Saturday, September 15, 2007

23 Questions to See If I Can Really Love You, by Chuck Klosterman

This series of questions comes from Chuck Klosterman's wonderful book "Sex, Drugs, And Cocoa Puffs". It is wedged between two stories, "The Lady or the Tiger" and "Being Zach Morris". My recent interviews made me think of this list of questions. The article has only this for a preface: The twenty-three questions I ask everybody I meet in order to decide if I can really love them.

I love these questions, even if Mr. Klosterman didn't provide an answer key. These are great group convesation starters, but you have to start with a pretty open minded group, as most of these questions are a little odd.

So, without further ado, question one.

1. Let us assume you meet a rudimentary magician. He can do five simple tricks- he can pull a rabbit out of his hat, he can make a coin disappear, he can turn the ace of spades into the Joker card, and two others in a similiar vein. These are his only tricks and he can't learn any more; he can only do these five. HOWEVER, it turns out he's doing these five tricks with real magic. It's not an illusion; he can actually conjure the bunny out of the ether and he can move the coin through space. He's legitimately magical, but extremely limited in scope and influence.

Would this person be more impressive than Albert Einstein?

2. Let us assume a fully grown, completely healthy Clydesdale horse has his hooves shackled to the ground while his head is held in place with thick rope. He is conscious and standing upright, but completely immobile. And let us assume that-for some reason- every political prison on earth (as cited by Amnesty International) will be released from captivity if you can kick this horse to death in less than twenty minutes. You are allowed steel-toed boots.

Would you attempt to do this?

3. Let us assume there are two boxes on a table. In one box, there is a relatively normal turtle; in the other, Adolf Hitler's skull. You have to select one of these items for your home. If you select the turtle, you can't give it away and you have to keep it alive for two years; if either of these parameters are not met, you will be fined $999 by the state. If you select Hitler's skull, you are required to display it in a semi-prominent location in your living room for the same amount of time, although you will be paid a stipend of $120 per month for doing so. Display of the skull must be apolitical.

Which option do you select?

Like I said, these questions are a bit odd, but thought provoking. Please feel free to answer in the comments section below. Best answer out of the whole twenty-three gets a twenty-five dollar (American, not Canadian) gift card for somewhere. Multiple entries are allowed, and encouraged. The other twenty to follow in future posts.



  1. 1. The Magician
    Absolutely more impressive than Einstein. Einstein dealt with immutable truths which suggests to me that someone else, at some point, would have discovered them if he hadn't. But I'm damned if I can think of another human bunny-maker.

    2. The Clydesdale
    I would promise to spend twenty minutes putting the boots to anyone who dared harm an innocent Clydesdale, who has done nothing to deserve the consequences of even more human stupidity.

    3. The Box On The Table
    Good god, can there be any question? Displaying Hitler's skull doesn't suggest any support of his policies, but man, what a conversation piece!

    By the way, did you know that those very stylish WW2 Nazi uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss?

    You've been reading some really interesting stuff lately, Doc.

  2. 1. Albert Einstien

    Card tricks are lame. Conjuring bunnies out of thin air is a useless trick. It's not like there's ever going be bunny shortage. A coin through time and space? I'm far more impressed with someone who can play the stock market and double the money.

    2. The Clydesdale

    This question is stupid! Why beat an innocent horse? Why not beat the people who put those polital prisoners there in the first place?! The prisoners would go free for sure then.

    3. The Turtle

    I would never allow anything as negative as Hitler's skull in my home.

  3. If these are really the questions that Mr. Klosterman uses to make a decision on another person, Mr. Klosterman can go fuck himself.

  4. Skylers Dad- I can understand you reaction. I had the same reaction when I first read them. But please be patient. They do get much more interesting, and as morbid as the first three are, they are thought provoking. To quote a line from the film "Blade Runner", "These are questions are ment to illicit an emotional responce."

    Only Chuck Klosterman coud tell you what response he was looking for, but I tend to think it is the warm-hearted, caring ones, such as Einstein, the Clydesdale lives, and the turtle.


  5. The magician is definitely more impressive. Anyone who can creates mystery is better than someone who removes it. It doesn't matter how impressive his feats of magic are, the fact that something inherently inexplicable existed would make me a happy man.

    How the hell are you going to kick a Clydesdale to death? Even if you had 2 hours and 20 minutes, I would think you would just wind up with a very hurt draft horse as well as some self-inflicted injuries. He should have made it a bunny. Would you kick one bunny in the head to end the suffering in the Sudan? Then yes. I would kill one animal to save hundreds of human lives. But I would not wear myself out abusing a horse to let political prisoners go. That makes no sense.

    I want both the turtle and the skull. If pressed, I would go with the turtle. I was actually raised in the wild by turtles.

  6. I love these questions! I just reread it last week, and laughed out loud. And added several to my first-date repertoire.

  7. what if that someone passes the test? what then??

  8. What do the Coco-Puffs in the title have to do w/anything in the book? And do you have to pass the test to have sex with him (also implied in the title) or just for him to love you?

    I'm with Ghost on this one-- do you WANT a person to love you who asks these questions??

  9. The magician would be more impressive. I like what Evil Genius said.

    I'd beat a dead horse, I do it all the time, but not a live one. People are stupid, horsies are nice.

    The turtle would replace the one my sister let die when I was a kid and then chopped up in biology class. I'd hug it and squeeze it (but not too hard) and call it George.


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