Rorschach
by Aadler
Copyright December 2005


Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: the Series are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.


This story spun off from the "70 Questions" character meme started by nemo_gravis.


Personality Integration Profile on Subject WM

Okay, now. I know exactly what's going on here. Blind post box, polysyllabic company name that winds up saying exactly nothing ... this survey is from DRI, right? You guys found my footprints in your database, from when I needed to work up those neural collars, and now you're checking me out. Not as a threat, I'm thinking; if you were seriously worried about me, you'd be doing something pretty dramatic. So I have to believe you're looking at me as a potential member of your group. Trust me: I have a lot to offer. A lot You won't be disappointed.

1. Do you snore?

Three words: Breathe-Rite Strips.

2. Are you a lover or a fighter?

A guy has to be one or the other? Sure, in popular culture the mightiest warriors also get the babes. You can see the reasoning: a woman's vestigial brain equates reflexive belligerence with strength (i.e., success), and she wants to mate with the male who can give her children with the greatest chance of survival and domination. Modern example, jocks and cheerleaders. Which also settles the mystery, why do women go for guys who treat them like crap? they do it because the guys treat them like crap, anything else they automatically dismiss as weakness.

Doesn't have to be that way, though. Nice guys really do finish last … but smart guys, the ones who can use strategy to circumvent the initial advantage of brainless aggression, wind up running the armies and the empires. Then who gets all the chicks?

3. What's your worst fear?

A dumb guy would claim he didn't have any. A semi-smart guy would try to pick one that would make him look good: "fear of failing the people who depend on me". Me? I say screw it, if you can't handle the truth I wouldn't want to work for you anyhow.

My worst fear is having somebody else get ahead on my work. Steal the credit, shove me off to the side. So, naturally, that's what I make sure to guard against. Anybody who tries it is going to pay in ways he could never imagine.

4. As a kid, were you a Lego maniac?

Absolutely. Then, at age 7, I got into integrated circuits.

5. What do you think of "Reality" TV?

I have some ideas that could revolutionize the genre. Of course, the censors would never allow it. Or the ACLU. So the first step would be to neutralize any potential opposition from them. I have thoughts in that direction, too.

6. Do you chew on your straws?

Okay, so am I supposed to get paranoid here and start wondering if you think that would mean oral fixation, automatically indicating homosexual tendencies? Breaking news, Sigmund: sometimes people just chew on things. No straws for me, but I'll work on the end of a pen sometimes. (The cap end, I'm not an idiot.)

7. Were you a cute baby?

I was beyond precocious. But I've seen the pictures, so I'd have to say, if you mean cute to look at, no. Let's face it, most babies are unformed blobs anyway.

8. Is the single life for you?

For now. Until I'm in position to choose the woman (or women) I want, and able to enforce my choice.

9. What color is your keyboard?

Black. No significance there, it just came with the system. But I did choose a wireless mouse to match it, if you want to think that means anything.

10. Do you sing in the shower?

I do quadratic equations in the shower.

11. Have you ever bungee jumped?

Remember my comment in #2 about brainless aggression? The same testosterone overload causes pointless, high-risk behavior. I'm not prohibitively averse to risk, but I won't do it just to prove something, there has to be a payoff in there. Give me a good enough reason, I'll toss a parachute out of a plane and then jump after it, make a calculated gamble that I can catch up to it and put it on with time to deploy … but it would have to be a damned good reason, something giving me a return commensurate with the danger to be faced. The ability to assess the odds and make a choice on the basis of a favorable risk-benefit ratio, that's a hallmark of success. Doing it for the adrenaline rush, that's a sign of intellectual deficiency and a predictor of early, profitless death.

12. Any secret talents?

They're all implicit in the brainpower, baby. But so many people underestimate that, can't see deep enough into the range of possibilities, that it might as well be a secret.

Also, I can curl my tongue in three distinct ways.

13. What's your ideal vacation spot?

Australia's Gold Coast. With a yacht. I could do one of the Swiss ski resorts, that'd make a good second choice (or change of pace), but I'm basically a warm weather type of guy. Maybe Club Med, if that still exists and hasn't been taken over by gay tour groups.

14. Is Jay Leno funny?

Again I see the hook here: I'm supposed to say something like I only watch public television, or dismiss him as a sellout and point to someone younger and edgier as the real deal. Truth of the matter is, I don't watch that much late-night stuff, I usually have other projects in the works; but when I do, Leno is a safe bet. I think Conan O'Brien is smarter and has a more interesting personality (and usually better guests), but Leno does a better job of making a talk show work as a consolidated product. Letterman's a total jerk-off.

15. Can you swim?

I can swim. I don't enjoy it — jump in, do a few laps, after that it's all repetition, where's the fun supposed to be? — but I made sure I knew how.

16. Have you seen the movie "Donnie Darko"?

Heard about it. Time travel movies tick me off, because they always have to explore paradoxes and convolutions. Nobody ever sets out just to see how to make it work, to use it for advantage and profit. You have to know it could be done, but artists don't care about mundane things like that.

17. Do you give a damn about the ozone?

If it ever gets really bad, we'll just start manufacturing the stuff. Meanwhile, I have better things to focus on.

18. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop?

Any answer would be meaningless. Even granting a uniform standard for size and composition of the thing being licked, you'd still have far too many variables in the population doing the licking: age, gender, surface area of the tongue, viscosity of the saliva and the proportion of enzymes it contained, force applied in each lick … And this is assuming (which I would) that we're limiting it to humans doing the licking.

I did it once, when I was about 10, just to prove I could. But it wasn't remotely important enough for me to remember how many it took me, and the result wouldn't apply to me now. So the basic answer is, why would anybody care?

19. Can you sing the alphabet backwards?

I could if I set my mind to it, but I can't think of any reason I'd want to make the effort.

20. Have you ever been on an airplane?

Sure. Am I supposed to segue now into a story about getting into the Mile-High Club? Because I'm working on some things that are a lot more interesting than that.

21. Are you an only child?

Yep. Mom says they broke the mold when they made me. Then she laughs kind of funny.

22. Do you prefer electric or manual pencil sharpener?

Mechanical pencil. A 0.5mm lead for general work, 0.3mm for detail. The 0.7mm is for meatheads in auto shop.

23. What's your stand on hunting?

That depends on what I'd be hunting, and why. Like I said before, risk-benefit ratio.

24. Is marriage in your future?

Maybe. I'd want a pre-nup that would leave her wearing paper towels if she ever tried to dump me; I'm not much for letting myself get hemmed in by contractual obligations. But are there women in my future? count on it.

25. Do you like your handwriting?

Handwriting is meant to be readable. Mine is architect-quality.

26. What are you allergic to?

Cat dander. Ragweed pollen. And — annoyingly — nonoxynol-9.

27. When was the last time you said, "I love you"?

I don't think I ever really do say that. Most guys just use it as a verbal lubricant; I prefer to let intellect do the speaking. Few women appreciate that approach, but then the ones that do are the only ones worth paying attention to.

28. Is Elvis still alive?

If anybody was rich enough — and weird enough — to fake his own death just to get himself out of the public eye, it would be Elvis. (And if he did, he's probably hiding out somewhere slamming back kamikazes with John Lennon, the two of them laughing themselves silly over Michael Jackson's application before blackballing it.) Do I acknowledge the possibility? Absolutely. Do I believe in it? I never cared enough to wonder.

29. Do you cry at weddings?

Haven't really been invited to any. I might want to think about that, I hear the spectacle does interesting things to the bridesmaids' hormones.

30. How do you like your eggs?

In an omelet, with crumbled bacon, grated Monterrey Jack cheese, and just a dash of horseradish. I ever do hook up with a woman, she'll have to take lessons from Mom till she gets it right.

31. Are blondes dumb?

Being blonde doesn't automatically make someone dumb, but being dumb has a pretty strong likelihood of prompting them to go blonde. For women. Stupidity is less likely to make a guy bleach his hair … but if he does, it's generally a good sign that he's really dumb.

32. Where does the other sock end up?

I buy socks in bulk, about twenty pairs at a time: ten pairs white, ten pairs black. That way I don't have trouble matching them. If I ever need to dress fancier than that, I'll hire a valet to keep things straight.

33. What time is it?

Gregorian, Julian, Arabic, Chinese, solar, or Stardate?

34. Do you have a nickname?

Not since high school. If I ever want one, I'll create it myself. I'm thinking something along the lines of "Master".

35. Is McDonald's disgusting?

In what area? Marketing practices? Employee relations? Business organization? Too many different answers. The food tastes decent enough. I wouldn't want to know how it was made, but I'm pretty sure that's true of all food preparation.

36. When was the last time you were in a car, and who were you with?

If you mean four-wheeled motor vehicle, just last night, with my two colleagues. If you want to further refine that to exclude vans, pickups, SUVs, etc., then it would have been last week when my mother dropped me off at the industrial supply center.

37. Do you prefer baths or showers?

For quick, efficient cleaning, showers. If I want a good, relaxing soak, a hot tub is better than a bath. If this question is designed to get hints about any fantasies, I can guarantee I have several in both venues.

38. Is Santa Claus real?

Grow up, people.

39. Do you like to have your neck kissed?

Only if it's the embarkation point on a trip to the South Pole. (Get it?)

40. Are you afraid of the dark?

I'm afraid of all kinds of things in the dark. That's what firepower is for.

41. What are you addicted to?

Drugs? None, drugs are for drones. But I love Red Bull.

42. Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

Peanut butter is subsistence food, I don't eat it for flavor. As far as taste goes, it doesn't really matter. Creamy has a very slight advantage in convenience.

43. Can you crack your neck?

What, like in kung fu movies? That's all sound effects. Anybody who could do that kind of thing, that readily, would have serious spinal problems.

44. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

No. I have some contingency scenarios that feature ambulances, though.

45. How many times have you brushed your teeth today?

A lot of people don't brush their teeth at all. That's stupid. A lot of people who bother to brush only do it once a day, first thing in the morning: after three or four meals and a full night's sleep with a mouthful of bacteria, and immediately before they clog up their teeth all over again with breakfast. I wait until after breakfast, then I use a plaque rinse, brush, floss, and finish with an antiseptic mouthwash; I do the same thing before I go to bed at night; and I brush and use mouthwash after every meal. It's a pain, but how can you take yourself seriously as a long-term planner if you don't look out for something as basic as dental hygiene?

46. Is drug-free the way to be?

Drugs for recreation? Recipe for loser. Performance enhancers? Only for specific instances; if you have to do it on a regular basis, then you just didn't set up an effective alternative strategy. And caffeine doesn't count.

47. Are you a heavy sleeper?

It takes a minimum of four hours to complete a full REM cycle. Catch me at the peak of one of those, I can be zonked out pretty solid. Except for that, I'd probably count as average.

48. What color are your eyes?

Brown. Most people's are, and there's nothing special about blue or green eyes. Any set of colored contact lenses can accomplish that, so why are blue eyes supposed to be a sign of genetic royalty? Implicit societal attitudes are not designed to enhance an intelligent person's opinion of that society.

You left out #49. If this was a test, I caught it. If it wasn't, then it was just sloppy. I supplied my own, based on the kind of profiling-disguised-as-psychobabble that you've been using up to now:

49. Do you believe in love at first sight?

I believe in instant attraction, but I don't trust it, because it's based on a lot of different factors that have mostly been made obsolete by technological development. A man's attraction to a woman is usually founded on her perceived ability and willingness to bear him a lot of children; a woman's attraction to a man is usually founded on his perceived ability to kill anything that threatens them, take all the best loot from other tribes and haul it back to her fireside, and impregnate her with robust genes. Seriously, how many people are actually looking for things like that these days? I'm not saying we can ignore this motivation-set — most of it is hard-wired, overcoming it would be too much work with too little reward — but we definitely should recognize that we're operating with a lot of outdated programming. See a woman across the room and you've just got to have her? The breasts, the hips, the mouth, the eyes? Better ask yourself what you really want from a woman, which generally boils down to a few minutes of performance, once or twice a day, and blessed silence the rest of the time.

As for what a woman wants from a man, that's for her to figure out. Not my problem.

50. Do you like your life?

I'm a work in progress. I have plans. I'm satisfied with how those plans are progressing, and I'll be even more satisfied when they've been realized. By then I'll have better plans. See how that works?

51. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?

Pathetic attempts at self-aggrandizement by people who can't hack it on the basis of their achievements. So no.

52. Are you psychic?

I believe psychic abilities exist; and I believe that pretty close to 100% of those who claim to have them are frauds or lunatics. I focus my interests on those things that can be measured, reproduced, and controlled. Scientific methodology, ladies and gentlemen.

53. Have you read "Catcher In the Rye"?

I don't know how I managed to slide through the nets in high school and college without having to read it, but I never did. One of my English Lit teachers said I really should, just for my own self-enlightenment. I still don't know what she meant by that.

54. Do you play any instruments?

The keyboard (Dvorak).

55. Have you ever stolen money?

Money per se, no. I've acquired a few things with artificially-assigned monetary worth, strictly for their utilitarian value. I don't despise money, but it's not desirable in itself; it's one of several paths to power, and I plan to have plenty of it eventually.

56. Can you snowboard?

And once again, risk-benefit ratio.

57. Do you like camping?

Can do it. Don't enjoy it. Never saw the point.

58. Do you snort when you laugh?

Snort what?

59. Do you believe in magic?

Absolutely not. That thing with super-Jonathan was a mass hallucination. The uglies Andrew can call up are just genetic abnormalities produced by toxic waste. People in PCP gangs turning to dust when you stab them with a sharp stick? that's an idiosyncratic variation on spontaneous combustion. And, oh yeah, Bill Clinton never inhaled.

Do I believe in magic? I live in Sunnydale.

(That said, I agree with Arthur C. Clarke: magic is just physics we haven't worked out the rules for yet.)

60. Are dogs a man's best friend?

A dog is a biological mechanism designed to shred things with one end and foul them with the other. People love dogs because dogs are idiotic enough to love people. Personally, I think Koreans have the right idea.

61. Do you believe in divorce?

With the right pre-nup, sure. Without one, another approach might have to be developed.

62. Can you do the moonwalk?

Same as #19.

63. Do you make many mistakes?

Tons. I just don't repeat my mistakes, and I always make sure they don't pull me down.

64. Is it cold outside today?

Every day is a balmy day when you live in the Valley of the Sun. I never go outside without at least SPF30 sunscreen; I have sensitive skin, and I don't want to blister and peel.

65. What was the last thing you ate?

Snagged one of Andrew's Hot Pockets. And washed it down with Red Bull. Brain food.

66. Do you wear nail polish?

No. But the sealer that boat nuts use to stop the ends of ropes from fraying? a thin layer of that will keep you from leaving fingerprints, if you're in a situation where wearing gloves would call attention to you.

67. Have you ever been kissed?

Dude, I wrote the database on kissing. And on a whole lot more. I could license for billions if those hacks at DisneyWorld would just loosen up and think outside the box.

68. What's the most annoying TV commercial?

The old Taster's Choice things. The guy, especially, gives me the creeps.

69. Do you shop at American Eagle?

Lately my shopping is by a method informally known as "midnight requisition".

70. Favorite band at the moment?

Springsteen all the way.

So what do you say? Am I in? Trust me, you don't want to miss this opportunity.

~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~ – ~

Summary recommendation:

Not suitable for any current projects. Maintain minimal surveillance. Subject operates within close driving distance of L.A.; if any contact with WRH occurs, strongly urge immediate termination.

end