If’n #3

This installment of the Pipeline If’n Series comes to us courtesy of Chuck Klosterman’s book “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs”, which itself came to Pipeline courtesy of Jim at Hyperbole. At one point in the book Klosterman introduces 23 questions he poses to people as a sorting mechanism. All of the questions are absurd. We will examine three of them.

Question 1-At long last, someone invents “the dream VCR”. This machine allows you to tape an entire evening’s worth of your own dreams, which you can then watch at your leisure. However, the inventor of the dream VCR will only allow you to use his device if you agree to a strange caveat: When you watch your dreams, you must do so with your family and your closest friends in the same room. They get to watch your dreams along with you. If you don’t agree to this, you can’t use the dream VCR. Would you still do this?

My answer is: Hell no. Our subconscious rarely has anything positive to reveal about us.

Question 2-You have won a prize. The prize has two options, and you can choose either (but not both). The first option is a year in Europe with a monthly stipend of $2,000. The second option is ten minutes on the moon. Which option do you select?

My answer is: The moon. Europe for a year would be life-changing; the moon would be consciousness-changing. That’s a really tough question, though.

Question 3-Imagine you could go back to the age of five and relive the rest of your life, knowing everything that you know now. You will re-experience your entire adolescence with both the cognitive ability of an adult and the memories of everything you’ve learned from having lived your life previously. Would you lose your virginity earlier or later than you did the first time around (and by how many years)?

My answer is: Please. The circumstances under which I lost my virginity were a complete fiasco that I will not recount here, but despite the fact I felt like it took me forever to do so, in reality I should have waited longer. But that’s not the question, is it? I get to go back as the wise soul I am today, not the doofus I was when I lost it the first time around. I go back knowing what I know now, a part of which is figuring out which girls are interested in a good time for a good time’s sake, and which ones will lead me down a path of frustration and deception. (In theory.) When I go through that whole teen hormone thing again, am I going to use my knowledge to say, “Wait. I’d better wait longer this time, because the first time I was a sap who did something with the wrong person for the wrong reasons?” No. If I did that I’d be an even bigger sap the second time around. I’m going to use my knowledge to find somebody I’m comfortable with, and I’m going to get busy with somebody I know isn’t going to toy with me emotionally. It’ll be sexy fun for the sake of sexy fun, on the part of both parties.

How will I do this? I am reminded of some sage advice I received from a Friend of Pipeline who shall remain nameless, but if you are ever in Madison, WI and need an attorney or some sex advice, this is a good guy to call. He once remarked to me that he was going to tell his kids (and at this time he had no kids, but now has two sons) that when they get to “that age”, they should not hesitate to, in his words, “Go Ugly”. His premise is that teenagers have such unbelievably high standards they usually end up being sexually frustrated by chasing people they have no shot with. This means they get to a relatively advanced age and have no sexual experience, which tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy at that point. At that point I was nodding in agreement because, well, let’s just say that all had an air of familiarity to it for me.

Instead, he believes a lowering of standards is the proper course of action. Once that happens, lots of sexual options present themselves. And one of the things most adults learn, except for those people who do happen to sleep with Beautiful People, is that the enjoyment of a sexual experience typically has very little to do with appearance and very lot to do with attitude. Going Ugly might not be the kind of thing you brag about a lot, but most of the time people who would give you a hard time about it aren’t getting any action themselves, because they are chasing something that’s unattainable. Going Ugly naturally begets experience, and experience becomes it’s own asset down the road, along with attitude. And

Sure, a nice six-pack stomach or perky rack never hurt anything, either.  But those things are bonuses, and not necessary to have a heck of a good time. I know that now. The first time around, I didn’t. So to me, the question isn’t how long you wait. The question is how you figure out a way to pass the time till you can get to puberty.

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18 Responses to If’n #3

  1. Jeff H says:

    How to pass the time until puberty? Are you kidding? By reducing a succession of elemetary school teachers to tears with your preternatural ability to predict global events, your college-level debate skills, and, of course, your creepy, unblinking gaze.

  2. I’m with you on Question 1.

    $2000 a month won’t exactly be a luxurious trip through Europe. The moon is a no-brainer if that’s the stakes. $2000 a day (or even per week) would make it a harder decision, me thinks.

    I wouldn’t change that aspect of my adolesence. But, while you’re there be sure to buy some Microsoft stock at their IPO.

  3. martha says:

    Clearly, there is only one right answer to #1. Watching your dreams with family and friends could be a horrifying experience.

    I’ve never been to Europe (or really traveled much at all), so Europe would be pretty enticing. The moon would be pretty amazing, but it would be an experience you couldn’t really share with anyone. And, how do you live the rest of your life after being on the moon? You can’t top it!

    I also would not change that aspect of my adolescence. And, I suspect that chasing after people that are out of your league may be more of a boy thing. But, I think winning the lottery or reducing junior high teachers to tears with my crazy debate skills would be an excellent use of the trip back in time.

  4. brent says:

    I get to see my dreams already; no need to share those. Plus, why would your friends and family even want to watch your dreams?

    I’m going to Europe. $2000/month is enough to have a good time. The travel to the moon would be at least 80% of the excitement. Poof! I’m on the moon for 10 minutes, then I’m gone just isn’t enough for me.

    I doubt it would be any earlier, but I can’t imagine I’d wait much longer.

  5. brent says:

    I’d like to amend my answer to #3. It might be substantially later, or at least with a lot older girl. Don’t you think it would be a little pervish to go back to being a freshman in HS and start hitting on 15 year old girls? It’s quite possible you could end up like Jason Schwartzman’s character in Rushmore–chasing the unattainable because you simply are not attracted to the girls that are your own (physical) age.

  6. paul says:

    1.Nothing ever happens in my dreams that’s very scandalous, and I’d love to be able to remember a good dream in fulll for once, so record away. It’s my daydreams that would mortify. Although that would be cool to, b/c I could control what they’d be recording, so I’d probably imagine up my own movie, with a very fit verison of myself in the starring role, natch.


  7. Dave R says:

    In other news, I’ll 2nd Jim’s recommendation to read the entire book. It’s all good, and the chapter on the Sims killed me. If you like his writing, you should also check out “Killing Yourself to Live”, which I found thoroughly enjoyable.

    Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, baby!

  8. Jim says:

    Dave, Killing Yourself is indeed fantastic. I prefer Cocoa Puffs, but only barely.

    In any case, I agree with you but think Nate makes a great point that for 2000 a day I’d go for Europe. The hotels, food and liquor you could have for 2000 a day outstrips the moon. Otherwise, the moon.

    My favorite Klosterman question in that section is the one about the gorilla playing defensive end.

  9. Charley says:

    I write simply to note the amount of space you have devoted to each question respectively.

  10. kelly says:

    With the a few more exacpetions for women than men, shoot for less than perfect, is fair advice for both sexes. Like how many hotties were going after the same guy when I was in school? With a sizable downgrade, I could have made them happer 😉

    So the unanswered question from last week regarding being a 6 year olds wing-man is relevant again. Is it “Linus, Lilly, you need to go ugle and get this experience while young under my roof: give up on the gorgeous stragith A athlete who candy stripes on the weekends….” or is that advice just for the lads in your household?

    I’d relive everything a second time and change virtually everything… not because I’m dissatisfied with where I am, I just want to experiment with what I dont know. I’m also in for Europe over the Moon.

  11. kelly says:

    Change that….. I’d learn how to type and spell better.

  12. brent says:

    You wouldn’t learn how to spell better; you’d just tell your grade school teachers that in about 10 years the “spell-check” would make all that shit irrellevant.

  13. pipelineblog says:

    I have to say the biggest incentive for the Europe choice is the implied year-long vacation. I probably won’t get to take a year to do anything from now until I’m 60, and even then probably not. Even if the offer were “take a year off to do anything besides work”, even without the $2,000 a month stipend, I would probably take it. But the moon is, well, it’s the moon. Lots of people have been to Europe for extended periods of time. Only a handful have been to the moon. Allegedly.

  14. mrfares says:

    My dreams might have an off day every once in a while but they are generally pretty darn good. I’d totally use the dream VCR. My family and closest friends have seen me with no pants on plenty of times.

  15. Jim says:

    Brent, did you misspell “irrelevant” ironically? Because that is funny.

  16. Sean says:

    #1 – I’m way too repressed to take a chance on this. Plus I suspect that most of my dreams are just a random jumble of impressions, and the majority of the ones that are halfway lucid would come to seem banal and repetitive in the glow of the cathode-ray tube.

    #2 – Cracker, please. Airplanes go to Europe EVERY DAY. And if you really want to live it up while you’re there, you can find a way to make it happen. I’ll be on the Moon.

    #3 – This has long been a what-if of mine, to the point that I’ve occasionally constructed elaborate plans to bet on the World Series winner every year without changing history. Either that or become the greatest scout baseball’s ever seen…

  17. brent says:

    Jim, Sadly no. I just can’t spell either.

  18. notchris says:

    I am hurt, nay, deeply wounded, that when you finally get around to quoting Klosterman my contribution is ignored. Was it not me who told you that I read him in your voice? Did I not refer you to “Fargo Rock City” as a follow-up to our “metal as formative music” e-mails oh-so-many years ago?

    That you cite Jim – my arch-nemesis – is truly salt in the wound.

    I am weeping.

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