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. Your life is going to change in one way and one way only. You are going to become a mythological beast with no hope of turning back into a human? What species would you choose? Why?
Centaur. Hands down.
Don’t you mean, “hooves down”?
Neigh. My human hands will be down, but my hooves will be busy dancing. Also, I want to be able to stand behind a fence with my horse bottom hidden and just my human top half exposed and challenge people to a race. Then when they accept, I step out from behind the fence, exposing my powerful, majestic horse bottom, look them in their foolish eyes, and say, “BIG MISTAKE, MORON.”
2. Do you think Chewbacca and Pikachu would understand each other without subtitles?
No. Absolutely not. Also, I think Chewbacca might eat Pikachu.
Might? I can’t remember if Wookies are vegan or vegetarian or whatever. They seem like they might be. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one eat, in a movie obviously. But, assuming, one were to cook a Pikachu, how might one prepare him?
Didn’t Chewy cook and almost eat one of those cute screaming bird aliens in The Last Jedi? Right in front of a group of those big, wide-eyed birds, too. He’s definitely a meat-eater. In fact, I bet the only reason we didn’t see more of him in The Last Jedi was because he was busy eating all those cute bird aliens and it was too horrific to show for Disney. I would have loved it.
3. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen and how would you change it to make it the best movie you’ve ever seen without expressly turning it into the best movie you’ve ever seen (ala, you can’t just say I’d turn Star Wars into Get Out)?
Batman & Robin. I would change the setting from Gotham City to somewhere deep in outer space and give each of the characters only a small tank of oxygen. Also, there’s a giant monolith floating near them in space and it has a giant baby inside of a bubble that looks like Joe Pesci.
4. Ego valets. Discuss.
I would have my Eggo valet bring me my delicious Eggos everywhere I went: in bed, while taking a bath, while mowing the lawn for a quick Eggo break, etc. Oh wait, did you say ego valet? My apologies, but I’m thinking about scrumptious Eggos now, so we’ll have to just stick with what I said.
Yes, ego, right, not Eggo. Go.
Hmm, well, my ego is all tied up in Eggos, so I would probably use my ego valet primarily as someone who carries around my Eggos for me. And whom I would berate when the Eggos are not perfectly toasted. Or when the syrup is too cold.
5. Would you rather have a cat who could talk or a dog who could read and write?
A dog that could read and write. I would have him write all my future novels and then I would take all the credit for them because hey, life is tiring and very busy and this would make things easier. Also, I don’t feel like cats would have anything nice to say.
Hmm, solid points. Would you rather have a cat who could read and write or a dog who could read and write? I think cats would be awesome book reviewers and satirists. In fact, I’m actually beginning to suspect you of being a cat, Ferro. How do you clean a litter box, hmm?
Ha! I’m gonna go ahead and state my preferences here, which could be dangerous, since many readers and writers like cats, but I’m not big on cats. I’m allergic to them, so I’m naturally averse, but I’ve grown up with dogs my whole life. There are a number of scenes in my debut novel involving the protagonist and cats that pretty much sum up my feelings on them. Dogs are just the greatest. In fact, I wish the world was filled with dogs, not humans. If the world was filled with cats, I think I wouldn’t be around very long.
6. Are good and evil real?
I believe that “good” is very much a matter of understanding a human’s capacity for morality and empathy. What we understand as being “good” is also relative to each person’s own moral code. My definition of “good” could differ greatly from my neighbor’s definition of “good,” and yet, there will always be an underlying symbiosis between our greater definitions. In the end, goodness must arrive at an ultimate consensus within a civilization in order to strike a balance as a society. Evil, on the other hand, seems pretty simple when you strip away the parochial overtones: Don’t be a dickface.
Do you look at good and evil entirely as something we control in ourselves? Do any aspect of our good or evil actions or the perception by others as such have to do with hormones, biochemistry, and/or sanity? Or is all that stuff just a dodge, an attempt to abrogate personal responsibility?
I’m really digging this question! I go on a long tangent in my debut novel concerning the nature of good and evil, so this is right up my alley. I do think that some portion of our personalities, including our moral code, might indeed be inherent—built-in to our characters from birth by our mental wiring—but I also think a lot of it relies on the “nurture” aspect, as opposed to nature. Perhaps some individuals are more sensitive to their environments and draw more from them, while others rely more upon a notion of an inner compass—something they have no control over guiding them. In the end, I think it boils down to this: when people do good, they’ll probably say it’s in their nature; when people do bad, they’ll probably blame their environment. Everyone likes to point the finger in times of trouble, but when there’s rewards to be given, look out for number one—they want that cookie. Hey, I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist. The glass is never half-full or half-empty—it only matters if there’s enough liquid.
Michael A. Ferro‘s debut novel, TITLE 13, was published by Harvard Square Editions in February 2018. He was named a finalist by Glimmer Train for their New Writers Award, won the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award for Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Ferro’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and print anthologies, including Juked, Monkeybicycle, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poets & Writers, Crack the Spine, Heavy Feather Review, Entropy, Vulture, Duende, BULL: Men’s Fiction, Splitsider, and elsewhere. Born and bred in Detroit, Ferro has lived, worked, and written throughout the Midwest; he currently resides in rural Ann Arbor, Michigan. Additional information can be found at @MichaelFerro and www.michaelaferro.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.