With about 45 minutes left to avoid violating my writing resolution, I lean yet again on my favorite crutch: the questionnaire. This one, like the last few, draws from multiple sources.
1. ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT? Surgery to remove a lymph node.
2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM? Paint.
3. WHAT DOES YOUR CELL PHONE LOOK LIKE? A black rectangular hexahedron with buttons.
4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? Many different kinds. I was recently introduced to Pandora’s instrumental hip hop channel, which was good for background noise until I realized that about a third of their “instrumentals” include singing.
5. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN? Yes, I do.
6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW? To sleep well.
7. WHAT DO YOU MISS? I never miss.
8. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION/S? Tough call. What would I be most upset about losing… probably my grandfather’s wallet.
9. WHAT IS YOUR ZODIAC SIGN? Gemitarius.
10. DO YOU GET CLAUSTROPHOBIC? No. I get mad.
11. DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DARK? When I was a little boy, I did. Then I resolved to kill anything that messes with me in the dark, and I slept far more soundly.
12. THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY? Mr. Hooper, when he died.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOGNE/PERFUME? Soap.
14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX? I generally like women with longish hair and white sclerae.
15. WHERE CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF BEING PROPOSED TO? Being a man, I generally don’t see myself being proposed to. However, I shall one day propose to my sweet patootie atop a live volcano after besting my arch nemesis in mortal combat.
16. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINK? If I have to pick one, coffee. Lots of cream and a little sugar.
17. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPINGS? Aside from the cheese and the sauce? Pepperoni, Italian sausage, black olives, green bell peppers.
18. IF YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? More steak.
19. WHO IS THE LAST PERSON YOU MADE MAD? Don’t want to think about it.
20. WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT SOMEONE EVER GAVE YOU? That I can remember? I vaguely remember some small, fuzzy puppets, but I can’t quite remember the occasion. It was either after I burned my hands on the wood stove or after the first time I ate macaroni with meat and tomato sauce.
21. DO YOU LIKE ANYBODY? Of course.
22. ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED? Not yet.
23. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND? I guess adidas, because historically they have made the cleats that fit my feet best.
24. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM CAR? My current car is my dream car. The more I think about it, the more I think it looks like a blend of my last two cars.
25. DO YOU HAVE A PET RIGHT NOW? No.
26. WHAT KIND IS IT? Um, no.
27. WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING? Not intentionally, but I s’pose that’s why it’s called “falling.” It’s unintentional.
28. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU? A PowerPoint with lots and lots of graphs.
29. SAY A NUMBER FROM ONE TO A HUNDRED: Hold on… done. It was ninety-three.
30. BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Yes.
31. WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL OFTEN? Voicemail.
32. WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST? Why, so you can use it against me? Nice try.
33. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY? No.
34. YOUR WEAKNESSES? It turns out that I handle most life-threatening injuries far better than scratches on my eyeballs.
35. FIRST JOB? Clerk at the Soccer Stop in Baymeadows/Mandarin.
36. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL? Yes, in 1989.
37. WHAT WHERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU FILLED OUT THIS? Recording grades.
38. IF YOU COULD GET PLASTIC SURGERY WHAT WOULD IT BE? It would be vain.
39. WHY DID YOU FILL OUT THIS SURVEY? Needed to get an entry in before midnight.
40. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST? My appearance, behavior, thoughts, and reputation.
41. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALCOHOL BECAME ILLEGAL? Get re-prohibition re-repealed.
42. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY? Cake.
43. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT? Twelve: one for each month.
44. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? No. I wish right here.
45. WHAT DID YOU DO THIS MORNING? Awaken, drink some tea, do some paperwork.
46. WHAT DID YOU LAST EAT? Flank steak.
47. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Usually not.
48. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Roast beef.
49. ANY BAD HABITS? Yup. I go way too long without cleaning my refrigerator coils.
50. WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CD ON THE SHELF? Each of my CDs is an embodiment of timelessness. Each track on each of those CDs makes people go, “Oh my God, I haven’t heard this in like forever! This was my favorite song!” Thus I am not ashamed of any of my CDs.
51. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Maybe.
52. HAVE YOU EVER TOLD A SECRET YOU SWORE NOT TO TELL? I’m sorry, I can’t say.
53. DO LOOKS MATTER? Yes.
54. HOW DO YOU RELEASE ANGER? Memorably.
55. WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME? Clemson.
56. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? Black shirt, black shorts, glasses.
57. HOW MANY NUMBERS ARE IN YOUR CELL PHONE? 168.
58. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A MOSH PIT? No.
59. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Chocolate.
60. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLOR(S)? Those with wavelengths between 389 and 754 nanometers.
61. HOW MANY WISDOM TEETH DO YOU HAVE? Three.
62. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? Sunday Night Football.
63. LAST THING YOU DRANK? Ginger ale.
64. FAVORITE THOUGHT PROVOKING SONG? “Second Skin,” the Chameleons.
65. FAVORITE THING TO HATE? Commie Nazis.
66. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? Soccer.
67. DO YOU LIKE SUSHI? Some sushi.
68. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR? First day of jacket weather.
69. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? A Renegade History of the United States, by Thaddeus Russell.
70. ANYONE IN LOVE WITH YOU? Of course.
71. YOUR BEST FRIEND IS TAKING A NAP ON THE FLOOR OF YOUR LIVING ROOM. SUDDENLY, YOU ARE FACED WITH A BIZARRE EXISTENTIAL PROBLEM: THIS FRIEND IS GOING TO DIE UNLESS YOU KICK THEM (AS HARD AS YOU CAN) IN THE RIB CAGE. IF YOU DON’T KICK THEM WHILE THEY SLUMBER, THEY WILL NEVER WAKE UP. HOWEVER, YOU CAN NEVER EXPLAIN THIS TO YOUR FRIEND; IF YOU LATER INFORM THEM THAT YOU DID THIS TO SAVE THEIR LIFE, THEY WILL ALSO DIE FROM THAT. SO YOU HAVE TO KICK A SLEEPING FRIEND IN THE RIBS, AND YOU CAN’T TELL THEM WHY…SINCE YOU CANNOT TELL YOUR FRIEND THE TRUTH, WHAT EXCUSE WILL YOU FABRICATE TO EXPLAIN THIS (SEEMINGLY INEXPLICABLE) ATTACK? One of two ways:
(A) “If I didn’t kick you, you would have woken up.” Then I wink. “If I ever tell you the real reason I kicked you, then everybody on Earth will die except you.” Then I wink again. “Don’t trust me.” Then I wink one last time and go back to whatever I was doing.
(B) “I thought you were a thief. What are you doing on my floor anyways?”
72. FOR WHATEVER THE REASON, TWO UNAUTHORIZED MOVIES ARE MADE ABOUT YOUR LIFE. THE FIRST IS AN INDEPENDENTLY RELEASED DOCUMENTARY, PRIMARILY COMPRISED OF INTERVIEWS WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU AND BOOTLEG FOOTAGE FROM YOUR ACTUAL LIFE. CRITICS ARE DESCRIBING THE DOCUMENTARY AS “BRUTALLY HONEST AND RELENTLESSLY FAIR.” MEANWHILE, COLUMBIA TRI-STAR HAS PRODUCED A BIG-BUDGET BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE, CASTING MAJOR HOLLYWOOD STARS AS YOU AND ALL YOUR ACQUAINTANCES; THOUGH THE MOVIE IS BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS, SCREENWRITERS HAVE TAKEN SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS. CRITICS ARE SPLIT ON THE ARTISTIC MERITS OF THIS FICTIONALIZED ACCOUNT, BUT AUDIENCES LOVE IT. WHICH FILM WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN SEEING & WHY? The fictionalized version. I already know the truth.
73. YOU ARE SITTING IN AN EMPTY BAR (IN A TOWN YOU’VE NEVER BEFORE VISITED), DRINKING BACARDI WITH A SOFT-SPOKEN ACQUAINTANCE YOU BARELY KNOW. AFTER AN HOUR, A THIRD INDIVIDUAL WALKS INTO THE TAVERN AND SITS BY HIMSELF, AND YOU ASK YOUR ACQUAINTANCE WHO THE NEW MAN IS. “BE CAREFUL OF THAT GUY,” YOU ARE TOLD. “HE IS A MAN WITH A PAST.” A FEW MINUTES LATER, A FOURTH PERSON ENTERS THE BAR; HE ALSO SITS ALONE. YOU ASK YOUR ACQUAINTANCE WHO THIS NEW INDIVIDUAL IS. “BE CAREFUL OF THAT GUY, TOO,” HE SAYS. “HE IS A MAN WITH NO PAST.” WHICH OF THESE TWO PEOPLE DO YOU TRUST LESS? The man with a past. The man with no past is presumably a baby and therefore harmless.
74. YOU HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR. THOUGH THERE IS NO DISCOMFORT AT THE MOMENT, THIS TUMOR WOULD UNQUESTIONABLY KILL YOU IN SIX MONTHS. HOWEVER, YOUR LIFE CAN (AND WILL) BE SAVED BY AN OPERATION; THE ONLY DOWNSIDE IS THAT THERE WILL BE A BRUTAL INCISION TO YOUR FRONTAL LOBE. AFTER THE SURGERY, YOU WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS INTELLIGENT. YOU WILL STILL BE A FULLY FUNCTIONING ADULT, BUT YOU WILL BE LESS LOGICAL, YOU WILL HAVE A TERRIBLE MEMORY, AND YOU WILL HAVE LITTLE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND COMPLEX CONCEPTS OR DIFFICULT IDEAS. THE SURGERY IS IN TWO WEEKS. HOW DO YOU SPEND THE NEXT FOURTEEN DAYS? Writing and recording (audio or video) as many of those more complex/difficult thoughts as possible.
75. FOR REASONS THAT CANNOT BE EXPLAINED, CATS CAN SUDDENLY READ AT A TWELFTH-GRADE LEVEL. THEY CAN’T TALK AND THEY CAN’T WRITE, BUT THEY CAN READ SILENTLY AND UNDERSTAND THE TEXT. MANY CATS LOVE THIS NEW SKILL, BECAUSE THEY NOW HAVE SOMETHING TO DO ALL DAY WHILE THEY LAY AROUND THE HOUSE; HOWEVER, A FEW CATS BECOME DEPRESSED, BECAUSE READING FORCES THEM TO REALIZE THE LIMITATIONS OF THEIR EXISTENCE (NOT TO MENTION THE UTTER FRUSTRATION OF BEING UNABLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES). THIS BEING THE CASE, DO YOU THINK THE AVERAGE CAT WOULD ENJOY GARFIELD, OR WOULD CATS FIND THIS CARTOON TO BE AN INSULTING CARICATURE? I don’t think they’d enjoy it or find it insulting. It’s Garfield. It’s just kind of there.
76. LET US ASSUME YOU MET A RUDIMENTARY MAGICIAN. LET US ASSUME HE CAN DO FIVE SIMPLE TRICKS – HE CAN PULL A RABBIT OUT OF HIS HAT, HE CAN MAKE A COIN DISAPPEAR, HE CAN TURN THE ACE OF SPADES INTO THE JOKER CARD, AND TWO OTHERS IN A SIMILAR VEIN. THESE ARE HIS ONLY TRICKS AND HE CAN’T LEARN ANY MORE; HE CAN ONLY DO THESE FIVE. HOWEVER, IT TURNS OUT HE’S DOING THESE FIVE TRICKS WITH REAL MAGIC. IT’S NOT AN ILLUSION; HE CAN ACTUALLY CONJURE THE BUNNY OUT OF THE ETHER AND HE CAN MOVE THE COIN THROUGH SPACE. HE’S LEGITIMATELY MAGICAL, BUT EXTREMELY LIMITED IN SCOPE AND INFLUENCE. WOULD THIS PERSON BE MORE IMPRESSIVE THAN ALBERT EINSTEIN? Not at all. Perhaps if he had some more useful tricks, he’d be more impressive than Einstein. But I think parlor tricks aren’t as big as deal as, say, revolutionizing physics.