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. What would life be like as your evil twin?
The life of my evil twin would be a far more successful life in the most traditional metrics of success. I suffer from some severe empathy and I imagine my evil twin would have none of that. My evil twin would be a sociopath and would get a lot more done than I do since he wouldn’t be encumbered with worrying about the feelings of others. He’d dress better and have far more material wealth too.
2. Scenario: The following people are on Season 1000 of the television show Survivor, and yes, time travel and communication with the dead have both been perfected so…Nancy Pelosi, Jean Michel Basquiat, Hedy Lamarr, Thomas Jefferson, Jane Austen, Joan of Arc, Judy Garland, Angelina Jolie, Muhammad Ali, Marie Antoinette, Bob Marley, Socrates, Confucius, Yukio Mishima, JK Rowling, Cleopatra, Peter Dinklage, Queen Elizabeth I, and Kublai Khan. Who would be first voted off the island? Who would win? Would Jeff Probst still be the host? Please discuss in as much detail as you can bear.
People in the future are still tuning in for Season 1000 of Survivor and still enamored by a now robot Jeff Probst. After 999 seasons of cut-throat competition, vying for who will be the survivor, the 1000th season signifies a cosmic shift in the relationship between time and space resulting in a higher human consciousness in regards to cooperation and ego-death. This cast partners with the crew and forms an egalitarian, land-based society on the island that inspires the rest of the globe (what little is left of it). No one will be voted off.
3. If you were staffing a cartoon accounting firm made up of anthropomorphized animals, which species would you select to populate said firm (other than humans)? How about a teaching hospital? The public defender’s office? A university English department?
An accounting firm of anthropomorphized animals? It could only be Squirrels. They store and tally in preparation for lean times. As for a teaching hospital we are looking at Dolphins due to the great intelligence and empathy with which the scientists of ancient Atlantis engineered them. Mama Bears are working at the public defenders since they are nurturing and protective. And as for a university English department, that’s all cats. The cattiest of cats. Like house-cat-level catty.
4. What’s one Greek myth you wish ended differently? How would you end it?
I’m gonna be less creative and more Pollyanna here and rewrite the end of The Odyssey where Odysseus just runs Penelope’s suitors out of the house instead of brutally murdering them. While I’m at it maybe Achilles can not desecrate Hector’s body before the eyes of his family and city. We’d miss out on the beauty of Priam’s plea and the chance thereafter for Achilles to maybe have some emotional development, but it would be nicer for everyone.
5. You’ve become so famous they’re building a monument to you. And they want your input. (Yes, I know it’s awkward, but “they” insist. And you know when “they” get like this, you just can’t say no.) What would your monument be called? Where would it be located? What would it be built of? What would it look like?
I’ve always been interested in a Scythian death in a Kurgan on the Eurasian steppe. Of course, this would require my best horse, wife, cup-bearer, and dog to be strangled and buried with me so they can accompany me to the Western Lands so we might just have to seal up sections at a time and allow them to be interred at their own discretion. But Kurgan is the way to go, and my chamber will be marked with a golden stag.
6. Do you think you got the job?
Ya know, I put in a good show of it; wore my best suit to the interview; made eye-contact, but not too much; kept it honest, but not to the point of over-share; talked about myself, but avoided starting every sentence with “I;” engaged the interviewer about how their hiring process has been going and voiced sympathy to a process that involves hard decisions; and I ended by telling them how sincerely grateful I was that they took the time to speak to me in consideration for this position. We shall hope and see, but I have no regrets.
Jordan A. Rothacker is the author of three novels: The Pit, and No Other Stories (2015), And Wind Will Wash Away (2016), and My Shadow Book by Maawaam (2017). Rothacker attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY before going on to receive a Masters in Religion and a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. His essays, fiction, poetry, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in such publications as The Exquisite Corpse, Stone Highway Review, The Believer, Heavy Feather Review, Dark Matter, Dead Flowers, Boned, Guernica Magazine, Literary Hub, May Day, As It Ought to Be, and Cleaver Mag. He lives in Athens, Georgia with his family, dogs, and a cat named Whiskey (not the cat in the author photo for this book—Rothacker doesn’t know that cat at all—but Whiskey isn’t offended as she prefers anonymity).
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.