked to write and draw. Anything involving numbers or formulas, except for baseball, never interested me.
If you could be granted 3 wishes, they’d be…to go on intergalactic space missions; a tenure-track position teaching freshman comp at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; to fly like superman.
If I could gay-marry anyone in the world, he/she would be… Ace Frehley. But only if he keeps the makeup on.
Where on earth are you most dying to go? Back to the Cinque Terre in Italy.
What’s the last thing that made you cry? It came on when hiking at Cascade Creek Falls in Lake Tahoe the morning after my book launch. I was there with my publisher, her two dogs, my fiancé, and some friends, and wandered off on my own for a few minutes to check out the view of the lake. I suddenly felt taken in by the moment, staring out, saying to myself, This is really happening, I’m getting what I wanted and worked for, and for so long.
Do you ever wish you could just be a normal kid? Is there truly such a thing? And if there was, what on earth would I write or talk about?
What would people be surprised to know about you? I am one of Gaga’s “Little Monsters.”
If you had to name one song as your theme song, what would it be? “Binary Sunset” by John Williams & the London Symphony Orchestra.
Have you had a starstruck Hollywood experience? Who was it with? I once went out for drinks with Wanda Sykes. She and my ex-girlfriend were in a show together, and afterward we hung out in a bar around the corner from the theater. I found her to be a lovely, warm and yes, very funny, person.
Favorite Actor/Actress: Tie: Robert DeNiro and Paul Newman; tie: Laura Linney and Ginger Lynn
Favorite Movie: A Fish Called Wanda
Favorite Body Part: My right index finger. It’s got a moon-shaped scar from where I shut it in the car door. Reminds me not to always be in such a hurry.
Favorite Singer: Shirley Manson
Favorite Song: Right now it’s a dead heat between “So What” by Miles Davis and “I am a Viking” by Yngwie Malmsteen. Don’t make me choose.
Favorite Candy: Root beer flavored Bottle Caps
Favorite Philosopher: Yoda. Nike is pretty good, too.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Who cares? It’s all about the hot fudge.
Favorite Sport: Baseball. Another of my gods. Up there with Star Wars and KISS.
Favorite Sports Team: The Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Favorite Athlete: Roberto Alomar. Glad the Hall-of-Fame saw past the spitting incident.
Favorite Book: The Grapes of Wrath
Cell Phone or iPod: Cell Phone; did I mention my Chess app?
Summer or Winter: Summer
Ice Skating or Gymnastics: Ice Skating
LA or New York: New York, but my heart belongs to London.
Skiing or Snowboarding: Are we talking for real or on the Wii?
Chocolate or Flowers: Flowers. Chocolate goes right to my butt.
Dogs or Cats: Cats. Dogs are too eager to please; I don’t respect that.