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Just the facts:

Birthday: March 2, 1945

Lives with: Lilly, Rocky, Claudia, Rommel and Sybil : four dogs and a cat.

Likes: rain, fireplaces with fires, good red wine, soft skin, books he can lose himself in, walks in the country, animals, perfect food, good voices, good music.

Dislikes: Judgmentalism, bigotry. " That is the thing that pisses me off more than anything else in this world."

Last book read: The Birds Fall Down, by Rebecca West

Favorite film: Ingmar Bergmans The Silence

Question: "Before joining SB, what did you think of Mason?"

Answer: "Id never watched the show, so I didnt have any preconceived notionsI had heard that Mason was funny, smart, rich, screwed up, sexy, extravagant, and I had a lot of panache."

While he's poisoning his brother-in-law, Gordon Thomson tries to add warmth

Tv Guide November 5,1983

Playing Dynasty's despicable Adam Carrington is a challenge to his acting versatility
By Tom Nolan

It's a sight odd enough to make even the most casual Dynasty fan blink twice. Gordon Thomson, egregious evil personified in the role of Adam Carrington on that popular ABC melodrama, is striding across an outdoor patio of Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel clad entirely in - white. Not only that, his hand is extended in a gesture of friendship and those darkly handsome features - so calculating and saturnine each Wednesday evening - are now arranged in a smile of genuine welcome.  

Dashing Deschanel

Dated: July 21, 1998

Soap Opera Digest Magazine

With Daytime Vet Gordon Thomson Now on Sunset Beach,
Savoir-Faire Is Everywhere

Last year, when Young and Restless was looking to cast short-term attorney Patrick Baker, they had one non-negotiable, requirement: "Must be able to handle large amounts of dialogue." Not surprisingly, the role went to Gordon Thomson.

"If there's one thing I can do, it's memorize," laughs the soap vet, who spent over two years in the dialogue trenches as SANTA BARBARA's legendarily loquacious Mason Capwell. "That was a very demanding part. I had to do 35 pages a day, five days a week. By the end of the week, it would cut me down, it was so tiring. And then you'd take a deep breath and start again Monday."

These days, such verbosity is no longer an issue. As SUNSET BEACH's A.J. Deschanel, the actor now enjoys a more leisurely taping pace: "Nobody on this show," he observes, "has 35 pages a day. It's a lovely schedule, really, a much easier time for everyone."

In most other ways, though, playing AJ is a return to form for Thomson, who, after Y&R, SB, four months as an Egyptologist on RYAN's HOPE and seven years as DYNASTY terrible Adam Carrington, practically owns the trademark on sophisticated, suave schemers. "AJ is very smart and very mysterious," he notes, "but I think he's a nicer man than some of my other characters. Certainly nicer than, say, Adam.

With so many variations of one theme on his resume, Thomson has, at points in his career, feared being typecast. But in truth, it's hard to imagine him playing anything different - the comic buffoon, say - especially upon meeting him in real life. His alter egos' strengths are also his own: Thomson is every bit as well-mannered as AJ, as quick and clever as Mason. And in a roundabout way, he shares those characters' weaknesses, as well. Like Mason, Adam and the others, Thomson has had his own share of struggles that he hints at - and then carefully sidesteps - during interviews.

Certainly, he was anything but an overnight success. When the Canadian native enrolled in Montreal's McGill University at age 18, he was headed for a more traditional career - architecture, law or whatnot. "Deciding to become an actor was very late-coming," he sighs, noting that it took 17 years of struggle, mostly in Canada, before he was suddenly wandering around the Carrington Mansion every Wednesday night.

At the same time, he has had to deal with difficulties in his personal life. "My father died when I was 18," he begins. "He left home; it was sort of messy." Indeed, Thomson pere was killed while driving drunk with a girlfriend, prompting Thomson's mother to divorce him posthumously. The actor's one marriage ended in 1982, and he has remained notoriously guarded about his relationships ever since. The disappointments and damages have left him philosophical, and understanding of his characters' motivations. "I think we all have a dark side to us," he says. "I find that I can't trust sunny-natured people, people who are constantly sunny. I think that's major denial."

By his own account, Thomson lives a somewhat reclusive existence nowadays. he eschews team sports, partly because of a prohibitive leg injury and partly because he just doesn't like 'em. He'd rather tend to the garden outside his rented Encino, CA home, sharing his time with four dogs (one is deaf and senile, two arthritic) and a cat. He had another dog, Jack, who was put to sleep when even acupuncturists couldn't cure his stomach disorder.

Of course, living so peacefully makes learning lines a lot easier - even if AJ's soliloquies don't hold a candle to Mason's. "Thirty-five pages a day," he smiles, thinking again of the horror that he and Masons One and Two, Lane Davies and Terry Lester, all lived through. "You know, Lane and I finally met at an audition for a voice-over years ago," Thomson laughs. "And the first thing out of our mouths was, 'How did you learn all those lines?'"

Having survived the demise of on NBC soap with the initials S and B, Thomson knows what warning signs to look for - and he doesn't see them anywhere near the Sunset Beach lot. "This show is making money, and as long as it's making money, it's going to stay on the air," he states. "It would be nice for morale if the ratings went up, but they'll sneak up; it just takes time. I'm not worried. We're not like The Little Engine That Could; we're The Engine That Can, because we're doing it!"

Gordon Thomson is a Jem!

July 18, 2000

Soap Opera Update

We absolutely love Gordon Thomson and are happy to see him again, this time on Passions as Hal. But he hasn't been put on long-term-yet. We hope that Passions sees his potential. After all, he's been absolutely sensational on every daytime or nighttime soap on which he's appeared, including Dynasty as Adam Carrington, then Mason on Santa Barbara, then A.J. on Sunset Beach. If Passions doesn't keep him, maybe it's time for the actor to head east, where his sophistication would work on ATWT (as Carly's Hong Kong captor?) or All My Children (an Erica love interest, perhaps?).
By Nelson Branco

"I Wanted To End My Life"

June 25, 1983

National Enquirer

The Handsome Star of DYNA Actually Decided to Commit Suicide While He was a Struggling Actor
"I was unemployed, broke and desperate," Thomson who plays evil Adam Carrington, revealed in an exclusive Enquirer interview.
"I lost the will to go on trying."
Plunged into soul-shattering depression, Thomson took out an insurance policy to leave something for his loved ones after his death ~ but he was shocked to discover that under the terms of the policy he'd have to wait two years before doing himself in if they were to collect even a penny. Thomson counted the days until he could end his sorrow. Then, just before his planned "death day," he won a film role that saved his life.
"For 23 months, I had only one wish. I wanted to end my life," the 32-year-old actor confessed. "The insurance policy was like a ticking clock. I knew that when the two years were up on August 23, 1979, I could stop the ticking."
"Every day for those two years, I thought about ending my life. I couldn't cope anymore. I had no reason to live. I felt pain and my spirit was broken. I started looking forward to the day of my suicide as if it were some macabre sort of birthday."
Thomson's nightmare started while he was a struggling young actor in Toronto, Canada. "I went from audition to audition ~ and got rejection after rejection. My life was more horrible than any soap opera. Everything I tried failed. Acting was my passion. I kept asking myself, 'If I can't act, why go on?'"
"I finally decided to end it all. Maybe suicide was a cowardly decision, so I kept it to myself."
After buying his insurance policy, Thomson read the fine print and realized that he had agreed to a two-year suicide clause. "If I commited suicide before the two years were up, no one would collect," he said. "I decided to wait for two years ~ and count the days."
"I began spending time in my garden. I watched my plants die in the winter and bloom again in the spring. I took up meditation." Eventually, August came. The day he was living for ~ the day he would die ~ was just around the corner.
Then the phone rang.
"It was a producer," Thomson recalls. "He offered me a role in his new film and I accepted it."
Thomson hung up and stared at the phone. Suddenly he felt his years of depression, his all-consuming hell of rejection, fall away in a flood of relief. Thomson's clock stopped ticking. "I decided to live," he states. "From that day on, my life has been on the upswing."
After that film, Thomson landed several stage roles and within two years he was on the daytime soap opera 'Ryan's Hope'. Then came DYNA ~ and unbelievable stardom.
"I've been through the worst and now I'm at the top," says the dashing Thomson. "I'm telling my story so others who've felt depressed and unable to cope might realize they're not alone."
"Whenever I have bad luck now, I remember those terrible 23 months when I had given up hope. That agony taught me a lot. I learned to be patient and to say to myself, 'This too shall pass'. Life goes in cycles, just like the seasons.
"I know the lows might come again, as they do to everyone. The next time I hope I'll have the inner strength to deal with them."

Up to His Old Tricks -- Y&R's Gordon Thomson

By Meg McCaffrey


GORDON THOMSON has the skill of playing bad guys you can't help but like. The type who make you cringe and angry, but somehow you find yourself rooting for... although you won't admit it. The actor has put his familiar stamp on his lastest soap role, YOUNG AND RESTLESS's hard-as-nails lawyer Patrick Baker. "He's a bit like Adam Carrington was," theorizes Thomson. Yikes! Genoa City residents, run for your lives!
The soft-spoken actor smiled over the sinister plots his characters have hatched and shared that he might just want to stick around Genoa City. But Thomson notes that Patrick staying in town likely rests not on his success as a legal eagle, but rather if the show finds a romantic interest for the character. Plus, Thomson has only signed with the soap for 13 weeks. Then again, as Y&R legend has it, Eric Braeden (Victor) only planned to be around for 26 weeks.


SOAP OPERA DIGEST ONLINE: I understand that you have signed on for 13 weeks, but might Patrick's stay in Genoa City be extended?
GORDON THOMSON: I think that's to be determined. It's been intimated to me that it's possible he might hang around. I also must tell you that I've only received [the response] such as I got when I auditioned [for the role] just twice before in my life, and [that is ] the show was so enthusiastic and so nice about [my performance]. You know, people [in this industry] can be cool about good response and hold back. Well, no, (at Y&R) they were, 'Kaboom.' It was so refreshing a change.
DIGEST ONLINE: So often actors on the Bell shows, as we call B&B and Y&R, say what a pleasant environment their shows are to work on?
THOMSON: It is. That is one of the things I've found comfortable, and that is from day one, the cast and crew I've been working with have been wonderful. Lucky me.
DIGEST ONLINE: What can we share with readers about Patrick?
THOMSON: I think this trial goes on and on. I find it personally interesting and wonderful to do. It's courtroom drama and good courtroom drama at that. I think courtrooms by definition are fascinating...because there's much more leeway in regards to lawyerly behavior. Lauralee (Christine, who is playing the rival attorney) is a treat to work with. She's funny, and a very hard-working actress. She's just very down to earth. I think it's a good team of opposing attorneys. It's very emotional stuff.
DIGEST ONLINE: How many pages are you doing a day on the show -- it seems like they give you a big share of dialogue on that show?
THOMSON: Between 20-25 pages a day.
DIGEST ONLINE: That's a lot, but I hear Y&R gives its actors wonderful work schedules?
THOMSON: It's wonderful. I think it must be the most luxurious schedule for a daytime show. It's got two sets going on all the time. You work the afternoon or the morning, but sometimes both. It's a block-tape situation, which I love. It doesn't get much better than this. They take very good care of their actors.
DIGEST ONLINE: Which is probably why you probably don't get much turn over on that soap. Y&R actors stay a long time.
THOMSON: Oh yeah.
DIGEST ONLINE: What attracted you to the role of Patrick?
THOMSON: I learned a bit about him in the audition scene I did with Christian Le Blanc (Michael). It was a much more personal scene. Patrick is an extremely intelligent, manipulative and charming man. He's fascinating, actually. I feel about him that he is like if Adam Carrington grew up .. he's not as amoral as Adam was because he's a lawyer and lawyers can't be, not and survive. He's a bit like Adam was, though.
DIGEST ONLINE: And Patrick has a tiny bit of Mason Capwell, too.
THOMSON: Yes. He's not as complex as Mason. Maybe we all look alike. I'm not sure. [Laughs]
DIGEST ONLINE: I was a big SANTA BARBARA fan. It always looked like you were all having a lot of fun. Did you do a lot of improvising on that show?
THOMSON: There was a little bit, but not very much. The scripts were very, very good. The imagination of SANTA BARBARA was remarkable and the cast was as good as it gets. There was also a much smaller cast, which I think gave us a greater feeling of being a unit. SANTA BARBARA was almost one-third the size of YOUNG AND RESTLESS, for instance. SANTA BARBARA had 19 regulars and I think Y&R has 48. That's a huge cast. On SANTA BARBARA, you got around to working with everybody.
DIGEST ONLINE: What was your favorite off-screen memory of working on that soap, which seemed to win a million and one Emmys?
THOMSON: I don't have one. But I do have enormous affection for the people on that show, and for the entire two-and-a -half years I did that show. You know how rare it is to maintain friendships when you leave a show, it's unusual... well, I have friends I do see sometimes from SANTA BARBARA. Louise Sorel (Vivian, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) is a wonderful friend.
DIGEST ONLINE: In an interview you did with Soap Opera Weekly, you said that while you enjoyed working on BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, you found yourself missing the daytime working process. Can you elaborate?
THOMSON: I love to work, and I like to work hard and under the gun which defines daytime. Daytime is the most collaborative means of producing dramatic television on earth. There's nothing that demands more teamwork than daytime. Everyone's under the gun every day. This week, for instance, I have four shows and because it's all in the courtroom there's a lot of attention that has to paid on the lines I have to learn. I thrive on that somehow. I'm a much happier man when I work that hard, when I'm that worried and concerned about the character and the lines and living up to the standards that we set for ourselves. The pace agrees with me. I have a fairly high energy level. Primetime is lovely, but it's much, much more relaxed.
DIGEST ONLINE: And the work pace is slower?
THOMSON: So much. We shoot 270 hours a year on a daytime drama. We shoot 22 hours on 90210 or any other prime time show. That's the big difference.
DIGEST ONLINE: What is your favorite debacle Adam got into on DYNASTY?
THOMSON: I think it was the poison paint storyline. That was so much fun to do. I thought that some clever company should have come out and endorsed it.
DIGEST ONLINE: We thought your character on BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, a sweatshop manufacturer, could make a comeback into Donna's life?
THOMSON: I hope they bring my character back. He could have legs. If they brought him back, I'd be very happy.
DIGEST ONLINE: We hope you stick around Genoa City for a while. Patrick seems to have legs, too.
THOMSON: I would like that. It feels good being here.

New member of the team.

(Soap opera Digest 25. December 1990)

Gordon Thomson landed on Santa Barbara with a bang, appearing as Mason Capwell midway through an episode when, moments before; the audience had been watching Terry Lester in the role.
Thomson, who says that he rarely watches himself on television, doesnt seem to mind at all the rumors of Santa Barbara being next on NBCs chopping block. NBC can afford to carry something as prestigious as this for the prestige alone, he remarks. You look at China Beach and Twin Peaks; excuse me, who's watching those shows? They really are at the bottom of the barrel, however wonderful they may be. Santa Barbara isn't at the bottom of the barrel. It makes the network a lot of money. You are talking to a happy actor.

Fighting the system

Gordon Thomson Wages Legal War On The Producers Of Dynasty: The Reunion. Can One Angry Actor Beat A Big Corporation With A Secret Weapon?

When Gordon Thomson (Mason, SANTA BARBARA) decided to sue Aaron Spelling Productions for breach of contract, he knew it wasnt going to be easy. Going up against an influential, heavily funded corporation is a frightening prospect, even for an actor with an ax to grind.

But for Thomson, its worth the time, effort and expense. Cut at the last minute from the cast of Dynasty : Reunion because of scheduling conflicts, the actor says he is got the facts on his side. "Its draining , its messy and its exhausting," he admits. "But I am right , and I have to stand up for myself". Spelling, however , has a formidable secret weapon- a very experienced legal team.

Spellings lawyers, Langberg & Associates, represented Valerie Harper in her victorious breach-of-contract suit against lorimar Television in 1988. Harper was awarded $1,4 million when a Los Angeles court ruled that the actress had been wrongfully dismissed from her series Valerie. Harpers case was one of the few breach-of-contract suits in which an actor emerged the winner. And, although she endured public accusations of unprofessionalism and unstable conduct, Harper says today, "I am glad I went through with the suit. If I had the chance, I would do it again."

Thomson, who played Adam Carrington on Dynasty for seven years, filled the $1 million suit in early October, alleging that Spellings company had effectively eliminated him from the cast of Dynasty: THE Reunion by mismanaging communications with SBs producers. The actor says that, although he agreed to be in the ABC special last February, Spelling Productions did not contact SB about it until June 7- five days before he was scheduled to begin taping. At that late date, he says, SB could not release him from his duties. "Now my agent had called the Spelling production company from the end of April to the beginning of June two or three times a week, urging them to fulfill their obligation because they were contractually obligated to call SB and discuss scheduling," he explains.

Having been on the actors side of the fence, Spellings lawyers should understand Thomsons point of view. And, for their part, they remain cordial. Langberg & Associatess Eileen Cohn says, "We have the highest respect for GTs talents. Its an unfortunate situation that the show wasnt able to use him. But it is no reflection of Aaron Spellings respect for him as a person or of his acting skills."

Thomson is less than flattered by these statements. While the actor recently told reporters he would drop the suit for a public apology, he now says he " made that statement out of anger" and no longer feels that way. He adds that shortly after the statement appeared in print, Langberg & Associates called his lawyer and offered to take him up on it. " What I had requested was not just a public apology," Thomson says. "It was full-page ads in the {entertainment} trades for a week. Anyway, I dont mean it anymore. I want my money."

Whether or not Thomson gets his money, hes likely to burn a few career bridges in the process. He admits that he probably wont be working with Aaron Spelling in the future. "Spelling Productions probably wouldnt be too keen on hiring me again, and that disappoints me", he says. "Aaron Spelling and I have gotten along very well in the past. I have a lot of respect for Aaron, and Im sure hes not the one whos responsible for this screw-up. But I still have to look in the mirror when I shave every morning. How can I look myself in the eye if I dont have my self-respect?"

Its difficult, but not impossible, for an actor to win a legal battle against large company. In addition to Harpers heavily publicized success, Raquel Welch made headlines in 1986 when she won a suit against MGM and several Hollywood executives over her firing from the cast of the movie Cannery Row.

Thomson says that most ex-Dynasty cast members have not discussed the case. The suit was not even mentioned during the actors promotional appearances on programs like the Oprah Winfrey Show. "To help the dynasty show, they decided they wouldnt bring up such an unpleasant subject. I dont blame them. The show is the most important thing, and I would have done the same thing if I were in their situation." Thomson adds that he did receive supportive words from former co-stars Emma Samms and John James. "I had some very nice phone calls from them, " he says. Before deciding to sue, Thomson says, " I talked it over with James, and I talked it over with some very intelligent friends out of the entertainment business. I wasnt talked into it by anyone.

Meanwhile, legal matters continue. Thomsons lawyer, Richard Bauer, has had preliminary hearings with the Spelling team. If the case goes to court, the date will probably be set by February. Thomson says he feels "very confident" about winning the suit. For his part, Bauer says, "I can only tell you that litigation is continuing. Other than that, I have no comment."

Until the decision is made, Thomson is continuing with his SB duties and trying to keep things in perspective. Relaxing has been the most difficult job for the actor, who admits that hes been having trouble with insomnia. "I get home; I have a glass of wine; I go to bed," he explains. "I try to sleep; I get up, and I start learning lines and I go to work. I dont do much. I try and work out when I can, which I find very relaxing, but of late, thats been impossible."

They say always go with your first instinct, if Gordon Thomson did, he would not be on Santa Barbara

It happens somewhere outside of the United States. They give lessons, I think in being smooth. Not that every foreigner is and Americans arent, but more often that not, the British, Australians and Canadians who appear on our soaps possess that quality.

And maybe, just maybe, theyre not smooth at all. Maybe its just the accent.

Gordon Thomson has the accent, but not just the accent. He is indeed charming, smart, dashing, reckless and witty- every adjective that he knew described Mason before he took role on Santa Barbara. And if you ask Gordon why he took the part, hell quickly tell you that its because "I was invited to", and Gordon adds, "very nicely."

"When I was approached for the job, I must admit that I did have a certain attitude about daytime and I didnt respond well to the offer. And I realized then and there that I had been in Hollywood too long. It was true- I experienced an unreasonable reaction to the offer of soap work." Gordon remembers: " I had lunch with John Conboy (SBs executive producer) and met Jackie Smith (NBCs vice president of daytime) and it was like Welcome aboard, and I kept thinking, I havent said yes yet."

Looking back, Thomson realizes that " it was very stupid for me to think I shouldnt do it. I thought it was a step backward and it is not. Comparing the two shows, Gordon notes that "Dynasty won no awards. The mean wage in daytime is pretty damn good and the writing is extremely good."

Gordon goes on to add: "This is the best time Ive had in years, and I have been in the business for 25 years." Thomson has done soap operas before. First was a role on the Canadian drama HIGH HOPES, which fell short of its title and only lasted six months. In 1981-82, he appeared on RYANS HOPE for four months, but he really struck gold playing Adam Carrington on DYNASTY, one of the most popular programs in the history of television.

You havent seen much of Thomson since DYNASTYs demise, but its not because he hasnt been working. "Ive been travelling a great deal. I did RAY BRADBURY THEATER in New Zealand, a few MURDER, SHE WROTEs, toured Canada in a British musical, and did a play in Los Angeles called Eastern Standard. I also did a film in Rome, spent some time in London as a guest host for their morning program GOOD MORNING BRITAIN, and generally have been very lucky to stay busy."

Idle time shouldnt be a concern now that hes Mason, and Thomson is not shy to relay that he has never felt the pressure to model Lane Davies or Terry Lesters (the former Masons) styles. "I dont want to even see tapes of their work. I dont want to do a third imitation of someone else." Gordon fondly remembers that when he first joined the show, he received some helpful insight into the character of Mason from co-star Nancy Grahn.

In addition to Grahn, hes enjoyed the company of Marcy Walker and Roscoe Born a friend from his days on RYANS HOPE. All in all, Thomson has little to complain about.

"Dont forget, I came from a night-time soap opera- a very cushy job. Nobody works all that hard, especially on Dynasty during the last several years of the show." Gordon reveals. "At the time, I thought it was my reward for having to go through 17 years of bull shit. Now I am making very sweet money, thank you, but I am working my ass off, which I love."

And hard work can only make you sleep better at night. "I never sleep badly at night," Gordon proclaims...and then laughs.

When asking him how long he'll remain with the show, he honestly answers: "I haven't a clue. I signed a two-year contract, and of course one can be dropped at any time and I am hoping that doesn't happen.

"I don't like planning," Gordon tacks onto his last thought. "When I go on a trip, I don't like to plan. What if a year ago I had planned to take a trip to Hawaii now? I couldn't go!"

Travel is indicative of Thomson's life, having been raised in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. When asked about his childhood, he simply states: "Not very happy." A silence follows. The kind of silence that spells that "it's not a fun subject." Instead of elaborating, he chooses to talk about his success, saying that "I got very lucky with Dynasty. It is very nice not to have to worry about money. Money is the root of all evil in many ways, and the cause of most stress. You can't enjoy life when you are worrying about the rent," Gordon simply translates.

While Thomson may be comfortable financially, he believes that he doesn't live a particularly extravagant life. I live well, but I do not live like a Capwell or a Carrington," Thomson laughs...and unknowingly provides the perfect quote for an interview.

What else does he need in life?

"Gee...God...there's not a lot. I've got good friends, good health, I have a good job that I am enjoying." His dogs begin to bark and as he investigates the disturbance, he continues to ponder the question. He wonders if a coyote riled the dogs. "Sometimes, coyotes come up and down my driveway," Gordon tells about his home in the hills of Los Angeles. "It's been so dry, they come looking for water," he informs, never answering the question.

But the real Gordon Thomson has at least one demon inside of him, he admits. "We all have demons inside of us. I can't think of anyone worth talking to that does not have some mystery inside of them. I don't dislike myself. I think I am a fairly nice man and generous person. I can be naive. I am not stupid as a rule, but like everybody else, am capable of incredible stupidity and I am ignorant about a lot of things. I wear blinders a lot.

"But basically you are talking to a very happy man. I am working." There is a long pause, and then Thomson volunteers: "I would like to fall madly in love. That would be nice. But that you can't go looking for. You can look for a job, but you can't look for a love.

"That will eventually happen again, so we'll see," Gordon adds like a wishful sixth grader. He interrupts his thought to explain that "then my life will really feel complete, which may be a dangerous thing, so maybe I should not talk about it. I really think there can be too much contentment in your life, which can lead to smugness and complacency."

Forget the textbook philosophy, Gordon, it sounds like you are very romantic. Is that true?

"Yep," he answers,"which I have to fight a lot."

There are worse battles.