This used to be my favorite parlor game to play to try to out-torture other adults on poker night. It’s a Sophie’s Choice. The worst one I ever got was when someone made me decide: Would I rather have sex with Michael Jackson or my father? I had to modify it for this column, since these are kids.
Last column we had Would You Rather, light (girls). This is Would You Rather, dark (boys).
VICE: Would you rather be responsible for killing one person who you love, or cutting off the arms of 35 people you care about somewhat.
Will (14): I don’t know. I don’t want to kill someone, but I don’t want to maim all those people, either.
You have to pick. This is Would You Rather. You’re my prisoner. You have to Rather one.
Bean (11): I would kill someone I loved ten seconds before they were about to die.
You don’t get to name the terms. You can’t predict the outcome.
Will: I’d kill myself, because I love myself, and that way I don’t have to kill or maim anyone else.
Oh! You’ve outfoxed me! Would you seriously, though? If I handed you a gun right now, would you really go through with it rather than just having some other people live armless.
Will: Yeah, I would. I’d just pshhht! Just do it.
Max (17): I figure killing one person would be way easier to cover up, and they can’t come back for revenge. Whereas if I cut off 35 people’s arms, they’d be hunting me till the end of my days.
Wolf (17): Second choice, because I don’t want someone I love to die.
But remember after you’ve cut off the arms of ten people, there’s 25 more in line for their arms to be cut off.
Wolf: [growls] I don’t like killing people. But I don’t do well with blood. I can’t do even the second one.
Would you rather love one person who couldn’t love you back, or be loved by many, but you couldn’t feel love yourself, for them, or anyone else?
Will: I’ll take the millions of fans, I don’t care.
You guys are young now. Do you want to go through the next 70 years without feeling love? I mean, it’s precious! You’re just going to be loved, but you won’t even know what that means.
Max: I don’t want to be a sociopath. But if I have to choose between unrequited love and endless sex, so…
Will: Yeah! I’d be so badass.
Bean: I’d go live in the woods. Then there wouldn’t be anyone for me to love, or to be loved by.
You’re going to be a solitary man?
Bean: Yeah. Hunt animals.
Will: Yeah, I’ll take all the girls.
So you’ll never have a broken heart. But you’ll never have a full heart, either.
Will: I don’t care!
Will’s dad: What if your girlfriend reads this, Will?
Will: I don’t know. I’ll just not let her read this one. But if she does… Hi!
Wolf: I would like Ms. Cabot. Or at least act like I did. She’s really cranky, and I don’t get along with cranky people. I would choose the first one, because I would rather love someone instead of people loving me and I don’t feel it. I want my heart to be balanced. I need to try to be as nice as I can. I just want people to be happy. It makes me happy to feel love, and it makes other people happy to be loved.
You guys come up with a Would You Rather for me.
Wolf: Would you rather have me die doing things I want that bring me pleasure, or live a long time and not do things I feel addicted to that are bad for my health?
Live, of course. Things that feel right when you’re a teenager feel right for a minute, but before death usually comes brain or body damage that lasts decades, or guilt over the damage you caused other people. When I was a teenager, the idea of ever being 25 years old, much less 50, seemed just stupid, not real. But once you are old, it’s quite a surprise to find out it really is real, as real and total as is being young.
Max: Would you rather have prevented the Holocaust or American slavery?
Will: Because that was just blatant killing of people.
Slavery was an economic system that is not that different from a certain strata of society today. I mean, it sucked, but life does suck for large segments of any population in any era. As a slave you might have better healthcare and a roof over your head more than some free workers today. And you still can get raped and get no justice for it, in either system.
Max: I’d rather be somebody’s property than to be what I am now. Because then I’d at least know that I had no control over my life instead of being tricked into the mirage that I have any.
I just can’t see any positives to the Holocaust. If you’re a slave, you can still be free in your mind, but if you’re in Dauchau, you’re probably dead.
Bean: Would you rather shove a million bamboo shoots underneath your own fingernails or jump into a pit of cacti, corn snakes, and limejuice?
I’ll take the latter.
Will: Yeah, you should take a ladder, so you can climb back up out of that pit.
Ha! Yeah, definitely. Even shoving one bamboo shoot up your own fingernail… At least with the pit, it’s other things doing bad things to you. It’s double torture to have to hurt yourself. Imagine when you get to 900,000 and you’re thinking, “100,000 more to go.”
Bean: It just hurts like crazy when you get a bunch of needles in you.
I actually did fall really hard into a cactus one time. It hurt, but it was kind of exciting at the same time.
Will: I stepped on a nettle about two weeks ago. It still hurts.
I have a woodchip jammed in my eye right now.
Max: You should go to the hospital.
I don’t have any health insurance, because I’m not somebody’s slave. So I’m just waiting to cry it out.
Unrelated statistical update. The sliver of woodchip never got cried or plucked out by my own hand successfully, so I had to go to the ER and it cost $850 for them to numb my eye and get it out themselves. It took five minutes total, including triage where I got my blood pressure read. $850 for five minutes means $10,200 an hour. As a writer, I make maybe five dollars an hour, so if I work ten hours a day five days a week, it would take almost a month of my labor to pay for the de-slivering.
Previously - Would You Rather (Girls)