So, who are these gubernatorial candidates, really? To answer that question, they submitted to the Proust Questionnaire, so-named because the French writer Marcel Proust was partial to it. These days, the quiz is a fixture in Vanity Fair magazine (from which this version has been cribbed). There, various celebrities give fascinating glimpses into their characters. If it works on the likes of Robert DeNiro and Dolly Parton, it should work on United Independent Party candidate Evan Falchuk -- the second of our gubernatorial hopefuls to reveal himself.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Watching our kids’ sports. When they play ball, for example, there’s a kind of joy you feel seeing their anticipation before each play – wanting to throw a strike, and doing it; wanting to field a grounder, and making the play; hoping to get to the plate for that big hit and delivering it. There’s a purity of happiness in that moment right before they do those things that is hard to describe in words.
What is your greatest fear?
That the trends in our country’s politics continue. That fewer and fewer people participate in our democracy, and it continues to erode to the point where America isn’t very different from the places around the world that people have emigrated from to find opportunity here. We need a new generation of leaders to reverse this trend, and not just in Massachusetts.
What is the trait you most dislike in yourself?
Not spending enough time with my family or friends.
What is the trait you most dislike in others?
Being a phony.
Which living person do you most admire?
My wife, Felicia.
Which living person do you most despise?
The guy I met in a 4th of July parade who wouldn’t shake my hand because I wasn’t in the same political party as him. He still wouldn’t shake hands when I told him “It’s OK, we’re all American.”
What is your greatest extravagance?
Three cannoli in one sitting at Mike’s Pastry Shop.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience. Sometimes people who tell you to be more patient are just trying to buy time to let them get away with not acting on a problem.
On what occasion do you lie?
About that person who swaps teeth for dollars. (Shhh...)
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
When and where were you happiest?
I’m happy right now. Aren’t you?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife, Felicia.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would very much like to learn how to tie all those different kinds of knots that sailors used to know how to do in the 19th Century.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had more time with my wife and kids.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Three healthy, happy kids.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would like to come back as David Ortiz so I could wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and say “thank you.”
What is your most treasured possession?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The 8th inning of Game 7 of the Red Sox – Yankees ALCS in 2003. The Red Sox were up 5-2 and six outs away from going to the World Series. It was more than a little surprising that Grady Little sent Pedro out there for the 8th, given how good the bullpen had been and that Pedro was up at 100 pitches. After getting an out, he gave up 2 hits and a run, making it a 5-3 game. Grady came out, obviously to remove Pedro from the game. BUT HE LEFT HIM IN THERE. Even as I type this I still can’t believe it. Pedro gave up the tying runs, Grady sat idly in the dugout. If it were not for the incredible victory of the 2004 Red Sox, this would have been an irreparable wound. Still, for the sake of mankind, Grady Little should never have sent Pedro out there in the 8th. There are some decisions that you can question in retrospect – this is one of those where, as it was happening, it was obvious to everyone except Grady that this was, in fact, the very depth of misery.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who is your hero of fiction?
Luke Jackson, from “Cool Hand Luke.”
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandfather, Solomon Falchuk.
Who are your favorite writers?
Shelby Foote, Joseph Conrad, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
What is your greatest regret?
I try not to live my life with regrets.
How would you like to die?
Either peacefully, or in this very elaborate method that was set up by a James Bond villain.
What is your motto?
“Less fear, more gumption.”
Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter @GlobeAbraham