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Polymorphism

There is an OkCupid profile that infobabe found with the handle…

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There is an OkCupid profile that infobabe found with the handle iso_pod.

I decided to message the profile-holder, who self-describes as 31, cute, five inches tall and a fan of Dokken. I've chatted for him cumulatively for about five hours. In that time he has never broken character - and a giant crustacean who has come to land to study humanity largely (so far as I can tell) through viewing music videos from the 80s on YouTube is quite a character indeed.

Now, this entertained me, and even better, it also made for an interesting anecdote for me to tell when I went out on Tuesday. The thing that is staying with me, though, is the fact that not everybody interprets it the same way as me.

The way I see it, there are three possibilities:

-- I am talking to this guy, and humanity really was saved from the crustaceans conquering the world during the 60s by their fascination with the moon landing
-- I am witnessing dating-site-profile-as-performance-art as played out for an audience of one
-- I am talking to a crazy person

Now, the first one I technically rate as a non-zero probability for the same reason that I'm agnostic rather than atheist: I don't know everything in the world. While I'm skeptical to the point that it amounts to disbelief in any practical sense, and I would need massive amounts of proof which I do not anticipate as forthcoming to counteract that, I try to avoid absolutes like "impossible" - in fact, I never use absolutes! Yeah! Add to that that it cracks me up not to write off the possibility, and the fix is in - funny is a huge multiplier on the scale of "is it worth doing" in my book.

My initial approach to the interaction is that it's probably a very elaborate spoof, with a non-trivial likelihood that he is a nutter - the longer I talk to him as a crustacean, the more that balance will shift toward "nutter," but at present my feelings are still very firmly "check out the show!" In relating this story to others, I have found that the responses (in an admittedly too-small-to-be-statistically-relevant sample) have been about 2:1 that he is a nutter, with a minority opinion of, "Even if it's performance art, performance artists are crazy so this is not sanity either way."

Ultimately, the question arises, what do our responses to surrealism like this say about us? I'm pretty sure I know what mine says: I think humor is one of the most important things we have as humans, whereas insanity not only scares me but squicks me as well (and I don't really like thinking too closely or too long about what sanity even means, and that's something I try to confront periodically, but please not today! or tomorrow! could maybe pencil it in for April). I tend to think that, though just about all the people on this planet are damaged to some extent, plentifully stocked with ignorance and have tragically atrophied minds, most of them are also basically sane - certainly not rational in every particular, since that would require a vigilant self-examination that I think few if any humans could manage even if they wished, but at least susceptible to reason, given the proper circumstances.

Though that idea carries the danger of any assumption, it has the benefit of having been borne out by the bulk of my experiences with people, so I'm not inclined to abandon it. Thus, it follows that I assume iso_pod is a sane human who likes screwing with other OkCupid users, whether for fun or for art or for a social experiment (technically in violation of the TOS, I believe, but I'm not about to rat him out, and anyway I'm not sure it's really provable) or for name-the-nebulous-purpose-of-your-choice - and I wonder whether those who agree with me followed roughly the same thought processes, and I wonder to a much greater extent how the automatic "he's crazy" response arises.

I'm somewhat tempted to infinitesimally reduce my distance from omniscience by asking iso_pod to meet me. The urge to know if the surrealism is voluntary is warring with the urge to hide from the terrifying possiblity of the crazy. I'm not sure I would go without programming the number for whoever you call to protect you from nuts (traditionally "the nice men in the white coats") into my phone; however, I'm unlikely to turn up with a fishing net (though the appeal goes way up if I can figure out how to use it as an impromptu straight-jacket).
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