Howdy, Clam Bakers.
As some of you are surely aware, Bonnywood Manor recently hosted a series of seminars by the esteemed Dr. Brian, an uncertified psychologist renowned for his ability to take a mere bit of happenstance and turn it into a chronic condition requiring years of intensive therapy. The series was a great success, with many of our guests finally admitting that one or two of their personal cogs might be a bit wonky. After the final presentation, Dr. Brian approached me with a request, and the conversation went something like this…
Writer: “Who are you and why are you in my office?”
Dr. Brian: “Now, now, let’s not be so accusatory. You certainly aren’t wearing the right outfit for it, based on what I have gleaned from the personal profile I developed whilst you were busy not paying attention to what I was doing.”
Writer: “This intrigues me, your subterfuge, although I must say I am somewhat offended that you would analyze me without my knowledge. What are your intentions with this visit?”
Dr. Brian: “I want to analyze some of the guests at Bonnywood Manor without their knowledge.”
Writer: “Oh, well that’s not actually about me, so I really don’t care. Run with wind, I say. And how do propose to go about this running?”
Dr. Brian: “I have a list of 20 questions that I would like them to answer.”
Writer: “20 questions? This is 2017. Most people don’t have the time for more than three. If you sit still longer than that, then the world has already changed too much for you to keep up.”
Dr. Brian: “Precisely. The true basis of the test is to see which of the twenty they choose to answer. Life is all about selection. And proper hydration.”
Writer: “And what if they don’t choose any of the questions?”
Dr. Brian: “That’s just as telling as picking them all. Analysis is in the details. And the co-payments.”
Writer: “Hmm. And what’s in it for me?”
Dr. Brian: “A brief mention in my next scientific paper, buried in the footnotes that nobody reads. Oh, and based on what I’ve seen from the guests who have attended my seminars, you are bound to get a plethora of blog ideas so you won’t be forced to re-post older pieces because you are lazy and your imagination is broken.”
Writer: “Wow, you really are good. Give me the list.”
1. You walk into a grocery store, glance at the checkout lines, and realize there are more people queued up than voted in the last national election. Do you turn right around and flee or do you buck it up and suffer humanity for the next three hours?
2. You are driving your car, approaching an intersection with a 4-way stop at the exact same time that the other three cars are arriving. Do you politely let the other three figure out their lives or do you gun it through?
3. You are hosting a weekend family reunion. As your relatives tumble out of bed in the morning, wiping sleep out of their eyes and slowly preparing for the biscuits-and-gravy breakfast that you have promised to make, you suddenly realize that the milk expired five days ago. It smells okay, but still, five days ago. Do you make the gravy anyway and keep your mouth shut, or do you fess up and face the disappointment backlash?
4. If the doorbell rings and you are not expecting anyone, do you answer?
5. If you realize that the bill your waitress just handed you has an error in your favor, do you bring it to her attention?
6. You are visiting the home of a good friend for the first time, and you have the urge to tinkle. Whilst attending to such, you discover that the toilet bowl is wretchedly filthy, and it has clearly been that way for a while. Does this affect your friendship?
7. Have you ever lied about the performance of a sexual partner?
8. Have you ever been lied to about your own performance?
9. Do you sing along with the radio when others aren’t around? Do you sing when others are around?
10. Do you ever reach the midpoint of a questionnaire and think “why in the hell am I still reading these questions instead of doing something more important?”
11. If life gives you lemons, do you throw them back with a vengeance or make the stupid lemonade and pretend to be happy?
12. Would you rather have one glowing, heartfelt comment on one of your blog posts, or have 200 people click “like” with no comments?
13. Have you ever deleted a comment on one of your posts?
14. Have you ever commented on someone else’s post simply because you felt compelled to do so rather than wanting to do so?
15. Have you ever watched a movie that is worshipped by everyone you know, yet at the end of the viewing you thought “well, that was a total crapfest”? Be bold, name the movie.
16. If you could turn back time, at what age would you reset the dial?
17. Name one book that you have read at least five times. Pornographic novels do not qualify.
18. Would you rather be given the time and opportunity to read the 100 greatest books ever written, or would you prefer to have one of your own books on that list yet never be able to read the other 99?
19. Do you feel peace and serenity in a cemetery or are you uncomfortable and want to leave as soon as possible?
20. Have any of the preceding questions given you just a nudge of inspiration about a future blog post? Because really, that’s where I was headed.
Note: Most of you will not answer any of these queries, and that’s fine, completely understandable. But a few will take the plunge, cannonballs into the water, and the backsplash will be a mighty fine experience. Sunlight never gets in if you keep the door closed…
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