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Deconstruction: Possibly The Worst Job Interview Question Ever

07 Apr

[Content Notes: Holy Heteronormativity Batman, dehumanising language, death by abandonment, violent riots]

Last August I went on a job interview (for a position I ended up holding for less than a week, I quit in disgust after six days; I’ve told that story elsewhere and would prefer not to rehash it here for the time being), during which I was asked a question which, every time I think about it, seems stupider and stupider. Yet, for some reason, I can’t get it out of my head; every now and then I find myself ruminating on it again and I keep having Thoughts, so I am going to overanalyse the hell out of this thing and see where it takes us.

Here’s the question, as it was presented to me, a cis man (though this is a paraphrase, I don’t remember the exact wording):

“You are driving through the desert in a small, two-seater sports car when you see three people stranded by the side of the road. They are: your best friend; [the love of your life/a hot girl]; and an old woman. What do you do?”

The reason I’ve placed some text in brackets is because the guy asking me the question couldn’t quite remember how he was supposed to ask it, and said first one and then the other; he continued to use the compound phrase whenever it came up in the subsequent conversation, also. The fact that he apparently drew an equivalence between those two phrases really creeped me out even during the interview (I warned you this was going to be heteronormative! Also, holy shit is that objectifying, Mr. Interview Guy, are you seriously trying to tell me all women are interchangeable?), and I think I should have taken that as a red flag and considered it before accepting the job offer, but that didn’t occur to me until after the entire fiasco was over and done with. Needless to say, the stupidity of that equivalence pissed me off right from the start.

One thing that keeps going through my head when I think about this question is, um, what the fuck? How on earth does a situation like this even occur? What kind of idiot drives a sports car through the desert? Why are these three people conveniently stranded there, when I can’t think of a single thing they could have been doing that would have had that results (I suppose MAYBE it could have been a plane crash and they were the only survivors, but then why am “I” the only person able to effect a rescue and so horribly underprepared to do so?). It’s so obviously contrived a question that I wonder whether there’s any merit in seriously engaging with it. However, clearly, I am incapable of listening to that voice of reason and will continue talking about it anyway.

My first response was something like “Well, who cares if the car is too small? Let’s squeeze everyone in, what’s a little discomfort to two people’s lives? If the car can’t handle the extra weight, let’s remove the seats and/or throw away cargo, etc, the situation is serious enough to call for it”. I was told that that’s not a valid answer to the question, and that no matter what I do I can only fit one person in the car. “You have to make a decision.” Um, again, WTF? You’re interviewing me for an engineering position and you don’t like the answer that could involve actual engineering? Anyway, disregarding that, my next question was whether I could make multiple trips and/or call for help to have another vehicle sent; I was told that it would be too late and the two people left behind would be dead by then, so I would be forced to choose one. (Again note the contrivedness of the scenario; I am reminded very forcefully of this).

So I said next “Well, I’ll stop the car and get out, and we can discuss it. I’d like to know what everyone else thinks, maybe we can come to a consensus or, failing that, their preferences will at least help me make a decision.” Reasonable, right? Wrong. Interview Guy basically told me to go fuck myself. Here is, in as close as I can get to his own words, what he said:

“As soon as you stop the car and get out, there will be mass panic and a fight will break out as everyone scrambles to get in. Everyone dies. You have to make a decision.”

Firstly: fuck you, Interview Guy, PEOPLE DO NOT WORK THAT WAY. Secondly, FUCK YOU, INTERVIEW GUY, I KNOW MY PARTNER AND MY BEST FRIEND BETTER THAN YOU, even if maybe some people would act like that in that situation, we certainly wouldn’t and I doubt an angry old lady could singlehandedly kill the three of us, especially if she’s also been stranded in the desert for a while and likely exhausted and dehydrated (though if she could I don’t think I’d mind such a badass old lady being the survivor). Of course I didn’t think to say any of that in the moment, I just mildly said something like “I don’t think that would happen, you’re trying very hard to force me onto rails here” and moved on. By that point I felt pretty thoroughly that he was attempting to insult my intelligence and railroad me back onto his script, and I was getting frustrated. Not to mention that it felt kind of like he was trying to gaslight me about how the world works so that I’d engage with him about his contrived little scenario. I think at that point I basically gave up and said “Okay, we’ll draw straws then, or play Rock-Paper-Scissors, whatever. We’ll decide it randomly in a fair and equitable manner.”

So did that appease Interview Guy? LOL how naive of you to ask. Here’s what he said to me: “The question was intended to test decisiveness. The only way to fail it is to refuse to make a decision, like you did.” FUCK YOU, INTERVIEW GUY. I did make several decisions, he just decided to invalidate them because they didn’t fit the script in his head. I told him I didn’t think the question actually measured that, that I had been approaching it from the framework of ethical theory, and that in general I thought it was a very bad question; I think I also told him that I objected to his assumption that making a snap decision is necessarily better than thinking it through. He basically said that he would take note of my objection but that he wasn’t interested in having that conversation. That was actually the end of the face-to-face interview; after that they took me on a tour of the premises and had me sit for some kind of written test, then sent me home. Apparently my “failure” on that question wasn’t enough to disqualify me from the job, because they called to offer me the position while I was still in the car driving home (whoa, that was fast).

Anyway, spoiler alert: a couple of weeks later, a few days after I’d started working there, the manager (hereafter Manager) and my supervisor (formerly Interview Guy, hereafter Supervisor) noticed I felt very uncomfortable in the work environment and pulled me aside for a chat. That chat was quite extended (it went on for nearly three hours), and their obtuseness during it contributed strongly to my decision to get the fuck out of there, but of immediate salience is the fact that that question came up again. Manager corrected Supervisor on its purpose; apparently, according to Manager, it’s supposed to be a ‘personality test’. That makes more sense than the decisiveness thing, at least, though I find it hard to believe it gives them much useful information unless someone responds to it like I did (which, they told me, had never happened to them before; I’m not sure whether or not to believe it because they were gaslighting me quite a lot during that conversation). We continued to discuss that question for a bit longer, and I mentioned I had thought of a few alternative responses I thought might be morally defensible within their framework, which I told them about:

“I’ll get out of the car, and stay with the old lady to die; she’s lived the longest life so in that sense has the least to lose, so I’ll save my friend and my partner, both of whom I care deeply about.”

“I’ll get out of the car and ask my partner if she would stay with me to die together; we’ll let the other two go on to safety.”

Notably, both of those responses involve “my” (the presumed decision-making agent’s) death; I’m not sure what they made of that. For that matter, I’m not sure what I think of that…

Manager appeared dumbfounded by my response(s) to the question, once told what it had been and apprised of the alternative ideas (he hadn’t been there during the interview); he seemed to imply that it helped him to understand why I was so uncomfortable there and that he might not have given the go-ahead to hire me had he known about it. From this, I gathered (though it was not said) that they thought it unusual for someone to be driven by a sense of empathy and morality, and that such a person was unwelcome at their company. I honestly think Manager may have been reluctantly impressed despite himself, though.

They did tell me during that conversation that my responses were extremely atypical, and gave me some examples of things other people had said: apparently most people choose the friend or the love interest, though on at least one occasion they had someone say “I’ll just keep driving, fuck them all”. According to them, nobody else questioned the premise itself, though as I said I’ve no idea how much I should trust what they said about it during that conversation because they were gaslighty enough about other things.

I also spoke with one of my (briefly) co-workers, who said that he’d been metagaming the question when he responded; he chose the “best friend” option, thinking the interviewer wanted him to “show loyalty”. Perhaps he had some insight into the thinking of the people who designed the question there; that certainly seemed like plausible enough reasoning to me, from what I understand of how these interviews operate, though it complicates thinking about this even further. Going by that sort of interpretation of the response, what would the other options show? Choosing the romantic partner/attractive person option could also be interpreted as “loyalty” if the former; if the latter, what is it, desperate horniness and willingness to coerce consent? Wonderful. And choosing the old lady says what, “respect for elders” and/or “respect for societal norms”? Come to think of it, if they ask the “best friend versus romantic partner” version, what are they looking for, an expression of misogyny as “bros before hos”? What a hopeless muddle; what an awful question.

As a bonus, some time later I thought of what I think might be my best answer yet to this question, if rather flippant:

“My best friend and my romantic partner are the same person, so it logically follows that there are only two people stranded at this location. [Insert either “the old lady has lived a long and fruitful life already, I’m sorry about it but hopefully she’ll understand” or “I’ll stay behind and they can both live”]”.

In conclusion: FUCK YOU, Interview Guy! FUCK YOU, Manager! Fuck your stupid, heteronormative, illogical question in every way possible! SOMEDAY, WHEN THIS SEAL IS BROKEN, I WILL EXTERMINATE YOUR DESCENDANTS. (Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to channel Ganondorf there… I don’t know what got into me). The more I try to think about this, the more I find myself at a loss to find a coherent message to articulate from all of this. Um, if you’re interviewing people for a job, don’t ask stupid questions that make no sense, don’t try to bully your interviewee into following a script, and definitely don’t make heteronormative assumptions. Also, note to self: try to be less shocked when random people you meet outside of the internet don’t share or even understand progressive values. What I really don’t understand is why I can’t get this bloody question out of my head…

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14 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2014 in mitchell

 

14 responses to “Deconstruction: Possibly The Worst Job Interview Question Ever

  1. Moriwen

    April 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    (Here from Ana Mardoll’s blog.)

    Wow, that’s really awful. And the sad thing is, it could work really well as a question to test whether people are willing to think outside the box (like you did) or whether they immediately assume the worst and only try to save one person. In which case “can I cram everyone in?” would be a good thing to say (demonstrates that you gather all available information before making a big decision); “I talk it over with them” is good (demonstrates that you immediately turn to teamwork); and “I send for help” is good (demonstrates that you know when a situation warrants calling in help).

    I wonder if the question was originally intended more as a think-outside-the-box thing, and they pulled it off some website somewhere without understanding what the real point was? Really, if they wanted you to assume you could only save one, they should have gone for a “trolley” setup, since it’s a reasonably common philosophical convention to just grant that there are no other options in a trolley problem.

    I thought through what I would say before I read your responses, and my first response was also to fit everyone in. (Sit on people’s laps, squeeze, open the trunk and sit in it.) My second response was to get out and either use a cell phone if I had one, or light the tires to make three columns of signal smoke if I didn’t. (Tires make great smoke columns, and three is the universal SOS signal.) And then we could set up the car for shade as best we could and do general desert survival stuff.

     
  2. mcbender

    April 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Moriwen: Yes! I really appreciate your analysis too, it makes me much more confident that I’m not completely off base here. I think you’re right that approached properly you could actually do something interesting with this question; after all, it got me to write over two thousand words so there must be something at least mildly thought-provoking about it! I think provided you actually intend it to start a discussion, it’s an interesting question, but trying to force it into multiple-choice ruins all of the interesting nuance that could otherwise be there. And I really don’t think the people at that company were at all interested in nuance.

    I hadn’t even considered that they could have probably rephrased what they wanted to ask as a sort of trolley problem, which is odd because I love thinking about trolley problems and will probably do a post about them at some point. That said, it’d be a bit of an odd one, I’m trying to imagine what kind of track you would need to set up for a trolley problem in which three people are at risk but you can save exactly one of them (I suppose in the worst case we could always get some Bond villains involved?).

    I love your idea of the tires as SOS signal and other desert survival things – I’m really not well versed in that (very much an indoorsy nerd, here! You can tell by my severe Vitamin D deficiency). As for the cell phone – I’d forgotten to mention that when I wrote the post, that was one of the things I mentioned when asking if I could call for help, and he told me that either I didn’t have one with me (driving alone into the desert with no phone? Really?) or there were no cell towers close enough (actually plausible for the desert I think).

     
  3. DawnM

    April 7, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Question is stupid. Post about stupid question is awesome.

     
  4. Sherrie Ricketts

    April 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I bet they made the offer quickly because they were relatively desperate. I would believe it if you told me they have high turnover. That’s a very bad way to interview someone. Your answers were all very valid. I think it said more about how you and the interviewer would/wouldn’t work together than it did about your personality.

     
  5. mcbender

    April 15, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Sherrie Ricketts: Got it in one! I don’t think they were even trying to hide their desperation, and lots of the other people working there told me they had a huge turnover rate. (Though it may sound arrogant to say so, I also think I was significantly more qualified – at least on paper – than most of the other applicants they get, so that may have also played a role in the speed with which they made the offer).

    There were a lot of other really weird things, like the fact they had most of these people (who were hired as contractors, not full employees, so no benefits such as health insurance) working seven days a week for months at a time; it was supposed to be a contract-to-hire pipeline except almost nobody stayed on after the contract period ended (I’m not sure if this was because they saw the light and wanted out, or if the company was choosing not to hire them). It was a horrible place for lots of reasons and I hope it all comes back to bite them.

     
  6. hf

    April 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    See, the Site for Nerds (Less Wrong dot com) gives a general caution against fighting the hypothetical – but that’s because fighting the hypothetical is the default among smart people.

    (From the same site: “Your ability to be more confused by fiction than by truth is your strength,” or words to that effect.)

     
  7. BarbaraKaterina

    April 22, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I’m sorry for not devoting more attention to the central problem in this post, but he really thought a hot girl and the love of your life were so interchangeable that he couldn’t even remember which way he should ask it?
    I mean, the question he asked was idiotic for sure (or rather the way he demanded you to answer was idiotic), but I’m really much more horrified by the above. I thought that by now, we were at least pretending that women men are in a committed relationship with have slightly more than just aesthetic and breeding value? I know, how naive of me…
    And, you know, in case it was supposed to be “hot girl,” then just the possibility that someone would factor that hotness in in making that decision…I don’t even want to think about this.

     
  8. mcbender

    April 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    BarbaraKaterina: I know, it’s horrifying, isn’t it? I really can’t wrap my mind around what would lead someone to conflate those things. To make matters worse, he’s apparently married and has three children. I don’t want to think about THAT either…

     
  9. slightlymetaphysical

    April 26, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    (Content note: Distressing thoughts about mortality, dehydration and rape. I mean, jeez, if you even need that list, it was probably not a great question.)

    Late to the party here, here from Ana Mardoll’s blog, but I just can’t help but swing by and say: WHAAAAA??!!

    For a start, I’d have gone with ‘Improvise. Save them all’ every time and found a way round every railroading they tried. That would have been my genuine reaction and what I’d have assumed most other people would go for. I mean, even just in terms of putting that survivor’s guilt onto your ‘lucky’ choice.

    Secondly, reading it as ‘your partner,’ if they think they can tell something from whether you’d choose your partner or a friend, without knowing either your partner or friend, then argh. I mean, I’m aromanticish so I personally don’t even HAVE a partner/friend binary. The question only makes sense if the reason for saving your partner is because they will reward you with sex, but you heroically let your sexbot die so you can save your cool mate. Which is weird, because I would expect to have as much, if not more, emotional intimacy with my romantic partner. Almost by definition.

    Thirdly, reading it as ‘hot girl,’ (that moment when someone assumes you’re straight and you have to figure out whether to correct them and get shit now or indirectly lie and build up more shit for later – now in a job interview!), how the hell does that work? Is she meant to ‘reward’ you with sex? What are you meant to do if you’ve manslaughtered two people just to bed her and then that doesn’t happen? I mean, the *best* interpretation is that you don’t coerce her at all (good luck with that, given the power dynamic in this situation), but she will naturally be attracted to your charms and fall in love with you, since you’re in an enclosed space for a while. As you drive away from the soon-to-be unmarked graves of the two people who she somehow ended up in the middle of the desert with and shared what she thought were going to be the last hours of her life with.
    “So you know that guy back there? The one I picked you over? Funny thing, I actually knew him. Really well actually. We met back in college and, well, we’ve not seen each other as much recently, but it’s great when we do hang out. Was great when we hung out. It’s ok, though, cos you’re smoking hot. I’m sure he understood. Understands. Wanna make out?”

    Fourthly- have they never had a single female interviewee? You would think some of the terrible dynamics of the question must sound obvious when you replace ‘hot girl’ with ‘hot guy’?

    So, yeah, it’s a mind-bogglingly enraging question, enough for me to spew out a lot of words. It would kinda show decisiveness if you had, I dunno, one space left on your basketball team and your friend, partner and the old woman were all really crap at basketball and you had to decide who to humour? But answering ‘correctly’ in this scenario demonstrates a) uninventiveness, b) unwillingness to consider other solutions and c) a complete lack of imagination. You are being asked to contemplate DEATH. Not, like, video game death which is kinda bad. Death by dehydration. The people you choose will lose everything. They had no hope, they had nothing but time for their imaginations to play on the pain and the fatigue they’d have to endure as they faced one of the most horrifying, protracted ways to die they could imagine and then they saw you coming in the distance, and they watched as you drove towards them and, depending on the formulation of the question, at least one of the two left behind invariably even *recognised your face*, knew you from countless shared and happy memories, suddenly here with a wild improbability that makes their heart leap. You drove up to where they were standing, opened the door and said ‘Get in, quick.’ but you weren’t talking to them. You were talking to someone else. And then they watched as you drove away. Knowing that that was it, their last hope plucked from their hands. You didn’t even look at them. You didn’t even say goodbye. And you drove away and tried not to look in the mirrors as they sat there, and waited for the end. If you want the sort of employee who will cheerfully answer; ‘Oh, I’d pick ____. Obviously,’ and not even consider what that *means*, I don’t have much faith in your company.

    A fixfic, to make me feel less enraged:
    A man was driving in the desert, in an open-top, two-seater sports car. In the middle of nowhere, at the side of the road, he came across his best friend, an insanely attractive person, his partner, and an elderly woman.
    He stopped the car.
    “What’re you doing here?” he asked.
    “Long story,” she said, and kissed him as she got into the passenger seat. “Let’s get out of here.”

     
  10. mcbender

    April 27, 2014 at 12:08 am

    slightlymetaphysical, I love pretty much everything you said, especially the rewrite at the end 🙂

    I also assumed the natural first answer anyone would give would be something like “try to find a way to save everybody”, and was quite shocked when they told me otherwise (though as I said in the post I’m not entirely sure I trust what they had to say on that subject, because they were engaging in a lot of gaslighting behaviours during that conversation and I’m fairly certain they lied to me about other things). If they were telling the truth and it isn’t, all I can say is that it’s truly depressing that so many people with such a surfeit of empathy exist in the world.

    I’m actually a bit peeved at myself that I hadn’t tried to account for what it must look like from the perspective of the stranded people who weren’t chosen (maybe the obvious constructedness of the scenario made them feel less like actual people to me, which is… troubling), and how much worse that makes the entire thing, especially when you factor in survivor’s guilt. Then again, I think I also assumed that there would have to be some conversation involved even if it comes down to the “you can only save one person” decision, I don’t think it occurred to me to imagine the driver stopping the car, saying something like “You! Get in! The rest of you, fuck off!” and immediately flooring it while the other two look on.

    As for the question of whether they’ve ever had a female interviewee – I honestly would not be surprised if they never did. One of the questions I asked the interviewer was if he could tell me how diverse their employees were (I don’t remember exactly how I worded it), and he said something like “we have everything except women, we don’t have anything against hiring them but they tend not to want to work for us” (which HOLY SHIT RED FLAG but, in the throes of optimism that this job might have offered me the way out of a crappy situation, I tried to ignore it). As far as I could tell there were 30-40 people working in the department I was being interviewed for and all of them were early- or mid-twenties men; I did see a handful of women working in other departments but even those were a significant minority.

    I’m not sure I should say I’m glad the question so thoroughly enraged you, but at the very least I appreciate not being alone in that.

     
  11. slightlymetaphysical

    April 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

    This is like a scab of awful that I just can’t stop picking at. I’m trying to leave it alone and just keep getting more and more horrifying and depersonifying questions like ‘What if the hot girl says she’s a lesbian/asexual/monogamously partnered/celibate/not into me, like, half an hour down the road? Am I allowed to turn back and pick the best friend instead? That would be an awkward half hour journey back to The Death Zone. Or should I kick her out there, pick up the friend and then drive past her again in an hour’s time?’

    I would have said that you did empathise with the people who are left behind, in that you very clearly identified that leaving people behind was a last resort and, if you did it, it would have to be a group decision which you might volunteer for. I think that reasoning has to be based in an awareness that leaving people to die in a desert is a *really bad* thing, and you don’t really have a moral duty to actually explore that ethical standpoint in detail because it can be pretty much assumed, you know?

    You forget that if you stop the car for even a moment, the old lady will KILL YOU ALL AND THEN SELF-DESTRUCT (PRESUMABLY), As would be evident to you as you drive past. So there can be no more than a cursory amount of talking. I know that was railroading to get you to choose, but the story totally falls apart at that. If you can’t stop the car to talk, then either they’re standing 10 feet apart on the roadside so you can pull up to only one of them (which is a weird way to wait to die), or they’re standing in a bunch, and you have to be like ‘You! Get in!’ and the one who you indicated will get in and the other two will- stand there and accept your decision? I’d have thought that would be *more* likely to result in a panicked fight to the death, but presumably the old lady massacre-and-self-destruct program only kicks in if you specifically ask her opinion on things? (What a convenient excuse for depriving a woman of agency). And then you have, maybe 40 seconds to say ‘Goodbye and I’m sorry’ as you drive away?

    The entire story relies in so many ways on the fact that none of these people are real people, they’re like dolls. Which conveniently pigeonholed doll shall I play with today? They’re all standing there, spaced apart in such a way that I can select them easily. Which erases their humanity and therefore makes the story utterly useless for what it’s designed to be, a test of your ability to make difficult decisions. Because it’s not difficult, because the narrative continually reinforces the fact that your choices *aren’t* people and they *don’t* have their own opinions and agency and their deaths *don’t* matter.

    Trolley story- There are three tracks. On track A is your best friend. On track B is your partner, and a hot girl. They’re probably making out or something, what the hell. On track C is an old lady. Presumably the evil person who wanted to get at you through people you’re close to thought you knew her, but you don’t. Or if you do, you’ve forgotten because she’s not very hot. What the hell. There’s a train coming on track A and a train coming in the other direction on track C. You can flick a switch to move the A train onto track B, or the C train onto track B.
    I mean, it’s still got a whole lot of weird assumptions around what ‘best friend’ and ‘hot girl’ and ‘old woman’ mean, both culturally and to you as an individual, but it’s much better at making them into real people with real deaths and genuinely testing (you have 10 seconds before the trains come in! 9… 8…) some sort of decision-making, although how relevant a skill that is to real life I’m not sure.

    (BTW, it turns out that there was a prophesy that one day you would choose to kill the old woman, which made you effectively immortal until the day you decided to kill her. That’s why your nemesis set up the implausible situation in which you found yourself, where you’d have to choose to kill her in order to save your best friend or your partner. If you choose to save either of them, your nemesis will have their snipers shoot you instantly. Hubris. Or something.)

     
  12. Number27

    April 29, 2014 at 4:18 am

    So even later to the party, and seconding all the rage at this deeply broken hypothetical and the heapshits who thought it constituted good hiring practice.

    The first answer that occurred to me on reading the question, before reading further, was “I stop, get out of the car, and ask “What in the blue hell is going on here?” before proceeding to have a conversation about the context of the situation, factors I don’t know about, options for saving everyone, etc.” Perhaps I’m approaching it a bit too much like a roleplaying scenario.

    When I read on to the “if you try to talk everyone dies” part, my first impulse response to that would be “Then everyone dies. I value people’s agency enough to take that risk. If events really unfolded as you describe, I would get us all killed. However, I don’t believe that real people, particularly not the specific people you mentioned, would actually act that way.”

    After reading the whole post and considering the situation for a moment, something else occurred to me. I’m driving through this impossibly vast desert (too big for even one return trip or a rescue helicopter or anything, no cell signal, etc etc) and I suddenly see, on the side of the road, two people I know extremely well. People who, in my case, live in different parts of the country and so would have no reason to be in the same place, particularly without my knowing about it.

    There’s an excellent chance that something supernatural is going on here. These are alien escapees from a secret government military base, or ancient desert spirits, or some other kind of beings who are projecting into my mind the images of people I know for some reason of their own.

    I wonder how Manager and Supervisor would react to that answer.

     
  13. mcbender

    April 30, 2014 at 12:28 am

    slightlymetaphysical, I love your turn of phrase – the “scab of awful” is perfect. I’m sorely tempted to steal that to use at a later date (if you’ll give permission, of course) and maybe make into a meme.

    Number27, the “I’d conclude aliens or fae were fucking with me” response really does seem like the best one; I have no idea how they’d have reacted to that but I would dearly love to see their faces if someone were to say it to them.

    What I love about this comment thread is that I keep thinking we’ve uncovered all of the awfulness in this question, and then someone else will come along and tease out yet another dimension on which it’s terrible that I hadn’t considered before then. Maybe it’s not so much a scab of awful as an onion of awful that never seems to get any smaller no matter how many layers we peel away…

     
  14. slightlymetaphysical

    April 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Feel free to use it. I suspect the phrase originates with Eustace Scrubb, anyway.

    I think I have possibly run out of new ways in which this question is awful? Either that or my head’s just too overloaded with them.

     

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