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First Person — Chip Curtis

Name: Chip Curtis, yes, really Chip. I used to be the only Chip, but now there seems to be Chips everyone, and even a few with the surname Curtis.

Town: LaMoille, rhymes with oil, as I was told.

Family: A wife, two grown children, two grandchildren, a barn cat and a barely tame feral cat.

Occupation: I’m an electrical engineer for my own company and a drone pilot. I hold 11 U.S. patents with most of my work in household appliances, but I have also designed medical devices, agricultural devices and even coin operated games and pinball.

What was your first job? Washing dishes at a greasy spoon when I was 15. I was beat after the first two weeks of work and pondered quitting, but the place burned down that very weekend before I could decide, so I’m still not sure if I’ll go back.

What is your favorite movie? That’s actually a tough question. How do I chose? Should it be an unsung movie like the remake of “Bedazzled” or a forgotten classic, maybe Buster Keaton’s silent masterpiece, “The General”? No, the favorite movie should have to pass the Desert Island Test, you know, what movie would you watch if you were stranded on a desert island. In that case, it would have to be “Groundhog Day,” just so I could say “I’m watching ‘Groundhog Day’ ... again.” We do watch the movie every year on Groundhog Day and even make a dish cooked with ground pork (get it, ground hog?) to celebrate.

What is your favorite book? “Life the Universe and Everything,” the third book from the five books in the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’s” ever increasing ill-named trilogy. Douglas Adams was a brilliant humorist that channeled the wit of P.G. Wodehouse to perfection. By the third book, Douglas had moved into new material rather than adopting the radio play so he became very creative.

What is the best concert you’ve been to? An outdoor Allman Brothers concert under a pavilion. During one song there was a fierce thunderstorm that seemed to play with the band. When the band was raging, so was the storm, and when a quiet point in the song was reached the storm subsided and it was so quiet you had to whisper. During the quiet moment you could even see the lightning’s stepped leader strokes meandering out of the sky (sorry, engineer). Then the band came back for a raging finale and so did the storm. It was a beautiful moment, which is why I need that genie from the next question.

If you met a genie who granted you one wish, what would you wish for? Time manipulation; not just travel, but fast forward, rewind and pause. I’ve got those features on everything else, why not life?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? I’m tempted to say, “this questionnaire,” but that would be too easy. Back when I was a musician, I learned to play slide guitar. I worked at it endlessly and never could dampen the strings properly, but late one night, I suddenly had it. I was afraid to go to sleep because I thought I would lose the technique forever. Eventually I drifted off in the wee hours and woke with a start two hours later to make sure I could still play.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been? I haven’t been to Machu Picchu, but at least you can see Peru from LaMoille.

What is one thing you’re truly passionate about? I was born into flying at an Air Force base while my father was in the Strategic Air Command. I have a small plane and also fly drones and RC for fun and my small business, Flying Buffalo Drones.

What is your favorite area restaurant, and what do you like to order there? Mi Margarita in Peru. I usually order a Margarona (Friday $5 drink special), chorizo taco, beans and rice.

What is something you like about your hometown? It’s quiet.

Is there anything you would change about your hometown? A place to eat breakfast would be awesome.

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