Choose Your Own Advantage

For the past forty weeks, give or take a day or two, you have been mostly minding your own business, growing ever larger, stronger, and more fingers and toes. But all of a sudden, you now find yourself being forcibly ejected from your comfortable quarters—the only home you’ve ever known. As you involuntarily emerge from pleasant warmth and darkness into cold air and harsh, sterile light, you are faced with your first choice as a newborn.

If you are “ethnic,” click here.
If you are not “ethnic,” click here.

Although you elect to attend public school—despite the protests of your parents, who think it’s a terrible idea—you manage to make it through to graduation from high school without incident, thanks in no small part to your parents’ investment of the money they saved (in private school tuition) in private, round-the-clock security for you. After high school, you attend a good college, then get a good job. You marry and have some kids, but there’s really no denying that you live an unremarkable life.

Try again.

As it turns out, the complication with your birth was merely that the silver spoon that should have been in your mouth had slid partly down into your trachea, causing you some momentary respiratory difficulty—but the doctor was able to extract it before you might suffer any brain damage. Thus you survived and lived long enough to be enrolled in school.

If you are enrolled in public school, click here.
If you are enrolled in private school, click here.

For better or worse, you die of necrotizing enterocolitis. Better luck next time.

Try again.

En route to the family mansion, your party encounters some traffic, but it is nothing your driver can not handle, and you arrive at home no worse for the inconvenience.

Click here to proceed.

Because your great-great-grandfather Maxwell Whitbrod III founded Whitbrod Academy in 1877, your minor infraction is overlooked and you are permitted to remain enrolled, with no blemish upon your permanent academic record. You graduate, with honors, attend an Ivy League college, then the law school of a different Ivy League university, and eventually are elected President of the United States. Congratulations!

En route to the family mansion, your party encounters some turbulence, but it is nothing your pilot can not handle, and you arrive at home no worse for the inconvenience.

Click here to proceed.

You are out of the womb, but not quite out of the woods. That is, there are complications with your birth.

If your parents are wealthy, click here.
If your parents are not wealthy, click here.

Bradford Preparatory prepares wealthy young men for just about everything the world might throw at them—with the ironic exception of hazing at the hands of older Bradford Preparatory students. As it happens, you die of hypothermia after being hoisted on a flagpole and left outside in single-digit temperatures overnight and forgotten about.

Try again.

You are promptly expelled from Whitbrod Academy. With no significant difficulty, however, you are able to enroll at another private institution. In your senior year, you are invited to matriculate at an Ivy League college, but you drop out after just three semesters to start your own company, which you eventually sell for an obscene amount of money, enabling you to retire in your late thirties. Well done!

You want for absolutely nothing for the first four years of your life. That is, almost as soon as you might want for something, it is brought to you, usually on a silver platter. If you want, for instance, a puppy... or a tricycle... or even a silver platter, it arrives moments after you ask for it. Soon enough, however, it is time to put aside childish things and begin school.

If you attend public school, click here.
If you attend private school, click here.

Your first eleven years of formal schooling pass without incident, until there comes a day when you flirt with the wrong girl and her brother and cousins—all quite ethnic—beat you to death. As you slip into eternal oblivion, you wonder just where it all went wrong....

Try again.

Your first eleven years of formal schooling are idyllic, indeed. You earn excellent grades even though you do precious little work to earn them. You are a favorite of your instructors and your school chums alike. Unfortunately, there comes a day when—because you were up rather late the previous evening, canoodling with the headmaster’s daughter, and her cousin, and somebody’s ferret—you find yourself without the level of alertness sufficient to achieve a passing grade on a pop quiz, and so you glance at a classmate’s exam paper... but you are caught in flagrante delicto by your teacher.

If your surname is Whitbrod, click here.
If your surname is not Whitbrod, click here.

Your birth is the very epitome of smoothness. Your mother is able to sleep—and your father to read—through the entire very brief, utterly uneventful event. You are greeted with broad smiles from the obstetrician and the nurse, who remarks that you are, without question, the most beautiful baby she has ever seen in her entire life. Rather than slap you on the back, the doctor chucks you under the chin, as if to say, “Now go show them how it’s done, kiddo.”

If you and your parents leave the hospital in the Bentley Mulsanne, click here.
If you and your parents leave in the Embraer Phenom 300, click here.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.