For some, the answer is JFK. For others, it's Princess Di, or Martin Luther King Jr, or jackie robinson.
The question is, "what historical figure would you most want to sit down and have a conversation with."
it's a conversation piece open to revision. I've heard everything from, "who would you most like to have dinner with," to "who would you most like to get drunk with."
I have a revision, too. Mine is, "who would you most like to interview?"
But mine has another twist. It's not with a person, it's with a concept: greed - something to which we can all relate.
Read on and you'll understand.
It was a short interview, and I tried to get Greed to stay as long as possible. When I asked for five more minutes, Greed said I was being greedy.
So I got 10.
It was quite an eye-opening experience sitting down with the sin of excess for a one-on-one to discuss current events, and because it was such a rare opportunity, I'd like to share some of the interview:
Independent: BP CEO Tony Hayward is in the news quite a bit, and not for good reason. As oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, he stuck his foot in his mouth when he whined about wanting his life back, was harshly criticized when he went to a yachting event, and
Greed: OK, wait. I know Tony. In fact, I know him REAL well. We're tight. Good man. So he wants his life back. So he owns a yacht. People are jealous and will lash out at anyone who has money and spends it freely. But these people don't know him as intimately as I do; it's like we're one, Tony and me, ya know? Look, it's not like he caused the explosion. What's he s'posed to do, swim to the bottom of the ocean and fix it himself? He's not Aquaman. I'd stay on my yacht, too.
Independent: But there are so many struggling people who live and work in that area; their livelihoods are affected, they can't work, they can't feed their families.
Greed: So move! Latrell Sprewell couldn't feed HIS family either.
Independent: You're harsh.
Greed: Aagh. Next question.
Independent: So, have you been following the World Cup?
Greed: The what?
Independent: The World Cup. FIFA? Soccer?
Greed: Nope. From what I've heard, it's too much like the Olympics. All that 'playing for your country' crap. Sports is business and business means money. That's where I come in. Baseballnow that's where it's at.
Independent: Ohh-kay, then who's your favorite baseball team?
Greed: The Yankees.
Independent: Yankees? Wait. Why? No one likes the Yankees, at least not in these parts. You must be from New York.
Greed: New York? No. Great city though. What's not to love about the Yankees? Steinbrenner's one of my favorite people. I see a lot of me in him. The Yankees win all the time, that's why no one likes 'em. Again, it's a jealousy issue. You jealous? Because I know someone who can help you with that.
Independent: Never mind. A lot of people think they buy their championships.
Greed: Win, buy - you say tomato.
Independent: Ever see "The Pride of the Yankees"?
Greed: You lost me at pride.
Independent: The movie - you know Lou Gehrig, luckiest man in the world
Greed: Haven't seen it; don't really like movies. "Seven" was OK, I guess.
Independent: Do you have one of those new iPhone 4s everyone lined up to buy last week?
Greed: Yes, actually have three of them. I have three of everything.
Independent: What do you think about the ridiculous amounts of money pro athletes make these days:
Greed: Ridiculous? Pretty strong word (laughs). I say make it while you can. And then spend it and make some more.
Independent: Where do you think LeBron James will end up playing?
Greed: Ah, another good friend. Pretty much anywhere I tell him to.
Independent: Really. So, you're kind of his adviser?
Greed: You could say that.
Independent: Do you think you get a bad rap?
Greed: What do I care? Americans are the ones who have made me the top dog of sins. For example, they can't get enough oil; they need it for everything, never satisfied. Blame them. Owners of pro sports teams are the ones who give millionaire athletes, what was it you said, ridiculous amounts of money? Blame them. I'm simply a psychological concept. You don't have to like me.
Independent: Will you ever go away?
Greed: (laughs) (laughs some more). Not in YOUR lifetime. I don't think it's me going away you should worry about, pal. You can't make me go away. You can control me to a point, but you can't get rid of me. Besides, why would you want to? If it wasn't for me you would have no one to envy. (and laughs a little more).
Independent: OK, it's not that funny. Say, thanks for your time, Greed. We'll let you go now; I know you're real busy - things to do, people to corrupt
Greed: Sure you don't want 10 more minutes?