August 19, 2008
For almost a year - since I started the weekly post I imaginatively call The Weeklies - I've been posing hypothetical questions. A few people have reminded me lately that rarely do I answer my own questions. Let it never be said that I don't pay attention to what you guys want. Here are the answers to a few of the best hypotheticals from the past year.
One day you find a magic charm. If you activate it, everyone will have to tell you the truth all day long. Do you use it? Or leave it alone? Why, or why not?
Nope. I saw Liar Liar. Not quite the same thing, I know, but still...
You can spend a day with any one author, musician or actor - living or dead. Who do you choose and why?
I find Peter Gabriel to be one of the most fascinating people in the modern entertainment scene. His genius transcends the simple pop song - he's a humanitarian, activist, writer, and innovator. I'd dig hanging out with him for a day. Unless he's really an asshat. In which case, I'd rather hang on to my favorable, albeit fictional, opinion of him.
If, indeed, a woodchuck could chuck wood, how much wood would said woodchuck chuck, do you think? And, honestly, why would he chuck all that wood to begin with?
3.8 cubic feet per hour. He's bored.
If you were elected President of the United States this very moment, what's the first thing you'd do?
Start criminal proceedings against former President Dubya? No, ever forward. I'd call a conference of the greatest minds in the world and everyday people of the United States - the homeless, the single parents, the teen mothers, the drug addicts, the wealthy, the philanthropists, the economists, the teachers, the students, the AIDS afflicted, the cancer-striken and the professionals - and try my damndest to find a way out of the seemingly endless cycle of poverty that impacts so many, needlessly, in this country that has so much.
You've been asked by Superman, Batman, The Boy Wonder and The Wonder Twins to join the Justice League. The only condition? You have to choose your own superhero persona. So what superhero do you choose to be and what are your powers?
InvisiCactus. That should hopefully be self-explanatory but I'd harness the power of invisibility to foil evil plots. Oh, and check out naked chicks in locker rooms. InvisiCactus is a bit of a perv.
You are given the opportunity to travel forwards or backwards in time at your leisure. Don't worry - you can come back. Which do you do? And why? Any particular time you want to check out?
I'd choose to visit the future. My kids weren't around in the past. And I'm kinda curious to see how this whole thing turns out.
You are given the opportunity to inhabit one fictional world - a civilization, time period, location, whatever - for one week. You can exist in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, Battlestar Galactica's future, or Friend's New York in which twenty-somethings can live in Manhattan on pretty crappy salaries. So, where - or when - do you go and why?
There was this tiny town Neil Gaiman created in American Gods. I wished that the entire book had happened there or that Gaiman revisited that small town at some later date, in some later book. It was beautiful. That's where I'd like to visit.
You are granted the power of invisibility. What's the first thing you do with this power?
I think I've already said too much.
What's the most bizarre gift you've ever received?
The notorious "Letter Glasses." When we got married, a dear friend of the family had some glass mugs made for us. They sport our initials and they are absolutely horrifically ugly. But we keep them because we know the intentions were good. Still, ugly.
You're forced to make a terrible choice - you must choose to keep either your hearing or your sight. Which do you keep and why?
Despite my absolute love of music, if given the choice, I'd choose to lose my hearing. I want to see my kids grow up. And read.
A stranger walks up to you on the street and tells you she knows the day and way you die. Do you get the answer or do you walk away? Why?
I walk away. That's not information I need to know.
If you could take a pill and suddenly become one of the brightest, most important thinkers in the world and make a lasting contribution to humanity, would you? Not so fast. When you're done being brilliant and stop taking the pills, you won't be right back where you started - you'll be mildly unintelligent. So, do you take it?
Absolutely not. I'm not terribly bright to begin with. I'd be barely functional if I got any dumber.
You have your choice between two superpowers. You must choose one. You can either stop time or walk through matter. Which do you choose and why?
I stop time. When paired with my previously mentioned invisibility, I could really stalk some good locker rooms and stay a while.
You will receive $100 million dollars for 20 years of your life. Let's say that those 20 years you lose will travel in a flash. You won't have any sense of the passage of time - nothing good, nothing bad...nothing. With the money you will obviously be set for life, every financial concern a thing of the past. Do you take it?
I don't take it. We're happy financially. We don't have everything but we don't need everything. What I don't need is time passing me by. That's happening rapidly enough without hypothetical intervention.
You find a sack of money. It contains $20,000. If you take it, you will not get caught. You don't know exactly where it came from but you can be assured that it's not coming out of any individual's pocket. Do you take it and live with whatever guilt you might have? Or do you take the money and enjoy spending it?
Call me dishonest (not Edna), but hell yes.
You are offered any talent - you can dance like Astaire, paint like VanGogh, or write like Hemingway for instance. The only problem is that, while this talent will make you famous and world-renown for whatever it is, you'll lose any other existing talents you have. What do you do? And what talent would you like to have above all?
Does the name John Holmes mean anything to you? I kid. I'm not hella talented but I play a decent guitar and I think I'm a halfway decent writer. I wouldn't want to give those up. I'm, well, me. And I'm happy with that.
You are wrongly accused of a serious crime. Given the opportunity, do you flee, living a life on the run while seeking to prove your innocence? Or do you turn yourself in and let justice run its course?
I like the idea of running, all Richard Kimball fugitive style, trying to find my own personal one-armed man. But I'm a goody-goody when it comes to laws and shit. I'd probably turn myself in. Though justice isn't what it used to be and I'm afraid the guys in prison would think I was pretty. If you know what I mean.
We're vegetarians and have been for, well, a long time. Why do we own a meat thermometer?
It was planted by PETA in a bizarre attempt to frame us...for...well, I don't know.
A comet is hurtling towards earth and, in two months, will destroy everything. A special project has been established to send a probe into space containing five items that best represent mankind. What are they?
The pessimist in me: a McDonald's quater pounder wrapper, a porn DVD, a copy of the National Inquirer, beef jerky, and a Barbie doll.
The optimist in me: a DVD copy of the movie Avalon, The Grapes of Wrath, the soundtrack from The Red Violin, a copy of Springsteen's Born To Run and Dave Egger's What Is The What.
Quick - the Sense Thief has arrived and given you approximately five seconds to decide which one of your five senses - taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing - you're most willing to part with. You have to give up one. Which one do you kiss goodbye? And which one is the most important to you?
Smell. I like the taste of pasta and beer so I'd hate to give up the taste thing. Touch, well, sex and good massages force me to hang onto that one. I love music so hearing stays, and, as I mentioned up there above, I really want to see my kids grow up. Smell's the only thing left.
Truth or dare? You know, in general, what kind of person are you? Truth? Or dare?
Truth. It's painfully boring, I know, but I'm a truth guy.
The world is going to end in 37 years. You and you alone know this and it is an absolute certainty. Do you tell anyone? Why or why not?
No. Absolutely no way in hell do I say anything to anyone. There are two ways it could go - mass panic for society or institutionalization for me. Neither one of those sound too appealing.
You have to spend 24 hours as a currently famous person. You're basically living their life for a day. So, what famous person do you choose and what do you do?
Tom Cruise. What better way to find out exactly what is going on in that dude's head? No, wait. I just remembered that Brad Pitt gets to boff Angelina Jolie. Screw that Tom Cruise thing.
If you were able to be transported anywhere (geographic location) for 24 hours, where would you go? What sight in the world would you most want to see?
The Olympics have inspired me. I'd like to visit China and see the Great Wall.
If you could go back and right any wrong in history - historic or personal - without having to worry about any of that Star Trek past changing the future paradox shit, what wrong would you right?
When I was a kid, a good friend of the family put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger. He was autistic and terribly depressed. I'd unload the gun and hide the ammunition. He killed himself over something ridiculous. It wasn't to him, but I could have helped explain it. And saved everyone including him a great deal of pain.
You are forced to move either backwards or forwards in time. How far is unknown. What is known is that you can't return. Do you move ahead or back? And why?
Forwards. The past is the past. I was a history major in college but, you know, ever forward once again. I'd like to see what happens to the world and see how my kids turn out.
I'll admit that I'm running out of good hypotheticals. Do you have any good ones? Let me know and I might, with your permission, use them. Any hypothetical or non-hypothetical questions I haven't answered?Posted by Chris at August 19, 2008 6:24 AM