Monday, April 09, 2007

The 'Screw Interview

Because I said I would, I now answer these questions from thumbscrews:

1. You can travel back in time and visit yourself at [select all applicable] 10, 16, 22 and 30. What would you tell your various temporally-disjointed selves?

Amazingly enough, these are the ages where I had things pretty together (whereas 9, 15, and 21 sucked). (29 was pretty good.)

At 10: Get a photo of yourself in that red vinyl jumper. But not in the yellow patent leather shoes.
At 16: Don’t bother with the German. Learn Spanish.
At 22: It won’t kill you to suck up a little more often.
At 30: Just get it over with and get rid of him now.

2. If your drug of choice was an item which could be purchased at Home Depot for under $150, which one would it be, and why?

I’m not sure if this means something that really can be bought at HD, in which case, I don’t know, maybe a flat of flowers that could not possibly survive in my garden? Because hope springs eternal? If this means an actual drug drug, I’d pick E. Because happiness is nice.

3. You can reanimate and spend several hours (say, sharing some Batter-Dipped Choco-Cheesecake Nibblers at the local crap-on-the-walls chain restaurant) with one of the following individuals - which one would you choose, and why?
- A deceased relative of whom you were moderately (but not overwhelmingly) fond.
- A randomly-selected serial killer of moderate notoriety.

Definitely the relative; serial killers kind of bore me. I’d pick my paternal grandfather and try to get up the guts to ask him a) what possessed him to marry my grandmother and b) what my father was like.

4. Think of your most esoteric, potentially-humiliating sexual fantasy. Think of another, equally-odd (but completely fabricated) fantasy. Describe them both without identifying which is which.

For me, describing a fantasy in detail will ruin it. Therefore I give you no details, just:
a. Ordering someone around.
b. Being ordered around.

5. What is the typical prison sentence for the most legally-questionable act you've ever committed?

Prison sentence, probably ten years. More concerning to me would be license revocation. No comment on this one.

6. Think of the worst physical pain you've ever experienced (childbirth, ping-pong ball-sized kidney stones, atomic wedgie). Think of the worst emotional pain (depression, divorce, disaster). Think of the person who is closest to you in the world (child, spouse, sibling). You must decide whether they will suffer a comparable degree of physical OR emotional pain. If you choose the former, you will be required to inflict it yourself. If you choose the latter, it will occur without any involvement on your part. Which do you choose?

I could not possibly deliberately inflict physical pain on my child. So I guess it would have to be the emotional pain. Which was horrendous, but I have a feeling it will happen to him one day regardless; might as well get it over with.

7. You're granted the power to uncover the truth behind one very, very big secret of the modern age - who shot Kennedy? What the hell is the deal with celebrity Scientologists? You will not be permitted to share this knowledge with anyone, ever - it will be solely to satisfy your own curiosity. What do you choose to learn?

Did Bush truly believe there were WMDs in Iraq? I.e., is he just stupid, or is he evil?

8. While purchasing some plantains at Tienda Mexicano, you find The Lord. You discover that he is a cruel, arbitrary Lord, as well as one who has read entirely too many "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. He takes you outside, sits you down on the hood of his El Camino, hands you a can of Jugo de Coco and informs you that you will never see any of your current loved ones again. They will continue to live their lives, just magically sans any awareness of your continued existence. By way of compensation, you'll be allowed to determine your own natural lifespan. You may elect to die instantly, live to 120 or any option in between. What do you choose? Why?

120. I could think of ways to fill the time.

9. You are given the opportunity to sample human flesh. Your enjoyment of this unusual entree will not be the result of any amoral acts - the source of your Bruce Burger (Tim Tartare? Francois Filet?) will be an individual who has died of unrelated causes. Your consumption of said flesh will not be as a result of starvation, nor as a condition of some sick wager ("Take a chomp out of Lloyd's thigh and I'll give you season tickets to Six Flags Over Highly Unlikely Transactionville"). Yea or nay?

Nay, but not because of squeamishness about cannibalism per se; rather, I have a hard time eating any meat—even chicken can squick me out if I think about it too hard.

10. You are given a Memory Dustbuster. It looks like a regular Dustbuster, circa 1989. However, when held against the human skull, it has the ability to suck out specific memories. Like many small appliances, this one has gotten a bit finicky in its old age. It no longer removes single memories ... for each one which is removed, an equal-but-opposite second memory is also vacuumed up. You can suck out a particularly awful recollection ... however, you'll also lose a happy memory of comparable intensity, and you have no say in which one it happens to be. Do you use this device? How many times?

Nope. Maybe I would’ve at the time, but they’re part of me now.

11. The Enormous Glowing Sphere of Influence Equation: how many of the following events have occurred in your life for which you've felt personally responsible? By this, I mean that the event in question would definitely NOT have occurred were it not for one or more conscious decisions on your part. Do NOT include events which were confined strictly to your professional life - thus, lawyers/doctors/matchmakers/executioners/etc. should use their discretion on this one.

- Marriages - 2
- Divorces - 0
- Births/adoptions – 2 (yes, I only have one child, but I’m counting the baby born to a patient for whom I prescribed the medicine that starts with V and ends with A)
- Deaths – nonprofessionally, 1 (helped my mother say the right things to get them to let my grandmother go a little earlier than she might otherwise); professionally, many … I am proud of how many people I’ve helped to die in the presence of their loved ones with as few tubes jammed into them as possible. All of them would have died anyway, but it would have been days or weeks later for most, and years for at least one.
- Involuntary commitments (mental institution/rehab/prison) – 0, but it should have been 2 (one rehab, one prison)
- Relocations of over 1,500 miles - 0
- Ascension to a level of fame/renown/power sufficient to interest/impact more than 10,000 individuals – I was going to say 0, but I have had at least a slight influence on the lives of many patients, students, and residents. That number is in the thousands, I guess.
- Change in income level of +/- 50% - 2
- Formal adoption/renunciation of religious faith (or other organized belief system) – 0. Never had it, never will; I don’t think I’ve discouraged anyone else, however.

12. An exercise in writing, randomness and self-reflection (when commenting/posting, only include item "C"):
A. In exactly 25 words, describe the thing you're proudest of.
B. In exactly 25 words, describe the thing you're most ashamed of.
C. Combine the odd-numbered words from A. with the even-numbered words from B

Graduating account the a of finking medical on class, a I pal quit France job summer done was courses without knowing I I not succeed.


meno said...

I would have asked the same thing for #7. But i think we'll never really know. That annoys me.

These are very strange questions.

Magpie said...

"Graduating account the a of finking medical on class, a I pal quit France job summer done was courses without knowing I I not succeed." = Breathtaking.

Orange said...

I'm curious about question 11, "deaths" component: for that "years for at least one," was it a progressive neurodegenerative disease? Cancer? COPD? What?!? I want to know. (And hooray for the hospice approach and dignified dying. So much better for the person who's dying and for their loved ones.)

As for "never had it, never will," do you remember the '70s or '80s commercials for 7-Up, which "never had it, never will" in terms of caffeine (and maybe sodium)? (I also never had and never will have religious faith.)

E. said...

Interesting questions, fascinating answers. The last one is a truly bizarre exericise in some form of automatic writing.

I also applaud your role in helping people die with a relative degree of dignity. That is something to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Well, looks a very long summary of this article. The statictics somehow shows that there are still better aspect of moral values and ethics with people.