Five Questions: Jeff Meese
Is there one moment in your life that you would change?
That I would change? [Long pause] I wouldn’t. There’s, honestly, all of the stupid things that I’ve done - and there are too many to number - for every single one of those things, I truly have come to a point long ago to say, “Every one of those moments made me who I am.” From nearly dying in the car accident to getting the DUI at my dad’s 50th birthday party. The laundry list of good to bad and everything in between I would just, I would take it and I would do it over again because I wouldn’t be sitting here today and I love where I am today.
When were you the most surprised?
Hmmm. Maybe it’s because I’m sitting here today, but I distinctly remember the moment when Erin [Jeff’s wife] called me and we’d been dating a year and a half? And said, “How would you feel about moving to Singapore?” And I remember so well because I had a huge world map on my wall and I walked over to the map and I followed the peninsula. I’m like, “Thailand, Malaysia.” I’m like, “I know it’s in here somewhere.” I was like, “There it is.” And of all of the things she would’ve called about that night to talk about, that never would’ve been on the list you could’ve given me til now until the end of time. To guess things- I would’ve never hit it. And it’s had such a profound impact on our lives, I mean the last decade has been shaped a lot by that one phone call.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
Finding someone that I’d like to spend my life with. Finding some-, I truly enjoy someone that understands me and takes me for all the good and the bad and still can smile at me even after they want to punch me in the face. [Laughs] Still wake up the next day and say I love you. It wasn’t easy. It was a path I never would’ve imagined. And, uh, yeah. It’s been a phenomenal journey.
What is the most memorable pain you’ve ever felt?
You know very well that I had a near death car accident, ya know, split my head open, hundreds of stitches, blood gushing. That didn’t really hurt that much. There’s two moments, that tie in my memory. One was in the aftermath of that accident when they put me on the gurney and they do the, uh, the neck thing, the neck brace and put you on the board, because they don’t know if anything’s broken so they don’t want you to move. Well, I was bleeding so much and the blood was running down my face and into my ear and the blood was collecting in my ear. And I got out of the hospital several days later and go to the doctor, just my local general practitioner for a follow up and I’m like, “Everything’s kinda fine, and my head doesn’t feel great, it kinda hurts,” nothing to be surprised about, “but my ear is killing me.” And he takes out the little scope thing and he gets some forceps and he just reaches in there and grabs a hold of it and he’s like, “I think this might hurt.” And he pulls out what turns out to be like, uh, at least - it’s not a peppercorn, it’s like a popcorn kernel, like a popped popcorn kernel of blood that just comes out of my ear and I remember tears just flowing uncontrollably, I was just like, “Ugh!” And so that was extremely high on my list. And I guess- I’m gonna come up with a third one, because the next one… Yeah, so I broke my nose several times growing up. Full court basketball to the face. Fell off a push-up, like, swinging on a pull-up bar fell flat on my face. That was like in second grade. So I eventually got surgery done for my deviated septum because it was impeding my breathing and I already have asthma, so it was impeding my breathing on so many levels. So I have this surgery done and something doesn’t really go right. And my nose- they go in and basically drill out your nasal cavities. Well, my body decided that it was gonna- the top and the bottom were gonna form scabs and make stalactites and stalagmites and start forming and connecting, basically creating new blockages. Like, “We’re unwilling to accept the surgery. Screw you. We’ve got our own plans.” So I went back to the doctor for the follow-up and he had to go and kind of cut them out and drill them out again, but I didn’t have the, the, the benefit of being unconscious or anything and he said, “We’re gonna use some silver nitrate to cauterize the wounds so they won’t scab.” So he puts silver nitrate up into my nasal cavity and, I was about a half an hour away from home - so afterwards I got a ride home and it was probably 45 minutes in the car - my nose is just, snot is just flowing out uncontrollably and I- the best way to describe it was I felt like my brain was melting and pouring out. So for like an hour straight, I just thought I was gonna die. I thought that all the intelligence I’d accumulated in life was melting out of my nose in snot form. Yeah. And then the last one was, I had braces. And I had kind of an overbite. And they put these bridge things on the top of your mouth and they give you a little key. Cuz they wanna widen the top of the mouth, or elongate it, or whatever the case may be for you. And they put it in and I remember cranking it. And my mom was there with me. And I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and at this point in life she already knew this. My older brother had beaten the crap out of me, I didn’t cry a lot. But she- we put it in there and I’m cranking it back and I just, once again, felt like my head was gonna crack open. And, uh, so that was…yeah. Those are probably in the hierarchy of pain. From worst to least, but the least was still. They’re very closely related in terms of level of pain. On a scale of one to ten, all three of those are tens.
What will you miss most when you are gone?
[Clears throat] I think I would have to say.... Being the beneficiary of so many great relationships. It’s, ya know, having people- having someone look at you, whether it’s your mother as a child, your father, or someone, they look at you and say, “I love you, I’m proud of you thank you.” Ya know, having people just recognize you and make you feel like you’re the center of the world and that you are truly the most- truly important to them. In that moment, you are, yeah, you are having a great impact on their life. And just to know that you can do that to someone. I’ll miss that.