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Personality Test: Stephan Pastis

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Cartoonist Stephan Pastis

You need only read a single comic strip from cartoonist Stephan Pastis to know that somewhere along the way, someone was responsible for giving his younger self what might have been the worst career advice of all time: Become a lawyer.

Clearly, all that absentminded doodling during company meetings finally paid off, although success didn’t come overnight. It took three years and a dogged determination to become syndicated. But once he did, there was no looking back. With an infectiously quick wit that has the unusual knack of throwing playful punches at life without ever missing the bullseye, the cartoonist, who lives in Santa Monica, Calif., has carved out a niche that has proven so successful, he has more than 650 newspapers around the world, including the Trib, carrying the daily antics of Rat, Pig, Goat and Croc in his award-winning daily strip, “Pearls Before Swine.”

These days, he’s set his sights on conquering a new generation of admirers with the release of his debut children’s book, “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made,” the wildly amusing account of “the best detective around.” As one would suspect, boy-sleuth Timmy is about as successful as his name would indicate … although he’s none the wiser.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:

Someone really ugly. So for the rest of my life, people would approach me and say, “You look so much cuter in real life.”

Childhood hero:

Charles Schulz. I wanted to be him.

The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:

This one involves Pittsburgh. It’s a program from the 1909 World Series, where the Pirates played the Tigers. My godmother from Verona gave it to me. And now I can’t find it.

The superpower I wish I had in real life:

The ability to draw a bicycle that actually looks like a bicycle. Ditto cars, tables, chairs and anything round.

I can’t live without my iPod, cellphone, DVR or laptop?

Cellphone.

My favorite reality show:

“Trip Flip.” It’s a show on the Travel Channel. I’m a sucker for travel shows.

Favorite guilty pleasure:

Watching MTV’s “Real World”

Something I would do over if I could:

Not spend 10 years of my life being a lawyer. What a waste of my fertile mind.

Favorite lunchtime spot:

Right in front of my computer, eating a sandwich and watching documentaries on Netflix.

Top thing on my “bucket list” to do before I’m gone:

Travel to every corner of the globe

Favorite brunch food:

Sausage links

Three people I’d love to have dinner with:

Bob Dylan, Bono and this hot girl I used to know in college

In five years, I’d like to:

Be alive to read this.

Star I’d like to dance with on “Dancing With the Stars”:

Cannot dance. Will not dance. Dancing bad.

My quirkiest inherited trait:

I doubt it’s inherited, but I can’t write if I can see a Kleenex popping up from the box. I have to push it back in.

One word my mother would use to describe me:

Ungrateful little brat. (Needed three there). No, no, no. She loves me.

The worst advice I ever received:

Go to law school.

If I was auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:

Sung really badly.

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

Pulled-pork sandwich from Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, Mo.

Celebrity crush:

Rachel McAdams

Exercise I hate most:

Any of them that involve sweating

In high school, I was:

Voted Most Obnoxious by my peers. As I was in junior high as well. I wish they had had the award in college, so I could have won the trifecta.

TV marathon I could watch all day:

“The Sopranos” or “The Wire.” Two best TV shows ever made.

My favorite cable channel:

ESPN, Travel Channel, MTV

The most famous person I ever became friends with:

Scott Adams (Dilbert creator)

The oldest thing in my refrigerator:

Mustard. Four years. I’m under the belief that mustard can’t spoil. Perhaps I’m wrong.

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

A syndicated cartoonist. Truly. See, dreams do come true.

I’m deathly afraid of:

Being buried alive. Large dogs that bark at me. Not necessarily in that order. Trivia note: I’ve been bitten by dogs in Pittsburgh not once, but twice. So Pittsburgh gave me my fear of dogs.

My first job:

Prep chef at my uncle’s restaurant in South Pasadena, Calif.

My worst job:

Easiest question by far. Lawyer.

The first band I saw in concert:

U2, 1987, Oakland Coliseum

The best concert I’ve ever seen:

Same as above

The person I’m most often mistaken for:

Well, I don’t see the resemblance, but some people tell me I look like Robert Downey Jr.

What you’ll always find in my glove compartment:

A gun and a kilo of coke. (C’mon, I have to have some fun with this questionnaire.)

My most embarrassing junk food:

Eating bowls of Corn Pops late at night.

Saturday mornings, you’ll find me:

Drawing or writing.

My favorite website:

Well, for strictly utilitarian reasons (i.e. promoting myself) — Facebook

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

“Goodfellas”

If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be:

A lawyer. And I’d be sad.

The last book I read:

“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Bono. Oh, to be a rock star.

Life would be better without:

People who are both stupid and arrogant.

If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:

U2 and Dylan.

The movie that always makes me cry:

“The Notebook.” Once saw it on a plane and cried all three times.

I never travel without my:

Clothes. I would be arrested.

People would be surprised to know that I:

Scold my pens when they don’t work right.

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