March 30, 2009
Would you take a foot off your height?
Tall people, if you say no to this one then I’ll be very disappointed in you! Let’s say you’re 6’3″… Getting rid of a foot would still leave you above 5′, which isn’t bad. I, on the other hand, would be reduced (permanently, it should be noted) to a ridiculously diminutive 4’5″, which is approximately the height of Mr. Lauren’s 6-year old nephew. That’s getting into freakshow territory, really. I’d have to field an endless stream of “Are you a dwarf or are you a midget” questions and explain the fact that I’m neither, plus I’d probably be mistaken for a progeria victim on a regular basis.
And then you have the practical concerns. Where would I shop? My grandmother was 4’9″, and she often had to resort to the children’s department, where she was lucky to find something that didn’t feature Minnie Mouse or proclaim that she had The World’s Best Daddy. With my shopping habits I’d end up spending the entire million with the quickness on custom-made clothes, and then where would I be? Broke and tiny, that’s where. Nein danke.
Absolutely not. That would make me 4’8″ — by definition, a dwarf. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — little people these days do lots of things people in the ’50s could never have imagined (let’s be honest, okay? People in the ’50s sucked. They institutionalized people for having like, unsightly moles, and made pretty much everyone else join freak shows, and generally were a bunch of close-minded idiots. I’m just saying what you’re thinking…). Still, life would be decidedly different, and more specifically, a lot harder. I regret I don’t have the balls to deal with the difficulties associated with being much shorter but…well, I just don’t. So the answer’s no. Sorry.
March 13, 2009
Would you be willing to permanently lose your sense of smell?
Let me tell you a story.
A few years ago, for six months I sublet this windowless underground box in Williamsburg (Brooklyn, not Colonial) that got no natural light and had a bathtub in the kitchen and a fridge that had a working light inside but did fuck all to chill food and flooded regularly and oh wait did I mention it had no fucking windows?* The landlord was this slightly older woman with a half-shaved head who had an annoying habit of misusing words like “fascist” and “bureaucrat” the way a 16-year-old might – to describe pretty much anyone who didn’t know who, say, Glenn Branca and La Dusselfdorf and Lester Bangs were. Also, despite having no background in home wiring and no natural proclivity toward general maintenance, she did all the repairs herself. I hated her.
Anyway, one of the numerous notable results of all this talentless repair work was that the temperature controller was, apparently, mounted upside down on the stove. (You can see where I’m going with this). I had no idea, and one day I used the oven and turned it off. Or rather, I turned it to the position where the little arrow pointed at the word OFF, which means I really turned it to 500 degrees for no good reason and just left it like that. Long story short, I went out with a friend who (thank god) came to hang out with me an hour or two later, and the first thing she said when she walked in was, “Oh my god. It smells like gas in here.” (eds. note: I had a cold and didn’t smell a thing!) We called the gas company, the guy arrived and told us to leave the place for an hour to air out, we did, and he (apparently) didn’t call anyone to have the place condemned. Slacker.
Anyway, the point is, your nose is really useful not just for helping you taste your food and enjoy the scent of flowers, but also because it keeps you out of danger. That said, although that situation gave me a greater appreciation of the importance of my sense of smell, my appreciation is not so great that I wouldn’t trade it in for $3,000,000. Sure, I’d have to make sure my home had every alarm possible, but with that kind of money I could also hire people whose sole job is to constantly sniff the air for danger. That would help get the economy moving! Also, not being able to smell or properly taste my food means I’d probably lose weight. Not that that kind of shallow crap matters to me, obviously, but it’s always good to reason through every aspect of a dare response. You understand.
For the record, many weeks later, when the landlady found out that I’d called the gas man, she yelled at me for having (I’m not kidding) “bureaucrats” come into the building and although I wanted explain to her that she was a half-wit, by then I was just too indifferent to muster the energy. I moved out a few months later, and a month after that she called me to complain that I had moved out…of a sublet…in her super illegal death trap of a building. I hung up on her halfway through the conversation.
* It was $800 a month, by the way. I just thought you should know that.
P.S. It should be noted that there are people who are born without the sense of smell. But congenital anosmia is less common than randomly occurring, temporary or permanent anosmia. Also, hyposmia describes when your sense of smell dwindles (as everyone’s does with age), and hyperosmia is an increase in the ability to smell, which happens with people with migraines and stuff.
March 5, 2009
Would you take a vow of silence for a year?
Mostly, I’m not so into hippie mind expansion experiments or Zen dabbling or Catholic asceticism, but I would be totally down to give this a go. And actually, I would do this dare for more than just the money. I mean, don’t get it twisted, okay? I’d be mostly doing it for the money. Just not only for the money. I hope we understand each other.
Let’s start with this: Not talking is hard. It’s as hard as it sounds and even harder, especially if you’re as verbal as I am. The need to upchuck thoughts and feelings in long strands of words is a constant one for me, and not having that ability is a bit like losing an appendage. I once lost my voice on tour, and when you sing in bands, not being able to talk comes as really, really bad news. Having to write out every idea was a huge, tiring and futile pain in the ass; my hands simply couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. The words got stuck somewhere between my brain and my throat, where – once I became fed up with the impassable limits of trying to articulate myself via handwritten notes – they formed a cluttered, messy pile. All those words just sat there, idle and useless, until my voice came back. Finally, I could say what I meant. It was a relief as satisfying as exhaling after holding my breath underwater.
I have a feeling that, when you take a lengthy vow of silence, that inability to let whatever comes up, come out, does some good. Forget moving to San Franciso or Tibet or India to find yourself; I think you probably learn a fair amount about yourself and others by listening all the time – to what people around you are saying, and to your own thoughts. “Did I just think that or say it out loud?” is no longer a worry, and you get to actually ponder your thoughts without sharing them. Which gives you the chance, for the first time in what’s likely a long time, to figure out whether what you think is what you truly believe.
There’s a reason that Catholic Carthusian and Trappist monks, Hindu Swamis and Gurus, Gandhi and the highly self-reflective cease to speak. There’s insight to be gained through silence, and I wouldn’t mind having a piece of that. Sure, it would be annoying for your friends and the people around you, but it’s only for a year. I don’t have the will to try it on my own, but with $1,000,000 as a reward, I could definitely do this. And not to get all sappy and stuff, but I think it would probably be a pretty amazing experience. Also – I’d be rizzich. So, what’s not to accept?
P.S. I leave you with an old joke:
At a monastery high in the mountains, the monks have a rigid vow of silence. Only at Christmas, and only by one monk, and only with one sentence, is the vow allowed to be broken.
One Christmas, Brother Thomas, is allowed to speak and he says, “I like the mashed potatoes we have with the Christmas turkey!” and he sits down. Silence ensues for 365 days.
The next Christmas, Brother Michael gets his turn, and he says “I think the mashed potatoes are lumpy and I hate them!”
Once again, there’s days of silence. The following Christmas, Brother Paul rises and says, “I am fed up with this constant bickering!”
February 27, 2009
Would you gain and permanently retain 50 pounds?
How about 100 pounds?
Or 200 pounds for $5 million?
Hmmm…I guess there’s at least a micro chance I’d say yes to the 50 pound dare, although, don’t hold me to that. Sure, if I actually saw the stacks of bills and smelled their sour and slightly stinky – and yet, impossibly sweet and delicious – scent, I’m not sure I could resist them. But as it is, I’d really have to mull this over. I like my body (it’s been mine all this time and I’m pretty used to it) and even feeling bloated really kind of ruins my day. I realize that this may have something to do with patriarchal notions of attractiveness tainting my thoughts, but I think becoming a much bigger person would change my life and my self image a lot, and not in a good way. Plus, the process of gaining that much weight would be a lot harder and less enjoyable than it sounds. Even when you’re eating really badly, your weight fluctuates what? Five – maybe 10, but probably not – pounds. Putting on fifty pounds would require a dedicated, sustained and intense effort, and you’d probably feel pretty fucking gross, considering the kind of super unhealthy stuff you’d have to eat nonstop to balloon quickly. And you’d have to maintain that weight for the rest of your life. Which makes this kind of a demanding dare.
As for the other two questions. There’s pretty much no amount of money (well, maybe if we start getting into the tens of millions, but again, that money would still be imaginary, so it’s hard to say) you could pay me to gain 100 pounds, and don’t get me started on the 200 pound question. So the answers on those are as follows:
2) Hell no.
1) No way.
2) Absolutely not.
3) Are you out of your mind?
I say this with such confidence because I’ve actually been 50 pounds heavier (and with no monetary reward). Guess what? It’s terrible. No matter what people say to the contrary, you’re first and foremost The Fat Person, and despite your bulk you’re basically invisible (that is, when you’re not being subject to ridicule and judgment). I guess in this case you’d have the consolation of being The Rich Fat Person, but that’s cold comfort in my opinion.
– Lauren (sensitive ex-fattie)
February 25, 2009
Would you sell your soul to the devil?
Although I’m gonna have to pass on eternal damnation, I realize there’s more to the devil than he gets credit for. Sure – he’s had his ups (sex; rock’n’roll; fishnet stockings; curse words; being the model for devil horns) and his downs (Christian rock; dolphin tattoos; Disney). But I admire how he’s out there, every day, kicking ass and really making a difference. Plus, there’s the fact that he obviously just doesn’t give a fuck. More on those who sold their souls to this eternal hipster:
1) Robert Johnson – Up side: Sells soul to devil, becomes blues guitar virtuoso. Down side: The movie Crossroads.
2) Faustus – The Germans turned this story about a scholar who trades eternity in hell for knowledge into a popular 19th century children’s puppet show. Which is like, the most German thing I’ve ever heard.
3) Criss Angel – I shit you not: There are actual rumors that Criss Angel is a minion of Satan, and that his “magic” is a gift from the devil. Wait – so, the best the devil can do these days is send some corny, stripper fucking, leather-vest-wearing hairball to do a show on basic cable? What kind of weak shit is that? Is hell just one long episode of Rock of Love?
4) James Brown – Somehow, BMW got Clive Superhot Owen, Gary Oldman and (then) living legend James Brown to star in what’s basically a 10-minute car commercial. Please enjoy its pathetic beauty for yourself. Note that the only smart thing about this perfect shitstorm of a “film” is that nearly every word of dialog James Brown (R.I.P) utters is subtitled, because otherwise I wouldn’t understand a fucking thing he’s saying.
5) Snoop Dogg – In his poignant, touching memoir The Doggfather, Snoop says he sold his soul to the devil for fortune and fame. Also, a joke about weed right here.
6) Anton LaVey – Props to LaVey for founding the Church of Satan and supposedly getting Ginger from Gilligan’s Island and Sammy Davis, Jr. to join; writing The Satanic Bible and four other up-with-Satan books; and fathering four little Satanists, including youngest son (wait for it) … Satan.
7) Procter and Gamble – Remember that rumor about the president of Procter and Gamble and how he’s a devout Satanist and that a portion of the company’s profits go to the Church of Satan? And also that company’s logo contains the number 666? Well, P&G says their president has no ties to Satanism, and they even replaced the old logo with a new, not so Satan-y one. And yet they still make Satan is My Dog tampons.
Yeah, see, it’s the “eternal damnation” thing that I really can’t get past. Maybe Hell doesn’t exist, but maybe it does. But really, if the devil is standing in front of you demanding your signature, then I’d say chances are pretty good that there is such a place. And personally, I have no desire to experience it. You’re talking to someone who has a difficult time giving up french fries for Lent, so excuse me if roasting in the fires of sin for all time seems a bit daunting.
PS – Is hell just one long episode of Rock of Love?
Have you been watching this season? I’m inclined to say yes.
January 20, 2009
Men: Would you reduce the length of your penis by an inch?
Women: Would you permanently reduce your breasts by a cup size?
I’m not a dude, so I don’t have a dick, but I’m pretty sure that if I were, I’d be so well endowed I’d be all: “Make it two inches, bitch.” That’s the kind of sensitive guy I’d like to be if I were a man.
As for the boob reduction question, this is a super yes for me. Not because I’m Chesty LaRue or Mindy Mammories or Gina Giganjugs (I made up those last two to get my point across) or anything, but because I think boobs are totally overrated. I’m a B cup now, and even some days that’s a hassle. Underwire is a pain in the ass, and sometimes it breaks free of its fabric casing and stabs you in the rib all day at work. Plus, they’re always reacting (overreacting, if you ask me) to the cold, and totally undermining your face (up here) while you’re in the middle of making some really serious, important point. And let’s be honest: There will inevitably come a day when they will no longer have the will to sit up on their own. Sure, they have their good points but I’m fine with cutting back. Tits shmitz.
Can I also add that I don’t get why women get massive fake boobs? Who is your target audience, exactly? Any dude wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt? The kind of guy who sprays AXE all over himself before he hits “the club”? You’re really willing to risk your health for some guy who isn’t sure where the line between “date” and “date rape” lies?
Are you kidding? Getting paid to have a reduction would be a dream come true! I may joke about my enormous rack, but no one knows my secret agony as I hunt through acres of ugly brassieres, hoping in vain for something with straps less than three inches in width. And it would be nice to be able to wear a button-down shirt someday…Is that really an unreasonable goal? Seriously, folks. These things are big, and they’re a pain in the ass. How big? Well, going down a size would still leave me with a generous D-cup. Take my breasts…please!