by The Bathtub Project
Name: John Hoffman
How often do you bathe or shower?
Not enough. Not enough. Probably I’d say, on a good week, four. An average week, one to three. But I always try to trick myself into justifying it by acting like it’s for some environmental cause. But it’s not. It’s not. I just get lazy and avoid it, I guess. A lot of times I’m also just so tired when I get back home, that I don’t want to take the time and the energy to shower. I just want to get in bed. But then even that’s almost a copout because I’ll start staring at my phone for 20 minutes when it’s like, dude, you could have took shower in five, but you didn’t. So not enough. I would say that. But when I do shower, I take my time. So I make up for all my water-waste that I’m pretending to avoid.
If you were an underwater creature, which one would you be?
Okay, so this is the only one that I came up with an answer for prior. And it came up immediately. But my decision was an electric eel. And I don’t have any sort of fondness of it. In fact, I’m really scared of them. But I don’t know. The underwater is really scary to me. Just the fact that you can’t see anything and it’s unknown, and anything can kind of swerve right past your foot at any time. So an eel really, really terrifies me. And I think it’s because– did you ever play the Mario Game, when we were kids? Eels used to pop out in the underwater level and a fear was developed at a young age from a cartoon. So I think that’s the creature I would choose just because when I think underwater, that comes to mind first. Even though I’m afraid of it. But like, I don’t need to get over the fear of the underwater because it’s not like I can exist in the underwater anyway. So it’s like, yeah, go ahead. Be afraid of it because you don’t have to face it because you can’t exist down there. Maybe some fears people really do need to deal with and get over in order to just continue living healthy life. Like, if maybe, I don’t know, you’ve dealt with something traumatic or just something eating at you that you have to get rid of in order to continue going on. Maybe you do have to manifest those fears sometimes. Obviously, relative to what they are. But yeah.
What would that fear be for you?
I guess I’m fortunate to not have a ton of super present active fears even from the things that I’ve experienced like being attacked by men on the sidewalk or something. I guess that still doesn’t bother me. And I guess because it’s not as present of a danger for someone like me. But a fear that always sticks in the back of my head is going to prison. But again, why would you want to manifest that. That’s not a feeling you get over. You just try not to go to prison, so yeah. [laughter]
Where does that one come from?
I think maybe just propaganda about prison in media as a child. It’s kind of wild that we have dramatizations in America, reality TV genres that are also dramatizations of life in prison. It’s almost like they’re trying to control narrative from the get-go of what a prisoner looks like. And that has to be where the fear comes from I guess, seeing things like that. I’m sure you remember the video game RollerCoaster Tycoon. There’s a Prison Tycoon video game. It’s absolutely insane that that exists. But it has to come from that, I guess. Yeah. It’s shoved down your throat in American media and in life.
What is something you’re passionate about?
It’s a boring answer but I will just say music. That’s what I do with my life in the sense of a hobby and a job so I’d say that. And I mentioned, before the interview started, to you that I’m just now, this week, dealing with a breakup of 10 years. But it definitely is a ricochet of my involvement with music because I just committed so much time to it, endless time to it. And you got to have a partner who’s down for that too, and we learned through the years that she was not, so. I mean, it’s more personal than that. I was absent, not that I was passionate. There’s definitely people who can toe that line successfully and there’s plenty of people that do. And here’s my learning curve I guess, but. So I’d say that I’m passionate about music. I collect records, not obsessively, and run a recording studio, and I play in bands. But one of my bands is going to end because of the breakup because my partner who just broke things off with me has been developing a relationship with the drummer in my band since before September. Yeah. So my friend community just blew up, my work community just blew up, because he works at the same day job as me. Yeah. So I started writing a letter to him right before you were here but because I don’t owe him– I feel like I don’t owe him dialogue about it because it’s so cut and dry. I feel like I would just be affording him a privilege at this point. It’s like, “Dude, you’d know why you fucked up.” Plus he’s just a person that I’d given second chances to before. So it’s like, “I don’t need you. Here’s the proof.” So yeah. Music is my passion. [laughter] But I feel really good, I do, because of how supportive all my friends have been they’ve been so loving and helpful that I’m either distracted or just okay with it. Probably distracted. I’ll probably wake up in a month paralyzed in my bed with anguish of, “Oh, life is over.” But yeah.
What are your thoughts on trust?
My thoughts on trust have changed. Because, I changed. I changed because within– I guess like the cliché I always say about is I’ll trust you until I can’t. In general, I’m not a trusting person. I won’t open myself up to opportunities to be subject to a scoundrel that I don’t know, that’s why I’m surprised that I was okay with you coming over. You might have murdered me, but you don’t know until you’re there, I guess. And it’s still counterproductive to just not trust people. For the most part. I’ll trust my friends, but I won’t trust certain things to the elements. And mostly, I think that comes down more so to material things. I worry about my door being locked. I worry about things of that nature, but it’s actually not crucial at the end of the day. If something bad were to happen to your car, your apartment, or anything of the sort, yeah, obviously, that’s a tragedy and it sucks, but it can be replaced. So final thoughts on trust: It’s easy not to trust people, but I often think of people who have murdered other people’s children and those parents still forgive them. That’s crazy. If you can do that, you can do anything, right? You can deal with anything.
What is something you’re looking forward to?
Another possible another shutdown for COVID, just because I want to chill. I want to relax. I know deep down that it’s just going to get less relaxing amidst a second shutdown; that’s coming from the place of having been there for the first one. But like, the first shutdown, I kept working and doing everything exactly the same, but at least social life slowed down. And I just got to build forts to my living room and watch movies and things of that sort. I’m looking forward to that part of it. But I guess I’m looking forward to the things I get to do after we’re in the clear, like going back to traveling and playing music. That would be fun, which is convenient because that was such a big part of my life prior to Covid. I was taking it for granted. I was like, “God, I just want to sleep in my bed. I just want to be at home. I just want to pet my dog. I just want to do this, or I want to do that.” I don’t know. I’m sure once it’s back to normal, I’ll start feeling like I hate it again, but… You just have to keep your perspective in check, which is hard to do. So I’m looking forward to that.
Not looking forward to the holidays. I hate Christmas. [laughter] I had an existential crisis during Christmas last year because I get super stressed out about the gifts I’m giving, like when I don’t feel hyped on them. If I’m hyped on it and it’s something I knew I wanted to give that person, it’s awesome. But when it’s just an arbitrary gift, I hate it. Like, last year I went to bed bath and beyond on all fucking places, on the west side of Cincinnati. The parking lot’s covered in trash. There’s people everywhere. And I’m walking into the store that I’ve never stepped foot into in my life to buy pillows as a gift for somebody. They did want them, so that was cool. And I wanted to just go in there and buy whichever ones were kind of expensive because I thought, “Oh, that must mean they’re nice because I don’t really know about shit like that, what makes a nice pillow.” And while I was there, I was just like, “Fuck this holiday. Fuck dealing with this right now.” Granted, it’s not like a real issue. It’s like, “Yeah, dude, you’re stressed out because you’re around all these people, but your child could have been murdered or something.”