- How would you describe the home you grew up in?
- Modest. It was a little small, but we made it work.
- A decent house in the suburbs. Some of our neighbors had nicer places, so we were kind of on the outside looking in.
- A nice brownstone in Brooklyn or Manhattan. Those Ivy League degrees pay for themselves, provided they’re in business or finance.
- A dilapidated mansion in a large city or just on the outskirts of one. We could have easily afforded to renovate, but we were eccentric like that. Especially when it came to holes in the ceiling or crumbling stairways to nowhere. Symbolism!
- What sort of work did your parents do?
- Blue-collar/working-class jobs. They liked working with their hands.
- Teachers, business people. Educated, but solidly middle class.
- Finance and investment. Throwing money around in order to make more of it.
- Idiosyncratic academics and artists who subscribed heavily to loosely defined “bohemian” ideals. Much of this involved substance use, and frequent displays of nudity and sexual intercourse in full view of me and my siblings. This may contradict my father’s testimony, but I don’t care!
- You’ve graduated from college! What sort of work are you interested in?
- A skilled laborer or technician of some kind. It may not be the most glamorous work, but it’s honorable, and recession-proof.
- A part of me will always strive to be a writer or a performer or something like that, but I’ll settle for teaching in lieu of doing.
- I’ll take my newly acquired Ivy League AB to the Ivy League grad school of my choice. I’ll dick around there for a couple years before going to work at my dad’s investment firm.
- My Broadway play closed after just sixteen performances, (yes, that tiny theatre does count as Broadway, just look at the address!) so I’m open to alternate career paths. I think I need to take a job as a copywriter and develop life-threatening addictions first.
- You’ve met that special someone. What’s the wedding like?
- My pastor grandfather officiates it with all our living relatives in attendance.
- My family helps us arrange a wonderful ceremony at a charming winery.
- Things are sullied when I force my soon-to-be spouse to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Regardless, my parents rent out the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center with a who’s who of New York City high society in attendance.
- We drive to Las Vegas for a quickie elopement overseen by an Elvis impersonator, despite having the means to do almost anything else that resembles normal. I fritter away tens of thousands of dollars at the gambling tables and drink myself into a violent frenzy. Are you paying attention yet, St. Martin’s Press?
- You’ve gotten divorced. What do you do now?
- Carry this with me as a personal shame. No one in my family gets divorced. Except me.
- Go into therapy and try to figure out what went wrong. Realize that sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to and gradually learn to move on.
- You were already seeing two other people when you proposed, so this isn’t a complete surprise. Good thing you got that pre-nup. Better still that your siblings are having kids now, which takes the pressure off of you to continue the bloodline.
- You saw this coming, but your drinking and erratic behavior had little to do with it. It was more about that fanatical devotion to writing a book about how awful your life is despite having every opportunity to make it better. Your spouse is also convinced that you’re exaggerating things, but they’ll be edited out of subsequent drafts.
Mostly As: You’re content with an existence free of complexity. You may have an interesting story to tell, but it will probably serve as inspiration in the realm of fiction from someone like novelist John Steinbeck or filmmaker Chloe Zhao. Think The Grapes of Wrath or Nomadland. Sorry if this seems unfair, but while you’re here, would you mind checking the HVAC system?
Mostly Bs: You had a middle-of-the-road upbringing, and your family did the best they could for you. We recommend trying your hand at fiction, or short-form satirical articles. We can provide you with some recommendations for places to submit to.
Mostly Cs: You grew up rich, free of consequence and responsibility. Your life may have been privileged, but you fall more into the category of the antihero of novels like Less Than Zero and The Bonfire of The Vanities. Don’t try to write this book yourself. You’d be better to use the publishing company you probably own to find someone talented enough to do so. Please pay particular attention if you happen to be E.L. James.
Mostly Ds: You’re probably Augusten Burroughs and this quiz may have already given you fodder for your next tale “inspired by a true story.” Please don’t force us to pursue legal action. Aren’t you tired of that by now?