When I was a kid, I wanted to be ... a member of Congress, but after some years of political involvement as a volunteer, staff and candidate, I decided I'd rather have a soul.
What would you rather be doing right now? A day without reading (for pleasure) is a wasted day.
Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that ... I collect and read a few comic book titles every month.
What was your proudest moment? My proudest moments are almost always related to making a difference in my job.
It really stinks when ... maybe it's related to the fact that my first job out of college was teaching junior high language arts, but I find the continuing erosion of grammar skills to be very sad -- especially misusing ‘it's' and ‘its,' which I see all too often, even in articles by professional journalists.
What word in the dictionary would your face be next to? Helpful.
I always laugh when ... I read anything by Carl Hiassen.
Invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, and Rodgers and Hammerstein (they count as one), because I love musical theater and they'd all probably entertain after dinner and conversation.
At the end of a really long day at work, I like to ... partake in a strength and mobility class at QTown Crossfit and then make a dent in my Netflix queue.
People who knew me in high school thought I was ... smart? Funny? I guess that's what I would hope they'd think.
My most unforgettable brush with greatness was ... when I was a member of the Dane County (Wis.) Board in the late '80s, and the colleague then sitting on my right, Tammy Baldwin, is now a U.S. senator from that state. The colleague to my left, David Cieslewicz, was a two-term mayor of Madison, Wis. I guess they weren't "great" then, and merely holding office doesn't qualify for greatness either, but it's all I've got.
I would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to ... see a Broadway show (in New York, not St. Louis).
If someone gave me a million dollars, there is still no way I would ... stop working.
America should be more concerned about ... the breakdown of families and the resulting effect on education and the attitude toward work.
I'm OK if there's ever a national shortage of ... carnival chalk, goofus glass, pyrography (Google them), and pictures of barns.
When I'm on the Internet, I always go to ... Instapundit.com. Professor Glenn Reynolds provides links to very interesting stories without a lot of biased commentary.
What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? My father told me to always drive defensively.
When I'm cruising down the road, I'm likely listening to ... Sirius Channel 72, On Broadway.
I always get sentimental when ... I read stories or see pictures/videos about the wonderful people who rescue abandoned dogs and cats, such as the Bill Foundation or Hope for Paws or West Hancock Canine Rescue.
The older I get, the more I realize ... what great examples my mother and father provided for me and my siblings of how to be responsible, contributing citizens.
If I had one "do-over," I would ... be less self-centered and more forgiving in some of my personal relationships as a younger man.
My favorite item of clothing is ... anything that's brightly colored is my favorite (at that moment in time).
If I've learned anything at all ... it's that everyone deserves respect at the start of a relationship and a dedicated effort to understand them, no matter how casual or temporary the interaction.
Earl Bricker, 61, is director of community impact at the United Way of Adams County and before that was an educator with the University of Illinois Extension. He grew up in Hamilton, went to West Africa with the Peace Corps, lived in Wisconsin for 21 years, then came back to Western Illinois to be closer to family.