21 questions

Wells Tower’s Car Is Like a Case of Shingles

Name: Wells Tower
Age: 36
Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Occupation: Author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, the collection of short stories. He’ll be reading at Joe’s Pub next Wednesday.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
That woefully ungifted violinist often heard scraping away in the connector tunnel between the Sixth Avenue L stop and the 14th Street 1/2/3 platform. His belief in his art is inspiring.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Sampler of savory pastes and purées at Tanoreen in Bay Ridge.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I sit and worry.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
I have, more years than not.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
The 39 Steps.

Do you give money to panhandlers?

What’s your drink?
Old-fashioned, with a dash of Fernet Branca.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Four nights a week.

What’s your favorite medication?
My styptic pencil. After twenty years at it, I am still unable to shave without wounding myself.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
What’s a sofa?

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
Fifty bucks. Outside the city, twenty-five.

When’s bedtime?

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?

What do you think of Donald Trump?
[Peristaltic gurgle]

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Ugliness, rancor, crossing McGuinness Boulevard.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Mister Softee. One of these days I will follow an ice-cream-truck driver home and stand outside his window with a bullhorn going, “Writing! Writing! Piping hot! Get your writing here!”

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Yesterday. I have an ancient, awful Honda that I can’t seem to get rid of. My car is like a case of shingles.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
I eat worse cheese and cook more stews.

Times, Post, or Daily News?

Where do you go to be alone?
My apartment. The G is my subway. People don’t stop in.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Unself-conscious use of the term “shmear,” terror of leaving.

Wells Tower’s Car Is Like a Case of Shingles