Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Zen 10

So, I might be a spy. The problem we face now is twofold:
1) You know I am a possible candidate for spyhood and you must forget this so that when I'm recruited (if I haven't been already) I don't have to kill you.

2) Even though you've already forgotten that I'm a possible candidate for spyhood, you should still be alert to the signs that when you are talking to me, it may very well be that you're talking to a genetically designed or altered "other" person who is impostoring the Laura you know because the real me is being detained in some warehouse in Botswana.

I think that point number two is something to keep in mind with everyone you know, whether they are a potential spy or not. With the world the way it is, and cloning on the rise, we should probably start a non-profit organization with the goal to raise "evil impostor" awareness. Sit down with your close friends, your spouse, your children, parents or even distant cousins you are fond of and make sure you are mutually aware of five traits unique to that person. Our organization will make it easy for you to remember these five traits because we have invented (after years of research and case studies) the simple mnemonic device: P.I.N.C.H. These letters stand for:

Code word

When you have the conversation with your loved one (assuming they are still your loved one and not an evil stand-in already) make sure to memorize the five points.

I will use myself as an example so that at sometime inthe future, if you are suspicious that I am not actually me, you can ask me a variety of questions to "test" "me" and make sure "I" am who "I" say "I" am... if you follow my drift.

P: First, you want to be aware of a physical trait. Preferably a scar or tattoo or soemthing permanent that can't be duplicated by maniacal genetic scientists. Birthmarks are too easy. I have a birthmark about the size of a pinky thumbnail that is about four inches north east of my belly button, but this will be no good for you to remember since it's probably encrypted in my DNA and will, therefore, appear on my evil impostor. You can remember this: I have a ten inch scar up and down my spine and an 15 inch scar around my left side ribcage from my back surgery AND a barely noticable pock mark on the right side of my nose from when I had chicken pox in 4th grade.

I: Pick an ism that is unique to your loved one. For instance: I will never paint my toenails again since I'm slightly superstitious that every time I paint them, something bad happens. Also, if you see "me" munching away happily on something that is mint-chocolate (ie. ice cream, andes mints...etc) you will KNOW it's not the real Laura since the real Laura thinks that Chocolate is wonderful, and mints are wonderful, but they are two wonderful things that are NEVER to be enjoyed together. Also, the ism you choose to remember can be anything from a facial tic, to the way that person wears makeup, or their hair or how they pick their nose (ie, right nostril first, etc. You get the idea).

N: Nostalgia. Remember a story or a memory you shared with the person OR a memory they told you about that they will never forget. It helps if this story is particularly happy OR embarassing. NOw, since you and I are friends, I'm sure you are familiar with any number of embarassing stories that have popped up in conversations from my past. A for instance would be the time i was locked out on a hotel balcony in Edinburgh and couldn't get inside to use the restroom. The downside to picking an embarassing story is that even the REAL person may not admit to remembering the nostalgic event. That's why there are five points, checks and's not a foolproof system yet, that's why part of our Grant funding will go towards fixing the five points ..and so they can spell something cooler like "h.o.t.r.o.d." or "e.l.e.p.h.a.n.t."

C: Code phrase. I feel as though this is the most obvious point in the "evil impostor identification system." It is up to you and your loved one to settle on a suitable code phrase to pass between you when you are in doubt about their identity. You will always be able to identify me by initiating the following dialogue in ordinary conversation. All you have to do is say the first line, when in doubt. Ideally, the real me will respond with the "response and confirmation" line and you may respond with the "I'm so glad it's really you" line. Like this
1) The "I'm questioning your identity" line: Hey Laura, when is the best time to eat a bowl of rice?
2) The "Response and confirmation that it's me" line: When you're hungry for one thousand of something!
3) The "I'm so glad it's really you" line: I love Mitch Hedberg too!

H. Hurt. It is always best to know how your loved one reacts when they are surprised by being physically hurt in some way. Most people have a subconscious automatic response phrase that they utter when they stub their toe, or when they get their thumb caught in the xerox machine at work or even when they run into an inanimate object. Here's why our acronym is so handy. All you have to do is pinch your loved one and find out what their automatic response is. For most people, the phrase will be "ow!" which is why it is helpful to have a guitar tuner nearby so you can check and see which pitch their ow registers at. (Tuners will be available at all of our "Non-profit Organization to Increase awareness about Evil Impostors" locations.) But there will be some people who have more nongeneric response like "Holy Elvis tapdancing on a triscuit!" or "Hey, why did you just pinch me, you idiot!?" Write it down. Remember what your loved one says when they are hurt.

Remembering these unique traits may help you identify an evil impostor and ultimately retrieve the whereabouts of your real loved one by torturing the evil imposter. Unless you end up liking the impostor better...which sometimes happens. Then, just pick your battles.

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