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The Discourse Blog Reader Survey: Are We Having Fun Yet?

In our second reader survey, we asked about expensive mistakes, military propaganda, litter boxes, and which Matt readers would rather marry.

Reader survey graphic

When I told Jack Mirkinson a month or so ago that I wanted us to do another reader survey before the end of summer, I asked him if he wanted me to write the question around Congress, or maybe even Joe Biden. Instead, he told me to have fun with it — a perfectly good and fine, and even helpful directive in the age of, uhh, Q8 of the pandemic.

I can be fun! I know how to have fun, I promise! But the Delta variant, the Afghanistan withdrawal, the destruction of cities thanks to our ignoring of climate change have made it almost impossible to think about “fun.” And so I really had to concentrate for several days, but the result — what can I say? It’s pretty fun!


The Discourse Blog Reader Survey: What Are the New Rules of the Pandemic?

So fun, perhaps, that — to quote one of my favorite new TikToks — I may have girlbossed too close to the sun, but I know, I know, our readers had a blast taking this survey. And now we know how many of them have stolen soap dispensers from restaurants, and how they’ve coped with the pandemic, and that many of them are dudes who rock (more on that down below, you’ll see). This highly unscientific survey was sent out by email last week and below are the results from 236 readers (though not all of them responded to every question, lol).

I give all my thanks to those who participated — even those who have personally contacted me to complain about that last question! Your feedback is very much appreciated, and no, I will never apologize for my crimes against humanity* (*making you think about whether you’d rather marry, fuck or kill a few select Matts).

Have your own idea for a survey? Send your ideas to

You have a sandwich. You must remove one component of the sandwich in order to make the worst sandwich possible. What do you remove from the sandwich?

The bread (159 or 67.4%) 
The meat (36 or 15.3%) 
The cheese (10 or 4.2%) 
The vegetables (9 or 3.8%) 
The condiments (21 or 8.9%) 
Other (1 or 0.4%)

Think of the most avoidable, most thoughtless, most expensive mistake you’ve made in your life. Something that would have taken little effort or brain power to prevent. No, college/marriage/having children/other big life decisions do not apply here, unless you think they somehow fall under your “most thoughtless” mistakes. How expensive was this mistake?

$1-$200 (28 or 11.9%) 
$201-$500 (48 or 20.3%)
$501-$2,000 (81 or 34.3%)
$2,001-$5,000 (41 or 17.4%)
$5,001+ (38 or 16.1%)

What makes the perfect vacation, even if the other options aren’t part of the vacation? 

Having the right people with you 
Being at the right place 
Being on vacation for just the right amount of time 
Taking a real break from work 
Having the right itinerary

What’s one thing you’ve tried to do over the past year and a half to make your brain feel less on fire?

Carving out time to be offline 
Hyperfixating on a hobby that you no longer take pleasure in 
Changing eating, sleeping or exercise habits 
Getting involved in community activities, organizing, or politics

Don’t think — what do you want for dinner?

I don’t know 
We’re going out/picking up/getting delivery 
Let’s make something 
I picked last time, it’s your turn

You hear something about “rumors” on the radio. Which musician are you thinking of?

Fleetwood Mac 
Timex Social Club 
Lindsey Lohan 
The Timex Social Club, but the version of the song played on The Proud Family

The best things in life are free. What’s your favorite thing you’ve taken from a restaurant? 

Mints, toothpicks, matchbooks 
Utensils, steel condiment cups 
Plates, glassware, barware 
Soap dispensers, centerpieces, flowers, decor 
My leftovers, and nothing more!

When you die, what do you want done to your body?

Buried in the ground 
Buried in a crypt or mausoleum 
Cremated, ashes stored in an urn 
Cremated, ashes scattered (or something else creative) 
Donated – to science!

You must eliminate one show from the Michael Schur TV Universe, but in exchange the leads of the other shows get to star in their own U.S. military-funded move in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Which show do you choose?

The Office
Parks and Recreation
Master of None
The Good Place
Brooklyn Nine-Nine

You have a cat. If you do not have a cat, pretend you have one. How often do you clean your cat’s litter? Yes this is a question meant to sew division on the left.

At least once a day
At least a few times a week
At least once a week
Once every one to two weeks
This is a HIPAA violation

What is the Business Insider headline that will finally break you?

I took my dying father off life support. His life insurance erased my student loan debt, and I would do it again if given the chance.

I made $20,000 last year renting out my second home. The refurbished hotel for homeless people next door will hurt my small business.

Here’s how I overcame imposter syndrome as the only woman engineer on the weapons systems team for the U.S. Space Force.

I’m a CEO who moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to get away from Silicon Valley. Here are all the ways I’m disappointed by Omaha, Nebraska. 

My employees kept passing out on the warehouse floor. So I built a medical ward to get them in-house treatment for the fraction of the price of an ER visit. Yes, I dock their pay.

If you could, what emotion or sensation would you want the ability to turn on or off, on a dime? 


FMK: Matt Yglesias, Matt Damon, and Matt Lauer

F: Yglesias, M: Damon, K: Lauer
F: Damon, M: Yglesias, K: Lauer
F: Yglesias, M: Lauer, K: Damon
F: Damon, M: Lauer, K: Yglesias
F: Lauer, M: Damon, K: Yglesias
F: Lauer, M: Yglesias, K: Damon