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. Please solve this equation using only sentences:
Dragon + Fedora – Theory of Relativity = (Beijing x Slinky)/(Bullwinkle + Gold)
After spending seven savage moons freebasing on the always-moaning shitpit of the criminally insane known X (formerly known as Twitter, as they keep needlessly telling us, a la Prince) scrolling frantically, endlessly, a young virgin naesex ADHD enthusiast finally comes up with a “supertheory of supereverything,” unconsciously plagiarizing Gogol Bordello in doing so.
Stepping away from the sweatsoaked computer keyboard, unused osteoporotic bones cracking, cold fullish catheter and colostomy bags (why go to the toilet when you can surf the net!) strapped to skinny shaky legs, our intrepid deep innerspace diver opens a trembling stinkbreath mouth to let out The Final Answer to Life, The Loonyverse, and Neverything. This panacea for all the world’s ills will solve all the human race’s problems forever.
The Dragon formula above is what comes out.
Moments later the police arrive, alerted by neighbors scared and horrified by the sounds of familial slaughter minutes earlier.
2. Unbeknownst to the public, you are actually a superhero. What’s your origin story? Please be as detailed as possible, bearing in mind your everyday identity is the same. It’s the superhero part no one knows about. Yet.
I am Lazyman. I am eternal. I hope. A grateful Johnny Mercer wrote Lazy Bones for me, as my ironic theme tune, in 1933, after I helped him get to sleep one night. I have been the forever sleeper for insomniacs of the world, the yin to their past-midnight-starry-eyed yang. Everything needs to be in balance, so I sleep when they cannot. I recharge my drowsy narcoleptic batteries on their yawning pain and stoner-vein-peepers anguish. There are other sleeper cells like me, but I am the most powerful. I am the sea, they are the tributaries who flow into my tranquil nap ocean on a nightly basis, where the slickskin wet dreams wallow and frolic and ejaculate.
How did I get like this? I dunno. It’s shrouded in myth and legend and hasn’t been made up yet. Some say I tossed and turned one too many sleepless nights and prayed to some slutty Morpheus-type deity. Apparently, I offered my eternal spirit to her for just one sweet night of sleep after a lifetime of bitter redeyed insomnia and dreary somnambulistic dragging days.
Who said that about me? I dunno. Haven’t made that up yet either.
But you wouldn’t know this about me unless you slept with me, after which you would wake up a thousand years later – or the next morning, in insomniac time – refreshed, sexually satisfied after months of unceasing incubus congress, and with a need for a large hearty breakfast. Perhaps walking a bit funny for a while, too, if you’re not used to it.
How do I present myself to the world during the day? I dream that I work. People dream me as their friend, their partner, their coworker, their angry hate revenge figure for getting promoted over them. They see only a bland, well-rested man who functions like well-oiled Swiss clockwork during the workday, extolling the virtues of slumber and immortality. They dunno what the fuck the latter means, mind you, but eventually, come The Great Sleep…they will find out.
What does that mean? No idea. Watch this space.
3. There’s an old adage, maybe a Bible verse, I’m not sure, stating that, “Money is the root of all evil.” Is this true? Would the world be better off without money? Why or why not?
Well, to be honest, the world would be better off without a lot of things. Money is one of them, or many of them, maybe most of them. I mean, we’re the only animal that pays to live on the earth. How did this happen, who strongarmed us into violent submission in history, who murdered all our species’ naïve dreams in the barely formed existential crib?
I guess we’ll never know, and spectral ‘corporate forces’ have come to replace the old concept of bad gods or demons in our worldmind. It’s a way to try and put a vaguely human face on our own death, and try and combat it, as opposed to faceless, abstract, inescapable, unconquerable ‘god’ ideas.
(Whispers in my ear)
Oh sorry, off-topic. Just my net-shaped attention span hyper-acting-up again. Everything should definitely be free. People should never want for anything. Except Ed Sheeran. He should be made to pay for everything. Forever. Just for the shit tunes and annoying middle class English ginger cheek of him having a worthless career. Trump too. And Rishi Sunak. And Elon Musk. And (editor’s note: here a list of 4321 hate figures was removed from Mr. Rae’s list. Some were seemingly arbitrary and non-finances-related, like “People who say ‘y’all’ or ‘awesome’ outside America,” “people who visit Scottish recipe pages on Facebook and post non-Scottish recipes,” “whoever invented vegetarian haggis,” and other such lunatic frippery).
4. In a thousand years, what will historians see as the three most significant events of the 20th century? What about in a hundred years? Ten years? Next year? Also, let’s assume historians (and humans) will still be around at all those points in time.
In a thousand years? The invention of the internet, the finding of Atlantis-
(Whispers in my ear again)
-Sorry, not meant to tell you about that one until the really dark web site (so dark it’s got barely readable text!) I visit on that subject gives me the go-ahead. So…aye. The invention of the internet, the speeding up of Western countries into one vast bland pathetic homogenized American cultural colony from sea to shining seizure, and the 1981 release of the Swiss-German biker exploitation film Mad Foxes. That’s three, intit? A hundred years? The transition from fossil fuels to burning 3D-printed Michael Jackson effigies for fuel. Ten years? The final death-rattle shudder of any form of community politics and the resulting angry violent guillotine pendulum swing back against it. Next year? The removal of Trident from the Central Belt of Scotland. We don’t want your nuke phallus rubbish, America!” Shove it unlubed right up yer Satanic Verse! (Scottish rhyming slang for ‘erse/arse’)(invented by me)(my proudest life moment thus far). Probably won’t happen, but, well, a man can dream, can’t he?
Christ, does that cover it? I dunno, I got lost, as usual. Was that three for each era that were wanted? My head is spinning. Let’s move on. It won’t pay to linger longer.
5. Say you’re a poltergeist and your latest posting (polsting?) has just come down from the home office in… wherever the poltergeist home office is. They’re giving you a choice since you’re done such a great job tormenting people previously. You can take over: A. a deserted gold mine; B. an active (as in, live humans come to use it) graveyard; C. a crowded shopping mall; or D. a little-used dumbwaiter in the US House of Representatives. Which do you choose?
Hmmmm. Interesting Let me compare and contrast:
(A) Nobody to haunt in a deserted gold mine, yawn.
(B) There would be people to haunt in an active graveyard, which would be fun.
(C) George A Romero did the (zombie-) crowded mall thing in 1978 with his classic Dawn of the Dead, and the zombies were undead, so technically you can classify them as ghosts, and Monroeville Mall (which I actually visited in 1989, no joke) as one big, haunted house. So being a vaporous plagiarist and haunting the mall would be unoriginal and boring. Unless Tom Savini was doing the ghostly makeup FX. That would be cool.
(D) Why the fuck would I want to hang around near rotting American eighth-wit carrion for all eternity?
Would have to say, on balance, (B) would be the most fun, cos you could scare the (hopefully not literal) shit out of people. But you could also give them hope of meeting their loved ones again in the afterlife, imprinting hope on that ghost-stirred familiar breeze that kissed their wrinkled forehead as they grieved a dead family member, minting inviolable IOUs to infinity they could cash in the second they died. Imagine the postmortem block parties in infinity! So I think the humane aspect of scaring people to death in a graveyard would be the best choice, personally.
6, You’re hanging out in a bar for cartoon tigers. The bar is not cartoon. It’s real, and it’s called You’re a Tiger, the World’s Going to Shit, and You Probably Could Use a Drink. But the tigers are all definitely cartoons. What drink would you order to try to fit in? Say Tony the Tiger and Tigger got in a knockdown-dragout fight over something or other. Would you: A. leave; B. call the cartoon tiger cops; C. attempt to break it up; or D. establish odds and start taking bets on the outcome?
What drink? A margarita on the rocks, salt rim, lime wedge, cos they’re grrrrreat! (And I’ve not had one in a long time) I imagine any quasi-mystical bar serving cartoon tigers would definitely be able to magic up some lovely tequila chaos.
As for the latter part of your cartoon surrealist aberration scenario:
(A) Nope. Who would want to miss that scenario?
(B) Nope. Snitches get stitches, and you can’t hurt a cartoon anyway.
(C) I’m not getting in the way of drunk nonexistent twodee claws in a barfight. Tig(g)ers with attitude can fuck you up mightily.
(D) Definitely the most promising option. Gather odds, watch in excitement, livestream it on a phone on various social media platforms, and hope that the ectoplasmic cartoon jungle beast catfight images register on the camera.
That enough? (Laughing)
Graham Rae published the first ever Scottish novel with American spellings last December. A sorta-futuristic cyberdrunk caper full of muzak and booze and sex, it’s entitled Soundproof in Satellite Town, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn ran an excerpt from it a few weeks ago. It’s on Amazon. If it doesn’t come up in their search engine, Google it and it’ll come up. Amazon’s equipment is wonky, and if they don’t get it sorted soon my vengeance will be swift and fiery…
Kurt Baumeister’s writing has appeared in Salon, Guernica, Electric Literature, Rain Taxi, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, The Weeklings, and other outlets. An acquisitions editor with 7.13 Books, Baumeister holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. Twilight of the Gods is his second novel. Find him at www.kurtbaumeister.com.