Nigel's 'Chocolate or Vanilla' Questionnaire

It's late 2003. Here is the news: If you can spell "@", and you have at least one friend who doesn't need to look up what "www" means, it is a racing certainty that at some point in the last few years, you have emailed all your friends full details about what’s under your bed and whether you prefer chocolate or vanilla. I know I have. And I'm in good company. Well, company anyway.

If forwarding chain emails can be likened to walking up and down a commuter train bashing random strangers with a ball-peen hammer (and it can), then filling out a questionnaire is like putting a dent in the young man with the plastic tie who’s shouting into his mobile phone. It’s not acceptable behaviour, but people are quietly amused when you do it.

But you can read someone's answers and still not really know them. Would you be prepared to rescue them from a burning building? Lend them money? Let them tie you to a bed? For heavy-duty applications such as this, I recommend the questionnaire below:

1. What, in your opinion is the most important division within the human race? (e.g. smokers/non-smokers, Conservative/Labour, desktop/laptop

2. On which side of the answer to #1 do you fall?

3. How long, on average, does it take you to get rid of someone trying to sell you something over the phone?

4. What is the most expensive object you have ever broken on purpose? ('when angry' counts as 'on purpose' even if you regretted it soon afterwards)

5. What is your preferred method of sharpening a knife?

6. In your view, is it more important for the Americans to adopt a less confrontational foreign policy, or to learn how to pronounce the word "aluminium"?

7. If you had the opportunity to become immortal, would you take it?

8. On balance, are you angry about the part of the monitor tube that is covered by the plastic housing, or pleased about the extra 24 bytes in a kilobyte?

9. If you buy something for 99p with a £1 coin, do you really want the 1p back?

10. Do you trust that fancy new paint which goes on pink and dries white?

11. Have you ever combined a Burger King burger with McDonalds fries in persuit of the ultimate fast food experience?

12. Do you own a box of those little plastic rings for reinforcing punched holes?

13. If you could issue one decree as an absolute monarch, what would it be?

14. If copies are free, do you check the settings first, or just press the button and see what happens?

15. If you had to have one, and only one bumper sticker, what would it say?

16. What objects would you be nervous if you didn't have a spare for?

17. If you bought a new BMW 520i, would you choose the "Delete badge" option?

18. What was the last thing you shouted while alone in a car?

Tescos19. What is your typical path through a supermarket?

20. Do you lick the underside of the foil top when eating a pot of yoghurt?

21. Do you abbreviate the words "you", "are", “to” and “for” in text messages?

22. Have you ever tried to use an optical mouse on a mirror, just to see what happened?

23. If you were alone at the time, what would be the least hygienic location from which you'd be prepared to retrieve and eat a potato chip you'd just dropped?

24. With reference to #23, where would overstep the mark?

25. Have you ever read the documentation for your company pension scheme?

26. How many of the Asterix / Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy / Terry Pratchett / Harry Potter books have you read?

27. How many greetings cards have you sent in the last 12 months?

28. A criminal maniac invites you to "Pick a city for destruction, Mr. Bond." Which one do you choose?

29. Which font do you use most often?

30. What happened the last time you applied excessive force to an inanimate object?

31. Can you tell whether a Union Jack is hung the right way up?

32. If it was a matter of life or death, what is the earliest month for which you could produce your bank statement?

33. If you could choose any person living or dead, who would you most like to hit repeatedly in the face with a small wooden gavel?

34. If you had the choice between a petrol chainsaw or a bread knife, which would you use for felling a small tree with a 1" diameter trunk?

35. If you could ban one figure of speech, one acronym and one word, what would they be?

36. If you ran over a teddy bear lying in the road, would you feel guilty?

37. If your house was besieged, which consumable would you run out of last - assuming you didn't starve?

38. List the BBC national radio stations in order of preference as driving companions.

39. When making a graph in MS Excel, do you place it on a separate sheet or on the sheet with the source data?

40. Which way up do you hold a map when travelling South?

41. How would you answer a 5 year-old who asked you why the sky is blue?

42. When did you last use a highlighter pen?

43. On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you know when to use a semicolon?

44. What proportion of the CDs you own are in their original cases right now?

45. What songs, television shows, books, paintings etc are you irrationally embarrassed to admit that you don’t like?

46. Based on sound rather than content, which person’s voice irritates you the most?

47. How accurate is the time on your watch?

48. Have you ever written to, emailed or telephoned a newspaper, radio station, TV programme etc? If so, what did you say? 

49. Do you, in the most fundamental depths of your soul, give a crap about the extinction of the Red Cockaded Woodpecker?

50. What is the cheapest thing you’ve bought with a debit or credit card in the past month?

Click here for Nigel's answers. Even better, Phil's answers.

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