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Jack Smith

There are no correct or incorrect answers, but the questions--well, that's another matter

May 27, 1987|Jack Smith

Among the more provocative of recent gimmick books, of which we have a plethora, is "The Book of Questions" (Workman Publishing, New York, $3.95), by Gregory Stock.

It contains 217 questions of the kind whose answers are supposed to reveal one's character, fantasies and values.

"This is not a book of trivia questions, so don't bother to look here for the name of either Tonto's horse or the shortstop for the 1923 Yankees," the author says. There are no correct or incorrect answers, "only honest or dishonest ones."

At random, here are a few of the questions, with my answers. I have tried to be honest.

Q: If God appeared to you in a series of vivid and moving dreams and told you to leave everything behind, travel alone to the Red Sea and become a fisherman, what would you do? What if you were told to sacrifice your child?

A: I'd tell God to mind his own business.

Q: Would you accept 20 years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it meant you would die at the end of that period?

A: At my age, what can I lose?

Q: What was your best experience with drugs or alcohol?

A: It was the New Year's Eve my wife and I went to two parties but I didn't drink anything, because I was driving, and when we got home about 11:30 I opened a bottle of French Champagne and we shared it.

Q: Would you like your spouse to be both smarter and more attractive than you?

A: She is.

Q: If you walked out of your house one morning and saw a bird with a broken wing huddled in some nearby bushes, what would you do?

A: I'd walk back into the house and tell my wife, "There's a bird with a broken wing out there."

Q: If you were at a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner and you found a dead cockroach in your salad, what would you do?

A: I'd cover the cockroach with a lettuce leaf and start a discussion of Gary Hart's sex life.

Q: Were you able to wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do so? Whom would you pick?

A: Yes. Steve Sax, the Dodgers' second baseman. But I'd rather have my job.

Q: Do you believe in any sort of God? If not, do you think you might still pray if you were in a life-threatening situation?

A: It couldn't do any harm.

Q: If, by having a 2-by-2-inch tattoo, you could save five lives and prevent a terrorist attack, would you do so? If you were allowed to select the location and design, where would you have it and what would the design be?

A: Yes. On my rump, like Secretary of State George Shultz. The U.S. Marine Corps emblem with the motto "Make Love, Not War" (with thanks to Paul Conrad).

Q: If you wanted to look very sexy, how would you dress?

A: Very sexy.

Q: Do you consider yourself well organized? How often do you have to look for your keys?

A: My keys have been lost for two weeks.

Q: If you could increase your IQ by 40 points by having an ugly scar stretching from your mouth to your eye, would you do so?

A: No. I'm smart enough already.

Q: In a nice restaurant, after getting the check for an excellent meal, you notice that you were not charged for one of the items you ate. Would you tell the waitress?

A: Yes. In Paris once we were not charged for a bottle of wine. I told the proprietor. He was so overcome that he poured cognac for all three of us.

Q: Relative to the population at large, how do you rate your physical attractiveness? Your intelligence? Your personality?

A: Tops.

Many of the questions seek to find out what you would do for money. I would not do any of the things they wondered if I would do for money.

Q: You are offered $1 million for the following act: Before you are 10 pistols--only one of which is loaded. You must pick up one of the pistols, point it at your forehead and pull the trigger. If you can walk away, you do so a millionaire. Would you accept the risk?

A: Forget it.

Q: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?

A: I'd like to understand nuclear physics.

Q: If you could choose the manner of your death, what would it be?

A: I'd die laughing.

Q: If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?

A: Yes. I'd quit exercising three days a week and get back on champagne and bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Q: If you went to a movie with a friend and it was lousy, would you leave?

A: Yes. My wife and I walked out on Andy Warhol's "Chelsea Girls" and we'd do it again.

Q: Would you rather be happy yet slow-witted and unimaginative, or unhappy yet bright and creative? For example, would you rather live the life of a brilliant yet tortured artist such as Vincent van Gogh, or that of a happy but carefree soul who is a bit simple-minded?

A: If being creative meant cutting off my ear, I'd rather be simple-minded.

What the heck was the name of Tonto's horse?

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