Dan Barrett & Tim Macuga, aka Have A Nice Life, aka the raddest dudes in the northeast, honored me with their thoughtful answers to some serious questions.
What is the best way to die?
Tim: We literally don’t know.
Dan: Or not at all, if possible.
How do you think you’ll die?
Tim: I will probably die of pneumonia while trying to recover from a heart surgery. There will be a cold plate of cafeteria ravioli and a half eaten cup of applesauce by the hospital bed. The SOILED LINENS cart will be parked outside the door. The other guy in the other half of the room might be awake to see my last. He’ll try not to think about it. Daytime TV in the future will still be shitty.
What makes you happy?
Tim: I’m happy with things, experiences, ideas, or personalities that I can’t deconstruct. It’s a relief knowing, “Well, I must love these people no matter what,” or “I don’t understand abstract calculus,” or “This film is ludicrous.” There’s ground to stand on; maybe I tested its stability to exhaustion, maybe I just lacked the compulsion to obsess about it.
Dan: Yeah – I tend towards experiences of non-thought. Anything where you just stop and nothing fills the space created.
How can you die happy?
Tim: An assassin slips cyanide or some more advanced instant-death poison into my cup while I’m watching Big Trouble in Little China. I have a hard time believing anyone cognizant of imminent death, no matter how long they’ve been preparing, feels peace. The day/general time you’re about to die – if you know it’s been such a long illness and you’re slipping – “OK, this is going to be the day,” – it still consists of so many moments. And sheer terror has to enter that moment to moment process somewhere. Getting back to happy from terror is not a simple cold water shake-off.
How close have you come to death?
Tim: To my own knowledge, and of my own death, not very. I was with a group on a far end of the Grand Canyon, at the bottom, in 130 degree heat. I was fine, but bad things almost happened to a few of us and the panic did set in – “We just climbed hours and hours *into* this pit in the Earth. Shit.” I’d love to see a reel of hidden camera footage of all of the times I might have come close and was just completely unaware. It’s reasonable to think we’re all like those cartoon characters sleepwalking through dangerous construction sites.
Dan: I spun out across 4 lanes of snowy traffic once, ending up facing the wrong way and staring into oncoming headlights. The only thing – literally the only thing – I thought was “NO NO NO NO NO NO.” So.
What does kindness mean to you?
Tim: Kindness is asking, “How are you?” with actual intent to listen to a truthful response.
Where do you find love?
Tim: After climbing hours and hours into a pit in the Earth, for one.
Dan: I found mine by giving up on it.
When were you most afraid?
Tim: When I was 7, I demanded my mother tell me when I would die – I had just realized a vague notion of “not being” and needed to figure out what I could do to, well, I didn’t even know. I think it was actually after hearing Skeeter Davis’s “It’s The End of the World” on the radio. I understood it was a sad love song, but “end” – Jesus. Air raid sirens went off in my head.
Dan: I’ve been afraid that I wouldn’t make it out of depressive periods. I don’t know if that’s more dread than fear, or how those intersect, but. That’s a feeling you don’t really forget.
How do you listen to music?
Tim: Like a monster.