I’m not immune to the appeal of online quizzes. I know I come across as a cool dude with a hip swagger and a Heming-way with words (clever, right?), a happening bro who wouldn’t dream of stooping to the level of an online quiz like the untold millions of slack-jawed dimwits that pollute our nation’s social media outposts, but sometimes I simply can’t resist. Sometimes I genuinely want to know what country I’m really supposed to be living in or which character from a John Hughes movie I am. Sometimes it’s important.
Most of these quizzes, I think you’d agree, are innocuous little time wasters, fun breaks from the unending shitstorm that is life. Some of these quizzes though are downright irresponsible, committing libel, spreading lies and ruining the lives of the quiz-taker and everyone who loves him/her.
I recently took a quiz entitled HOW MUCH DO YOU LIKE CATS? featured on the Brainfall Web site, for which, after answering each question with complete honesty, I received a score of 29%. I was informed that I hated cats, my reasons for taking said quiz were questioned and I was a labeled a “horrible person.” With one “innocuous little time waster,” my reputation had been ruined.
People who know me know that I like cats. I’ve grown up with cats. I have a cat currently. My current cat, Garbage, is fed, watered, provided with a clean place to poop, treated like a minor deity by my three-year-old daughter, the only member of the family he truly “likes” (He respects me from a distance, occasionally getting close enough to chew my legs and arms in what I believe is a “flea-removal” technique [it feels very nice]; he is obsessed with my wife in a very lustful, stalkery way that she doesn’t really appreciate), up-to-date on all shots and given free range of the house for all of his lounging, relaxing and sleeping needs. I love my cat, as one is required to love any family member, I like him most of the time and I respect his right to happiness. That being said, when he “kicks off,” I’ve already told my wife, who is in complete agreement, that unless our daughter begs for one, we’re done with pets, more specifically, pets that shit in the house.
I’d be happy to live out my post-Garbage years without a pet of any kind. This statement should not lead you to believe that a) I am a bad person or b) that I hate cats and deserve a 29% on an online cat quiz. You tell some people you’re done with pets and they look at you like you’re some kind of monster. I simply don’t want to be responsible for the health and upkeep of an animal any longer. If I have a dog thrust upon me as a result of the pleas of an adorable half-Asian moppet, fine. I’m not going to resent the dog, abuse it or ignore it. I’ll treat it with kindness and respect because I am not a monster. But I don’t want a dog. I don’t want any more cats. If I want to see fish, I’ll take my family to eat at my favorite Chinese buffet and we can check out the indoor koi pond. I don’t want hamsters, gerbils, birds, lizards, snakes, bunnies—anything! I just want animals to leave me alone. I love ‘em, but c’mon, I’ve had enough.
That, of course, doesn’t mean I hate cats. I’ve said it already, but it bears repeating: I like cats! So, why is the idiot who devised this Brainfall quiz convinced that I don’t? Well, I think it’s because I answered the questions wrong. And what were some of these questions? I don’t remember them word for word, but I think I can give you the gist.
One question asked who I talked to when I was at a friend’s party: my fellow human party guests or said friend’s cat. I, obviously, answered that I would talk to the other humans in attendance, who I assumed I myself was friendly with on some level. I suspect this was the wrong answer. By indicating that I would rather have a conversation with a fellow human being than a feline with the brain the size of a peach pit and no viable way to communicate through language (meows don’t count), I am not suggesting that I will ignore the party host’s cat or, when nobody’s looking, stomp on his tail or dump his kitty kibble into the toilet and flush while the cat looks on forlornly. I just think if you go to a party and spend the whole evening in the corner conversing with a cat, you are probably a crazy person. If you want to talk to cats, you should probably just stay home and, you know, talk to your cats. You aren’t required to attend parties at your friends’ houses. If you want to be a homebound weirdo who does nothing but shoot the shit with cats all day long, be my guest. Doesn’t mean you like cats more than me, just means you are kind of strange, and that’s OK. GEP is a place for the strange, a place for the cat-talkers. My beef isn’t with you, it’s with Brainfall and this dumb, dumb quiz.
Another question asked “Do you like LOLCATS?” I think I know what LOLCATS is (are?). It’s the I Can Have Cheezburger thing, right? Whatever it is, I like it. And I think that’s the answer I chose: I like it. I believe “I love it” and “It’s the only funny thing that has ever existed” were also choices. I think by acknowledging that I simply “like” the idea of funny cat pictures was not enough. I think, in this quiz maker’s eyes anyway, to prove your love for catkind, you must believe that LOLCATS is (are?) the height of comedy. I don’t think it (they?) are. Sorry. I think there are so many things funnier in this world than goofy cat pictures with purposefully misspelled captions.
Here are a few other questions that, I think, screwed me: “Could you date someone that didn’t like cats?” (my answer: Yes); “Do you often find yourself distracted by your cat’s cuteness?” (my answer: No); “Have you ever had a deep conversation with your cat?” (my answer: No, don’t be silly).
First, when I was a single man, how potential dating partners felt about pets was never a factor. It was more important to me that they wanted to go out with a professional temp who lived in a crummy apartment, ate a lot of fast food and was quick to “let the lady pay.” “Would you recoil in horror if I suggested that the two of us have intercourse?” was a way more important question than “Do you like cats?”
Second, I’m not distracted by any animal’s cuteness. Garbage is very cute. I don’t refer to him as my “little kitty bear” for nothing. He shouldn’t feel bad about himself because I don’t look up from Instagram or pause whatever episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives I’m watching for the 11th time to take in his cuteness when he lumbers into the bedroom. Very few things distract me. My wife getting undressed in front of me, that distracts me. My wife coming out of the shower in her untied bathrobe, that distracts me. Basically any time my wife is removing clothing. That’s what distracts me. Cats, not so much.
Third, what kind of deep conversation am I supposed to be having with my cat? I’d rather talk to my wife or my dad or my friends when I have something important to discuss. Hell, I’d rather have a deep conversation with my three-year-old. She can at least give me a kiss and tell me she loves me after I discuss with her for the third time that day how unhappy I am at work. What’s a cat gonna do? Walk away halfway through a guts-spilling session, that’s what. There’s no better way to make someone feel like a pile of garbage than to walk away while he/she is trying to express something personally meaningful. And that’s a cat’s M.O..
Look, I don’t hate cats, all right, so stop saying I do, Brainfall! What kind of name is Brainfall anyway? You must’ve fallen on your brain when you were a kid and now you’re all dumb or whatever. Your cat quiz sucks!