1. If I grew a small “Hitler” mustache (sort of like Michael Jordan in those Hanes commercials), but changed absolutely nothing else about myself, but refused to shave it off, ever… would my friends still hang out with me?
2. If my friends gave me shit about the mustache, and my only response was, “Well, he was a significant historical figure, you’ve got to admit it”… would that make things better? Or worse?
3. If I used the “N-word” during a videotaped public appearance (not as a joke, but as a descriptive term, but without any additional rancor added to the term)… would my friends still talk to me?
4. If I tried to explain the “N-word” thing away by saying, “I was really tired when I said it; I had been up for three days without sleeping, I mean; jeez”… would that make things better? Or worse? Probably worse.
5. If I keep making these awful historical/race-based hypotheticals, will I get more than sixty angry comments in the comment section?
6. Moving on from that… If, when I am alone in an elevator, I suddenly say “I AM A ROBOT,” and walk “mechanically” from side-to-side in the elevator, while making a whirring “robotic” noise… does that mean that I am actually literally crazy? Or how does that work? Because I do that all the time when I am alone in elevators.
7. Here is a hypothetical from my friend Mason: “If you had to get in an imaginary fight, would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?“
8. If I choose the duck-sized horses in this one, is that because I’m frightened of an enormous duck, or because I hope to eventually tame, train, and perform with the miniature horses in a rodeo, while also showering the adorable tiny horses with love?
9. If I think that Schrödinger’s cat is a stupid fucking hypothetical, does that mean that I lack intellectual curiosity? Or does it mean that I don’t like visualizing a half-dead/half-alive cat? Zombie cat!
10. If I cheated on my last girlfriend a couple of times, does that mean that I am intrinsically a bad person?
11. If people leave comments in the comment section calling me, say, a “scumbag” for cheating on my girlfriend, does that make me more likely to reflect on the decisions that I have made in my past, or less likely, because my brain will then be occupied with hating those people?
12. If I haven’t figured out a way to end this essay yet, does that make me a bad writer, or a lazy writer?
13. Below are some historical and literary hypotheticals:
14. “What profit it a man, if he gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” – the Bible. (The answer: Not much, I guess. But still…)
15. “If we were all suddenly someone else.” — James Joyce, Ulysses. (If we were, that’d be cool, I think.)
16. “If you don’t know, you better ax’ someone.” –some rapper or something. (So true. You really should ax’ someone.)
17. “If you lived here, you’d be home by now.” — signs for invariably low-rent apartment complexes that are usually by the airport. (…Um. Whoa. But would you be? What truly is home to us? Etc…)
18. “What would you think if I sang out of tune/ Would you stand up and walk out on me?” — the Beatles. (Yes; dude, we would stand up and walk out on you. You’re still Ringo Starr, dude.)
19. “And if another knows/ I know that I know not/ Who only knows that there is no more noise now.” –T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (manuscript version). (Oh, I like you, T. S. Eliot.)
20. “‘When, when, when? If, if if?’ …Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time, your accursed hypotheticals? It’s abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? …They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.” — Samuel Becket, Waiting for Godot. (I do not like you so much, Samuel Beckett.)
21. If it were true that I had slightly misquoted Samuel Beckett, in order to make him fit into this essay, would you be really mad?
22. And if I still didn’t know how to end this essay, would you stand up, and walk out on me?
image – Matsuoka visits Hitler
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Imagine: Dozens of chipmunks, beady eyes glowing like Christmas lights, encircling your house and chanting these words at an ever-increasing volume. “We won’t go until we get some.” You have no figs, no pudding in your cabinets. Only a packet of instant mashed potatoes, a can of beets, and a half-eaten bag of Doritos.
1. Selfie We’ve all taken enough selfies this year that we’ll never, ever, be able to forgot how our face looked in 2013.
There are a lot of big bad things. The world is full of them. They are smeared, and gray, and hovering over us. They hide behind suits, or masks, or collections of cells.
Being ironic, being detached, in a word, being cool feels very important in our uber-fast tech-driven world of slick appearances and curated social media identities.