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. You just died and your adoring public is so distraught they’ve decided to create a religion with you–not your corpse, but the you you used to be before you died–as its focal point? What should the new religion be called? What would its primary tenets be? Would it ultimately prove beneficial to humanity?
Are you trying to trick me into admitting I became a writer because I want to be God?
2. Who would win a game of Rap Battle Twister (in which a rap battle and Twister game take place simultaneously, obviously…) between Napoleon Bonaparte, Scooby Doo, Angela Merkel, and Frida Kahlo? (No one is drunk.)
I have to admit, I got really excited about the start of this question, because I immediately thought, “Oh, me. I would definitely win a game of Rap Battle Twister.” And then I finished reading the question and now need a moment to recover from my disappointment at not making it to the final four.
Okay, I’m good.
Here’s my pre-battle analysis: Napoleon will start things off with a strong freestyle—slow tempo, just to warm up the crowd. He’s going to capitalize early on his accent and enunciation, before he gets too winded to finish a sentence. It just takes too much effort for a man who’s 5’7” to reach across that entire Twister board. He won’t take long to fall.
Scooby Doo. Now here’s an interesting competitor, with the exact opposite weakness. Scooby’s an athlete who can touch his own ear with his back leg. He has no trouble with Twister. But eventually he’s going to have to rap, and we all know how far you get in a battle—at this level of competition—if all you do is grunt and repeat your own name.
Angela Merkel will, as always, get out to a commanding early lead. She puts more time in the studio practicing her sweet rhymes and stretching her hammies than any competitor I’ve seen in the history of the sport. But she’ll freeze up, like she always does. Once Napoleon and Scooby are out, Merkel’s going to start overthinking things and blow it for herself. She really is her own biggest competitor.
Frida Kahlo, will, in my opinion, take this World Championship bout of Rap Battle Twister. She has no fucks left to give, which is really all you need.
3. What’s one profession other than your own you’re absolutely sure you’d excel at? Why? What’s one profession you’d be a complete failure at? Why?
I’m absolutely sure I’d excel at being a sports caster for Rap Battle Twister. I’m reasonably confident I’d be a good lawyer, or I’d at least be good at the parts of practicing law that require precision of language and a compelling argument. I’d fail completely as a baker because it requires a different type of precision that I can never seem to manage.
4. Are you sorry you decided to do this?
I have no regrets!
5. Name three things we rely on in our day-to-day lives that will, in a hundred years, be so outmoded people won’t even remember what they were called? What will each be replaced by?
In a hundred years, I think clean drinking water will have been replaced by a serum that costs 70 percent of your family’s income. Art will be defined as a bit of fluff a million people want to buy. Truth will be an outmoded marketing tactic that no longer works, like white men riding horses.
Is that too dark? Also armoires and bureaus will be called “tall baby goat homes” and “wide baby goat homes,” respectively.
6. What is the meaning of life?
To spend your time doing the things you love.
Melissa Duclos received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Guston Fellowship. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Salon, Bustle, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Electric Literature among other venues. She lives with her two children in Portland, Oregon, where she works in communications for a non-profit organization. She is the founder of Magnify: Small Presses, Bigger, a monthly newsletter celebrating small press books, and is at work on her second novel and a collection of humorous journals.
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. Now a Contributing Editor with The Weeklings, Baumeister’s Review Microbrew column is published by The Nervous Breakdown. He edits the Under the Influence feature for Entropy. 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.