A Brief Questionnaire


Is your will to succeed overwhelming? Does it hold a knife to your throat? Ambition is endless violence, the cells in your body being replaced by new cells even hungrier for sustenance. Does the cumulative weight of all your imaginings suddenly drop on you every time you begin to fall asleep?

Do you envy movie characters that have compressed their entire person into a single hard line, so simple and folded in upon themselves they practically disappear? Think of Ryan Gosling in Drive, Clint Eastwood in spaghetti westerns, George Clooney in Up in the Air. Can anyone live like this? What do these people dream of? What would it feel like to move through the world as a predator? You would give anything to be cold and certain. To be made of something harder than all the metal and concrete around you. To be unknowable. Why can’t you be bulletproof?

Have you ever watched blood escape from under your skin and wondered if there was something damning in your DNA, something doomed from conception, more so than the usual? Have you ever fantasized about crossing out your entire life with a marker and writing redacted?

Do you imagine your car colliding with oncoming traffic, and visualize the accident from a free-floating perspective? Cars from the last couple decades are designed to find a reasonable accord between familiar and foreign metal. Negotiating with tragedy, bargaining for just a little sympathy. Do you wonder how the whole system of traffic doesn’t come unglued? Do you see the potential? Do you care?

Have you Googled “most dangerous careers” so you can simultaneously accumulate money and increase the likelihood of death, only to realize dormant medical issues make it impossible for you to become a firefighter and you’ll never be a lamentable loss? Do you laugh when girls say they want to fuck paramedics, but secretly wonder what it’s like to be touched by someone who has touched death? Then again, maybe you already have, and it didn’t matter. Skin is skin.

Have you stared at your reflection and thought about the replicants from Blade Runner? How would you know if you were an almost flawless imitation of a person? Will anyone ever apply the right kind of scrutiny, for the right amount of time? Will your iris betray you, your respiration? Will their eyes harden in disgust? No matter how many times you say I’m sorry and I don’t want to be this way, you will be broadcasting into dead air.

Do you doubt your ability to cry nowadays? Can you even fail properly? Will you always walk around so angry you are continually on the brink of implosion?

Have you felt the only way you could get married is to carefully peel away the skin from your face? Have you considered that once the skin is gone, it would make a lot of sense to pull away muscle and artery and bone, until you are only the invisible outline of a human? Nobody finds fault with an abyss. An abyss is agreeable. The same way miscarriages are perfect, like a puzzle box with no pieces inside. Do you wish you were a miscarriage? Do you believe there is beauty in a life unlived?

Have you faked a smile to the point your stupid grimace started to taste like cold coffee dregs? Have you spoken words so hollow you were surprised they could make a sentence without falling into confetti wisps?

If you could come one more time, would anything be different? Do you become frustrated because divinity is measurable only in seconds? The moment before you come the world is see-through. The moment after, heavy and settling back into the mundane. Promises of change linger unfulfilled, linger between your legs, snaking back up into your chest. Do you feel validated when people tolerate your naked body? Do you believe there is anything positive left to experience, or only all the permutations of disaster?

Are you a cute girl (esp. ages 18-25) reading this article? Does this appeal to your highly refined ennui palette? Do you operate under a cloud of existential uncertainty? Are you a bright star of narcissism looking for others to complete your little constellation? Does passably articulated self-loathing turn you on? You should send me naked pictures. We should date or something.

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