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Personality Test: Author Paul Friday

| Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009

Paul Friday has made a career out of getting inside people's heads and helping them to help themselves. The chief of clinical psychology at UPMC Shadyside for more than 15 years, he's frequently consulted by the media on what makes people tick. He's appeared on CNN, MSNBC and ABC News as well as on most local news stations. He's commented on everything from the difficulty of making life changes to the popularity of Bon Jovi in Pittsburgh. As part of his undergraduate studies at LaSalle College in Philadelphia, he studied for two years in Sigmund Freud's stomping ground, Vienna.

He's the author of "Friday's Laws: How to Become Normal When You're Not and How to Stay Normal When You Are" (Bradley Oak Publications, $21.95). In his book, he writes about working as a school counselor for St. Regis, a Pittsburgh parochial school. The school's principal asked Friday to persuade a 12-year-old student to stop thinking so much about football and concentrate on his studies. "Fortunately," Friday writes, "Danny Marino never listened to me. And I learned a great lesson about trying to change people."

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:

Kier Dulles as a middle-aged actor. Between "David and Lisa" and "2001: A Space Odyssey," he should be able to get it.

Childhood hero and why:

Clayton Moore ... I'm still searching for the Lone Ranger's Silver Bullet and the Black and White of what's Right and Wrong.

Pick one:

A. Jack Bauer of "24"

B. Angus MacGyver of "MacGyver"

C. James West of "Wild, Wild West"

D. Sydney Bristow of "Alias"

A. Jack Bauer of "24" ... I want that magical shoulder bag that has anything I need (not just want) whenever I need it.

In five years, I'd like to:

Still think that I've lived a good life

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:

Knowing how to get from here to there without right-angled streets: priceless ...

If the TV is on at 2 a.m., I'm watching:

TiVo of the last Steelers Super Bowl win.

Star I'd like to dance with on "Dancing With the Stars":

I would never threaten the foot-welfare of any smooth floating starlet.

Three people I'd love to have dinner with:

Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Oh, live people! My wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Alison and Erika. It doesn't get better than that.

After a long day, I like to relax with a (pick one):

A. Martini

B. Cold beer

C. Cabernet

D. Herbal tea

E. Hot chocolate

F. Red Bull

A. Martini ... more specifically, a double Tanqueray, a splash of tonic with two limes in a short glass, please

My quirkiest inherited trait:

I like to use tools with either hand. I'll also argue the side of an issue in which I don't believe.

My best bar sport:

A. Pool

B. Darts

C. Air hockey

D. Beer pong

E. Other

A. Pool, which I can only play left-handed

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

A Dr. Friday Special: bacon, lettuce and tomato with mayonnaise and peanut butter

One word my mother would use to describe me:


Celebrity crush:

Annette Funicello

The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:

My famous Christmas Mustard ... also the tastiest thing in there

My required snack in a movie theater:

Nothing ... they have out-priced themselves

When I was 10, I wanted to be:


Musical instrument I wish I could play:

The piano

My favorite comfort food:

Winter: hot chocolate by the fire. Summer: Ayinger beer after working in the garden under the hot summer sun.

Exercise I hate most:

Explaining simple things to Medicare or insurance companies

Vegetable I won't eat:


I'm deathly afraid of:

Ladder heights above 15 feet

If I were auditioning for "American Idol," my song would be:

I'd lip-sync Puccini's "Desa Dora."

The first band I saw in concert (when and where):

Gladys Knight and the Pips at the Holiday House in Monroeville with Phyllis Diller after my junior prom

TV marathon I could watch all day and why:

"Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe." This makes me truly appreciate what it takes to have what I take for granted and shows jobs I don't have to try out to find I won't want to do them.

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:

Strip District on a Saturday morning

Saturday mornings, you'll find me:

Spring, summer and fall -- in the Strip District. Winter -- blowing snow from my neighbor's driveways then sitting by the fire with hot cereal and coffee while watching the snow blow back onto the walkways.

Best new gadget I've tried recently:

TomTom GPS -- we took it to Florida last week. It took 20 minutes for it to figure out I no longer was in Oakmont.

The person I'm most often mistaken for:

KDKA radio's Larry Richert

Pick one:

A. Perry Mason

B. Denny Crane

C. Arnie Becker

D. Ally McBeal

Ally McBeal -- 5 years of great writing and humor

The worst advice I ever received:

To apply for the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's Psychologist in Media Award. A fool's errand: 20 out of the last 20 recipients lived east of Harrisburg.

In high school, I was:

Clueless as to how to become me

The most famous person I ever became friends with:

U.S. Ambassador to the Hague, Dr. Paul F. Walker

The movie that always makes me cry:

"Old Yeller" and "Meet Joe Black"

My most treasured fashion accessory is:

My gold ring with a coin from the Hapsburg Empire -- made for me by a Viennese goldsmith who I helped get a green card so he could move to America

What you'll always find in my glove compartment:

A Swiss Army knife

My most embarrassing junk food:

Beef jerky

The last book I read:

"The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner

It's not pizza without:

Pepperoni, onion and hot peppers

My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:

Tommonitti's in Oakmont

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:


My favorite Web site:


My most memorable fashion mistake:

Thirty-nine years ago, I was "asked to stop by" my future mother-in-law's home. Patty was having a bridal shower while I was working on our apartment in Squirrel Hill. I showed up with my shirt inside out, covered with paint and dirt. How's a guy to know that this is a "front-and-center" kind of event?

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Gov. Ed Rendell. I'd make sure Pennsylvanians would be given a chance for a referendum to vote on cutting our Legislature cut in half.

Pick one:

A. Emeril Lagasse

B. Paula Deen

C. Rachael Ray

D. Bobby Flay

Emeril Lagasse. I'd finally figure out how to keep the tea towels on my shoulder without falling on the floor -- plus, I could get someone else to clean up the messy kitchen.

My favorite "bad" movie:

Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood; Steven Seagal's "beat up the bad guys" films.

My best karaoke song:

Frank Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year"

My first job:

Delivering the Pittsburgh Press and throwing cinders on the Wellesley Avenue hill in Highland Park so cars could get up in the snow

My worst job:

Cleaning out the fermenting tanks at the Ruppanier Brewery in Konstanz, Germany.

My favorite cable channel:

The History Channel

The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:

"Lady in Red" -- my wife is the only woman who can follow me on the dance floor.

Life would be better without:

The extreme left and the extreme right in politics.

I never travel without my:

Itinerary printed out and readily available

People would be surprised to know that I:

Split my own firewood, with 5 cords stacked and covered for the winter

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