1. Your favorite carnival ride is:
a) the Coney Island Cyclone.
b) Nathan’s Famous.
c) behind on its inspections.
d) Ryan Reynolds.
2. Have you ever seen a corpse?
a) No, but a different part of me once dissected a cadaver.
b) I admire their work on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
c) I once thought so, but it was an old Eggo waffle.
3. At the deli on a busy Saturday, you tell the clerk:
a) “Number 47? Yes! Here! I am going to die here.”
b) “Could I have a half pound of the square vegetarian chicken loaf?”
c) “How fresh are the Krabstix?”
d) "I’d like some paper-thin prosciutto cut from your sharpest circular saw, please.”
4. Have you ever died in a dream?
a) I once dreamt I fell out of a tree. I no longer sleep in trees, and my elbow bends just about all the way.
b) I dreamt I could fly, but was shot to death for using my cellphone during takeoff.
c) I dreamt I was in the Black Lodge, trying to find the bathroom. I wet the tree.
d) I dreamt I was in Guns N’ Roses’ music video for “November Rain.” She died, right?
5. Your strongest memory of learning to ride a bicycle was:
a) of crying for all the wasted days back when wheels were square.
b) the guilt of leaving my father behind as I took off on my tricycle under my own power and rode to the registrar to emancipate myself.
c) of getting my shoelaces caught in the derailleur, and wailing, “I won’t even have a derailleur for another ten years!”
d) of the black bear refusing to use his bell when approaching pedestrians.
6. The biggest risk you have taken this year is:
a) lifting the emotional mask that I have worn my entire life.
b) failing to properly attribute a gif on my Tumblr.
c) opting for the HSA.
d) investing VC funds in magnetic blankets.
7. You first realized you would die:
a) during an interview with Terry Gross in which I found myself sobbing unaccountably.
b) when Dylan McKay’s dad blew up on 90210.
c) out of the blue, while gingerly handling a sizzling fajita platter in the June sunshine.
d) the time I lost my arm to the wombat hole.
8. Before you die, you want to:
a) complete a mini-triathlon.
b) master a short-crust pastry.
c) master a servant.
d) die climbing Everest.
Award yourself 1 point for each A, 2 points for each B, 3 for each C and 4 for each D, then multiply your score by your total number of regrets/your total number of regrets.
1-8 points: Not ready
Like a dog running away from its tail, you have spent your life in a flat-eared panic about your mortality. At your core, you know that one day the tail will catch up to its muzzle, and devour body and spirit in a rabid spectacle, leaving nothing but dust and the Everlasting Treat Ball. However, you have no idea how to prepare for the terminus of your giddy run, and have given yourself over to ramen burgers in the meantime.
9-16 points: Just need to put pants on and then will be ready
Though you feel prepared in life generally, death is the spot-free glass door that you will one day walk into, sight unseen, leaving behind a legacy that lasts only as long as your loved ones, and a face-palm that lasts for all eternity. This is a truth known to you only fleetingly during the summer solstice, when the sunset hits the streets at just the right angle to illuminate the hopelessness of man. In the kitchen section of Home Depot, you have heard a whisper say, We are all just breath prints on the window pane of time, and realized you would be happy to die with a quartz countertop.
17-24 points: Put my head in the armhole by mistake, almost ready
You live with the twin fears of death and hats, aware of the contradiction that all humans face of being a giant among nature and yet having terrible hair most of the time. You know that life, like Oscars fashion, can never be taken for granted: You start off in a striking, revealing gown, but as you age, the sleeves creep down, and the neckline creeps higher, until you start showing up in satin capes, and then one day you’re in a Dior bodybag, and you’re dead.
25-32 points: Born ready to die
In your philosophy, life is just a rehearsal for death, and fear of mortality just a flesh-colored body stocking there to add theatrical oomph. You are not only ready for death, but play Russian roulette on a daily basis with Dole bagged salads. You have a Game of Thrones-themed funeral on a pre-pay plan to make your eventual loss easier on your family, and are now off on your bicycle to buy some bosc pears along a rural Californian road frequented by logging trucks.