FOOL ON THE HILL
Community's Treasure Chest

Words can be overused yet underrated. One Fool sifts through Foolish interviews to uncover the wit and wisdom of our online community. From Wall Street reform to personal regrets, great answers appear. One simply has to remember to ask the question.

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By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)
May 6, 2002

Words.

I love them.

They start wars. They end them. They mend the hearts that actions break. They soothe. They mean. They matter.

As a musician, I'm floored by their lyrical nature. As a writer, I cherish them like a carpenter does nails. I know I'm not alone in my fixation. Families obsess over their children's first words. A man set to hang will be asked if he has any final ones. The filler in the middle is life.

Two words unite a couple. Three words tear them apart. The filler in the middle is love.

In my twisted view of Utopia, everyone is given a million words. Period. Once they're used up, it's Mime City. So folks learn to truly value the worth of words. In my Utopian village, the words are measured but never to the point of circumventing the point. Words are used but never wasted.

Knowing that much about me -- knowing that I'm not one to leave any pun unturned in the process -- it should come as no surprise that the quality of our Foolish community is worth far more to me than the raw quantity aimed for elsewhere. In my perfect place, authors would craft their own CliffsNotes. They would call them novels.

One of the coolest aspects to the free registration process here is the ability to be interviewed publicly, online. Don't worry, it's practically painless. Browsing through the responses of my fellow Fools over the weekend, I came across some amazing morsels of verbiage. Fortune cookie writers of the world, unite! Here are just a handful of the many gems I found:

Given a second chance, what financial decision would you like to do over? 

BizDani:  I would have picked tails.

Goofyhoofy:  Buy AOL at the beginning. Buy Dell at the beginning. Buy IBM at the beginning. Buy McDonald's at the beginning. Are you picking up the pattern yet?

What's the best advice you've ever received?

StringCheeseMark:  Don't eat Spam.

What is your most distressing regret?

WallyLock:  I was once chased around the zoo by a large bird.... I'm sorry that is my most distressing egret. 

Tell us about your greatest personal success, not necessarily finance related.

jeanpaulsartre:  I hope my greatest personal success is in my ability to identify my greatest personal failures.

In what way would society be different if bears had become the dominant sentient species?

LeRoyPhipps:  Hibernation would move higher up my list of favorite things to do, and all the growling that goes on would seem much more acceptable.

ajaskey:  Toilet seats would be much larger.

Which celebrity or public figure (past or present) do you most look like? 

howardroark:  Hey, if I looked like a celebrity, would I be spending the evening interviewing myself on the Internet? I protest this question, you either end up sounding hideously ugly, hideously conceited, hideously unfunny through blatant hyperbole.... Okay, I know where I fit in there... Alan Greenspan.

Briefly review your favorite book. 

LurkerMom:  The Dictionary! Boy, do I need it! I can't spell worth a darn! And it's really hard to look up a word when you don't know how to spell it!

What on Wall Street today is most suited for reform?

BruceBrown:  The weak coffee.

What, in your opinion, are some of life's big mysteries?

AngryCandy:  Every day, the human race gathers more knowledge. This means that every day each one of us knows a smaller percentage of all that is known. We get stupider every day. What was the question again? I forgot.

WonderPup:  I'm not sure I know the questions to ask, but I am pretty sure the answer is 42.

What's been your best investment to date, and how did you discover it?

Raggmopp:  I have a firm rule against mixing my business activities with my social life so I never, NEVER date my investments.

What's the most overrated idea, person, or event in our culture? 

CaveGirl:  Sleep... it's very overrated.

Make a confession.

EliasFardo:  I always lie when I confess.

What seemingly insurmountable challenge did you meet and defeat?

fleg9bo:  I got out of bed this morning.

Your most heroic moment in life?

davefeatherstone:  I smiled at a stranger. Sounds like nothing, but I may have averted a World War. Who's to know?

I can keep going, but you get the picture. And, since my camera is "Made in Utopia," I only have 999 snapshots left. Right? I'll save those words to savor another day.

If you come across any great interview nuggets, share them here. Until then, I'll keep trolling for words that matter. It's a quest that starts with reservation but ends in admiration. The filler in the middle is adventure.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz is never short on words. Well, except for this awkward disclaimer: Rick's stock holdings can be viewed online, as can the Fool's disclosure policy.