Hutch on special moments, happiness, fear

In latest edition of the Proust Questionnaire, English teacher discusses relationships, regrets, passion


Esme Moreno

English teacher James Hutcheson poses in his classroom workspace. For Hutcheson, the meaning happiness and fulfillment change from moment to moment. Whether it be in teaching a student a new skill, catching a fish or eating a good meal, Hutcheson finds value in the many things that make living life special.

Gaby Esquivel, staff reporter

The Proust Questionnaire, named after French writer Marcel Proust, is a series of 35 questions designed to gauge the personality and values of the answerer. For our latest PQ, Shield staffer Gaby Esquivel sat down with English teacher James Hutcheson.

You might as well enjoy yourself at the moment because you never know when you won’t get another moment.

The Shield: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I think that probably changes from moment to moment; yeah, I don’t think I have an exact one. I think it depends on the moment that I am in, so if I am fishing it’d be catching a fish probably. If I am teaching, it’d probably be some kid getting something and understanding something they didn’t know before. If I’m eating, it’d probably be the food; it just depends on the circumstances I’m in.

TS: What is your greatest fear?

I honestly can’t think of anything that I’m afraid of. Oh, I guess my greatest fear is that humans are not behaving very well right now. I think my greatest fear is that we continue to behave poorly and treat each other poorly because then we can’t find a way through all the divisions right now.

TS: When and where are you the happiest?

I’m just gonna go with on my kayak when I’m fishing.

TS: What is your current state of mind?

Perplexed at the difficulty of these questions.

TS: What do you dislike most about your appearance?

That’s the one I’m most comfortable answering out of all of them, my skinny calves.

TS: What qualities do you like most in a man or woman?

Honesty, because I like to know what I’m dealing with, pretty much since you can’t have a relationship with someone unless you’re honest.

Hutcheson and his wife (Photo courtesy of Hutcheson)

TS: What is the greatest love of your life?

Oh, my wife.

TS: Do you have any special moments with her that you’re comfortable sharing?

When I proposed to her. I waited until she was brushing her teeth, and she had a mouthful of toothpaste, and you know I like to joke around, so I’m in the kitchen and she’s in the bathroom, and I yell a swear word really loud like something bad happened. Then she comes running in with toothpaste in her mouth, and I just put the ring on her and she obviously couldn’t answer cause she had toothpaste in her mouth.

TS: If you could come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I would like to come back as, I don’t know which one, but it would be cool to come back as a monument that gets visited by people from all over the world because you get to watch all sorts of people for the rest of eternity and people are always coming to see you. They are always happy to see you, and everyone’s appreciative of you and all you have to do is just stand there and chill.

TS: What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?

Probably being alone and not having an option to not be alone.

TS: What is your favorite occupation?

I should say teacher, but I am a teacher during the school year and a fishing guide during the summer.

TS: What is your greatest regret?

My very first car was a Volkswagen bus, and it was a really cool car. I was in college for acting school in Seattle at the time, and I had to change the oil myself, but I stripped out the oil filter when I was putting it in and I got a leak. I didn’t know it and the engine seized up and it was going to cost a bunch of money to fix, but this guy offered me not enough money for it, but if I had just kept it broken, that would have been such a cool car to have right now. That’s the only thing that I regret that I’ve done. I think it’s easier to regret things you don’t do.

I want to die in front of my worst-behaved class so I can say, ‘You did this to me,’ and fall over.

TS: How would you like to die?

I want to die in front of my worst-behaved class so I can say, “You did this to me,” and fall over. But also, I won’t care, I’ll be dead. Also, I don’t worry too much about that. Like, I am not afraid of much, and I don’t worry about it because it’s all going to happen. You don’t have much control over it, so you might as well enjoy yourself at the moment because you never know when you won’t get another moment.

TS: What is your motto?

“Be nice, do well,” because that’s the nicer way of saying my motto without swearing.

TS: On what occasion do you lie?

I can’t remember the last time I lied. I don’t like to lie because it’s too much work, and I don’t like the way it feels. I’m probably too honest; that would be a fault of mine, and I probably should lie more since I am so honest.