Jeremy J. Anderson reminds me of the Fred Rogers quote: “ Look for the helpers.”
Jeremy, a service operator for CGI Federal, is a natural helper. His job is to make sure their software is running optimally; he previously worked at 232 HELP, a local organization that exists purely to help those in need.
Jeremy is one of those people who is quietly involved in the community, helping build the Lafayette he knows can exist. He is witty and thoughtful, and as you will see by his answers, has an insightful way of writing and a clever sense of humor.
What was your first job? So my first job was at the Carmike Theater. It was a small theater in the circle around the Acadiana Mall. I worked at concessions. I recently discovered that there’s a whole community of people (most whom working at the Carmike was their first job) and the infamous question about working there is always whether you quit or got fired. I got fired. I apparently didn’t smile enough to sell buttered popcorn. It’s really weird how many friends I’ve made that turned out to be Carmike coworker reunions.
Describe a typical day in your life. I’ve started a new job in February during the pandemic. So I’m neck deep in the working-from-home-verse. Since day one, my commute to work has been opening up a laptop, learning a completely different business culture as I go, and dreaming of the day when I get to the office and finally find out where the water cooler is. My workday is various increments of absorbing and applying information to software support, hanging out with the true Employee of the Month, my dog, Luna, and trying to leave my desk at 5 p.m. a less cluttered place then when I found it at 8 a.m.
What advice would you give the younger you? This is the part where everyone says “don’t take things too seriously” and quotes Hank Williams, right? I’ll crib a Tom T. Hall quote instead. There are a lot of times in my life where I’ll mentally wince when I think about a situation that occurred when I was younger that I did something silly or could have handled a situation better. And it just doesn’t have any benefit to replay these moments in your head. You move forward. You learn. You grow. And you let those hypotheticals about what you “coulda/woulda” said or done transform into lessons about who you want to be from that moment forward.
What event in your life most shaped who you are now? I think working in social services with those who are facing hardships from lack of housing, food, basic hygiene has really had an impact on me. I think especially in the last year or so people are seeing just how thin the barrier between being employed/ unemployed, housed/ homeless, mentally well/ mental break really is.
What values do you live by? I try to have a life of quiet virtue. Most importantly I live by the thought that if you are doing a good deed in anticipation of being rewarded, you’re morally bankrupting yourself.
What do you most appreciate? Honesty. But that’s a tricky, tricky thing. Because there is a great deal of “selfishness” in being honest.
What is your favorite journey? There’s a tie between a road trip I took to Red Rocks in Colorado a few years ago and a trip I took with my grandparents to New Hampshire the summer before I entered high school. And the trip to New Hampshire with my grandparents is this kind of fuzzy memory with some very lucid memories of Washington D. C., Appalachian Mountains, having to stop at a gas station in every state to get my grandmother a souvenir spoon, and whale watching, Mostly, because I miss my grandparents,
Where is your favorite place to be alone? My room or my car. Probably my car…after converting my bedroom into my office, I think there is more solace in the car nowadays.
What living figure most inspires you? There are so many…Mostly local guys and gals that are kicking butt at living their dreams through creativity and honing their business edge, starting new ventures, and defining their specific definition of success.
What book would you tell everyone to read? "House of Leaves." But you’ve probably had like a baker’s dozen of old college friends tell you to read that by now.
What is the best thing about where you live? I love that it’s a small town. It occasionally blows up during Mardi Gras and Festival. But then as much as people resist and try to keep the “bon temps” ball rolling…it goes back to being small town Lafayette.
How do you "let the good times roll"? By getting involved in local festivals and music. If I really dig a band or a festival, I want to be a part of it. Krewe de Canailles comes to mind readily. Good food and drink will do it too.
What did you want to be when you grew up? “A helicopter driver” then a paleontologist. But when my family thought paleontologist was a foot doctor it took the wind out of my sails a smidge.
What is your motto? “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anyone.”
How would you like to be remembered? Like Ferris Bueller. As a righteous dude. More specifically, a jazz funeral when I’m gone.
What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself? As sardonic as it seems I just remind myself that it’s going to be OK. Good or bad, there’s going to be a resolution.
What three things are vital to BEing YOU? Milk. Eggs. Flour. Wait. No that’s 3 things vital to baking a cake. Substitute milk, eggs, flour with sarcasm, humor, and maybe a little bit of creativity.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I say “fair enough” too much.
What is your favorite word? Kazoo.
What do you collect? Usually vinyl records. But since I started working at home my desk has been overtaken by an army of Funko Pop figurines and an embarrassing amount of Star Wars action figures.
What food could you live on for a month? Indian curry.
What would you change about yourself? I think if I had just a little more drive and self determination, I’d be Batman by now...
What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with? I want to say Batman. I think if you have super powers, you kind of have a responsibility to be a big blue Boy Scout like Superman or Spider-man. But if you’re just a guy that has had enough resolve to train and transform himself into the best of human potential…that’s real super power. That being said I’m probably more like a Droopy the Dog type character.
Describe yourself in five words. Too far? What’s that mean?
What is your idea of happiness? I really like writing. I think if I could write and have enough money to travel and give my dog a nice place to live, I’d be pretty happy.
What is your favorite movie? "Jaws." My family and the best of my friends and I can speak in Jaws quotes. It’s probably not healthy.
What music defines who you are? I really like singer-songwriter stuff. I’m a person that pays a lot of attention to lyrics. But also any type of alt. country that you have to preface by explaining who Gram Parsons is.
Who is your style icon? The Great Poet, Jon Bon Jovi is my hair hero. Father John Misty for beard inspiration and just rolled out of bed fashion sense.
What do you most regret? I have a lot of regrets about not having the right words or word choice to use to respond to someone or describe what I’m thinking of — particularly creative writing.
What question do you wish I'd asked? How much of a pleasure is it to work with Aileen Bennett?
What would the answer be? Such a pleasure. She’s a national and local treasure that we had to import.