This quiz will identify which self is dominant today—Is it the All-Knowing, Pessimist, Obsessive, True Potential or Authentic Self? Choose the response that most resonates.
- a wooden toy that hardly interested you when time was for the taking. Now, you wish you’d made more of an effort.
- a Chinese-American cellist and graduate of Julliard and Harvard. Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris, schooled in NYC and has soloed with orchestras around the world.
- a dieting term that hits too close to home. You weighed 90 pounds more in your teens yet hardly ate. Now in your forties, you’re at your thinnest ever. You’ve almost forgotten how it felt when your stretch-marked skin strained taut. A recent divorce cured you of midnight binges of Seinfeld and whatever was in the fridge.
- all of the above
- free-market economics whereby “you’re on your own” (like Robinson Crusoe).
Rock the Baby is:
- a trick for beginners. Place your yo-yo hand directly beneath the toy and point your fingers forward to make a cradle. Rock the “baby” in the cradle a few times. Hopefully, it’ll stop crying.
- NBA player Russell Westbrook’s hand motions. As Westbrook explains to Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show, being a big guy, he uses this gesture to indicate that his smaller guards must be treated like babies.
- something you did when you were twenty-two while you cried. You were ready to expose your raw nipples, to explain that irrational thoughts frightened you. But when you answered the door, a male nurse smiled and offered to support you in your breastfeeding woes. Faux-smiling, you lied, “Everything is fine.” After he left, you wondered whether you’d get off scot-free if you simply walked away.
- a song your mother sang to you as a child. You (did/will) sing this song to your own (grand)child(ren).
- something you’re probably done with. There are no guarantees in life.
Around the World
- is an outdoor trick where, rather than jerking the yo-yo when it reaches the string’s end, you swing it in a 360º arc over your shoulder and behind your back.
- …in Eighty Days is a book by Jules Verne in which Phileas Fogg and his valet circumnavigate the world in 80 days. Remember snuggling with your son and his portable DVD player while you watched this movie. Substituting books with movies isn’t your style, but nobody would suspect it from you.
- is where you thought you’d have travelled by now. You haven’t given up yet either—you’re going on a sixth date with an outdoorsy type who dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail.
- is all of the above.
- is where humanity destroys what was once breath-taking. Rain forests cleared for crops in Brazil. Biblical lands as combat zones. The bellies of whales bloated with plastic.
Walk the Dog is
- a common trick. Doing a “sleeper,” allow the spinning yo-yo to roll along the ground like a leashed pet.
- an R&B song written and recorded in 1963 by Rufus Thomas. Months later, the Rolling Stones recorded the same title.
- what you should do right now. Spring has finally arrived after a winter you thought might never end, but your downward spiral into failure seems the easier option. What will hold you back should you succeed? And what if after success you remain unfulfilled.
- is a vital part of your life. Look at how it lights up your little dogs’ eyes! And the river view refreshes your soul.
- what you won’t miss. You’ve had your fill of picking up turds and chain-yanking lunges at every other dog in the neighbourhood.
The Creeper is
- a trick similar to walking the dog. Rather than walking forward with the yo-yo, swing it. Keeping the toy on the ground, kneel and bring it back to your hand.
- a common hostile mob on Minecraft that silently approaches and explodes, destroying the surrounding environment. Also, a major source to stockpile gunpowder and the only method of gaining music discs on the game. (Your son played this game for hours while you were upstairs correcting essays. You thought he was fast asleep. Years later, you research the world that entertained him even though he no longer plays.)
- the guy with the big white truck who lives two houses down. He gives you the heebie-jeebies, yet sort of like being noticed. Does this suggest you like negative attention because you enjoy being the victim? That’s what your younger brother would say.
- what you’ll lovingly call your Virginia creeper once it spreads over the stone fence you plan to build around the quaint country cottage that exists in your future.
- the reason you stopped going to nightclubs. He’s a master of disguise, but there’s no mistaking him. He approaches you every time.
If your answers are mostly:
A’s, your obsessive self holds the reins. Let’s be honest: Your préoccupation-du-jour –yo-yos—won’t yank you from the ruts. Overwhelmed by the information you’ve amassed, you’ve created a personality quiz rather than a serious essay outlining the history of yo-yos.
B’s, yourall-knowing persona—the one you depend on at social functions—steers the bookmobile This lonely homebody who gorges on random topics of interest, so she won’t feel like she’s missing out.
C’s, your almost-authentic self, chockfull of remorse, is at the wheel. Change gears! Life will never be all sunshine and butterflies. Swallow your pride and sign up for therapy.
D’s, your true potential is at the helm. Conquer your hang-ups, and this “self” will sail you toward sunsets.
E’s, your pessimist imposes her opinions! Is she pumping the brakes while your foot’s on the gas? This “self” is so well-hidden that your son has dubbed you “overly-optimistic.” Take a walk. Call a friend. Avoid the tubs of chocolate chip mint at Shoppers. Do not sign up for Tinder.
Inspired by the vast Saskatchewan skies, Rachel Laverdiere anticipates that calm will erupt into thunderstorms, flocking geese will disappear into the sunset, and northern lights will traipse across the blackened stage. Rachel’s writing is published in journals such as The Common, CutBank, The New Quarterly and Filling Station. Her flash CNF was shortlisted for CutBank’s 2019 Big Sky, Small Prose Flash Contest. Visit www.rachellaverdiere.com to find more of her writing.