Quiz: Which Metaphor Best Captures Your Personal Brand of Post-Modern Ennui?

Nick Martens presents a handy quiz to help your liberal arts-induced existential loneliness.

Illustration by Brad Jonas

What keeps you up at night?

  • A. My job
  • B. My unemployment
  • C. A vague but overwhelming sense that my life could fall apart at any moment, without warning
  • D. The damn neighbor kid

How many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the humanities do you hold?*

  • A. 1
  • B. 2
  • C. 3+
  • D. Only counting accredited institutions?

*Note: respondents for whom the answer would be “none” are disqualified from this quiz.

What do you feel guilty about?

  • A. My race
  • B. The social class I was born into
  • C. My inability to feel happiness despite outward trappings of success
  • D. That time I shoplifted from Borders

When you read the news, what is your reaction?

  • A. Jaded resignation
  • B. Panic, followed by denial
  • C. Prolonged, unflagging despair
  • D. The Onion still kills it

Which psychological treatments are you currently undergoing?

  • A. Talk therapy
  • B. Psychiatric medication
  • C. Daily Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions, large doses of antidepressants, and occasional institutionalization
  • D. Sometimes I like to smoke a joint on the weekend

Which author do you most relate to?

  • A. Sylvia Plath
  • B. Ernest Hemingway
  • C. David Foster Wallace
  • D. Dan Brown

What is your darkest secret?

  • A. My criminal record
  • B. My history of drug abuse
  • C. My cooperation with a dictatorial strongman
  • D. Remember when Keith broke Gina’s laptop? That was actually me; I blamed him because I knew he was blacked out.

How would you describe your attitude toward romantic relationships?

  • A. Self-destructive
  • B. Commitment-phobic
  • C. I refuse to acknowledge that other people exist
  • D. Onanistic

What do you think the world will be like in 100 years?

  • A. Ravaged by the consequences of climate change
  • B. Torn apart by religious and political strife
  • C. Contemplating an unthinkable “population control” scheme in a desperate attempt to staunch the bleeding of the last of the planet’s resources
  • D. Probably, y’know… sexbots?

How do you feel about death?

  • A. I have come to terms with its inevitability
  • B. I welcome it
  • C. I feel only apathy, as the universe does for all life
  • D. What the FUCK is wrong with you people?

Give yourself 1 point for each A or B, 2 points for each C, and -1 point for each D.

Figuratively speaking, you are:

-10-0: The canopy of a hot air balloon in flight; empty, bloated, and oblivious to the cares of the world
1-2: A bundle of organic kale, missing its yellow band, sold as non-organic
3-4: The mumbled second verse of a marginal pop hit sung at a karaoke bar
5-6: A sexually explicit tweet, intended as a direct message, that is quickly deleted but still propagates to several followers’ clients
7-8: A craft brewer’s failed experiment, foisted on polite friends and relatives for no charge
9-10: Like, some bird
11-12: A bathroom in a hipster bar from which the mirror has been removed because it caused excessive self-consciousness in its patrons
13-14: A keytar purchased as a costume accessory for an ‘80s theme party
15-16: The episode of The Wire where they kill Wallace
17-18: A power strip, forgotten underneath a bed, itself plugged in, but with nothing plugged into it
19-20: The cacophony of footsteps that results when the first act of an open mic leaves the stage, the host returns to introduce the next act, and the multitude of patrons who did not realize it was open mic night flees the establishment


Illustration by Brad Jonas

Nick Martens is a founding editor of The Bygone Bureau. You can email him, if you like.