Fuck, I am who I am / Matthew Barclay

Matthew Thomas Barclay, age 54.

Matthew is a 54-year-old father of two married to Carol and lives in Salinas, California, USA. He and his family have lived in Salinas for approximately 20 years now. He is a high school teacher for approximately 17 years. His 17-year-old son is named Charles and his 14-year-old daughter is Katherine.

What makes you laugh?

Ludicrous things make me laugh. I love “silliness” and people who are willing to take risks and make a fool out of themselves trying. I'm a big fan of Monty Python and loves to see the “balloons of convention” burst spectacularly. A great delight for me is to see something assumed and expected, fail miserably.

When did you last cry?

Perhaps it was about a year ago when I last cried and did so in front of my students when recounting a trip I took back to Guatemala during the summer time. Towards the end of that trip I visited the small town where I had lived for two years. I inquired about a good friend that I had spent much time with during my time there and found out that this individual had died from alcoholism. The details were so tragic that when I told my students, I began to sob uncontrollably. A student came up to me after class was over and put his hand on my shoulder and began to pray.

What’s your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is of vomiting in my crib as an infant. The memory seems to coincide with flipping the switch on a loud cho-cho train in the crib with me (and the vomit) and waking up my mother and father in the early morning hours and of hearing my mother’s lament and the need for one of them to climb out of their warm beds to turn it off.

Describe what ‘love’ means to you.

“Love” to me equates to devotion-devotion to both my wife and children. I considers my family to be a precious gift and the very reason for all that is good for me. Love of oneself is also critical for without that, one cannot love others. I also feels a great deal of love and affection towards my students at my school. My students and their humour, intelligence, and friendliness make me reflect on how truly fortunate I am.

What makes you unique to everyone else on this planet?

All humans are unique creatures and that life experiences as well as knowledge gained or lost determine the types of people we are-whether we are generous or feel as though the planet owes us something for some celestial insult. One characteristic that is often thematic in my life is my sense of gratitude for life itself and the realization that I have been uniquely blessed by good fortune and that many around the world do not share in this fortune.

Name 3 people (living or dead) you’d invite to your virtual quarantine dinner party.

Carol Barclay (wife)

Charles Barclay (son)

Katherine Barclay (daughter)

Describe yourself in 5 words (this can be a sentence or 5 separate words).

He lived to serve others.

Who or what has made the greatest impact on your life?

My overseas service in the United States Peace Corps from 1989 to 1992 in Guatemala was perhaps the most pivotal in terms of self-discovery as well as propulsion into the next stages of my life.

Any regrets?

Really none that come to mind. I consider every day on this planet to be a gift and feels as though I live a very fulfilling life and hope that my children will be able to continue in a positive direction after I have left.

Tell us something no one knows about you (and I mean no-one)? Until now.

I have long fostered a belief that I will die prematurely for no other reason beyond superstition. As I near my 55th birthday, I feel I'm living on “borrowed time.”