ME: What do you think happens when people are given “too much” freedom?

DONNA: They can go wild. Are you talking about children or citizens?

DAD: How do you define freedom?

ME: How about if I rephrase it: What can be the danger of being given “too much freedom”?

DONNA: If you don’t put restraints on people, they can just go crazy and think everything’s okay.

DAD: Okay, I don’t know if you’re talking about lawlessness. When you don’t have laws, some people would look at that as freedom. Like, right now, they’re opening up marijuana clinics all over.

ME: Let’s say economic freedom. So, the laws are still intact, but a person has all of the money they could want, to live any way they would want to live.

DONNA: They’ve interviewed people who have won the lottery and their lives have been a disaster. There’s hardly ever a success story that comes out of winning the lottery.

ME: Yeah, but that’s because they don’t have economic knowledge or training before winning. People who buy lottery tickets are really broke, so they have never learned how to manage money.

DONNA: They never said their background, they were just doing a survey on winners and they were all disasters.

ME: What guidelines or restrictions do you have in your life that you are thankful for?

DAD: Well, the Ten Commandments for starters; the spirit of the Commandments. In other words, I’m not under the Commandments because if I’m not against them, I’m not in conflict with them. I know they’re for my own good so I’m not really controlled by them, just like if I was playing volleyball without a referee and it was a friendly game and everybody calls their own fowls because they want to play in the spirit of the game rather than just win at all costs. You know. You’ve seen that.

ME: So, you think about the Ten Commandments on a daily basis?

DAD: I don’t have to. I don’t have to think about it, it just resonates. It’s like, one of the Commandments is ‘thou shalt not kill.’ Well, or ‘thou shalt not murder,’ that’s a good rule to live by.

ME: If that weren’t one of the Ten Commandments, would you kill somebody?

DAD: Well, maybe. I know some people will kill somebody in the line of a crime, robbing a bank or something like that, which is wrong. We all know robbing a bank is wrong. Or um, killing somebody, we know that’s wrong, unless it’s in self-defense.

ME: Do you think that you have the capability of murder inside of you, if you weren’t told that it was wrong, or do you think you have a moral compass that would tell you that murder is wrong?

DAD: Um, I think you…instinctively know that’s a wrong thing to do. You know that’s a good question, that’s a good question and I’ll tell you why—if you look back, I don’t care how far back you go, if you go back to the Revolutionary War and the British have a saying that ‘The sun never sets on the Brits’ because they occupy so many countries. They invaded us! That’s what started the Revolutionary War.  You know the colonists came over here to get away from their tyranny in 1812 because they controlled the seas, all the commerce and shipping and everything. They attacked our ships. They literally attacked our ships. But if you look back in history there’s this thing about conquering others.

He goes on to explain the history of Southeast Asia and its control by France and Japan, detailing who controlled it when and who took it from whom and the end of the Vietnam War.

ME: How does this apply to ‘Thou shalt not kill?’

DAD: Well, thou shall…by taking territory. People say when we came over here in 1620, the Mayflower, you know, landed at Pilgrim Rock. There were Indians here. They were our friends. They showed us how to hunt.

ME: But this was about the guideline of ‘Thou shall not kill.’ That’s why you brought this up.

DAD: Well, because people got killed over there. Occupying other people’s space.

ME: Do you think that if they had all read the Ten Commandments, they wouldn’t have killed?

DAD: You know, that’s interesting, because they were Christians, that came over. This is it, this is the trick. See, okay, you’re allowed to kill somebody in self-defense. Someone attacks you and you kill them, that’s self-defense. You go after someone else and kill them, that’s murder.

ME: But the Commandment says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’

DAD: No, murder.

ME: No, it says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’

DONNA: It says kill.

DAD: Okay, but the fact is you have a right to defend yourself.

ME: Why are you saying that?

DAD: Because this is how they do it. This is how they spin it. I don’t care whose side you’re on. For instance, somebody comes into your apartment, they’re stealing, you have a right to shoot.

ME: But, if the Ten Commandments were up for debate in a Court of Jesus’s Law, he would just keep pointing to the fact that it says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ There’s no caveat that says ‘unless…’

DAD: No, there is.

ME: Where?

DAD: There–there–just there–just, I don’t know. I don’t know where that came up. I’ll give you an example: there’s a lot of murdering that went on in the bible. But you say, ‘How can God allow murder?’ Well, war is murder, killing. Now how did we get to that point?

DONNA: God sent messages to the city, to change their ways or this is going to happen. They had a warning! They didn’t do it, so, that’s the consequences of going by your own will.

ME: But do you think that’s God’s law or man’s law?

DONNA: God’s law.

ME: But we don’t operate by God’s law, right? You don’t think God’s law applies to people, like, ‘I warned you and you didn’t do it so now I’m going to kill you’?

DONNA: Well, all we’ve got now is the bible.

My dad goes on to explain slavery and the Civil War

ME: Okay. New question: Do you think that references to important works of art make less important works of art seem more important? For example, do you know who Ashlee Simpson is?

DAD: Yes. She got burned for lip-synching on SNL (here he pronounces Beyoncé’s name without the accent, rhyming with ‘free sconce’) but Beyonce did it and they gave her a pass.

ME: (repeating his pronunciation) Beyonce!

DONNA: Well, your dad’s not French.

ME: Okayyyy. Anyway, she titled an album I Am Me, which is pretty dumb, I think. But what if you discovered it was a reference to a Truman Capote short story called Other Voices, Other Rooms in which the protagonist, Joel, once liberated, finally accepts the fact that he is homosexual.

DONNA: It would probably make me think beyond the stupid I Am Me and give me a reference point. Yeah, I think I’d like it more.

DAD: No, lower.

ME: Your opinion of her would sink lower?

DAD: Yes, because I don’t like Truman Capote.

ME: Why?

Here he says, “Because he talks like this” in his Truman Capote voice and then starts talking like a British man saying, “Us British are always right.”

Me: Okay, next question. Live Science published an article recently which explained that scientists are now able to encode HTML documents onto DNA. Apparently it’s a more efficient storage system than storing on hard drives; if you took everything that human beings have ever written and encoded them onto DNA, it would weigh less than a granola bar.  What would you want encoded on DNA?

My dad launches into an explanation of John Wycliffe and the Catholic Church and how they want to control you by keeping the bible in Latin so that “you have to go to them” and why he doesn’t trust modern scientists because they’re not god based and they’ll “go anywhere.” He brings up stem cell research.

ME: What would you want encoded that would tell future generations who David Schlicht was? Who Donna Schlicht was?

Here my dad tells me that DNA “got started” in 1986 and talks about crime scenes before its discovery.

DONNA: I don’t think anything in my life is that important that I care to leave it behind.

ME: But you get to. For free. It’s like a free trial.

DONNA: I don’t want anybody to know my past; it wasn’t very good.

ME: You could write something and it’d be kept in a vial in a warehouse and if anyone wanted to know what your message was to the world it could be this. What would it be?

DONNA: I don’t know. There’s nothing that important.

DAD: See it doesn’t really matter what I think or say, although what I think and say has been thought out. I’m not going to tell you something that I haven’t already thought out for hours. Like picking a friend. You think, why did I pick that friend?

ME: What was the last decision that you put hours of thought into?

DONNA: (answering for him) Ho Chi Mihn.

ME: That’s not a decision.

DONNA: Well, he decided whether he likes him or not. That was the decision. He didn’t like him, now he likes him.

DAD: This guy stood for something! I think he was misunderstood!

Me: OKAY. IF YOU COULD HAVE SOMETHING ENCODED ON DNA, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

DAD: Ok, I’m glad you asked me that: “76847321856-B”

Before I can ask the next question my dad gets into the Muslim religion not being a religion, Egypt, Afghanistan, Hitler, and says that Obama is a gay Muslim.

ME: Why do you think you were put on this earth?

DAD: You know I don’t know the answer to that question but I’m grateful for life.

DONNA: I believe that the Lord put us on this earth to propagate and to raise up children for the Lord and to repopulate the 1/3rd of the angels that fell with Lucifer.

ME: Does that mean you think that everyone is on the earth for the same reason?

DONNA: That was the original intention, but Satan corrupted it. Something good has been corrupted.

ME: Do you think there is a unique reason why you’re here?

DONNA: No.

DAD: If I weren’t here for a good reason, I’d make it a good reason.

ME: Alright. What is a song that makes you feel nostalgic?

DAD: All the old songs, versus the new. I used to be nostalgic for new songs but it didn’t last long.

DONNA: For me, it’s Celine Dion. She sang a song when your dad and I were first together and it was our song.

ME: I’m Your Lady?

DONNA: Yeah, I’m Your Lady and then there was that other one. Those just bring back good memories.

ME: Which other one?

DONNA: The Something of Love?

ME: The Power of Love.

DONNA: Yeah. That’s it. My friend Cynthia used to sing that and she did a fantastic job.

ME: Why do you think music is important?

DAD: I’ll tell you why. I think it’s important, good music, obviously, if I listen to some old Christmas songs, wow they’re so good. Hymns, because there’s a frequency in us.

DONNA: There is a frequency in our heartbeat and the beat of the music. They go together. And when you get this rap stuff it goes counter to our beat so it’s really an irritant to us and some of the real modern music, too. It has a different beat than our beat. When you listen to Christian music, almost all of it, except maybe this modern stuff that’s coming up now, has a beat that goes along with our heart rate.

ME: Hmm, okay. Two more questions: What reason do you think a woman would have for dying her hair red, like, paint red?

DAD: I know why. They’re depressed and bright colors cheer them up.

DONNA: They want to have a fiery spirit.

ME: Okay; last question: Do you think that being tethered to bangs is a problem?

DAD: Tethered?

ME: You just can’t get away from ‘em. Yeah.

DAD: Oh. Who’s that singer that still wears her hair in bangs? She’s real big.

DONNA: Carry? Perry?

DAD: Perry. Yeah, she still wears her hair in bangs. There’s a gal who just wears these…she’s pretty, she’s really pretty—but she does the hair and all the colors and everything and her fans really like it.

ME: Lady Gaga? Nicki Minaj?

DAD: No, I can’t stand her.

ME: Who are you talking about!

DAD: Katy Perry.

DONNA: (to me) Why do you always wear bangs?

ME: I feel like I’m tethered to them!

DONNA: You did it before because you had a mole on your forehead.

ME: That’s true.

DAD: You have a nice forehead. You’re not hiding your forehead.

DONNA: (to me) You need to work on it! And whether you like it or not go out that day with a different look and get somebody’s opinion!

DAD: Yeah, get into different moods and modes. What’s that model that’s not very good looking but she’s got a lot of different looks?

ME: You’re going to say Kate Moss.

DAD: Yeah. Well, change is important!

DONNA: I think variety is the spice of life.

DAD: What was your boyfriend’s name that had hair covering his face?

ME: Oh, [redacted].

DAD: Yeah, maybe somebody said something mean to him.

ME: Yeah, his friends and his brother called him Cro-Magnon.

DAD: See. Now he’ll carry that with him for the rest of his life and he has to eat while holding his hair back.

ME: Okay, any final comments?

DONNA: When are you going to change your hairdo?

 

 

 

(Recorded in 2013)