“You’re The Star! 40 Possible Endings! Will You Become Trapped In Time?”
The question begs to be answered.
As a kid, no matter what Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Twins or Babysitters Club books I was reading, I’d drop it for the chance to Choose [My] Own Adventure. I could Journey Under The Sea, unlock the Mystery of the Maya, get Lost On The Amazon or track down The Abominable Snowman all from the comfort of my very own bed. The fate of ME rested in entirely in MY 9-year-old hands and oh my goodness was it empowering. Depending on the kind of mood I was in, I could skip to page 42 and make myself enter the dark room or flip back to page 12 and allow myself to gleefully continue along the well-lit path. When faced with a difficult decision, I’d always flag the page and if the jump didn’t work out [i.e. I got stuck in quicksand], back to page 17 I would go like nothing had ever happened. Bad decisions were rectifiable and if I wanted to, I could play it safe. And hey, if I got eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, that would teach me to turn to page 71 willy-nilly.
Though I haven’t read those books in years, sometimes I wonder what my day would look like as a Choose Your Own Adventure:
Wake Up, Vanessa! The sun is shining, the birds are singing. It’s time to be a productive member of society! (If you’d like to sleep through your alarm, turn to page 5. To start brewing your coffee, turn to page 8. To wish you had someone to make you breakfast in bed, keep dreaming.) Look at the time! It’s 8:45. You grab your coat, but get distracted by the television. (To risk being late to watch your imaginary boyfriend Josh Elliott host the last segment of GMA, turn to page 12. To spend five minutes looking for your tv remote, turn to page 14.) Finally out the door, you stand waiting for the elevator. It groans a painful squeal when you press the button. (To take the stairs, turn to page 15. To get stuck in your elevator for five minutes, turn to page 17. To reconsider getting out of bed, turn back to page 1). Ah, New York City. So beautiful, so vibrant, so full of life even so early in the morning. You step off the curb and into a pile of dog crap. (To use every conjugation of the eff-word, turn to page 18. To walk the rest of the way to work in one shoe, turn to page 20). You approach the green building on the corner with trepidation. A hesitation. The line at Starbucks is out the door. (If you really need the caffeine, turn to page 21, otherwise to get to work with a modicum of on-time-ness, turn to page 22.). A check of your e-mail. You have 42 unread messages. (To ignore most of them, turn to page 22. To answer them one-by-one, continue reading for an hour.) Today is the day that every major appliance in your employer’s house breaks. What do you do? (To try to fix them yourself, turn to page 25, though you won’t be able to. To make 25 different appointments, each with 6-hour arrival windows, turn to page 30 and wait for about 7 days.) Finally with everything seemingly handled, Your employer’s flight has been grounded for no apparent reason. (To shuffle her to a later flight, turn to page 34. To rebook her on a different airline, turn to page 38 and spend the next two hours on the phone with every major carrier. To reschedule her trip, turn to page 40 and learn to speak Italian, since the event hosts are in Milan. To cry about the situation, lock yourself in the bathroom by turning to page 43). You have 42 more unread messages. (To delete all, turn to page 46.) Can’t find VIP number to NYC’s most in-demand restaurant and need reservation. (To name-drop, turn to page 51. To try to get a table for 4 at 7PM without name-dropping, turn to page 1 and start your day over because you will be unsuccessful.) Internet goes down. (To spend 20 minutes on the phone with the internet provider, turn to page 54 and press 1, then press 3, then press 2. Listen to some elevator music and then get disconnected.) You have another 42 unread messages. (To give up, turn to page 61.) Employer comes home, says you can leave early. (To nominate her employer of the year, turn to page 64. To grab your stuff as fast as possible before the situation changes, turn to page 67). Go on date with guy from match.com. (To make idle and awkward conversation for an hour and a half, turn to page 71. To suggest seeing a movie, turn to page 74. To unsubscribe yourself from match.com and vow to never again online date – turn to page 75. Believe me, page 75 is probably the best option.) You’re standing outside your house digging through your bag. Since when was your bag the size of Texas and why can you never find anything in it? Suddenly you realize: You’ve left your keys at work. (To sheepishly call your Super. Again. Like you did last week for the same reason, turn to page 79. To consider climbing your fire escape – how high can four stories really be? – turn to page 81. To re-remind yourself to get a spare set of keys made tomorrow, turn to page 83 and set five alerts on your phone knowing full-well you’ll ignore at least 4 of them.) Finally inside your apartment, you look at the time. Your gym is 24 hours, Vanessa. There’s really no excuse. Struggling to find a pair of clean yoga pants in the combo pile of clean and unclean laundry in the middle of your floor, you turn on the tv to watch the news, except the news is over and there’s some reality tv show on, instead. (To get sucked into said reality tv show, turn to page 83. To reason with yourself that you can go to the gym tomorrow, turn to page 85. To actually go to the gym, turn to page 87. Page 87 is so not happening, by the way.) In for the night, you decide to catch up on your dvr. (To fall asleep with the light on, the tv on, and your gym clothes still on, turn to page 91. You don’t even get another page option because this is what is going to happen.)
Yeah, the books were way better.
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