How to Tell if That Stream of Water is Flowing from a Broken Water Main or the Eyes of an 18th Century Man of Feeling

By Shawn

When you’re out walking about, have you ever come by a mysterious stream of water and wondered at its source? This simple quiz will help you identify whether it’s coming from a broken water main or from the eyes of an 18th century man of feeling.

1. Take a look at your surroundings. Are they best described as…?

(a) a normal urban or suburban environment

(b) a forgotten glen, where nymphs and dryads gambol still

2. Dip a finger in the water and taste a drop. Does it taste…?

(a) like ordinary tap water

(b) of a sadness so exquisite, a melancholy so sweet, that your tongue trembles with a dark, unutterable pleasure

3. Hark! What’s that noise?

(a) traffic and construction sounds

(b) a solitary lute accompanying the wailings of man who knew love but once, in a dream, and is forever haunted by its memory

4. Look, there’s a crowd gathered! Are they…?

(a) men in work clothes repairing a water main

(b) a band of desperate souls, enthralled by Orphic melodies

5. Do any of them look like they’ve recently had their hearts broken?

(a) not really

(b) VERILY! and yet, though broken, their hearts might break more still—for you see in their furtive glances the signs of longing—O that true despair were theirs! O that they no longer hoped for love!

6. Is there a sad man weeping hysterically?

(a) no

(b) yes

If you picked (a) for all of the questions, congratulations, it’s a broken water main! If you picked (b), there’s good news for you too—it looks like you’ve stumbled upon a real 18th century man of feeling! If you’ve chosen a mix of (a)’s and (b)’s, then you’re involved in some strange scenario I hadn’t anticipated, and this quiz cannot help you.

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