six degrees of unhealthy adoration.
© 1996 Jamie Zawinski <>

There's this guy I had known (electronically, not face to face) off and on for about a decade. Recently I found myself on a mailing list with him again, and in passing, he mentioned a previous girlfriend he had had, and her distinctive tattoo.

He's on the east coast and I the west; yet a few days later, I was out at a club, and I noticed a girl who had that same tattoo. (Plate. Shrimp. Plate o' Shrimp.) So the next day I fired off an email to him:

He replied almost immediately with something along the lines of, ``oh, that's nice, tell her I said hi.'' And then about a half an hour later, came back with

It turned out that she was a friend-of-a-friend through another path as well, and I met her eventually. About six months later, we were talking, and in the midst of the general smalltalk, I said, ``so you used to date so-and-so, right?''

She seemed to be momentarily hit with that same load of bricks, and began a rapid-fire stream of questions: ``Wait, how did you know that? Did I tell you that? Who told you that? Do you know him? Have you actually met him? How did you know that?''

So I told her the story, thoroughly enjoying how freaked out she had become at the dropping of a single name. When I mentioned his ``load of bricks'' comment, she freaked again:

``Oh my god, he's still obsessing about me? I just sent him a postcard! I had no idea! Oh god, I'll never write him again, this is too much.''

That's me, little Mr. Matchmaker.

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