Over the last few days I took it upon myself to – purely in the interest of science – perform a slightly twisted social experiment via approaching five random strangers to ask each of them an utterly unexpected, perfectly bizarre question, at which point I stood my ground, taking mental notes while they answered with anxious uneasiness, bewilderment, and, in two cases, absolute terror. Let’s review my work…
1. Me (to a horrid-looking seventy-something woman who had just finished complaining to a grocery store manager about the texture of microwavable broccoli): “Excuse me, ma’m, but if I suddenly turn into a bright yellow space alien who loves to read Nietzsche to old women who hate frozen broccoli, would you rub my neck for a dollar?”
Old woman: “I have pepper mace spray.”
– Observation: She hates Nietzsche.
2. Me (to a very well-dressed forty-something man standing in line at a coffee shop): “Hey, man, do you think it’s possible that in an alternate universe Sherlock Holmes is actually an African trapeze artist who hates people who stand in line for fifteen minutes to pay five dollars for a cup of caffeinated bean water?”
Well-dressed man: “I, I, I just can’t talk about this right now.”
– Observation: He isn’t open-minded.
3. Me (to a reasonably attractive twenty-something woman browsing the horror movies at Blockbuster): “I was wondering if you’ve seen a film about the musclebound guy who runs into a young woman at a movie store, has fantasies about turning her into a Bulgarian sex slave amputee while they stand in the horror section, then asks for her number?”
Reasonably attractive woman: “Get the fuck away from me.”
– Observation: She has no sense of adventure.
4. Me (to a plaid-clad thirty-something hipster buying American Spirits at a gas station): “If someone offered you ten million dollars to sag your pants, listen only to gangster rap, and smoke Newports for the rest of your life, would you say no and be a true hipster or say yes and feel my fist crush your face?”
Bespectacled hipster: “I have to walk to my car.”
– Observation: He understands the benefits of walking.
5. Me: (to an appallingly fat man filling his shopping cart with fish sticks and french fries): “What if you suddenly turn into a bunny rabbit who never gets the chance to discover how delicious and fulfilling carrots are because your owner locks you in a cage and force-feeds you fish ‘n chips until your heart explodes all over his overalls?”
Appallingly fat man: “What the hell are you trying to say here, mister?”
– Observation: He’s fucked.