I recently sat down with TQS’s own Jerry Lee. Some of you might already know Jerry: as the face behind those odd masks, as TQS Employee of the Month for 12 straight months, or maybe even as that guy you see walking to Noco every morning. Because we’re among the few who think we’re fascinating, we wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to learn something new about Jerry; something you never imagined you might know. First and foremost, Jerry is a man who doesn’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Or, at least he didn’t this year. When asked if he made one, his response was “no.” He is looking forward to something specific in 2014 though: March. “I like that month.” He’d also like to grow another half inch, although he’s been waiting on that since he was 19. No one can say that Jerry isn’t a big dreamer. What’s the biggest event on Jerry’s calendar this year? Bills training camp. “I think this is going to be The Year,” Jerry says. The year for what? For a Bills fan, this is one of our city’s greatest unanswered questions. Those goals may seem simple (and inevitable, since the average Jamestown resident has no control over March and Bills training camp), but Jerry has also been known to aim high. How high, you ask? World domination. “It would be nice,” ponders Jerry. For some, world domination would require decades of planning, careful strategies and back-up plans put into place. For Jerry, it would be nice. And if Jerry achieved world domination, oh what a world it would be! Saturdays would have two extra hours. Kids under the age of 10 would have to swallow chewing gum. Or not eat it at all. But they would never be allowed to chew it. With a unified world comes the need for a unified, kick-ass World Anthem, and with the endless possibilities, what would this anthem be? “The song from Q-Bert.” While Jerry is a man of many talents, we wanted to test him on something the average American would likely not do so well on. When asked to name as many African countries as he could, the list was as follows*:
- South Africa
- North Africa
- Can I look them up?
Once it was suggested that perhaps Peru and Pakistan were not, in fact, in Africa, Jerry was insistent that they could be. “Prove it,” he says. So it turns out that Jerry is human and not a super-computer. Who knew? Since some of this may seem like just fun and games, you might be wondering about Jerry and actual fun and games. His favorite board game is Pictionary. “The thing about Pictionary is that it’s so easy to cheat. I can destroy everybody.” And how do you cheat so easily? You’ll have to ask Jerry, as it seems unfair to divulge his secrets to the public. Who most dislikes playing Pictionary with Jerry? His Grandmother. “Once she got really mad at us all because the word was ‘navel’ and our team drew an orange. She thought it meant navel like belly button. She was German, and didn’t like me very much that day.” Jerry is a man of great stories. I wondered what High School Jerry might have been like, so I asked him. In his own words, “those stories are short and mostly involve guys.” One story that he shared includes an elaborate sacrifice in order to get back a favorite baseball hat that was stolen from him (sports team? Detroit Lions. Purchased in Detroit.). While Jerry may not have been quite at his prime in high school, his marketing and advertising creativity now seems to know no bounds. When someone is as imaginative and original as Jerry, he could seemingly apply those talents to almost any industry. So what drew Jerry into marketing? “You don’t have to fit into a pre-determined role in marketing. Ideas reign, and creativity is currency. It’s the only profession I know of where random, free-thought can be profitable.” As two of the founders of The Quilted Squirrel, Jerry works very closely with Steve Lingle. While their professional collaborations are a huge part of the TQS magic, spending so much time together has its ups and down. The ups? “Steve makes you smarter. He doesn’t laugh at bad jokes, so you can always gauge whether something is actually funny or not because he doesn’t give pity laughs. He’s a casual dresser. He has very soft hands. He’s always up-to-speed on the Bills (the Buffalo Bills. Not the things we have to pay).” With all those incredible traits, what are the downs of working so closely with Steve? “He makes my desk area warmer, so I’m always hot. He doesn’t like loud phone-talking, and I like to yell when I’m on the phone. He doesn’t like it when I tap my legs or squeak my chair, so I have to sit very still. He does have very soft hands, though.” While it might seem like Jerry is a no-risk, safety-first kind of guy, at least once in his life he engaged in some seriously high-risk behavior. “Once when I was about six or seven, I was nonchalantly walking out of the bathroom when I saw a pair of metal tweezers on the sink. I picked them up and realized that they were exactly the right size to fit inside an electrical outlet. There was one right above the sink, so I stuck them in and pushed until they sparked. Then I took them out, put them back on the sink, and walked out.” When did Jerry realize that could have died? “It was a long time. I was probably 20. I could drive 80mph the wrong way down the road and still wouldn’t be risking my life as much as I did that day.” As you’ve just learned, Jerry Lee is much more than just the man behind the mask. He is the man who knows that Peru is in Africa. He’s that guy yelling (in a friendly way) on the phone. Most importantly, he’s the person who would make children swallow gum, whole. * Jerry then requested a Phone-a-friend option, and called in Steve. Posed with the same question, Steve’s response was as follows:
- South Africa
See a map of actual African countries here, if you decided to play along and found yourself as hopeless as these two. Make sure you come back for next month’s interview with the Africa Master that has very soft hands, Mr. Steve Lingle.
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