Friday, April 25, 2008
Stuff Pretentious People Like: Strange Afflictions
When a pretentious individual just can't get enough attention, sometimes the only way to do it is to claim some form of "constitutional weakness." While this practice may not seem like it makes sense given the pretentious person's nature to think very highly of him or herself, it makes perfect sense when you think about what a good ol' questionable syndrome or condition can do for a person. When you have something that hasn't quite been proven by medical science or is so rare that no one you know could possibly have it, you're pretty much guaranteed to be unique. And pretentious people will take appearing cutting-edge and "special" any way they can get it ... even if it means pretending like they're seeing leprechauns or having waking dreams that wild dogs are attacking their hands with popsicle sticks ... or admitting they had to take special ed in high school (because of a misunderstanding, of course) or be evaluated in a psych ward for 6 months.
Pretentious people also know they get extra bonus points if they claim one or two -- or even several -- afflictions that almost prevented them from making it past infancy or childhood, because they then become miracles of science with a greater purpose on this earth than the rest of us. After all, some supernatural force granted them the right to live because, well, they are better than the rest of us average ones that had just an occasional cold or the flu or the chicken pox or did not experience scarring bullying or the trauma of a 70 percent lower weekly allowance than all the other kids. And don't think mild "physical deformities" or simply less than perfect circumstances that were not life threatening and often eventually went away on their own don't count. They are sometimes even worse because they bring about taunting, which can in many cases be more devastating than illnesses because it causes such terrible psychological damage that survival is almost unbelievable. Such conditions include being sway-backed/having bad posture, having to wear glasses or braces, developing breasts too early or not early enough, having a bad haircut between the ages of 8 and 11, having a family that was on a strict budget, etc.
Another reason syndromes and diseases, real or imaginary are great is because one of the major rules of social etiquette is that if someone wants to talk about being ill or feeling "feverish" or like the side of the body that is supposed to go numb while having a heart attack or stroke (regardless of actual age)"might" be feeling a "little tingly," everyone has to listen. Because if you don't believe and listen to someone that might really be experiencing a medical emergency or have a terminal disease, it's pretty much your fault if the person dies. Even if it's a psychological problem that is causing the symptoms, this problem could grow in intensity until it leads to suicide, for which, again, you'd be responsible because you were a heartless nay-sayer.
The following is a brief list of syndromes and diseases that pretentious people would just love to have and would love for you not to believe they have so later, if -- rather when -- they die you can spend a lifetime sucking on the bitterness of your own guilt (and what brings about immortality more successfully and eternally than guilt?):
Malaise: This affliction is an old favorite among the pretentious population and one that can be used over and over again without being questioned. Basically (in case you are unfamiliar with its clinical definition), it's a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness. Symptoms include being "generally dissatisfied," "out of sorts," feeling like you're "coming down with something" or feeling vaguely "like something bad is about to happen." It can also be used as a gateway to talking about potential psychic abilities and can really springboard a pretentious person's credibility as someone that is "wacky" or "unique." Malaise can lead to a variety of other major diseases (including some that are terminal) and can provide hours of conversation for pretentious people ... because the "What could it be?" question is one that can really be discussed forever ... as long as there's not a trip to an actual doctor involved.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): This is a real problem. Its symptom is basically the irresistible urge to move the legs. Other names for it include, "I Am Training for a Marathon and Ran 50 Miles This Week Disease," "7 Cups of Coffeeitis," and "Computer-Related Day Job Virus."
Photic Sneeze Reflex: This is basically the need to sneeze when exposed to direct light. It can cause disruptions that force people to pay attention to you whenever lights are turned on. Pretentious people will get very embarrassed about this problem, which might cause them to have to talk about it for a while to anyone that has to watch it in horror and panic.
Foreign Language Syndrome: This is a particularly big problem within the Pretentious People Community because so many of them "used to be fluent" in so many different languages. This is basically a psychological disorder that prevents a person from being able to control speaking English or the native language of choice with a foreign accent. Because they already often "sometimes dream" in French, German, Latin, Portuguese, Dutch or a variety of other languages because they were once so proficient, it's natural that this would happen. Madonna started suffering from it when she went to England, and it really only happens to people that travel abroad a LOT.
Bonnet Syndrome: This one is not psychological, so it's extremely hard to question. Basically, it's caused by eye degeneration that leads the sufferer to see ghosts and little costumed elves and leprechauns and things.
Darby O'Gill of "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" suffered from Bonnet Syndrome. It is often misdiagnosed as alcoholism and drug abuse and can mimic the feeling pretty much everyone gets on St. Patrick's Day or while being forced to watch any holiday parade.