I had no idea that I would ever be able to actually ask a head of state 20 Questions for this rinky-dink blog, but this 20 Questions is not only with the head of state of a recognized island nation, but also a ruthless dictator megalomaniac of a United Nations recognized terrorist organization.
1. Not a dictator, never have been, don’t plan on becoming one. I’m an elected official.
2. You say megalomaniac like it’s a bad thing.
3. Our terrorist label has been revoked by the UN, though I believe we’re still listed as such in the US.
Honestly, I feel like I am putting my own safety on the line to ask these questions, but I've been doing these 20 Questions for almost 10 years and, well... it's been a good run. So without further ado... 20 Questions with Cobra Commander.
I would say your safety and wellbeing are entirely in your hands, that should give you some comfort -- and hey! 10 years! That’s impressive.
I have a background in geography, specifically in cartography, and I have always been interested in people's personal geographic story. For example, I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and then grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I went off to college in Kent, Ohio and then moved to Columbus, Ohio where I have been for 18 or so years. I know you are enigmatic, and I will most likely not get a full answer for this question, but... Question 1: What is your geographic story? At least the portion you are willing to share....
Ah, an excellent question! See, we’re starting off well and fine, there’s little need to worry about your future. I mean, there’s always reason to worry about something as vague and encompassing as one’s own future, but perhaps your immediate future, and your possible immediate murder, isn’t one of those things you need to worry about.
Firstly, I am enigmatic because I have been made out to be that way. When Cobra was picking up steam the government seized all records of my existence and identity. I believe they had many reasons for this, but chiefly among them was an attempt to dehumanize me. An enemy with a mysterious background (or no background at all) is much easier to cast as a villain. Going against this established narrative, I will answer your questions as honestly as I can.
Secondly, I too believe in the importance of a “geographic story” as you put it. Sometimes we never realize a place’s impact on us until we leave it, in its absence we see how much it and you are intertwined, even if it was not your intention, the transformative powers of a time and place are undeniable. Home is where the heart is, after all.
I was born and raised in a little town called Springfield, USA. Hasbro fans will surely recognize the name, though they made my hometown out to be a secret and sinister base of Cobra operations. This was unfortunately never true, in fact I left Springfield in quite a hurry to not yet return.
There are forty-one towns/cities/townships called Springfield in America, so you can pick your best guess as to which is my Springfield on your own time. I’ll give you a hint though, it’s definitely one of the boring middle states. Very small town, the kind of place where kids on bikes ruled the streets, and everyone knew your name, or at least knew you as “so-and-so’s kid,” or “so-and-so’s brother.” I didn’t know it at the time, but that small town upbringing instilled in me a strong sense of community, love thy neighbor, be your brother’s keeper, and all that jazz. Through the years nostalgia has only sweetened those sentiments, and I have strived all my life to replicate the good nature and hospitality I experienced in my hometown (re: Cobra Island).
It was in Springfield that Cobra was founded, more as a political club compromised mostly of my brother’s Veteran friends. It was in Springfield I suffered a terrible accident that gave me the lovely voice you’ve all come to know and fear/enjoy/parody. It was in Springfield I recovered and trained and dreamed of something more and something better than the life I had been given and expected to be satisfied with.
I probably would still be in Springfield, or at least have some roots there, if I had not been forced out by the presence of enclosing authorities. This was all in the late 70’s and by then Cobra had been labeled a dangerous and potentially violent organization by the US government. For Cobra to survive it was vital that I avoided arrest, and so I went on the lam, happily surprised by my own enjoyment of traveling around the country. I met many people, recruiting wherever I went, and let me tell you, I went all over.
Anyone who feels empty or bored with their lives, be you a twenty-something millennial, or an aging baby boomer, I urge you to go out and see your country. From the big attractions, to the natural beauties, to the little forgotten diners, it’s all spectacular.
Eventually, I moved on to Europe, in search of a man named Destro, who I was told could supply my followers with weapons, thus giving our bark a little more bite (this was actually my first trip outside the US). My closest comrades and myself were smuggled out of the country via a sympathetic pilot; the closest to Scotland we could get was Italy. I took the name Baron Ironblood (which was more or less a jet-lag inspired joke name), and we proceeded to backpack through Europe, from Italy, to Switzerland, to (the terrible country of) France, Germany, Belgium, and finally Scotland. Noble Destro proved difficult to get an audience with (what with us being unwashed common criminals from America), and his castle was literally a castle, made impenetrable back when the crusades were still a thing. Once more we wandered Europe looking for someone who could act as our emissary. That ended up being the Baroness who we met in the dark mountain forests of Romania.
As if traveling the US wasn’t enough, my European vacation further expanded my understanding of the world as a whole. I was still a young man back then, with a limited worldview. Those few years of nonstop travel had given me a unique perspective on not only America but America’s place in the global community.
From there it was the 80’s and we were all in full swing, both Cobra and G.I. Joe at the height of their active years. I went around the world at a break-neck speed, evading capture, getting captured, escaping said capture, recruiting, organizing armies, building fortresses, gathering intel, putting together scientists, rubbing shoulders with presidents and prime ministers and dictators and kings and queens, etc, etc…
And then half way through the 80’s Cobra Island happened, appearing in the Gulf of Mexico, just north of Cuba, and I have lived comfortably there ever since.
Wow, I had forgotten how much you like to see your own words. I cannot imagine how long you would have gone if this interview was in person and you were allowed to hear your own voice while I would be forcibly required to make active listening noises like “um,” “a-ha,” “I see,” “go on,” and “fascinating.” …Now that I think of it, there is a better than average chance that you are dictating to your unfortunate PR Officer, and you are, in fact, listening to your own voice. Regardless, this is a really comprehensive geographic story, and yet incredibly vague.
So you don’t want me to be honest and comprehensive with these answers? Is that what you’re trying to tell me? Hm. All right. It’s your blog thing.
I’m not unfortunate. I’m really the opposite of unfortunate.
PR, are you typing what you’re saying now?
Well, I just want to be clear here, I am not unfortunate. I want that to be documented, in my own words, from me.
Silence, I can handle this. You are the opposite of unfortunate.
That’s what I said.
Cobra PR is part of the first generation of children who have grown up on Cobra Island. They get all the benefits of living in our prosperous nation.
And I have the honor of serving you so directly.
What? I didn’t mean that in any lewd way, I work directly under --
I said GROSS. Why are you typing that part?
So… since you have lived in many places and traveled all over the world, sometimes looking for components to various doomsday devices, sometimes because you are on the lam from anti-terrorist outfits such as GI Joe or the Oktober Guard… Question 2: Where do you like to go just to get away from it all? Are you a beach comber? A mountaineer? Do you like the nightlife of a bustling city? Or simply retire to your study to coil up with a good book? Where does the Cobra Commander go to relax?
The Commander doesn’t know how to relax.
Wow, rude. Hang on, firstly, I want to say: I wouldn’t really qualify a teleporter or a weather-controlling tool as “doomsday devices.” That’s the American propaganda machine speaking through you. The MASS Device allows for instantaneous transport of our trade goods, the Weather Dominator ensures constant perfect and safe weather for Cobra Island. No hurricanes for us.
But to get to your actual question, I am one of those people who must work to feel comfortable. I relax by keeping busy. I always have. If I’m not properly preoccupied I’m prone to sullen moods. I’m a very frenetic individual, and have, over the years and with practice, learned to take all that energy and be productive with it. I multi-task, I like doing five or ten things at once. It’s how I think, and there’s some satisfaction projecting the way you think into the way you interact with the world.
I’ve also taken to island life very well. I went to Cuba on a diplomatic mission right before the creation of Cobra Island. I fell in with that nightlife and that island culture. Cobra Island’s really coming into its own in terms of bars and restaurants. There’s a Tiki bar on the top of Cobra Island’s volcano, The Summit, and I’m a regular. The drinks are top notch and the desserts include roasting marshmallows with the volcanic heat. Who wouldn’t love that?
I have had roasted marshmallows before, because I am human, but I have never had the pleasure of roasting them over an open volcanic vent.
I know this seems like an odd topic jump, but my Question 3 for everyone is always the same in these interviews. Question 3: Cake or Pie? Which kind specifically and why?
I’ve been leaning towards pie lately. I mean, I am as American as apple pie.
Good call. You can always go with a classic.
Interesting thing that I have found by asking this question. People who choose pie really like pie and would love a slice of pie, whereas people who choose cake would kick a kitten in the rain to get to a piece of cake. They have an irrational love and desire for cake. They NEED cake and will stop at nothing (aside from learning to bake) to get cake. Question 4: Who in your organization would you think is that kind of cake-eater?
Kick a kitten? Definitely Serpentor.
A bit of your personal grudge coming out there? I had money on you saying Dr. Mindbender. That guy is unhinged, and you cannot deny that. He is certifiable… a mad genius, yet mad is definitely an equal descriptor in this sentence.
It’s usually a coin toss between Serpentor and Mindbender on who will I mock now, and today Serpentor won out.
Question 5: Are you still Hell bent on world domination, or has running your own island nation kind of mollified the “conquer the world” thing with the day-to-day running of a nation state?
I was never hell bent on world domination, that’s another misconception from my failed PR efforts early on in Cobra’s history. But let’s take a second and seriously consider this, who would actually want to rule the world? Have you watched Game of Thrones or even the news? The world’s sort of a mess right now. Yes, in a historical sense, there is less war and disease than there’s ever been, but it’s still sort of a mess. No individual can fix it. It’s too big of a problem.
Now originally, well, you have to remember, Cobra started out as a political-oriented club with just me and my friends, our goals were about the betterment of our town. Things began to escalate of course, and it went from our community, to our state, to the rest of the country. This was late 70’s, and the 70’s were a really chaotic, and I’d say destructive, time in politics. Not just with Vietnam and Watergate, but we were all learning about these nefarious covert operations of the CIA, and how the FBI had open files on more than one million citizens. We watched Ford take over the presidency without a single vote cast for him. Modern “investigative journalism” was being perfected on our televisions so we could keep up with all the sensationalized scandals. Everything was a mess, everyone was a crook, and there was nothing you could do about it.
With that surrounding you, it was easy for someone like me to imagine that they could do better. I think a lot of people must have thought that, I was just one of the few who actually did something about it. It’s just in my attempts I was labeled the leader of a terrorist organization.
Now I’m a President officially elected on Cobra Island. Being a national leader is a lot easier I think than what we were dealing with before, at least for me. It’s like playing whack-a-mole on a national level, constantly solving this problem then that problem, and so forth. Much easier than being a wanted terrorist.
I actually have never watched “Game of Thrones.” I know it seems like I would be the most perfect audience to watch a sword and sorcery show with gratuitous boobies, but none of the characters are redeemable (I read the first 120 pages of the first book in the series. Did. Not. Like. Well-written, but just lacking fun.). Every character in the show is a jackass. I have enough exposures to jackasses in my own life, I don’t need to see fake jackasses on my television. Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya, Sansa, the Hound, Jon Snow, Stannis, Joffrey etc… they are all either evil, distasteful, or disturbingly flawed. I don’t care about any single one of those j-holes. This seems to be a terrible trend for the past seven or so years that not one damn character on any damn show is a good person that I will remotely care for. Question 6: What the hell is up with that?!?
Geeze, I should’ve made a House of Cards reference. Touchy, touchy, aren’t we?
Same deal! Claire and Francis are both sociopaths. Doug Stamper is a remorseful tool that just wants to be loved, and can only show that love by doing whatever dirty work Francis feels needs to be done. Remy is a mercenary whose loyalty is only to whomever can pay him the most. I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that there is not a sympathetic character on that casting sheet. It is a problem with current TV. “Breaking Bad?” Same deal. Who is the sympathetic character? There isn’t one. Sometimes I feel like we should just… just introduce cascading root viruses into the computer systems of the increasingly sovereign multi-platform entertainment complexes. The virus would lock down all capabilities to use the digital assets that the entertainment industry currently has and prevent the generation of any new content. Then set off mass EMP devices for all the cloud storage facilities in the Black Hills of North Dakota, the Research Triangle in the Carolinas, Siberian Novosibirsk, Hangzhou in the Shenzhen Province in China, Manaus in the wilds of the Amazon Rain Forest, and other mass storage data facilities. The Mass EMP’s will delete all back-ups of “the industry’s” content, erasing their stockpiles of critically lauded irredeemable character arcs bringing the entertainment industry to its knees! Umm… ah, you know, or I could change the channel or stream something else. Whatevs. The important piece to note is that you did not answer Question 5… sidestepper. Let's just skip 6 then...
Question 7: What’s your favorite color?
Oh, I’m sorry. Was there a question in all that ranting against the second renaissance of American Television?
It’s called catharsis buddy, fictional characters sometimes tend towards cruelty so that you may live out your cruel fantasies vicariously without actually ever committing cruel acts. Your inability to process this basic human experience is probably where all this aggression is coming from. Lighten up, they’re just TV shows.
Hmmm… where have I seen that color before? I cannot quite place it. I bet it works well with white and chrome though.
Prior to going off on my tangent concerning bringing the entertainment industry to its knees, I mentioned how Remy is mercenary as Hell in “House of Cards.” You have been known to have independent contractor mercenaries in your employ. Some of these mercs are odd ducks and, honestly, would make me uncomfortable being in the same room. Question 8: Who is creepier to work with Zartan and his Dreadnoks, Tomax and Xamot (Basque names?), or some other merc you worked with?
Not Zartan, definitely not Zartan, we get along just fine. His family not so much, but Zartan and I always understood each other. He was one of the first mercenaries I ever met, and you know Zartan, he’s an actor assassin, he enjoys the acting of a part just as much as assassinating the target. I quoted some Richard III at him when we met and we’ve been good ever since. Zartan’s the poet philosopher of his, I’ll call them crew, his crew, and everyone knows it. Buzzer, Ripper, and Torch get it. Buzzer 2 and Ripper 2 get it (Monkeywrench and Thrasher), Buzzer 3 and Ripper 3 get it (the rest).
Serpentor’s an easy pick what with him being a scientific abomination with no soul, but that’d be rather selfish to mention him twice…
Croc Master’s actually a nice guy and super into environmentalism. Crystal Ball is like every chill yoga master ever but is into hypnotism rather than yoga.
Oh, Firefly! Firefly’s another easy pick, Firefly’s just as weird as you’d expect a ninja-master-saboteur-explosives-expert would be. Not to say he’s not good company, he’s a riot at parties, but underneath all that craziness you can tell there’s an actual craziness.
Tomax and Xamot are freaky, twins are just freaky in general, twins with almost the same name, even freakier, but on top of all that I’ve got this fan theory, PR what’s that called?
Yes, I’ve got a head canon they were conjoined twins that were separated like not when they were infants, but as children. How else do you explain this weird phantom limb pain they got going on for each other?
But you know, I know the answer to this, but I’ll note here, these mercenaries have become pertinent to Cobra’s survival. I don’t know where we’d be without the Baroness, or Storm Shadow, or even the Drednoks. Mercenaries get a bad reputation, but I’m supposedly a terrorist, so I figured when meeting these people there were perhaps two sides to their stories, and that was mostly true. I never recruited someone I didn’t believe in, and who didn’t believe in, if not me, Cobra.
One of the few exceptions to this was Dr. Venom, who I’m ninety percent sure was an actual psychopath. Like, not the cool kind you see on TV, but an actual living, breathing psychopath with the inability to understand other human beings’ pain. He had a way of looking at you, where he was sort of looking at you like a piece of meat, like a thing and not a person. It’s disturbing, recognizing someone else’s total indifference to you.
Of course, we didn’t know this at the start, he did a very good not-psychopath impression, very personable upon first meetings, he said all the right things, told us how much he believed in Cobra, gave us his sob story about the US government taking away his funding, commandeering his research. It’s only when we started to come down on him concerning his more nefarious use of our time and money that he started to slip and his true nature slithered out. He’s dead now. He’s been dead for a long time.
So, you have mentioned most of your compatriots as being mercenaries. Now mercenaries are paid to work for you. They are your paid employees. So, Question 9: Do you have any friends? Honest to goodness non sycophantic friends?
They’re mercenaries, but again, I wouldn’t have recruited them if I thought they were in it just for the money. The money helped, money always does, but we didn’t even pay that well back then, we couldn’t afford it. Our mercenaries offered their expertise not just for the cash, but they believed in Cobra, and if they didn’t, I needed to convince them. That was half of my job in the 80’s, but lucky for me, I am a natural born salesman.
The Baroness is actually one of my closer friends. I know that makes no sense to followers of the cartoon and comics, but she was our ticket to meeting Destro, we met her, myself and my friends and followers, when we were just some lost Americans in Europe on the run from the authorities with no other alternatives. It was winter, and months had gone by with little progress towards Destro. We were desperate. She knew it too, we tried to hide it, but she knew, she’s a super-spy-assassin from a family of super-spy-assassins, she knows everything.
She was amused by us at first, but after my sales pitch my sincerity came through, and my naiveté. She was the first one to ever say Cobra was a revolution, and I was a revolutionary. She took me under her wing, she taught me proper etiquette befitting of a leader trying to get an audience with someone like Destro, remember, I was just some kid from the middle of America. I didn’t know how to properly address “royalty” of any sort. Even more useful, she trained my men in guerrilla war tactics she learned in South American jungles and African coasts, fighting wars we had never even heard of. She was our von Steuben for sure, taking us to the next step in our evolution towards a militarized force to be reckoned with.
For that I will always be indebted to her.
Destro is another good friend, my bro through and through. Our relationship was never as rocky as you’d expect, he only tried to overthrow me twice…maybe thrice, but we’ve patched things up and recent years have only been good. Old age and a successful island nation suit Destro, he’s finally calmed down after all these years and has become a pretty fun guy.
But besides Cobra High Command, do I have friends? That’s really the heart of your question isn’t it? Of course I do, I’m Cobra Commander, I know each of my citizens by name. Antonio, my personal chef, I love that guy. Sunny, the founder and bartender of The Summit (the Tiki bar at the top of our volcano). Jackson, my main Televiper. So on and so forth.
And even more personal than that, even deeper into the heart of your question, there are the people who have been with me since the beginning. My friends from Springfield, who I grew up with, who inspired Cobra, who were there for me when I had nothing, and who made me the person I am today. They followed me on the run across the country, to Europe and back, through the 80’s to here to Cobra Island. Not all have them have made it. Some left and some are dead, but they are all like my family.
Interesting, You have your Crimson Guard from hometown Springfield, and your inner circle, but most of the people in those circles have either tried to overthrow you are beholden to you for your existence. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. No matter how you shake it, you are an island unto yourself on an island. To save space, I will eschew Question 9.
So… Question 10: Fill in the blanks: I find that I am mostly __________________. Others find that I am mostly _____________________.
I find that I am confident/cocky/charismatic/crazy fine with who I am and what I have done. I have no interest in what other people think of me.
PR’s snickering, what are you snickering over?
I think it’s funny you put down “cocky” before “charismatic.”
So, like any typical democratically elected official, you are terribly worried about how others perceive you… guh... deflate the ego a bit, Commander. Heck, you want people to refer to you as Commander. Don’t you have a real name? Dave? Steve? Mike? Alfonso? Joseph? Gordon? Levitt? Question 11: When was the last time someone called you by your given name? Ted?
Joseph Gordon Levitt! Why? What was that? What was any of that? I’m the Baroness’ brother? Do you know how awkward it was watching that? I was sitting right next to her in the theater! It was TERRIBLE! Hollywood drivel, not even trying to offend me, not even trying to be American propaganda, glorifying the armed forces, just cashing in on 80’s nostalgia, and they couldn’t even do that right! It was just noise, noise and nonsense!
Now, why wouldn’t I want people to refer to me as ‘Commander?’ You make it sound like an ego thing, but I am the commander in chief, it is the proper way to address me. Don’t go blaming me for my actual name being stricken from the public record. That was the American Government’s doing, not mine. How would it look on them that the most prominent enemy of the States, the number one “terrorist” in the world, was one of their own, an American citizen? And not some radical, not some cult member, but a homegrown kid from some small town people only drive through. They couldn’t allow that detail to be part of their narrative, and with my allegiances to mostly international members it was easy to assume I was some foreign force. They confiscated my identity, buried down my existence so deep that not even the Joes knew who they were dealing with.
During my time at Blackwater Prison, after the incident with the MASS Device, I was under Joe supervision twenty-four-seven awaiting trial. A few weeks into this we finally determined that they had, this entire time, and we’re talking about a year from first engaging with Cobra, mistaken me for my brother. I laughed, of course. I laughed and laughed and laughed. It made sense. By then the government was hiding my existence, the Joes had on their own determined my family, and they saw my brother’s paperwork with all his on record military training, and a death that could have easily been faked. It made sense, but it was still wrong.
I never stopped using my identity and my name. The government could keep me hidden to the public but they couldn’t stop me. My friends know it and my friends use it, and I have been known to introduce myself with it. The last time someone used it was last night.
To be clear, no one liked that movie. It was terrible… absolutely awful. It was worse than the weird ass animated movie, and that was bizarre indeed. It would have been so easy to make a movie for GI Joe. Power suits? Really? What the hell? And Ripcord in a power suit? Ripcord is a HALO Jumper, his specialization should have been all about doing HALO jumps. The power suit should have been given to a Joe who was trained in power suits. I don’t know, maybe he would be given the callsign Gundam or Manzinger or something like that. But seriously, how difficult would it have been to make a compelling GI Joe movie? I hate Hollywood… Hollywood makes me so angry. I believe I mentioned something about that previously….
It’s a tragedy when you make enemies of those in control of IP’s you love.
Question 12: So, are you planning on any succession planning? Are you grooming the next Cobra Commander?
I like to think that all the citizens of Cobra Island are being educated and trained to their fullest potential, free to pursue whatever they want in life, including the presidency of our nation.
Our government is set up with five-year terms without any limitations on how many terms an individual may serve, hence my long-standing presidency. There have been a few people to run against me over the years, but I suspect it will take my retirement to usher in fresh blood. No, there is no plan of succession; there is no individual who has my favor. I have no doubt that whoever ends up taking over will be completely capable and as competent and compassionate as a national leader should be.
I am going to change topics a bit because of where we are in the 20 Questions. When I was a kid, I played soccer. I really enjoyed it, and for a time I was pretty good. I used to have a ritual, a lucky sequence of preparation that I did to help the team towards victory. The ritual, generated over time by positive results seemed at the time, something that had to be done in a very specific sequence to enact that luck. It was simple superstition at the time, bit looking back at it, that ritual actually did a different thing for me. Instead of enacting some abstract concept of “luck” it was a ritual to help me into the correct headspace prior to being in a game. It was a way of closing out the parts of my life not associated with the game and magnifying the parts that were. It became a ritual that was akin to a type of meditation. Question 13: Do you have any superstitions or rituals in your life?
Innnnteresting… Good to know. Surprising, but good to know. I would have thought you would have had a lucky hood, or a special way to polish your visor, or some kind of weird mindfulness.
I am in control of my life, not luck.
Question 14: How do you celebrate your successes?
An Old Fashioned and a cigar…or a mandatory Island-wide party. Have you ever crowd surfed across an entire nation? Yeah, we don’t mess around on Cobra Island. I think the longest party we had was just over ten days. It’s a real morale booster for everyone.
An “Old Fashioned and a cigar?” What are you? 90? That is how my dad’s dad would celebrate.
Your dad knew how to celebrate then. Perhaps I should be talking to him.
This question came up in one of my other 20 Questions interviews. It is a simple question whose answer is often quite profound. Question 15: Are you happy?
I’m Cobra Commander.
…and that is not an answer. Maybe if you were some iconic image synonymous with happy that would be an appropriate response, but you are Cobra Commander. That title is not synonymous with happy. In fact I think that title seems almost opposite of happy. Are you saying that Cobra Commander = happy?
No, my name is synonymous with a hissing voice and yelling and throwing chairs isn’t it? Well, I am happy. Why wouldn’t I be? Now, that doesn’t mean I’m content, or satisfied, there’s still more work to be done, there always is. Always one more battle to win. But when I’m busy is when I’m happy. Because happiness is itself work, it is itself something to be won and earned.
That’s an interesting take on happy. I do like the philosophy that “happiness is itself work.” That is an interesting sentiment. Happiness does not just happen. Happiness is something you have to work for and on.
And often protect.
It is pretty obvious that I am very interested in your personal life because that is not information that is very widely disseminated. I am clearly trying to get an understanding about the man behind the chrome. I have to say (as we are rounding the corner on these 20 Questions) that you are a more personable and, dare I say, relatable person than I would have imagined. One thing that I have been trying to tease out from these questions is what your personal life must be like as the “democratically elected leader of Cobra Island.” I would imagine that much like an insanely wealthy and popular rap mogul or Hollywood superstar, it must be difficult to discern the true friends from the hangers-on. You mentioned beforehand that your friends are mostly in your employment. I know that the power differential is most likely palpable regardless of your intentions, and in the quiet times when you are by yourself, you may have questions as to the loyalty of your inner circle... especially the ones who were not there from the beginning. So…
Question 16: Is there a significant other in the life of Cobra Commander? Do you have a romantic partner that you share your personal life with? Is there someone who rises above the yes-men and people in your employ? A person whom you treat as your equal and with whom you share your personal life?
Are you flirting with me? I know it’s hard not to, it’s the uniform, ain’t it?
We’ve been talking for some time now and I believe there are some misconceptions that are continuing to prevail in your view of me. I am not surrounded by yes-men or people who I think are beneath me and not deserving of my respect. I don’t have time for people like that. Time is a very precious commodity, you only get so much of it, and it’s a waste to spend it with boring, useless people. I guarantee you no one in my country is boring or useless. We are Cobra, the Great Snake Lives Forever, and I have spent nearly my entire life believing in us. I love Cobra, and it has, with great effort, culminated into its current form as a society, and a culture, a people.
I digress though. You’re looking for an individual I can point to, a name I can give you, someone who can fit into a cartoon version of my life, but such a thing doesn’t exist. Not for me, not for anyone. It’s all very complicated, and messy, and full of intense conflicting emotions, and ultimately for myself, I feel that I feel too much for too many things to allow for what you’re talking about.
But have some gotten close? Sure. Some even closer than others.
There clearly is a misconception on my part, because in most popular cultural representations of you, you are portrayed as a solitary island within an island. You are represented as the aloof ruler consistently dealing with the Machiavellian machinations of your power-hungry subordinates all the while vacillating between being a jack-booted, fear-inducing, unhinged paranoid dictator and a mewly-mouthed coward sending your underlings to do tasks that you are incapable and unwilling to do yourself.
Yes, and as you know most pop culture regarding me is fueled by the American propaganda machine. Let’s be smart and not insult me by believing in any of that.
Clearly that is not the case. Regardless of our interaction, or any efforts you have made to disavow those portrayals, a long-standing leader of any organization cannot survive as leader with those traits. My questions merely have been to more fully flesh out the real Cobra Commander as a person with friends, family, loved ones, wants, needs and dreams, and to do that I guess I had to wade through my own misconceptions. I thank you for your patience.
I had dreams once, a long time ago. They were about this interview being over. Now nothing remains…but memories.
Question 17: Is there a question that I haven’t asked you that you were expecting me to ask?
Usually people ask me more about the Joes and stuff from the cartoon. Is Serpentor seriously a clone? Yes. Did Destro ever wield Excaliber? No. Am I a snake man from a secret society of snake men? No. What’s your favorite toy? The Terrordrome set. Did Scarlet and I ever have a thing? Yes.
I thought you might ask me about my ex-wife or my brother.
It was wise to not mention my son.
I have some level of couth… maybe not much, but there is at least a little. Well, I am nervous to do this, but it is time to turn the tables… Question 18: Do you have any questions for me?
No not really.
Why did you seek out an interview with the Commander?
Well, I was wondering!
Who would not want to ask THE Cobra Commander 20 Questions? I grew up with the 3.75” GI Joe toys. When I was really into it I would get every action figure I could get my grubby little hands on. In the beginning, all that was available was the Cobra Soldier and the Cobra Officer as a foil to my initial team of GI Joe heroes. I sent in my Flag Points along with my $0.50 check to get my Cobra Commander mail-in offer… I think I got about 5 of them in total. It was glorious. Cobra Commander is a character that is near and dear to my heart, so interviewing the actual Commander was to be a bit of a dream come true...They say, never meet your heroes, I guess this applies for your villains as well. Ah, well. You win some, you lose some.
The penultimate question… Question 19: What are you taking from these 20 Questions that you did not bring in with you?
That the book I’ve been meaning to write might not be a terrible idea.
If I have even been of a minor service, my job is done here.
Question 20: What’s next? Be as vague or as concrete, as short-term or long-term, or as literal or figurative as you would like.
Oh, are we done? Oh my Lord, is it true? Can it be? The legends were true! Twenty Questions finally came to an end at the twentieth question! And look, neither of us died! I didn’t kill you a blind rage because I don’t actually do that, and you ended up being a legitimate fan and not some secret wannabe assassin trying to get close to me. It’s a good day, eh?
Next up? I think I’ll have another coffee.
That just happened folks. Everyone should give the Commander a like on Facebook and thank him for doing this interview... quite possibly the most in depth Cobra Commander interview by someone outside of the Cobra Island media outlets. I want to thank Cobra PR for setting up and facilitating this process.
We went on Vacation last week
Things have been hectic
ergo no posts for a few weeks
We did the California: Redwoods Empire Multisport Tour
We went through Backroads
They were amazing
I highly recommend their vacations
Both kids have said it was their favorite vacation ever
I tend to agree
Even though I sprained my elbow on day 3
A week later and I am doing much better
I would say that my arm is at 85%
Here is a pic of the kids under a redwood
Those trees are huge
On a totally unrelated note, Mae is awesome
She knows who she is and why
Still looking for the UXD job
Take a look at 9thPointStudio.com if you want to see my bonifides
The Mom-in-Law got the sepsis and is recovering in the hospital
The wife leaves for Tampa tomorrow
It is hectic this week as well
Have a great week eveyone