Please answer the following questions with as little forethought and as much plain truth as you can muster. Be quick and be bold! There are no wrong answers, only tedious detours on the road to self-awareness.
- For what celebrity, performing artist, dance show contestant, or professional athlete are you most frequently mistaken?
- Do you allow family members to define you, and complete strangers to criticize your core beliefs, or do you shrug and go your merry way?
- Ignoring for the moment issues related to stretch fabric and muscle mass, what is your secret superpower?
- What historical figure—coloratura soprano, pro-bono defense lawyer, reclusive spinster poet, eccentric scientist, tragic queen, or victorious general—is your go-to guy?
- Where do you find inspiration—the play of dappled sun and shade, a mighty oak, clouds like sheep that ramble across the sky, a green tendril, the sound of waves that crash on the beach, the written word, or the toothless smile of a newborn baby?
- In an emergency, when the lights go out, and it’s loud as a sawmill in a thunderstorm, and everyone else is scared out of their wits, how do you keep your cool?
- What compliment do you often bestow, even if you don’t especially like that person?
- When unhappy people, who may be pathologically disturbed, hurl lies and insults, do they bounce right off you?
- Is Monday your favorite day of the week because then you get so much done, or do you yearn for the weekend because then you can catch up with the rest of your jam-packed life?
- Are you kind to animals like dogs and cats and circus ponies because they are innocent or because they implicitly trust you?
- Has it ever occurred to you that others envy your inner strength and effortless talent for doing what you do?
- Do you feel sorry for people who can’t see what’s right in front of their nose, who fail to exercise common sense, and who say mean things because they don’t stop to think before they run their mouth?
- Do you look before you leap, or do you close your eyes, hold the rope tight, swing over the river, and jump where the water is cobalt blue?
- If you had to pick one thing that everyone knows about you, an endearing trait, a personal achievement, or a cocktail, what would it be?
- Are you thankful for the gifts you possess, such as silver and gold, a place at the table, a unique point of view, or is there room for improvement?
- Do you count your blessings, or do you shower blessings on people who might not necessarily deserve them?
- When you sing a song, tell a story, sew a hem, swing your partner, or fry up a big old mess of catfish, do you lavish your heart and soul?
- If you know the answer, do you speak up, or do you patiently wait for someone babbling incoherently to tie themselves in a knot?
- When you’re out for a walk with nobody around, alone doing chores, playing with a domestic pet, reading an article on foreign affairs, or rehashing a conversation in your head, do you sometimes kick up your heels and snort?
- When you pass a beggar in the street, how do you stop from giving them all the cash in your wallet?
- Can you show me where it’s carved in stone, printed in boldface type, or tattooed on an Egyptian mummy, that you have to be perfect all the time?
- Would your ideal portrait be a candid photo, a pastel sketch by a sidewalk artist, or a full-length painting in oil on canvas?
- Is it better to win an argument or to know you are right?
- Are videos taken without your consent fair game on the internet, or do you watch your online presence like a hawk on a bare tree branch?
- Do you sympathize when somebody’s toes hurt because they didn’t move out of harm’s way quick enough, and anyway you didn’t step on them on purpose?
- Should you worry about every little thing that’s wrong in the whole wide world, or is okay once in a while to relax?
- If they handed out prizes for random acts of citizenship, like picking up trash you didn’t throw, or bringing a road crew an ice cold drink in summer, or extinguishing a fire before it can spread in a remote area of a national forest, would you accept or modestly decline?
- Is it more important to have lots of friends or to find true love?
- Do you walk on the sunny side of the street in a broad-brimmed hat when it’s hot as blazes and let the sweat run where it will?
- Is the only thing that holds you back from taking your rightful place in the spotlight a lifetime supply of what if?
Robert Boucheron grew up in Syracuse and Schenectady, NY. He has worked as an architect in New York City and Charlottesville, VA. His short stories and essays appear in Chantwood, Fiction International, London Journal of Fiction, New Haven Review, Poydras Review. In 2016, his one-act plays were staged in Concord, NC and Detroit, MI.