Benny Watson’s van broke down in Moab and now he’s trapped in paradise. He loves Ed Abbey and Milt’s Stop and Eat. He’s sad that Ed is dead and that Utah beer is watered-down.
1. What initially brought you to Moab?
A winter house-sitting gig. My van broke down here so now I’m trapped in paradise. I have been exploring and enjoying the Colorado Plateau for some years now.
2. What do you love most about living in Moab?
Ed was here! Also Milt’s Stop and Eat is the best burger stand in 500 miles. I also love KZMU – so many unique personalities and free expressions.
3. What do you dislike about living in Moab?
Ed’s dead. The beer is watered-down. Too many franchise establishments.
4. What is your occupation?
I’ve been a landscaper, chef, tour guide, bellman, campground manager, chauffer, writer, singer-songwriter, hotel clerk, security guard, wedding caterer, commercial driver, wood-splitter, fruit tree-pruner, and I tied trees and bush-hogged at a Christmas tree farm.
5. If you could have any job?
Interstellar tour guide. Or wardrobe manager for the Rolling Stones. Also would like to run my own coffee-shop-music-venue somewhere someday.
6. Describe a typical day.
It starts with heavy-metal-coffee and Democracy Now and ends with dandelion tea and star-gazing. In between I like to take a walk or pull a few weeds or play guitar. Carpe diem!
7. Bumpersticker: I’d rather be…
Abducted by aliens.
8. Tell us one thing people usually don’t know about you:
I was charged by a black bear at night on a solo hike, completely unarmed and defenseless. I held my ground until he yielded the path and my heart started beating again. It taught me to face my fears head-on, and not to be afraid of adversity.
9. In high school, you would have been considered the person
most likely to…
Live in a van down by the river.
10. What is your favorite Moab activity?
Coffee at Dave’s Corner Market, browsing the used books at WabiSabi and then getting a Blue Moon burger at Milt’s.
11. Tell us your favorite non-Moab place to visit:
A three-way tie between Portland, Ore., San Francisco, and New Orleans.
12. What do you consider your greatest achievement in life?
I’ve taken a lot of pictures and I’ve left a lot of footprints. And no one calls me Daddy.
13. If you were President…
Put a million people to work eradicating tamarisk along the Colorado River and tributaries. Institute nationwide oil profit dividends based on the Alaska model. Food Not Lawns Initiative. Pentagon Bake Sale to raise funds for next bombing campaign or invasion. End the War On Drugs fiasco—stop incarcerating people for nonviolent crimes. Dismantle the Glen Canyon Dam. Extend unemployment insurance, expand food assistance. Put Wall Street criminals on food stamps. Moratorium on mortgage foreclosure evictions. Universal single-payer health care. Just for starters.
14. What superhero power would you most like to have?
15. If you could be an animal what would it be? Why?
The late great North American Ground Sloth. It was a 12-foot-tall 800 lb. plant-eater on the Colorado Plateau, covered in hair with skull and ribcage so thick it couldn’t be killed. As far as I know, nothing like it has ever existed on any other continent.
16. Favorite movie?
I’ve narrowed it down to top five: “Flight of the Navigator”, “Joe Versus The Volcano”, “Way of the Gun”, “Inglorious Basterds” and “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”.
17. Favorite book?
“The Long Winter” by Robert Lawson is perfect to read with your kids in the dead of winter. I’ll never forget my dad reading it to us.
18. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three
CD’s would you want to have with you?
I’ll never get tired of “Dead Flag Blues”, Godspeed You Black Emperor’s first album, “Prayer of Death” by The Entrance Band, and Damien Jurado’s “Rehearsals For Departure”.
19. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead?
Edward Abbey, Philip K. Dick, Bill Hicks, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Ronald Reagan. I would never get a word in edgewise.
20. What is your life philosophy?
To die laughing! To always be more like myself and less like other people.