Halfway through, and I don’t think my mind feels much more free than before… we’ll see if that holds, particularly — SPOILER — when I get to question 40, or as I like to call it, “The One Where I Kind Of Want To Slap This Quiz.”
[For reference: 1-10, 11-20, 21-30]
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
Oh, I’m sure it was earlier today, when I wrote a terse letter to Melissa & Doug about how I believe their kiddie easel, if intended for children, should actually withstand children for more than three weeks before breaking beyond repair. I do love a good angry letter. In a larger sense, any time we took the kids somewhere they’d never been, and watched their reactions to something I knew they’d love, it was great. They stick their little hands in yours and trust you to lead them around and show them the world, and they think you are part of the magic that holds up the giant sky trains. Now, saying, “The time I saw roller coasters through my children’s eyes,” is terrible and terribly trite. But it’s true that the explosive joy of these two toddlers is exactly the kind of thing that can make you appreciate things that seem mundane any other time. And is it weird to say that I felt passionate and alive at my father’s funeral? We were driven to make it a memorable one worthy of him, we wanted to tell stories and make people laugh through all the weeping, and we were driven to make my mother’s life that weekend feel a little bit less awful. And when I looked at the standing-room-only crowd before I delivered the closing eulogy, I felt a charge: Dad was gone, but look at all the people who loved him. What a testament to life, and to what can be done with it just through the force of being who you are.
32. If not now, then when?
I’m sorry, what is the question? I was busy typing up there. Zzz. This should have been 31a. I feel cheated out of a question.
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
Are we still on the passionate-and-alive kick? Are you trying to lecture me for not feeling more alive passion? Don’t judge me, survey. You don’t know my life.
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
No. That sounds like hokum to me. I’ve definitely had moments where eye contact said plenty, but I never walked away thinking, “Well, hot damn, I am spiritually fulfilled and I believe we just transcended verbal communication.”
35. Why do religious that support love cause so many wars?
Because while many religions support love, I find that they are more interested in supporting being right. And anytime you have one thing trying to assert its superiority or correctness over something else, squabbles ensue. And escalate. Religion doesn’t really allow for there to be two sides to any story, or even three. You can’t really have compromise. You can, yourself, pick and choose things you like about them all and observe a cocktail of rites as you see fit, but that’s not going to be advocated by most religious elders or groups. Most Catholic priests aren’t going to sit down and say, “Well, kid, God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost are real, but I’m totes down with Vishnu, too, and I think half the Book of Mormon is real.” A devout Muslim probably wouldn’t sit down with you and be like, “Allah is fun, and all, but sometimes I prefer Xenu.” When you strip it down to the basics, the people running the show — the loud fundamentalists, who always feel like the majority even when they’re just the shoutiest — tend to discourage diversity of belief. So it always comes down to right vs wrong, and the lack of room for gray areas tends to be the problem.
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
Sure. Because it’s based on your convictions. If you have them, then you don’t have doubt.
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
No. Fortunately, I love my job. I’d rather have a million dollars AND then my salary. But also, let’s face it, a million bucks isn’t enough to chuck it all and spend my days traveling the world. You take out taxes, take out bills, take out college funds… I’m way too practical to see the word “million” and instantly kick up my heels.
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
More work I enjoy doing, for sure. I’ve had jobs I didn’t like, and I’ve had slow days at jobs I didn’t like, and I find they suck at your soul even more than the busy ones because you have time to think about how much your soul is being sucked. I’d much rather be happy and busy. I’m used to that, anyway.
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
Yes and no. The part where I was laid up in bed all day feeling sick, and noodling on my laptop? Yeah. But the parts where I’m talking to other people are always fresh, and they give a nice new context to the other repetitive stuff.
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
That there’s some fancy language. Also, again, I feel like you’re judging me. Like if I don’t habitually march into the dark with only the soft glow of my convictions, I am a waste of space. I admit that I am not as much of a bold marcher. I will stand up for a conviction, but I rarely run screaming into the void. And I’m okay with that character flaw. Because sometimes glow-torch-bearers need a break from their darkness marching, and that’s where I come in: I write a Web site that gives laughs to the people who have been so busy changing the world that they just want to stop thinking for a second. Know thy strengths. Mine is not always finding my way through dim light.