The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
1. Speaking in terms of building blocks, the foundational pieces of American society in the 21st century, which would you say is most vital: Doritos, Pop Tarts, or Kool Aid? Why?
Obviously Pop Tarts. For starters, they are the only one of the bunch that could be used to build something. You could easily build a house with Pop Tarts. A Dorito house wouldn’t work at all. And you can’t build anything with Kool Aid, unless of course you freeze it first or if you’re just using the containers (not the packets). Actual building aside, there are literally ten thousand other reasons that Pop Tarts are the most vital. An entire society could survive on Pop Tarts alone. Kool Aid has been known to kill entire civilizations. And Doritos are too messy.
The idea of an entire society fueled by Pop Tarts interests me greatly. Could you describe it in more detail? Would the Pop Tart play a role in society besides simple sustenance? Would the Pop Tart be used as money, worshipped as a god, consulted for guidance a la the I Ching? How, why, what, where, who, and any other w- you can think of?
There would be an entire class system built upon the Pop Tart. But the best Pop Tarts would go to the poor and the worst Pop Tarts would go to the rich. The rich would then spend all their money on the good Pop Tarts and balance everything out. Everyone would live in harmony. There are no possible flaws in this system, so don’t look for any. Just eat your Pop Tarts and shut up.
2. If you could make up your own cartoon animal alter-ego, what species would they be, and what would they be named? Would they have any special abilities or attacks?
Species: earthworms. They would be called “Super Earthworms of Terror” and their leader would be named “Captain Flarg.” Their special abilities would be that they are terrifying. They would have wings, similar to bat wings. And sharp-ass teeth. Their special attack would be completely disemboweling someone with one bite. And they would never, ever go underground.
So, is your alter-ego an entire species or just the leader? I’m digging this story though. Do The Super Earthworms of Terror have an arch-nemesis? Do they play gigs, paint houses, or do taxes on the way from one adventure to the next?
Captain Flarg has no arch-nemesis. Nothing poses even a remote threat to Captain Flarg’s dominance. But he is also a good and kind leader. The Super Earthworms of Terror do not pay taxes or paint houses or play gigs, but they do love to attend 25th reunion concerts of 90’s bands such as Tonic, Everclear, and Stabbing Westward.
3. What leading woman/man do you find most terrifying? Why?
Is it too soon to say Kevin Spacey? It’s probably too soon, but that’s my answer.
4. Do you think you could drive someone insane simply by painting their entire house the same color, both inside and out?
Yes, as long as you are also painting the carpets, the light switch covers, and the toilets. The color would most likely be yellow. Like really dehyrdated urine yellow.
5. The more humane choice: Cat collars made of fish or dog muzzles made of meat?
Without a doubt dog muzzles made of meat are more humane. No one likes the smell of rotting fish. Besides, any good dog can chew right through its meat muzzle. That’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Sometimes I ask the same ridiculous question to more than one person. This question is one I’ve done that with, and I seem to be getting pushback mainly on the cat collars made of fish. Some have even suggested that the cat collars made of fish would encourage predation against the cats! Now, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but I think people are selling cats short thinking they wouldn’t be able escape and/or consume collars made of fish. A nice raw tuna collar perhaps, the threads prepared and handwoven by Jiro? Cats are far more flexible than dogs, don’t forget. Your response on behalf of all ridiculous questionees everywhere?
I don’t think you should seek answers regarding the answers offered to ridiculous questions. Cat collars made of fish are only humane if they are catfish collars.
6. What is best in life?
Answering ridiculous questions.
On the strength of this answer alone, you will be invited back for our Tournament of Champions in whenever. Thank you for your service!
I have performed no service here today. But I do unhumbly accept this invite.
Nathaniel Tower is an award-winning running coach and backwards running juggler, neither of which matters in the slightest for the purposes of this interview. He is also a former English teacher who decided to move up north and start a new career in writing and marketing. His short stories have appeared in over 200 online and print journals. In 2014, Martian Lit released his debut short story collection, Nagging Wives, Foolish Husbands. He is currently working on finishing his serial novel Misty Me and Me. Visit him at https://www.nathanieltower.com.
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. His debut novel, a satirical thriller entitled Pax Americana, was published by Stalking Horse Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Loki, and a hybrid collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry entitled Superman, the Seven Gods of Death, and the Need for Clean, Romantic Poetry. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.kurtbaumeister.com.