Editor's Note: With Across the Bar's intrepid columnist Grey Galluzi taking a well-deserved break on this issue, San Joaquin County Bar Association Executive Director Rebekah Burr-Siegel stepped in to interview Michael Norton, a certified family law specialist in Stockton, via e-mail.
Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. "Creating. Either in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, or at the computer, weaving hilarious stories (written for me)."
Q. What is your greatest fear?
A. "AI robots run amok: Humanity enslaved by superior beings of our own creation.
Q. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
A. "Emperor Norton. He was loved and respected for being grandiose and crazy."
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. "Steph Curry with a basketball."
Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A. "I love myself too much to answer this. Oh, I have deplorable traits, but I don't want to hurt my feelings."
Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Q. What is your greatest extravagance?
Q. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
A. "I take up 'a little' too much space in the wrong places."
Q. When and where were you happiest?
A. "Home with my wife." [Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus.] "And at the birth of my children."
Q. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
A. "Arthritis be gone."
Q. If you could change one thing about your family what would it be?
A. "I wish my kids lived closer, or rather, I wish that my life was closer to San Francisco."
Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
A. "My kids and my marriage."
Q. If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?
A. "I don't want to come back. Been there, done that."
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
A. "My well-seasoned cast iron."
Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Q. Who are your heroes in real life?
A. "Nelson Mandela, Ferris Bueller, Leonard Cohen."
Q. What is it that you most dislike?
A. "I very much dislike lawyers who make conflict for the purpose of feathering their nests rather than helping people to resolve disputes in a respectful way."
Q. How would you like to die?
A. "I promised I wouldn't answer this one."
Q. What is your motto?
A. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Q. What is your favorite word?
A. "Callipygian." [Look it up.]
Q. What is your least favorite word?
A. "I don't hate words. They are just words. I do dislike when words are overused, misused or used with mendacious purpose."
Q. What sound do you love?
A. "The birds in the morning at my house are amazing."
Q. What sound do you hate?
Q. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
A. "Writer. I am not sure in what genre or capacity. I just like playing with words and spilling them onto paper."
Q. What profession would you not like to do?
A. "Mortician, especially the guy with clean-up duty."
Q. What do you love about your work?
A. "I love the law and problem-solving. Helping people."
Q. What do you dislike about your work?
A. "Administration, reporting, banking, accounting, paperwork."