Neuroscientist Dean Burnett once auditioned for a job as host of a show about personality quirks. They asked him if he has any quirks of his own. He felt that if he answered in the negative, they wouldn’t hire him.
So when asked if I had any weird habits or quirks, I said “I don’t like cooking a single jacket potato as I think it looks lonely.”
They really liked this, and wanted to explore it further. It ended with their filming me traipsing around a market, buying two of every vegetable due to my “condition” and talking to people about it (ie just making stuff up).
I’m not proud of this; it felt dangerously close to pretending to have a psychological problem. My “section” never made the final cut, for which I was very grateful, but that’s not the point of the anecdote.
When the director spoke to me, he confessed that he had this problem too. Several of the crew said the same. A producer mentioned speaking to people in the office and yes, it was quite a common anxiety people had.
This would all be fine, if it weren’t for one important fact: I MADE IT UP!
The fact that it was all made up didn’t stop people from confessing that they, too, had this kind of psychological disorder, or "quirk." Was it contagious? Or were people just seeing their past behavior in a new light? Or were they just imagining things? The experience highlights how easy it is to convince people they have a mental disorder, once it has a name. Have you ever experienced Lonely Potato Syndrome? Read more about it at The Guardian. -via Digg
(Image credit: Flickr use banger1977)
Finally 1 woman came up to the table and asked me what I was doing. "Selling my organic, gourmet dog cookies," I replied. "Well, where are they?" I gestured towards the lonely little bag of cookies. "That's it? Did you already sell out?" I nodded and smiled. She dug into her purse and gave me the 5 dollars and bought the bag. As she walked away I heard her say, "I don't even have a dog but I feel so bad for that one bag sitting there all by itself."