I’ve been spending too much time on BuzzFeed. All of those quizzes, illuminating so many aspects of my personality that, until now, I just wasn’t aware of. Like which breakfast meat speaks most about my life? (Canadian bacon.) What’s your real favorite color? (Periwinkle.) Which Golden Girl are you? (Dorothy.) The amount of information I’ve learned about myself, it’s too much. All of those multiple-choice questions, I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. Is this the real me, Buzzfeed?
It started out innocently enough. I took this quiz called, “What City Should You Actually Live In?” Right away, I started getting really anxious. I worried that it would tell me, “You should live in: Long Island!” because, and it’s nothing personal Long Island, that’s where I grew up, I love Long Island, but now that I’m living in the city, I’m very conscious of the army of “born and raised” New Yorkers lurking in the shadows, waiting for me to get involved in some sort of conversation about New York, and just as it sounds like I might know what I’m talking about, these people get right in my face, “I’m born and raised in Brooklyn Heights. What part of New York are you from?”
So yeah, I don’t even say I’m from New York anymore, I just say I’m from Long Island, to everybody I meet, chances are they haven’t even asked, because the minute I let my guard down and let a New York slip out, somebody shows up to out-New York me, “Sorry, Long Island doesn’t count as New York. You’re not from New York. I’m from New York. I just had Gray’s Papaya for breakfast.”
Anyway, I got to work on this city quiz, started answering multiple choice questions, asking me about my favorite snacks, what color socks I’d prefer to wear on a rainy Tuesday, I thought, I wonder where they’ll place me, Boston? Hawaii? New York? Nope, it was Albuquerque, New Mexico. Really?
“Yes, really,” it read in the little description afterward, “While you’ve definitely got a pretty serious mean streak, it’s not near-sociopathic enough to warrant a move to, say, an isolated homestead somewhere in the middle of Nebraska. You’ve never tried crystal meth, but you haven’t ruled it out completely. And you just love enchiladas, which is great, because Albuquerque has some of the best Tex-Mex food in the country!”
I don’t know exactly how they got the Tex-Mex answer. If I remember correctly, the question was something like, “If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?” And I looked at the selection of answers, nothing really spoke to me, it just seemed like nine food items placed on the screen at random, gummy bears, ramen instant noodles, steak. I don’t remember anything about enchiladas.
But I guess it must have been a really complicated quiz, all sorts of advanced algorithms and sophisticated programming, because who am I to doubt the power of the Internet? Some girl I went to college with posted that she should really be living in Barcelona. It was hard to judge her total reaction, but based on the, “OMG I knew it!” that she wrote on top of the results, it seems like these quizzes are working for other people.
I took another popular quiz, “What Age Are You, Really?” which, by piecing together character traits and behavioral patterns as deduced through yet another series of ultra-specific multiple choice questions, tells you what your real age is. Like, not your real, real age, but the age which you are really. Does that make sense? It didn’t to me at first either, but I saw on Facebook that all of my friends were really twenty-four, very adventurous, super carefree and full of life, even though everyone I know is either almost thirty or already thirty.
“You’re real age is …” I couldn’t wait to have the Internet confirm for me what I already knew, that I’m still as cool as I was in my early twenties, that even though I’m still young, I’m actually a lot younger, “three.” Three? I mean, I knew that I was youthful for my age, but this is pretty youthful. Do I really act like a three year old?
“You’re not afraid to take a knife and stick it right into a wall outlet, even though your fingers and hands are covered in electric burns, this time it’s going to be different, this time you’re going to find out exactly what’s on the other side of that socket. You’ve never outgrown your love of finger painting, and … what’s that smell? Is mom heating up some chicken nuggets for lunch? Mom’s making chicken nuggets for lunch! Yes! Extra ketchup please! No, I don’t want to wear a bib! Come on mom, I’m three years old, I can do whatever I want!”
This one was hit me a little hard, was BuzzFeed trying to tell me about some developmental disorder? Am I really this much of a handful to my friends and family? To my wife? I mean, doesn’t everybody miss the toilet seat once in a while? Those things are hard, man, and I’m so tall, it’s so far away. Why does that automatically make me a three year old?
But if BuzzFeed says so, then I guess I’ve got a lot of growing up to do. Which is nice, if you think about it, everybody else my age is busy worrying about unfinished dreams and graying temples, I can get back to basics, finally tackle those motor skills and basic social pleasantries. Because, yeah, I suppose it wasn’t really that nice when I grabbed that sandwich out of my coworker’s hand as he was about to take a bite. Even though I wanted it. That was his sandwich, and that was a really immature thing for me to do, to lick the whole thing so he wouldn’t try to get it back, and then to not even eat all of it, just the turkey really, I guess that wasn’t really grown-up of me.
And there are so many more quizzes, so much left to learn about myself. Thanks BuzzFeed, keep making quizzes, I’ll keep taking them, and I’ll continue to post the results on Facebook.