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Testing Times

11 September 2000
Dan will go for B. He hasn't had a B in a while.

Please write on one side of the paper only. Questions are either multiple choice or require written response. Answer written questions on the separate sheets provided.

Please do not begin to write before being instructed to do so.

Please do not continue to write once instructed to cease.

Please do not give too much thought to your answers.



Part 1

  1. Is this what you want?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  2. Is this what you always wanted?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  3. Describe, in not more than 200 characters, the experience of every single morning.
  4. Tell me a story. You may confer.
  5. How do you intend to die?
    1. Immolation
    2. Narcosis
    3. Act of War or Terror
    4. Automobile Accident
    5. Tumorous Growth
    6. Exhaustion
    7. Criminal Act
    8. By Own Hand
    9. Other (specify)

Here's a story. Every time I came to visit, it hurt more to contemplate never visiting again. The last time we spoke was obvious, more obvious than you could have expected. You'd need further maths now, just to calculate the distance. Not to mention the circle of chalk and the circle of blood.

Antimony, anomie, a pinch of Leander's bane - it doesn't take much, in expertise or ingredients, to build the wall that cannot be seen or felt, but remains a wall. It's all a question of flavour. Kiss her in the casket. Say goodbye. Know she will rise alone. Walk away from the crossroads. It's all that can be done.

Part 2

  1. Does the concept of eternity fill you with hope or fear?
    1. Hope
    2. Fear
  2. Recall a single truly exciting moment from your childhood. Writing on the separate sheets of paper provided, construct a comic vignette up to 6 minutes long, with the event at its centre.

The joke, of course, is that you react to impending morbidity by getting nervous, picking your words with care. Always shoring up the walls, laying the groundwork for the next conversation. Get lazy, get lonely. And it never works.

  1. Describe, in suitable detail and with diagrams where necessary, exactly how electricity works. Bonus: Then explain the principles of telephony. Compare.

What's the hardest word to say meant to be? Goodbye? Sorry? Never any trouble saying either. It's conviction that grinds the gears, causes the teeth to catch. Nobody ever gets the hang of saying either one like they mean it - their speech lacks the expressive focus of the arche-language. Except her.

  1. The Eternal Recurrence: Cosmological pattern, or philosophical metaphor? Discuss in French.

How many times have you said sorry throughout your life? And how often has it made a shred of difference, to you or the subject of your apology? By the time you get to "sorry", you've already done it, and concluded that you can get away with the lightest consequences by a suitable show of contrition. Very classy.

And then you did it again.

  1. Question 5 doesn't live here anymore.

In the USA right now, Philip Morris are advertising their commitment to cutting youth smoking. They're telling viewers how much money they have agreed to cough up in compensation. They're saying sorry, sort of.

  1. Does that fact make cigarettes any better for you?
  2. You are a civil engineer. A patch of waste ground is shown to exude dangerous levels of argon gas. You have been instructed to zone for either a meat-packing factory (bringing valuable jobs to the area) or a children's park. Explain your decision.

Absurd question. Argon is a damn fine gas, and never hurt nobody. When you slobs were calling it inert, I knew it was noble.

Try it. Be noble. Be someone else. Never say you're sorry. Live your "sorry". Acknowledged error is nothing but a plea for cheap redemption. And what can you plea-bargain with? The strenuous assertion that you feel bad?

  1. Do you believe that all questions must be answered?
    1. YES
    2. NO

Please. Don't imagine me blind to the dangers of living in the past, or for the past. Why, after all, should a bright young thing like you find yourself beholden to the idea of the dream of reflecting well in the black of eyes that will never open again?

Well, you shouldn't. Except...we fall to rise. It doesn't matter that your cause is gone, but that the next cause finds a better champion. Learn. Nothing that happens once is a sin, and nothing at all is an unmixed blessing. Don't cry to seem interesting, or to make people hold you. Cry because you can never be then what you are now. Or never answer the final question.

  1. What is the purpose of this test? Use plan views.

Please stop writing. Do not check your answers. Discard the separate sheets.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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