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?
Kool Aid because we all need to drink a bit of the Kool Aid to “invest” in this absurdity we call life.
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?
I’d be a rabbit named Butters, modeled after a pet rabbit I once had, of the same name, who would sit and listen to me writing back when I was working on The Fun We’ve Had. He’d chill and sleep, one ear pointed in the direction of the sound of my keyboard. If I stopped, he’d wake up; if I didn’t continue typing, he’d start thumping his feet in anger. His power would involve being able to shut out the pressures of the world and get creative.
What a cool pet for a writer. Before I go any further—because I have many questions about such a noble beast—please assure me Butters is real?
Butters is real. He was a butterscotch bunny that had a temper and didn’t seem to like anyone but me.
3. What leading woman/man do you find most terrifying? Why?
James Franco. I still can’t erase that image of his face on a movie tie-in edition of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Hearing/thinking of the fucker makes everything and everyone as dry as the desert.
This will be difficult, but please imagine a scenario in which you no longer hate James Franco. Describe it. (Note: You cannot go back in time and change anything. We must all move forward. Franco must find a way to redeem himself in Seidlinger’s eyes. What would he need to do?)
For starters, he could stop trying to affix both name and likeness to countless literary works.
4. Do you think you could drive someone insane simply by painting their entire house the same color, both inside and out?
Ahem, no. (Thinks about that time he painted his apartment walls black and suffered from sequential long bouts of insomnia and despair.)
Did you really do this? If so, how many times did you listen to “Paint It Black” during that period? If not, how many times should you have listened to “Paint It Black” during that period?
Yes, I did. “Paint it Black” ironically never made it into my music rotation. Once, just the one time, right before actually painting the walls black. Not during: Right. Before.
5. The more humane choice: Cat collars made of fish or dog muzzles made of meat?
How could there be a choice? Muzzles made of meat. Dog could chow down the entire time.
6. What is best in life?
Aspiring to die. Life’s lone guarantee.
Michael J. Seidlinger is a Filipino American author of a number of books including Dreams of Being, My Pet Serial Killer, and The Fun We’ve Had. He serves as Library and Academic Marketing Manager at Melville House, Editor-at-Large for Electric Literature, and is a member of The Accomplices. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he never sleeps and is forever searching for the next best cup of coffee. You can find him online on Facebook, Twitter (@mjseidlinger), and Instagram (@michaelseidlinger).
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.