Story Sent in by Andrew:
Stephanie professed a love of animals on her profile, and she even had included photos of herself with a killer whale and with an elephant. I like animals as much as the average person, I'd say, but I liked Stephanie's smile and outgoing personality even more, so I messaged her and engaged her on the topic of animals. She had a lot to say, and I offered to continue the conversation with a dinner date.
At dinner, Stephanie sat down across from me, and said, "So, I'm in a bit of a sea turtle phase at the moment, so you can call me 'Stephanie the sea turtle!'"
"All right. Do you do work with sea turtles?"
"I'm going with the University of Delaware's Marine Science Program on a trip to study them. They picked me to go with them out of hundreds of applicants. I'm going to swim with them and be as one with them."
"That's great. How'd you swing that?"
"I lied on my application to the program and said that I had a Ph.D. in marine biology. I just really want to swim with the sea turtles."
I frowned. "What if they ask you some marine biology-related questions?"
"Stephanie the sea turtle knows them all."
"Okay. When did sea turtles first appear in the fossil record?"
Without taking a moment to think, she replied, "About a million billion years ago. They've always been around. Longer than dinosaurs."
"I see. What's the genus and species of the sea turtles you're going to study?"
She replied, "Sea turtle."
"What if they ask to see your dissertation?"
"They did. I'm sending it in to them. It's 'borrowed' from someone, but it's from a really obscure college that they've probably never heard of."
I said, "But they can still probably do a search. Aren't those types of academic papers public, so that they can stand against review and all that?" I've never done a dissertation, so I'm (still) not sure how the process works.
She said, "They haven't yet, and if they do, then I'll hopefully be at sea with the turtles by then, and what will they do? Throw me overboard?"
She laughed and snorted. I laughed along with her. The waitress came over and asked us if we were ready to order. I let Stephanie go first, and her exact words were, "Stephanie the sea turtle will have the eggplant parmesan," and then she looked the waitress in the eye and asked, "Do I look like I've done a dissertation?"
The waitress said, "Absolutely."
Stephanie turned to me and said, "See? It'll be fine."
I ordered my own food, and Stephanie talked more about sea turtles: their variety of color, their voices, their shells, and their beautiful eyes. Finally, after our dinner was served, she made it around to asking me, "What's your favorite animal, then?"
I replied, "I'm not sure. Bears, maybe."
"Not sea turtles?"
Stephanie said, "Oh. I mean, we've spent so much time talking about sea turtles that I thought that… I don't know. That we had that in common."
"We can still like different animals, Stephanie."
She didn't respond, and she shot me dark looks for the rest of dinner. I asked her a few more questions about herself (non-sea turtle related) and she gave me short answers, as if she didn't really want to be there anymore.
After a particularly painful length of silence, she murmured into her lap, "Stephanie the sea turtle is the best sea turtle ever. I'm even going to fool the sea turtles."
"I'm sure you are," I said.
She looked up at me and asked, "You heard that?"
"Well, you said it loud enough for me to hear."
Showing none of the excitement that she had exhibited before, she split the check with me, we walked out together, she bade me a hasty goodnight, and off she went to go back to her house, or pen, or tank, or wherever she came from.
Story Sent in by Andrew: