Craig Zheng is a wise man who adjusts to everything thrown his way. He went four whole years without eating meat until he realized making separate meals for himself and the rest of the family was becoming too much. He used to hate cockroaches the most, but ticks took over when a friend of his son’s was hospitalized after a bite. And if you ask him, the best part of being an adult is knowing enough to know what you don’t know.
Coincidentally, he remembers approximately seven things from the first 30 years of his life.
“I grew up in Jersey City, N.J., the second of three boys. I got my first job cleaning an apartment building when I was 10 years old, and I’ve been working ever since. As an adult I’ve done all kinds of things — I’ve been a teacher, a community organizer, a researcher, a copyeditor, and a grad student in anthropology.
“I’ve even had two jobs that I held for just a single day—one at Barnes & Noble, and the other on a construction crew that paid something like $4.50 an hour. Somehow this odd and meandering path brought me to Hudl, where I’m now the product designer for our basketball squad.”
What condiment do you use more than any other? What’s your favorite thing to put it on?
A homemade Chinese garlic oil that I use everywhere I can — in soups, on noodles, on steamed eggs, I’ve even started using it as a salad dressing.
Do you talk in your sleep? If you did, what do you think you’d say?
I don’t think I do. If I did I’d probably be muttering something to my son about manners.
Find a quote that pretty much sums up your life. Who said it? How would you tweak it?
“Hallo!” said Piglet, “what are you doing?”
“Hunting,” said Pooh.
“Tracking something,” said Winnie-the-Pooh very mysteriously.
“Tracking what?” said Piglet, coming closer.
“That’s just what I ask myself. I ask myself, What?”
“What do you think you’ll answer?”
“I shall have to wait until I catch up with it,” said Winnie the Pooh.
I wouldn’t tweak it at all. Winnie the Pooh is the illest.
If you were running for political office, what would your slogan be?
Depends on the office. Local politicians get to be amazingly specific, like “No Live Roosters in Upper Townville!” But when you’re running for president it has to be much more nebulous and ambitious-sounding, like “Together, we can tomorrow.”
When you’re looking to buy a house, what one thing must it absolutely have?
A great big yard for my kids and my dog. I think one of the greatest challenges we’re leaving the next generation is finding a way to heal and sustainably inhabit this planet, so I want my kids to experience and appreciate nature as much and as early as possible.
Why do you think the alphabet is in the order it’s in? Would you do anything to change it?
If I had to guess I’d say it’s probably arbitrary. Not whole lot of value in arbitrarily changing something that’s arbitrary to begin with.