Vanity Fair Administers the Proust Questionnaire to a Person Who’s Been Trapped inside a Cave for 40 Days

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

It used to be watching the sunset with my family on a Saturday night, knowing I could sleep in until noon the next day and make pancakes for lunch. But these days, it’s getting my hands on a meaty rat too weak to outrun me.

What is your greatest fear?

That I’ll never get out of here. Or that when I do, I’ll miss the darkness.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The fact that I never back down from a dare.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

When people flippantly use the term “Man Cave,” without understanding its origins.

Which living person do you most admire?

That’s a tough one. I’m stuck between Carl Weathers and Morgan Spurlock.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Sometimes water drips off the stalactites carrying trace amounts of salt and I catch them on my tongue.

What is your current state of mind?

Thrilled to be doing this interview for Vanity Fair and hopeful that I can parlay this into a national rescue effort.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience.

On what occasion do you lie?

About ten days ago, I began talking to the mice—their squeaks started to make sense to me. But when one mouse asked if I was scared, I lied and said no. I wanted to be strong for him.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Sometimes I catch my reflection in a puddle, but my face looks distorted. I don’t remember what I looked like before. I’m not that wide-eyed young man anymore.

Which living person do you most despise?

My friend, Ryan, who dared me to enter this cave.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

In my experience, the most important qualities a man can have are leadership, integrity, and enough forearm strength to pull himself over an eight-foot ledge.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

To me, loyalty is the most important part of any relationship. If I were ever away at war, on a months-long business trip, or heck, even trapped in a cave or something, it’s important to me to know my partner isn’t canoodling with her “Work Husband” Josh.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Probably “HELP, PLEASE, I’M BEGGING YOU. IS ANYONE OUT THERE? CAN ANYONE HEAR ME? HELP ME, PLEASE!” and “Cool beans.”

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I drew a face onto a rock using my own blood. Its name is Earl. I love it more than my children. I don’t remember their names anymore.

When and where were you happiest?

Nine days ago I had a dream that I was in a cave just like this one, but when I touched the walls they were made of paper. I tore through and stepped outside into a sun-soaked field. Every animal I’ve killed in here was alive and well, frolicking in the pasture. They were in heaven now and wanted me to know that they forgave me. Then I woke up.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Cave painting.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Maybe I’d stop hiking and pick up pickleball or something.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Well, not a lot of people can say they’ve been featured in Vanity Fair.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Anything other than a bat.

Where would you most like to live?

Above ground.

What is your most treasured possession?

It used to be the necklace my grandfather passed down to me, but I had to fashion the pendant into a dagger to defend myself from the opossums. So, that dagger, I guess.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Roughly 50 feet but it feels deeper when you’re in here.

What is your favorite occupation?

Licensed evacuation helicopter pilot.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Normally, my go-to answer for this one is my contagious laughter, but right now I’d say it’s the infected spider bite on my cheek.

What do you most value in your friends?

When they let you switch to “Truth” when you really don’t want to do the “Dare” they came up with.

Who are your favorite writers?

No literary work compares to the sound of chirping birds outside the confines of a cave.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Fred Flintstone. He never let living in a cave get in the way of being a good husband and father.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

It’s hard to choose just one. I’d say either David Blaine when he buried himself alive, David Blaine when he spent 44 days in a plexiglass box, or David Blaine when he stood inside an ice block in Times Square.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Park rangers, manhunt teams, and search dogs have always been an inspiration to me.

What are your favorite names?

Lately, I’ve been enamored with the names Sam T. and Alice J. They’ve left so many beautiful etchings on the walls in here.

What is it that you most dislike?

I’ll be honest. I’ve recently grown to really hate caves.

What is your greatest regret?

Wasting my only flare shooting a really gross bug.

How would you like to die?

Of old age, in my sleep, in a beautiful French cave.

What is your motto?

“Stop and smell the roses.”

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