Twitter is a magical land where total strangers appreciate your sense of humor that your family shunned you for.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) February 12, 2013
It’s @MomofTeen here and kind Kate has allowed me back into the interview seat to talk with one of my long-time favorites, the clever @MoronThat. I love his word play and imagery. In fact, the way he looks at the world often reminds me of the Far Side cartoonist, Gary Larson.
Why the Twitter name Moron That?
I’m dyslexic, and in school most everybody thought I was an idiot, including me. I found out through I.Q. tests that I wasn’t stupid. I also had the world’s highest score at Big Brain Academy, a puzzle game.
When I was a kid, OCD, ADD, and dyslexia was called, "Why can't you be smart like your brother," and the cure was many smacks on the head.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) March 21, 2013
I’m more of an idiot savant. They said I had ADD. I call it attention overload, because I see everything everywhere at the same time, especially weird, funny stuff. My brain seeks humor, craves fun, a variable fun factory. That is the essence of my soul. I like to give, and what better gift to make people happy.
When and why did you join Twitter?
I’ve been here four long years. Every day my sense of duty is your scents of doodie. I’m honored you chose me to interview. The great job you did with @Underchilde speaks for itself. But I’m an acquired taste, like zucchini.
I'm scared to try the chicken afraido.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) June 25, 2014
I joined Twitter out of curiosity. For months I just sent heckling tweets to Ellen D. and Steve Martin. Steve Martin blocked me because he posted a pair of super gay looking shoes, and I told him those should remain in the closet.
Okay, so once you stopped harassing celebrities, why did you stay?
This place started about me, then you all wiggled your way into my heart, and now it’s all about me trying to make you happy, which makes me happy. Real people, like you, they really count. I try to be fair, like my one retweet per customer standard. I don’t want people to feel left out, or play favorites, but it’s so obvious who my favorite peeps are, those I retweet. Like neighbors, after awhile you find out who are the good ones.
How would you describe people on Twitter?
Lonely people are drawn to Twitter. You could be lonely in a crowded prison. We seek other like-minded individuals. Life surrounds you with all these humans, but how do we know those are the right ones for us merely because fate thrust them in our paths? Twitter has more paths than you can find.
She was more excited about finding an onion ring in her French fries than the engagement ring.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) December 14, 2015
But we’ve also talked about all the creative people on Twitter . . .
There are absolutely brilliant tweets on Twitter. People never cease to surprise and amaze me. There’s hope for the human race, I feel it.
As you know, I’ve always loved the way your brain works. Your word play is sublime.
I’m really not that special, kind of like Forrest Gump, but not as dumb and not as skilled, a Florist Gumby.
Gazillions of resilient Brazilians.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) June 17, 2014
Your mind is certainly as flexible as Gumby. What draws you to humor?
Humor is a protective suit of armor, it helps soften any blow. Also, humor is a great tension reliever. It can turn the worst and most awkward situation into something almost pleasant. I loved Robin Williams. I’m kind of like that – very energetic. I was pretty devastated to see him leave us so abruptly.
So, aside from Robin Williams, who really makes you laugh?
Monty Python shaped me. I loved being silly. My mom would always say, “Stop being silly.” Instead they should have rolled with it and put me in clown school, or something. But I found Twitter, so all’s well.
What’s your formula or approach, if any, for writing tweets?
I have an excellent memory; my recall ability is freakishly accurate. I can sift through the files in my head and come up with matches. You know that card game Memory? That’s how most of my tweets are done. One thing is similar to another, the funnier the better.
It's not quantum mechanics. – Rocket scientists.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) June 4, 2014
When not on Twitter, how do you spend your time?
I play pool six hours a day, seven days a week. I’m not a pro; being pro is a little like having a black belt. You earn that title by winning pro tournaments. I’m a semi-pro; I play pool for money. I’m settled here in Montreal. The pro pool circuit involves traveling around the world and I hate flying. I also do karate training two hours every day.
I’m plum exhausted thinking about a typical day for you. What do you do in your “down” time?
I enjoy reading. I love Stephen King. I read Carrie in grade 9 and then read all his stuff. Kurt Vonnegut is pure genius. As for music, Pink Floyd was my Steven King. I had all their albums when I was 11 years old!
I faced the music after I composed myself.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) October 13, 2015
I also look after three cats and three rabbits. That takes some time because I have to segregate them for their floor time runs in shifts. I feed squirrels on my balcony. I’m so busy, in fact, that if I ever try to relax and watch a movie, I just take a nap.
Mark, I know you’ve experienced struggles in life. What were some of your biggest challenges and how did they shape who you are today?
I got picked on at school, at Scouts, and at home. I was the smallest in my class. I started karate at 10 after I saw Billy Jack. By 15, I was the hardest hitting little thing these f***ers ever felt. I started just swinging at faces that pushed me too far. I’m proud to say I never hit my dad, who deserved one more than most. I moved out at 16 to live on the street. I still have the little green suitcase I took with me.
Sixteen? How did you cope?
It was tough working as a dishwasher at 16 in a Chinese restaurant, and sleeping in a locker room, but a million times easier then living with my family. Those Chinese cooks were great fun and we became good friends. One of the chefs was world famous and had his own TV show. Things just kept getting better for me away from my insane family. They were like living on the moon, and now I live on Earth.
I’ve been through some tough times, but I came out stronger than ever, and I’m darn proud of that, considering I did it all alone with zero support. I went through hell, and came out an angel.
An echo is a far cry from a far cry.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) August 20, 2014
Have you ever met any people from Twitter?
Nope, I’ve never met any tweeters. It would be interesting to meet all of my favorite ones, I guess . . . like a scientist examining a newly discovered bacteria.
As you gaze into your crystal ball, what does the future hold?
One day at a time. One day I’m sure I’ll write a book about pool.
My DNA is on a downward spiral.
— Moron That (@markste71128147) January 4, 2014
I was thrilled when we began DM’ing and getting to know each other. I think you’re truly one of a kind. What makes you unique?
I always knew I was different; my happiness actually angers normal people. Like what nerve I have to be happy and funny in such a cruel bastard world. Suppose there was a God, how would you act if you KNEW he was really watching? I try to put on a show so that even God couldn’t stifle a snigger.
Thanks for the interview Mark and Nancy! Great job!
In case you missed it, last time on Beyond the Bio: @SardonicTart
A butt-load of the funniest parenting tweets all packed into one place! – The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, available on Amazon. Or try the original, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. They make great gifts!