A recent commenter on the Aspergers Syndrome post, who said that it took her a while to realize what was going on with a guy she was dating, sparked a thought: how wonderful it would be if everybody who had a mental disorder had their abnormality tattooed on their forehead.
Unfortunately, almost no one is considerate enough to inform you of his disorder upon first meeting you. So you have to go through the long, laborious, and often painful process of discovering it for yourself.
It's easy to understand why no one does so. If you met someone who said, "Hi, my name is John. Just so you know, I'm bipolar," would that incline you to befriend him? Of course not. You'd immediately envision a dismal future of not only having to cheer him up when he's down, but also having to calm him down when he's in his manic phase. You'd realize that both phases would result in a lot of misunderstandings and (seemingly willful) misinterpretations on his part. So you'd avoid him. He, of course, realizes this, and so tries to hide his condition as long as he can.
It would be even better if sociopaths introduced themselves that way. "Hi, my name is Ted. I seem personable, but it's just a facade. The fact is, inside I'm a ravenous monster who wants nothing more than to destroy you. Oh, and by the way, you can't believe anything I say no matter how sincere I sound." Unfortunately, no sociopath introduces himself this way, since it would make it hard for him to ply his trade. So, we have to discover his syndrome on our own -- the hard way.
But what if all these misfits had their abnormality tattooed on their foreheads? What a time saver that would be.
This would be especially true of sociopaths: if they had to have a big "S" on their foreheads, it would make it far harder for them to exploit and betray others, and life would be much easier for the rest of us. Think about it: if Lance Armstrong had only had that tattoo, we would never have believed him when he said he was clean. If Ted Bundy had thad been marked with the tattoo, none of those girls would ever have gotten into his car. And so on.
(Schizophrenics share the same first letter, so perhaps they could be identified with an "Sc.")
If someone had a big "N" stamped on his forehead (for "narcissist"), you could know ahead of time that he would never admit he was wrong, and would overestimate himself on many fronts. And you could act accordingly -- by avoiding him. (It might even compel narcissists to behave better, i.e., by being less narcissistic.)
If someone had the scarlet "A" on her forehead (for "Aspergers"), you would know ahead of time that she would be terminally awkward, have no insight into other people, and be incapable of accepting any criticism without having a meltdown. And, you could act accordingly -- by avoiding her.
How much simpler life would be if we didn't have to wonder whether we were in the wrong when someone gets angry at us -- since he has a big "B" on his forehead (for "bipolar"). But since "B" could also stand for "borderline," those tattoos would have to consist of two letters each. Then again, both sets of people are likely to get angry at you for no good reason, so maybe one letter would suffice. With both sets, you could expect to spend a lot of time walking on eggshells. Or not, if you were warned ahead of time by a convenient tattoo.
And so on, for all the disorders.
It would also be helpful if people had their sexualities tattooed on as well. An "S," an "L," a "G", "B," or a "T." (These would have to be lower case, since most of those letters have mental disorders attached as well.) For both gay and straight, this would cut way down on guesswork and time wasted trying to charm those immune to our charms.
Frankly, it would be nice if everybody had their IQ typed on somewhere as well. That way we could all associate with others in our own stratum. We would all know ahead of time whom we could feel comfortable with, and have a rough idea what kind of conversation to expect from them. An ancillary benefit might be that someone with a "90" stamped on his forehead wouldn't be quite as willing to offer his personal opinions to a "150." Or, at least he would feel a little foolish while doing so. And maybe, just maybe, he would be a tad less vociferous.
It might even help nerds get laid. (What a wonderful world it would be if girls wanted to boast, "I scored a 150 last night.")
Or imagine a straight guy seeing an absolutely gorgeous girl with an "S" (for sociopath) followed by a "120" followed by an "s" (for straight) on her forehead. Which head would he think with? Whatever happened afterward, at least he wouldn't be able to say he wasn't warned.
In most cases, your decision will be easier. If you see someone with an "N 90" tattoo, you'd know that you should just nod at whatever he said and keep walking. It would save you from having to listen to someone who laughs at his own dumb jokes.
And if you saw an "S 160," you'd know that you should run. It could save your life.