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Friday, May 2, 2014

Worthwhile tattoos

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.


Anonymous said...

This is a very good post. It's funny and so right on, telling it like it is. Thank you for writing it.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank YOU.

Anonymous said...

I work in the healthcare field. There are staff from the top down who you want to avoid because they are so god-awful (e.g. lazy, bossy, rude, etc.), both to co-workers and patients. You wonder why they chose the work that they're doing (since many of them lack compassion, empathy, etc.). It boggles the mind. There are good employees and bad employees, the good ones always outshining the bad ones.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
Sounds like both the patients and staff would be better off if the god-awful ones had their quirks tattooed on their foreheads.

That would actually be another benefit of the tattoos: employers could conduct brief interviews and do only cursory background checks. Really, one look is all it would take.

Anonymous said...

John--that's actually a great idea! More realistically it might just be a matter of time before you could easily look someone up on the internet and find out what their numbers and letters are. Not yet, but soon. Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
Thank you….Not soon enough.

jova said...


would be a great idea if they could tattoo prisoners as a condition of their parole (if they were known to be sociopaths, which I assume many are)

but I suppose the ones with money would get it taken off with laser treatment or cover it with another Tat.

John Craig said...

Jova --
If I were Emperor, it would be against the law to remove the tats.

Anonymous said...

sociopaths should be forced to have horns installed on the top of their skulls. The horns should also have a built in electronic hiking device, so the authorities would know where they were at all times. If they attempt to remove the horns, a signal would be sent to the authorities.

as we know, some girls are attracted to sociopaths, so some men would probably get the horns installed to pick up chicks.

John Craig said...

Anon --
At first I thought you were leading up to, whenever they misbehave, they would get an electric shock from the horns. But yes, a homing device would be worthwhile.

You sound as if you know what you're talking about. Yes, sociopaths are great seducers, though after a while I think that your average girl would learn what they really signified.

A said...

I've seen it suggested that introverts should start conversations with new people with "just so you know, I'm an introvert". I have yet to figure out how anyone could possibly pull that off without being incredibly awkward.

John Craig said...

A --
I'm not sure exactly how that would add to a conversation either. Where do you go from thee? (And I actually AM an introvert.)

See….? That sorta killed the conversation.

Although, now that I think of it, I suppose it might give the other person more reason to be more friendly, and less reason to feel rejected if the introvert doesn't say much.

Anonymous said...

I read this post again and just laughed. So funny.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Thank you Susan.