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?
Well, first of all, it would have to be a small cult, just by numbers (which would be pretty low, I’m guessing…my adoring public, that is). What it should be called? I’ve always wanted a relatively benign condition named after me—Roberge’s Syndrome. But a cult/religion? The Church of the Know Nothings and General Misanthropes? That could change every day. Well, I’m dead, so maybe it can’t. Primary tenets? Trust no organized religion or cult. Ever. Including this one. I think if nobody trusted any organized religion ever again, it would be beneficial to humanity, yes.
2. 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 was actually (I shit you not) recruited by the CIA to process top secret international data and offer analysis. I think I could have been pretty good. Maybe. Except I kind of hate what the CIA does. But I’ve hated myself, too, for most of my life…so maybe it wouldn’t have been a problem.
Failure? Every job I ever had prior to this one. I’ve had about 25 shitty jobs (I counted for an essay I was doing), so it would take a while, as I sucked at all of them. Except being a painter, maybe.
3. Are you sorry you decided to do this?
Of course not! I’m very sorry it took me so long for me to get it to you. But, not sorry in the least!
4. 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.)
Merkel. Ten out of ten times.
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?
Clean water. Replaced by the death of life on the planet (which makes my next two answers kind of moot).
The Marshall Islands. Replaced by ocean.
The New York Knicks. Replaced by a team that isn’t owned by a shithead.
6. What is the meaning of life?
Good pitching beats good hitting is, actually, a myth that doesn’t stand up, statistically. Seriously? I think people gain meaning by pursuing what is meaningful to them. Everyone should be unencumbered to follow their path to what feels like a purpose. And, I think everyone has a chance to leave this life better than when they entered it. And there is meaning and purpose in listening. We don’t tend to learn while we talk (not that I’m against a fun talk on everyone’s side). In always pursuing knowledge. In performing as close to as many kindnesses as they desire to. Hell, that may be my religion. If I had or wanted one.
Rob Roberge is the author of five books, most recently Liar: A Memoir (Future Tense Books). Previous books include The Cost of Living (Other Voices, 2013), Working Backwards from the Worst Moment of my Life (Red Hen, 2010), More than they Could Chew (Dark Alley/Harper Collins, 2005) and Drive (Hollyridge Press, 2001). He is core faculty at UCR/Palm Desert’s MFA in writing program, and he has taught at a number of other universities. He plays guitar and sings in LA’s The Urinals.
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, 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.