Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Paul Wood chats with Jim Bean of Champaign. He plays the guitar and drums, sings, practices taekwondo and does whatever his rescued pit bull, Elly-May, tells him to do.
What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
I get up when Elly-May wakes me, usually around 9 a.m. I feed her, wake and bake, and then take her for a mile or so walk.
What do you consider your greatest achievement or accomplishment?
I'm very aware of how fortunate I am just to be alive after years of battling drug and alcohol addiction, so I guess my greatest achievement is winning in my fight against my demons. I'll soon be a black belt in taekwondo, and I'm really proud of accomplishing that at an age when I should probably be taking it easy — but that's not like me.
What do you regard as your most treasured possession?
The love, admiration and respect of both of my daughters is by far my most treasured possession.
Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?
I'm a fantasy football fanatic. (And I love the Bee Gees)
What book are you reading now? What is your favorite book ever?
I'm currently reading "Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton" by Walter Payton and Don Yaeger. My favorite book ever is "The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson.
Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?
The only place I'll be dying to go to is the funeral home.
What is your favorite pet?
I am Elly-May's favorite pet. Almost any dog owner who loves his dog can tell you that the dog is in charge and that (the owner) is along for the ride.
What's your favorite team?
Favorite sports team has and always will be the Chicago Bears.
What would you order for your last meal?
For my last meal, I would order a doggie bag of Blue Buffalo lamb and rice for Elly-May and dare the Grim Reaper to try and catch us running with it.
If you could be reincarnated after you die, what would you like to come back as?
If I could come back as peace incarnate that would be nice, but no one would believe me. Sounds like a story I've been told before.
Who are your favorite musicians and why?
My very favorite musician has been Stevie Wonder ever since I first heard "My Cherie Amour" on WLS radio way back in the day, as they say. His words tell the story of a man who sees the world much clearer than many folks who have their sight, including me.
What's the happiest memory of your life?
The happiest memories of my life without a doubt are when my daughters, Courtney Nicole and Taylor Grace, were born.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite? What would you serve?
I'd invite The Dalai Lama, President Obama and Vladimir Putin. I'd let the Dalai Lama serve up some enormous portions of humble pie.
Which historical figure do you admire the most and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt. (I named my dog after her and the month that I rescued her.) She was the strongest-willed women I've ever read about. She was a true patriot that put her country before her personal struggles. She was a rock star.
What personality trait do you most hate in other people? Most hate in yourself?
I don't like the word hate, but I abhor liars and two-faced people. I abhor that, because when I see it in others, I see it in myself as well.
What's your best piece of advice?
Don't mess with either of my daughters. Wait, how about: Don't text and drive unless you have three hands and two heads.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
My first job was delivering newspapers, for the Courier (sorry). I don't remember what the pay was, but I saved up enough to buy myself a brand-new Schwinn 10-speed and a couple of cymbals.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
When I finally decided to quit drinking and drugging, everything in my life began to get better exponentially. I decided on Mother's Day 2003 that it was time to honor my mom instead of committing social suicide like I was. My mom was murdered the week before Christmas 1996, and I spent the next seven years trying to join her, I think. If she could see me now. She'd be quite proud of the father I became when I was sober.
Do you have any regrets in your life? What are they?
Regrets? I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
I meditate and smoke left-handed cigarettes.