Friday, 2 December 2011

Are You Secretly a Fictional Character?

A great man once said: "Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide. No escape from reality." Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, when you think about it. But he wrestled with an eternal dilemma: are we actual live people or simply fictional puppets in the thrall of some demonic writer? And how would we know? Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see if this psychological evaluation can help you.

N.B.This self-evaluation form has been compiled - using sound psychological principles - by Dr Melfi from The Sopranos and that bloke off In Treatment. Use a pencil and paper to keep score, unless these things don’t exist in your world – in which case you can probably stop now.

Section 1 - General Questions
  • Score 2 points if you have a mysterious voice in your head, narrating everything you do.

  • Score 1 point if you live in Essex/Chelsea and talk in a slightly forced way as though you’re acting in a preschool nativity play.

  • Score 2 points if you have always lived your life in a particular, dependable pattern, except just once when you acted completely out of character.

  • Open your kitchen cupboard. Score 1 point for every tin, jar and bottle that is turned around, so the brand labels face the front.

  • Score 2 points if you have ever met Kurt Vonnegut. Score an extra 3 points if your name is Kilgore Trout.

  • Score 1 point if your internal monologue is filled with insights of startling beauty.

  • Score 2 points if your life fades to black after every significant conversation. Score 5 points if this is accompanied by jazzy incidental music.

  • Score 2 points if you are followed everywhere by a film crew making a documentary about "your life."

  • Do you experience unresolved sexual tension with someone you work alongside? Score 1 point for every year/series this has been going on.

  • Score 10 points if you have ever saved the life of the President of the United States. Score 5 points for any other world leader.

Section 2 - Focus on Friends

Looking at your friends can be a good way to determine whether your life is an elaborate fiction. Score 5 points for each of the following statements that are true:
  • All of your friends are white and middle class, except one who is stereotypically ethnic.

  • Your best friend is a talking animal.

  • Your friends are involved in a mysterious conspiracy that they have somehow neglected to tell you about.

  • When surprising events occur, you have a friend whose sole purpose is to explain what’s happening.

  • Your friends are called Chandler, Monica, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and/or Joey.

Section 3 - Multiple Choice

Pick one option for each of the following.

  • Is it always raining outside?

    • No. I live in California. (1 point)

    • Yes. I live in a stylish but depressing urban futureworld. (5 points)

    • Yes. I live in Manchester. (0 points)

  • Are you:

    1. A vampire? (10 points)

    2. A werewolf? (20 points)

    3. An impossibly hunky vampire/werewolf with "liquid topaz eyes" or "rock-hard abs"? (100 points)

  • Is there a secret portal that allows other people to climb inside your head for a limited period?

    • No. Please read my blog instead. (0 points)

    • Yes - I am John Malkovich. Please send the Academy Award to my usual address. (5 points)

    • Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich. (100,000 points)

Completing The Evaluation

Total up your score.

Congratulations, you are not a fictional character! No-one who was actually in a story would have been able to work their way through that entire list without a lion bursting out of a cupboard or someone getting shot – it would just be too boring for the audience. So rejoice in the fact that your life is dull, lacking in a clear narrative arc and almost certainly won’t have a happy ending.

Wait a second...



  1. I'm a bit doubtful. I made it all the way through the quiz and didn't score a point but I found a startlingly long nostril hair half way. Could this be my inciting incident? Do I pull it out and suffer agonising pain or leave it and suffer the disgusted stares of colleagues?

  2. I knew I wasn't a fictional character, despite what everyone tells me.

  3. I suggest trimming the nostril hair to a sociably acceptable length.

  4. Mark - pull it slooooowly. It might be connected to some kind of mental trapdoor that will cause you to plummet into a strange alternative existence.

    Or it might just make your eyes water like hell.

  5. It's good to know I'm able to prompt such erudite debate.

  6. Sounds to me like you've been earwigging breakfast conversations in this household, Nick.

    The other half is a philosopher you see - yeah, a real one, with a PhD and all!

  7. HI Nick, Absolutely loved this post. I know I’m not a fictional character, unless the author has a particularly boring imagination and zero humour. Actually thinking about it may be the author who created me, has a very droll sense of humour….

  8. I'm screwed... I didn't make it through the list. My cat, who looks suspiciously like a lion, took my carkeys and ran off out the front door, where he was shot by what I thought was one of those laser light pointers, but turned out...

    Love and stuff,