April 9, 2009
Would you eat a shoebox full of dandruff?
Okay, so, not to be a jerk about it, but if you say no to this one, you’re kind of answering it wrong. Because (and again, I don’t want to be a dick here. If you hate money, you hate money) you’ve taken in far worse things than dandruff before. If you are breathing at this very moment – and I’m guessing you are – the kind of disgusting stuff you’re breathing in is a lot grosser than just dead skin flakes. And actually, like, 70 percent of it is dead skin flakes (people are constantly shedding their skin all over the place – it adds up to about 1.5 million flakes per person per hour), mixed with stuff like the carcasses and feces of dust mites (the tiny bugs that live in your bed and your carpet and your furniture and eat your dead skin), bacteria, mold spores, toxic chemicals and other microcrap that can cause asthma and general annoyance. Plus, you’re constantly eating totally yucky things. There are rat hairs, insect heads, maggots and bug eggs in every food product that you buy – and those are the ones the meet the FDA’s standards! (A full list of what’s permissible is here, but this less heady general breakdown is a good cheat sheet.) In fact, one study found that Americans unknowingly eat about one to two pounds of bugs and bug parts a year – and bugs are tiny, so imagine how many of them it takes to equal two pounds. I hate to be a bummer, but I (and you, too!) already consume an awful lot of really nasty things, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Dandruff seems like a fairly innocuous meal in contrast, and at least I have some agency in deciding to eat it. So I say yes, yes, yes to this dare! I would absolutely eat a shoebox full of dandruff for one million dollars. And frankly, I’d do it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. One you’ve eaten bug poop – and we all most certainly have – dandruff is cake.
April 1, 2009
Would you invite friends over for dinner and secretly serve pieces of rat in a dish that would keep the meat’s identity hidden?
This reminds me of Peter Hessler’s “A Rat In My Soup,” which ran in the New Yorker years ago. In the article, he travels to a city in China’s Guangdong Province that’s home to two well-known restaurants specializing in rat meat. He learns about the tonic property of rat (it’ll put hair on your chest, literally), which is one of the main reasons for its consumption, and what they eat before they end up on your plate (grass and fruit). At the second restaurant he even gets to witness his chosen rat meeting its demise prior to cooking, but that’s rather unpleasant, so I won’t dwell on it. Despite the strangeness of it all, he concludes that rat meat doesn’t actually taste bad. And that’s all I really need to know.
My answer? Hell, yes. I’m sure I’m probably losing a few pals by admitting this, but I’d do it without a second thought (or without much of one). If I chose a heavily seasoned recipe with a bunch of different ingredients, I’m sure no one would notice anything was amiss (and why would they think anything would be amiss in the first place? I’m their friend. They trust me. Mwah hah). Of course, I wouldn’t serve any rat off the street. Just like fine restaurants, which serve farm-raised squab rather than the filthy one-eyed pigeons you see flapping around in the gutter, I’d make sure that my guests had the cleanest, tastiest specimen that money could buy. After all, nothing is too good for my friends!
Yes, but I’m only doing the serving here. Because I don’t care where that rat came from – I don’t care if it’s the finest rat money can buy, imported from the French countryside and wearing a little unisex rat tiara – I’m not touching a rat, and I’m certainly not skinning, gutting and preparing one. Fuck that. So, my answer is yes, I would absolutely serve my friends a rat – that I’d paid someone else to prepare and then shut the hell up about. They’ve eaten grosser stuff.
February 9, 2009
Would you drink a cup of your own pee every night with dinner?
You know who liked to drink his own pee? Gandhi. You know who else? Jim Morrison. And guess who else, supposedly? John Lennon. Which just goes to show you that urine is a popular beverage with both people who like LSD and people who are really into civil rights – as well as many, many others. There’s a whole group of people out there who are avid pee drinkers and there are a lot more of them than you probably think (do a Google search for “urine therapy” for a big surprise). Basically, they swear it’s rich in vitamins and that it’s just about the healthiest thing you could drink and they seem to really enjoy referring to pee as “golden.” And there’s more! Many of them also use it for other stuff, too, like treating skin rashes and psoriasis and, of course, teeth whitening (no kidding!), and they swear it cures a bunch of stuff, like eczema and chicken pox (how much would it SUCK to be the kid of a pee drinker?) and that it prevents cancer. They like to quote Proverbs 5:15, which says: “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.” (Yeah – I had never seen that one before, either.) Indian yogis drink it, the ancient Romans drank it and – guess what? – for $1,000,000, I would drink it for a month every night with dinner. Not because I buy any of this “pee is good and good for you” crap (I think that when my excretory system excretes something, there’s really nothing more to discuss) but because urine is 95% water and I know it won’t kill me and it’s only for a month and then I’m rich, bitch.
Sure. Why not? I know that I threw a fit when asked about shit-eating, but urine is just so much more harmless, not to mention way less chunky. It’s also relatively sterile, which shit most definitely is not, and it certainly has a milder (though not necessarily pleasant) aroma. Plus, if all of those crackpot alternative medicine theories about urine therapy are true then not only will I be a millionaire, I’ll be a millionaire with superhuman good health. That’s a tantalizing proposition. Hell, according to some believers in Kundalini, it might even unleash the power of my third eye (which, as you’ll recall, I agreed to accept in an earlier dare)! And even if the urine does nothing much, it probably won’t do anything bad. Ultra Violet claimed that drinking Salvador Dali’s urine gave her pimples, but that’s small-time. In fact, the major downside to this dare is probably social rather than physical. Can you imagine having dinner with people and explaining what’s in your special cup? Sure, you’ve got the motivation of a fat paycheck to keep your disgust in check, but your table companions are under no such constraints. I would imagine that one’s calendar would rapidly clear, at least as far as evening invitations are concerned. I guess that’s where the consolation of $1,000,000 comes in.
February 4, 2009
Would you eat your own pet? Someone else will slaughter, prepare, season and cook it for you.
No fucking way. And it’s not like I’m squeamish about eating animals or preparing them for cooking, or even hunting, really. I just couldn’t consign an animal that I honestly regard as a friend to the kitchen because I’d get a huge payout. If I were starving to death then it would be another story, but this is a case of greed, not need.
One thing I wonder, though, is how my response to this dare is colored by what kind of pet we’re talking about. In my case, it’s a dog–one who has been with my family for almost 12 years (since I picked her out as a puppy) and who knows to wait by the back door when my mother says that I’m coming home. But what if I had a fish? I’m afraid that Goldie would be in the frying pan before you could say Arthur Treacher’s. Or a rabbit? Hmm…who am I to turn my nose up at a nice fricassee? What if I was, like many of my friends, a cat-owner? Actually, that would probably be a “no way,” but not due to any streak of sentimentality. As we all know, cats are filthy.
The pets I had growing up that I remember most were dogs (a cock-a-poo we got when I was five that I named “Michelle” because my mother told me poodles were French and so was the name; a pekignese that couldn’t come down the stairs by herself that I called “Cynthia” for reasons I can no longer recall). I have vivid memories of forcing these dogs to ride around in a toy pink plastic baby carriage and to sit in baskets that I would swing over my head; I was under the highly mistaken impression that we were both having fun. When I think back on these scenes, mostly I feel very, very sorry for them. But also, I feel a fondness that would guarantee their survival (were they still alive) in the face of any amount of money.
Hang on, though: I had a lot of other pets I tend not to remember quite so lovingly. More hamsters than I can count (there was a special one I named “Sandy” – oh man, if you could only have seen her roll around the kitchen floor in her clear plastic ball); a salamander (which I would actually pick up and touch and oh my god it grosses me out to even think about it); a slew of guppies and goldfish (including a trio that lived for almost a year until one turned white and developed red spots and infected and killed the other two); and at one point, a tank full of tadpoles (from a nearby creek. Ultimately, I left them at school one evening after science fair and never saw them again). Frankly, I would probably eat any of those guys (not Sandy, for god’s sake) now – although it should be noted that if you’d asked my fifth grade self to even consider such a thing, I would have instantly started crying. Evidence, I guess, that my heart is slowly – but surely! –turning to stone.
I have no pets now and haven’t for years, but my mother has cats (Zoë, Jillian) that she occasionally accidentally calls by my name (your parents miss you more than they burden you with. It’s true.) and treats like prize ponies. I wouldn’t eat them, because 1) cats have always seemed a little like weird, furry aliens to me and 2) it would devastate her. I can only imagine the stunned, confused look on her face upon being told. I picture myself yelling to make her understand me through her shocked stupor while pointing at my stomach: “Did you hear me? I said, I ate your cat. For money.”
So, there’s my answer: It depends.
January 30, 2009
Would you eat a bowl of your own shit?
Oh, snap! It’s the most classic of the classic What If and the mother of all For a Million Dollars questions. You really can’t even pretend to play this game without this dare. I mean, if you think about it, this question is really a metaphor for your whole life. So I call bullshit on trying to get around posing this dare, which really means you’re not asking the hard questions. You’re just wasting everyone’s time and boring me and pussyfooting around what we all really want to know, which is Will You or Will You Not Eat Shit for Money? And please, don’t act outraged or shocked or embarrassed that you’re being asked. Just answer the question, Claire. Grow some sack and let’s talk frankly.
For me, this question is a yes – but with a caveat: I’m definitely going to do some haggling. My shit eating price – especially if we’re talking a whole bowl – starts at $2 million (It might even start at $3 million…I’d have to really think about it). Also, I’m assuming that vomiting in the middle of the dare doesn’t disqualify me. Because I’m pretty sure that anyone who doesn’t make a regular habit of eating shit (and yes, there is a whole group of pervs out there who just can’t get enough of eating it) won’t be able to keep it down. I’ll bet that I’d start dry heaving and gagging the moment I set eyes on the bowl, probably. I have a whole host of issues re: bodily functions as it is (I can’t go at work at all, I can’t go when I’m out, I leave parties rather than do #2 at someone else’s house), so I can only imagine what a horrible experience this would turn out to be. But I would definitely, for that kind of money, give it a shot. Or the old college shit-eating try, as they say.
Oh – and if I had any forewarning about this dare, I would closely monitor what I ate in the time leading up to its completion. It’s an unpleasant enough experience as it is; I’ll consume anything that might help make it less so.
Lauren? Yes or no?
Hell no. I most certainly would not. I’m actually gagging a little just imagining the scenario. Frankly, it’s the kind of thing that would induce post-traumatic stress disorder. Say I did go through with it…I’m pretty sure that in the future, every time I would attempt to eat somtehing, that steaming bowl of dung would flash before my eyes. It would haunt my dreams. And it would most likely make me very, very sick. E coli, anyone? I’ll pass. In the words of ee cummings: “there is some shit i will not eat.” Amen to that.
I just want to commend myself for not once shoehorning the phrase “shit-eating grin” into this post.
No, thank you.
January 15, 2009
Would you willingly ingest a tapeworm?
How about a guinea worm?*
*The guinea worm is a parasite that grows up to three feet long in your body before emerging from one of your lower extremities. The point of exit is an excruciatingly painful open sore and the worm can take up to several months to fully exit the body.
No f’ing way. I didn’t even have to think about this one. If there is anything that freaks me out totally it’s parasitic life forms possibly living inside my body. Also, I saw a nature show on one of those awesome, nerdy cable channels that was basically all about Americans who’ve traveled abroad to really buggy places and unknowingly brought home living creatures in their bodies and it was disgusting and now, I don’t care how many people I have the potential to help, I would never, ever join the Peace Corps. Also, there’s this footage of a worm hanging out in this woman’s head and frankly, how could you ever look at someone the same way after you see something like that? I mean, the chances I will ever meet this woman are small but if I did, I’d never be able to look at her without thinking, “You had worms living in your head. Once a worm head, always a worm head.” C’est le gross.
So, no on this one for me. Not for $1,000,000. Maybe for $10,000,000, for the tapeworm. There’s no price you could put on the guinea worm, though. No price.
If you were expecting a heated debate on this one, then you’ve got another thing coming. Who in their right mind would argue for ingesting a guinea worm and dealing with the after-effects? Were you not paying attention above? Kali and I often wonder about questions that (for whatever reason) cross the line into “absolutely not” territory, and I think this may be one of them. Concerning the guinea worm, anyway… A tapeworm? I dunno. Perhaps I could be persuaded. At the very least, due to their noted weight loss properties, I’d save some money on my gym membership. Then again, parasites. Ew. Ew. I’ve seen They Came From Within, and I have no desire to play “host.”
Can I just add something? This.