When The Lifted Brow published my piece ‘Life: The Feedback Survey’, I wasn’t actually intending to gather people’s feedback about Life. But by the grace of God—and with a little help from Google Forms—the piece ran as a legit survey and over one hundred readers completed it. Now, I never took STAT100 at uni, but I’m pretty sure ‘over a hundred people’ is a large enough sample size to account for the entire population of planet Earth.
So let’s take a look at how we can improve Life, shall we?
Aspects of Life
The survey asked readers to rank specific aspects of Life—everything from ‘sunsets’ to ‘holding hands’—on a scale of 0-10. Here are the total average scores for each of those aspects of Life, ranked from highest to lowest. (And before you ask: yes, I did have to learn how to use Microsoft Excel just to work out the averages of scores given on a fake survey, and, no, I don’t think it was a waste of time. Not at all.)
|ASPECT OF LIFE||SCORE|
|THE SOUND OF RAIN ON AN OLD TIN ROOF||8.2/10|
|THE FEELING OF DEJA VU||6.0/10|
|WALKING DOWN A BUSY CITY STREET AND SMELLING THE SCENT OF A LONG LOST LOVER, AND THEN TURNING AROUND AND LOOKING FOR THEM, BUT YOU CAN’T FIND THEM, AND NOW YOU’LL NEVER ACTUALLY KNOW IF IT WAS THEM AT ALL||5.25/10|
|THE HUMAN CONDITION||4.25/10|
As you can see, ‘the sound of rain on an old tin roof’ achieved a score almost double that of ‘the human condition’: a well-deserved slap in the face for the human condition. You can only make people feel existential torment for so long before they decide the sound of rain on an old tin roof is twice as good as you.
The human condition would do well to take this criticism on board. Also, moving forward, the human condition could try to implement more ‘love and compassion’ if it wants to lift its score.
As for whistling’s low score—4.5/10!—frankly, I’m shocked. Who knew people felt such negativity towards that erstwhile-harmless pastime? Somebody should travel back to 2006 and warn that Peter Bjorn and John song before it’s too late.
The survey also asked people what they regretted about their Life. Here are some of the most telling responses.
Finally, if you could live your Life over again—which you definitely can’t, sorry about that—please tell us, what you would do differently?
‘Buy that hat from Savers I only took a selfie in.’
‘Be a cat.’
‘Take more drugs.’
‘Eat more cheese.’
‘Not an arts degree.’
‘Not invested in mini discs.’
‘Not dated Charlie Pickering.’
‘No marry my husband.’
‘Not rage quit Pokemon that one time after 14+ hours of play.’
‘Talk to more old Italian men in speedos sunbathing in Church gardens.’
‘Meet Dwayne Johnson.’
‘Be born to richer parents.’
‘Acquire a penis.’
Unfortunately, much of this feedback might be hard to implement as changes in Life. Still, we can all learn from this feedback and improve our own Lives for the better. Here’s the simple four-step mantra for happy living we derived from your feedback:
Don’t rage quit Pokemon, don’t date Charlie Pickering, acquire a penis, and be born to richer parents.
As for reincarnation, multiple people wrote that they would like to come back in their next life as a ‘dolphin’, ‘Beyonce’, or ‘me’. Others wanted to come back as:
‘Successful Instagram account’
‘Baby Sloth that finds fame and fortune via Facebook shares’
‘Girl I loved’
‘The movie Frozen’
While many people were obviously having a bit of fun with their responses, a few of you gave earnest answers. Reading through the results, I was stunned to see people recount life regrets I had only previously thought of as Hollywood clichés.
Many people regretted that they weren’t kinder. Many people regretted failing to seize opportunities when they had the chance. Many people regretted that they cared too much about what others thought of them.
I genuinely found this quite affecting: probably because I knew the people writing these things read a literary magazine I love, meaning they probably have similar books to me, similar albums, similar friends, similar Saturday nights, and so on. In other words, they’re not just the faceless, nameless suburban bots I imagine Newspoll use to fill out their surveys: they’re people like me. And since people like me admitted to having many clichéd regrets about Life, I now can’t help but feel that they might be clichéd for a reason.
Finally, if anyone out there reading this wants to have a better Life: just be nicer, try harder, care not what others think of you, and come back in your next Life as a baby sloth who finds fame and fortune via Facebook shares.
Thank you to everyone who filled out ‘Life: The Feedback Survey’. Your feedback is important to us.
Evan Williams is a writer for ABC2’s daily satirical news show The Roast. He’s also contributed to McSweeney’s, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and elsewhere.