Tomorrow, the person on the verge of discovering a way to rebuild brain tissue will succumb to a lifetime of Super Bowl Sunday buffets, revived in the ER but in immediate need of a heart transplant. This person’s work has the capacity to save millions of people. You have the option of humanely sacrificing one of the following five people for the greater good. Who do you choose?
Candidate A: Ted
Hullo friend, I’m your friendly neighborhood communist :) A lot of people think we’re so different from one another, but we both like Norah Jones, don’t we? Say, do you think it’s okay for people to be killed at the hands of the state? Me either! Heck no. But there is a genocide taking place in our justice system right now, even while I stand here, queuing up some Bruce Springsteen on my iPod at this pleasant neighborhood barbecue. Genocide! Love the Boss. Of course there will be no “bosses” once the proletariat break their class shackles and overthrow the government. Do you think I’ve cooked enough chicken and apple sausages? I’ve always got more if we need. And brie! Listen compadre—you feel like a brother—we communists enjoy episodes of Downton Abbey as much as the next family, and there’s no reason to believe we can’t have BBC programming after we’ve razed society to the ground and began to rebuild a truly egalitarian society from the smoldering bricks up—a process that begins with your purchase of a two dollar copy of our newspaper, if it pleases. It contains some light reading about the instruments our government uses to subvert the free will of man, like in the Jewel song. Oh, look: Ray has made his famous ribs. We are in for a treat!
Candidate B: Chris
It is time I, a white male folk singer, brought African music to the world. I’ve been recording white folksy easy-listening pop music for decades, covering topics as diverse as London roads and country roads and the kinds of roads you journey metaphorically. While I am renowned for singing in major keys and using easy harmonies, it occurs to me that just a continent away there is a people to whom rhythm and music comes almost as naturally as singing in thirds comes to me. These people are going to teach me their extra notes and collaborate with me on an album called, Kenyan Savannah. It will be collaborative, but only my name will be on the album cover.
Candidate C: Jock
I am the man who stands in front of doors on public transportation. My life is full of pressing concerns, especially as regards the need to quickly exit a locomotive at my given stop. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent years working my way up to this position of responsibility in my overcoat and tartan scarf. Oh, I’ve done my time, and now it is my hour to monitor the movement of people on and off a train from my market-analyst vantage point adjacent a sturdy pole I like to lean against while simultaneously blocking the door and playing Candy Crush. When we come to a stop, you may have noticed that I will not move to let people pass over the threshold to the platform: that is because it is my duty to monitor their movements, and intervene if necessary. Nary a cane nor a baby stroller can induce me to neglect my responsibilities. Oop, this is my stop, please allow me to hit you in the back with my briefcase, as I must be off.
Candidate D: Helen
Yeah, I made up the receipt note. What. I used my left hand. I started a national dialogue. What are you angry? That I invented a story about being discriminated against? Um, sorry not sorry? I spend all day carrying cedar plank salmon and dinging my head on Budweiser chandeliers. I suffer from touching microwaved porterhouse steaks. And it is true that I have to wear polo shirts at work, which I haaate times infinity. YOU’RE guilty. Of failing the internet. Are you going to tell me you’ve never told a nation that you were robbed by stingy tippers to make a point about how you’d like more disposable spending money? Okay, so I lied about the polo shirts. Fuck off.
Candidate E: Fred
Wouldn’t it be maaagical to be a unicorn?! That’s what people always think; always about how enchanting it would be to have this technicolor tail and fiber-optic mane; always about the windfall of riches that would come with having a glistening silver hiny that glows like an orb in the moonlight. Apparently you have never tried to get to sleep while blue light from the bodega across the street blazes off your wife’s silky thigh, lighting up the bedroom like an iPad when you have a social media strategy packet due in the morning. Apparently you have never tried to live in a regular apartment with its original fittings, the showerhead clocking you in the horn every time you try to shift underneath the water stream to get some of the damn tension out of your shoulders. “It must be nice not to have to take public transport,” I’m told by admirers of my ethereal, feathered wings—do you clowns think cabs are looking around to see if I’m landing on Fifth Avenue? Have you stepped foot in a bike lane lately? Idiots. You say you’d like a scratch ‘n’ sniff cupcake printed on your thigh, but would you like the exorbitant co-pays that come with? How would you like to be hunted for wand parts? Yeah, life as a unicorn is all rainbows out my butt. Dick.
If you chose… A, the friendly neighborhood communist, you register strong ingroup bias, or you hate Jewel, or chicken sausages? Hard to say. You had a bad lawn mower-sharing experience in 1998, and have not lent it out since. Somewhat hypocritically, you feel quite at home rubbing the porous backs of your hands dry on mystery terry towel robes in the bathroom at dinner parties.
If you chose… B, the cultural appropriator, you score highly on measures of empathy, indignation and mandolins. You miss the authenticity of steel playground equipment. Sometimes it feels like it’s just you and your salt lamp against the world.
If you chose… C, the man who stands in front of doors on public transportation, you are an optimist and a reformer, and are probably not from the city. You have a quaint and touching faith in train timetables, umbrella etiquette and corporate mission statements. You understand that if elephants weren’t enslaved in circuses, they’d be unemployed and a drain on society.
If you chose… D, the internet fraud, you are a strong believer in social justice, and take your role as internet commenter seriously, awarding upvotes and retweets according to a strict internal rubric. Having said that, you follow @upworthy and @FakeCat_Fancy. Sometimes you get so far into a national conversational tangent, you forget what you were nationally talking about in the first place. You just love talking.
If you chose… E, the ornery unicorn, you are a pragmatist disgusted by footlong sandwiches. You are big on “cultural fit,” which typically means you have no tolerance for people who have not read the latest essay by David Denby, or who are not David Denby. You own a T-shirt with the slogan, “I’ve got beliefs where it counts” printed on the inside. It makes for a tremendously smug fit in winter. You are the only prick who chose to execute the non-human.