Hyper-theticals and the Boss

What with today being Boxing Day and all, I think it is slightly fitting that this post is inspired by one of my favourite Christmas gifts this year.

Now before you stop reading because you think this is a brag blog-post all about how I got something super-duper expensive and fabulous, don’t worry.  The gift in question is a deck of 50 card with hypothetical scenarios and questions created by one of my favourite writers ever, a Mr. Chuck Klosterman.

C'mon the guy's a fabulous writer and can grow a ginger beard. Badass.

Mr. Klosterman is quite literally the reason I wanted to become a journalist.  (Well him and Hunter S. Thompson, but I am slightly more scared of Thompson, pretty sure if I ever met Klosterman I wouldn’t be scared shitless, I would just seem like a moron).  In grade 11 I remember reading what is now my favourite Klosterman book, Killing Yourself to Live and thinking “Yeah, so I want to be Chuck Klosterman.  He’s a journalist…. That’s what I’m going to be too.”  Now, unfortunately after 2.5 years of journalism school I am not quite as sold as 16-year-old me was, but that is another story.

ANYWAY. If you have never read anything by Mr. Klosterman (which is really quite sad, as everything he writes is pretty entertaining) he is a pop-culture writer, having written for Rolling Stone, SPIN, The New York Times and is really great at the whole understandable-stream-of-conscious thing.

BUT. Getting back to my Christmas gift…

It is essentially a deck of 50 cards with ridiculous hypothetical situations that could only have come from the mind of Chucky-boy.


“One morning you awake and immediately feel strange.  You get out of bed and realize that you are inside a posh hotel room you’ve never seen before.  There is an attractive red-headed stranger sleeping in the bed alongside you.  You frantically get up and rush into the bathroom.  You look into the mirror. Much to your utter amazement, the image looking back at you is Bruce Springsteen.  You start talking to yourself, and the voice you hear is Springsteen’s speaking voice.  You quietly sing to yourself, and it sounds like Springsteen’s singing voice.  You walk back into your hotel room and see an acoustic guitar; you attempt to play it, but your musicianship is identical to how it was when you were your previous self.  In other words, you have Bruce Springsteen’s physical body and vocal chords, but you have your own mind and skills (and all of your experiences and memories are unchanged).  Your knowledge of Springsteen’s lyrics and the details of personal life are the same as they always were.  You are inside Springsteen, but you are still yourself.  Your brain is unchanged.

You open the door of the hotel room and see a copy of the Los Angeles Times.  You flip to the entertainment section and discover that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are scheduled to perform a concert that night at the STAPLES Centre.  What do you do in this situation? How do you proceed?”


My friend Linda and I discussed this scenario for a while.

Now, I don’t know the lyrics to a complete Springsteen song and I cannot play the guitar save “Smoke on the Water” and the only thing I know about Bruce is that he once pulled Courtney Cox on stage to dance with him in a music video.

Courtney really should never have had this haircut...

After some discussion I came to the realization that you cannot cancel the concert simply because some sort of odd-freaky-friday-voodoo-magic thing happened.  No, the show would go on.  I would wrap my hand up in gauze and say that I hurt it, so I would not be able to play the guitar for the show, however.  Then, I would try to learn all the lyrics to as many songs as possible.

If I somehow wasn’t able to cram thousands of lyrics into my head in a matter of hours, I would turn the whole concert into a giant karaoke bar.  With the lyrics projected on the back of the stadium, call it a fun-audience-participation thing.


ANYWAY. That was one of my favourite Christmas gifts, if only because it made me happy that my mother knows me so well that she knew I would really love this completely useless but nonetheless wildly entertaining gift.  I hope all of your Christmases were as good as mine was.  And if Christmas isn’t your thing, I hope you had a slammin’ vacation-holiday-time! (how’s that for political-correctness?)


I will leave you with one more of Klosterman’s very inventive Hyper-theticals:

“Your best friend is taking a nap on the floor of your living room.  Suddenly, you are faced with a bizarre existential problem: He/she is gong to die unless you kick your slumbering friend, as hard as you can, in the rib cage.  If you don’t do this, he/she will never wake up.  However, you can never explain your actions; if you later inform your friend that you did this to save his/her life, your friend will die from that.  So you have to kick a sleeping friend in the ribs and you can’t tell why.

Since you cannot tell your friend the truth, what excuse will you fabricate to explain this (seemingly inexplicable) attack?”


-Ariel out.

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