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Results of Poll by Email No. 26

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Saturday, March 29, 2003, 15:20
        First, my most humble apologies for the lateness of this poll. I've only a
week to go before my master's thesis is due and my grandmother recently died,
which entailed a quick flight out to California for her memorial service.
So--I've been a little preoccupied with other matters.
        However, not one to keep fans of the poll in suspense, here are the results!
When asked about their mental health, 21 people responded:
        A. I am boring vanilla-flavoured normal (2 responses, 10%)
         B. I am diagnosed as clinically sane (5 responses, 24%)
        C. Being eccentric burns up calories, y'know (11 responses, 52%)
        D. I have a diagnosed mental condition (3 responses, 14%)
        E. My condition can be controlled with treatment (0 responses, 0%)

        First, I think what this poll suggests more than anything else is the varying
degrees of our self-perception. Namely, here are a sampling of people who
answered "C":
        Quoth Sylvia Sotomayor: "Probably C. I'm seriously considering agoraphobia
for a secondary hobby."
        Roger Mills: " 'C. Being eccentric burns up calories, y'know' It must be so;
I weigh the same now as I did 50 years ago in college.
        "The wonderful young(er) man who helped me (re)build my house concluded early
on that I was crazy (he was too, actually, so we got along quite nicely),
but politely rephrased it as "eccentric", which he defined as a crazy person
with a decent income."
        Rachel Klippenstein: "I figure I'm entirely sane and stable, just a bit odd.
 My most awkward eccentricity is a tendency, when thinking about linguistics
or languages, to start practicing sounds aloud, often without becoming
consciously aware of it for a while.  This can happen at rather inopportune
times, such as when I'm riding the bus."
        Andreas (not Daniel): "Any mental illnesses I may have are undiagnosed, but
I'm widely considered odd/excentric."
        Someone who did not wish to be named: "I would say that I fit into category
C, with a glance in the direction of category D.  Being eccentric burns up
more than calories.  Trying to do everything all at once and under time
constraints bestows migraines, depressions, stomach cramps, insomnias, dizzy
spells, wild fits of laughter, antic behaviors, rapid speech, bouts of anger,
horrendous distractedness, scribblings on envelopes, lost cell phones,
tingling in the fingers, mild memory lapses, anxiety attacks, careless
driving, brown studies, crying spells, stiff necks, unwashed dishes, fatigues
and faintings, and poor eyesight.  Hypomania has been blamed for my
conlanging and other obsessions, but this hasn't been completely confirmed.
Nor does anyone know quite what it is (sometimes called Bipolar II)."

        Now, I can't help but wonder if, had this question been asked in another
context, if some of the respondants wouldn't have changed their response.
Conlanging is a rather eccentric (but mostly harmless, except for Marion
Gunn) hobby; does that pre-dispose people to clacify their mental state

        Anywho, other responses included this gem by Pavel Iosad when he answered
"B": "That I am, though I did get a queer look when I told the check-up
psychiatrist I was going to study at the Faculty of Philology, Dept. of
Theoretical and Applied Linguistics ;-)"

        I suspect Teoh is lying when he said, "I am, in spite of what false
impressions people may have gotten from the eccentricity of Ebisedian (or its
ellipticality thereof), quite normal.  I may have a little ADD, a warped
sense of humour, and a decidedly different set of interests from most people,
but I'm really quite sane.
        "So while I may not be vanilla-flavoured, I'm nevertheless not eccentric
enough to require diagnosis for sanity; so I'll stick with A."

        Carlos Thompson wrote: "Well.  I am not sure.  The only time I ever been to a
psychiatrist, his diagnosist was that I was "bored".  Not sure if that counts
as "clinically sane" or not.  I know I have a few mental conditions but I am
not sure if they are at so degree to be diagnosed as clinically insane..."

        In conclusion, if one can pick mental conditions for a hobby, may I suggest
something a little more enjoyable? For instance, I have
laevuslevuslithuanophobia (bonus points to whomever can give me the accurate
Latin phrase), but that hardly bothers me at all, except for Steg's younger
brother, who I have never met. ;>
        Thanks to everyone who responded, and stay tuned for the next Poll by Email!

Oh what a tangled web they weave who try a new word to conceive!


John Cowan <cowan@...>
H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Tristan <kesuari@...>