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. If you were a Martian, what sort of Martian would you be? Would you be good or evil? An emperor or a worker bee? Warrior? Scientist? Magician? Please base this on solid research such as Bugs Bunny cartoons and hundred-year-old movies with terrible special effects. Go.
I’d very much like to be the sort of Martian whose mundane attributes on his own planet become full-on superpowers here on Earth. And maybe I was a Martian who didn’t contribute much to society and took all of my gifts for granted. Then an alien the size of a black hole scored a hole-in-one in some kind of universe-wide mini-golf tournament by landing a perfectly-polished asteroid on my planet, and I was left with no home and no family and no friends but loaded with a whole ton of luck. Because what I’d considered to be the worst job ever as space janitor suddenly became the best choice I’d ever made. I putted around the planet in a tiny spaceship using my ability to move objects with my mind to pick up space garbage and put it in the proper receptacle. When my planet exploded, I was on the clock, and using the laws of Physics that pertain to a situation like this, I was rocketed out into the void of space and then landed in like Kansas or something. Then I did a bunch of cool shit.
2. Say you dwelt in the Transformers Expanded Universe, which is also known as “What Hell would be if Michael Bay were the Devil.” What would you transform from and into? What would your name be? Would you be good or evil? Assuming that El Diablo Bayo was willing to afford you some creative control, who would you choose to costar with in Hell, Shya LeBoeuf, Mark Wahlberg, or John Cena? Why?
Have you ever watched a Michael Bay film with the sound off? The camera NEVER STOPS MOVING. Literally. Even in a quiet scene where two people are whispering quietly about which type of bagel they prefer, the camera zooms along a track and wobbles on a Steadicam. It’s actually a beautiful thing to behold; this fluid, rhythmic world that never ever stops moving. But having to live in Michael Bay’s creation, surrounded by booming explosions and the overuse of the color yellow and the inability to ever come to rest, that would be its own unique type of hell. If I found myself dwelling in that Universe (perhaps due to poor life choices or maybe in the ultimate cosmic joke we all just end up there) I’d want the ability to transform into a camera on a tripod. Fixed lens. Tilt function locked. I’d want to be the only unmoving thing there. My name would be: Film Student.
And let me think. I pick Mark Wahlberg to join me because I didn’t even know he was in those movies and maybe we could talk about how much I hated The Happening.
3. What do you think James Joyce would have to say about Lady Gaga? How about Beckett?
I googled some James Joyce quotes and it’s pretty obvious that he was talking about Lady Gaga the whole time. “This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am.” Pretty clear he thinks we are BORN THIS WAY. Dude is obviously a Little Monster. Joyce also wisely said “They lived and laughed and loved and left” which must be in direct response to the Lady Gaga song I’LL NEVER LOVE AGAIN. In particular, this Lady Gaga lyric surely resonated: “Won’t even let the sunlight in / No, I’ll never love again / I’ll never love again, oh, oh, oh, oh.” On a side note, I noticed that if you add “oh, oh, oh, oh” to any Joyce quote, it really emphasizes the richness of language and the depth of meaning. Like this: “Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home. Oh, oh, oh, oh.” Now you try it.
Oh, and as for Beckett, Joyce famously said this about him: “Absence, the highest form of presence.”
4. Donald Trump: Please explain. I’m not looking for the usual socio-politico-econo-answer-o here, but rather the sort of explanation we’ll be able to feel good about. Meaning, complete bullshit, of course. Example: He is a product of an illuminati plot involving the splicing of human and reptile DNA, something along those lines. Please be creative and specific!
For the entirety of his life, he’s been trying to win the world record for most times a man has said his own name.
5. It’s a broadly posited theory that cats meow as a way of communicating with humans. They are, purportedly, mimicking the sounds human babies make, having rightly deduced adult human caregivers as being willing to do just about anything to appease their squawking progeny. Given another million years of evolution, do you think cats will completely subjugate humanity. Discuss.
Considering that I already do my cats’ bidding, I think it’s been a silent coup unfurling for decades. It’s like the lab mice in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, they actually control everything already and let us think we’re in charge. And when we humans finally destroy the Earth (which is definitely less than a million years from now), the cats will jump in tiny little spaceships and they won’t save a single one of us.
6. Tell me all your thoughts on God.
Josh Denslow’s debut collection Not Everyone Is Special (7.13 Books) actually exists! His recent stories have appeared in Catapult, Pithead Chapel, wigleaf, Okay Donkey, and a bunch of other awesome places. In addition to wearing matching sweaters with his three boys, he plays the drums in the band Borrisokane and edits at SmokeLong Quarterly.
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.