In Other News: Woman Thrown Overboard

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."

"Oh. Okay."

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.


  1. Dang, I was hoping for a follow-up on whether she got busted for plagiarism or not.

  2. "Stephanie the sea turtle will have the eggplant parmesan"

    I've been noticing a theme of mental retardation in all our date stories lately. Has anyone else noticed the same thing?

    1. Wolfie - I love you like my plucky little brother so I've got to check in here and ask if you are trying to be funny or if you equating poor social skills and/or unorthodox behavior with developmental disabilities. If it's the latter, I'm not noticing such a theme - I'm noticing wacky people doing wacky sh*t same as usual in these stories. If it's the former, I respectfully ask you to consider using that clever and engaging wit of yours that I have come to enjoy so much in a different way. Becoming an auntie to a child with Downs Syndrome has really changed the way I understand these disabilities and seeing her hurt by casual jokes about retardation makes me so sad. :(

    2. Yeah don't make fun of people like that, wolf. That's retarded.

    3. Is she reading this forum?

      If not, then the jokes about retardation aren't really hurting her, are they?

      Also, I think its very easy to equate poor social skills and unorthodox behaviour with developmental disabilities. Its pretty much a fact that many of those less fortunate intellectually, have less social skills. Just as its a fact that many who are highly developed intellectually, also have less social skills than the average person.

    4. Sorry Bluejae, I didn't mean to offend you or your niece. I just used the word because I genuinely feel that people who talk about themselves in the third person have a legitimate mental imbalance. I assure you that I don't use "retarded" as a synonym for "stupid" - I use it only when I believe it applies to a legitimate mental handicap, as in this case. I mean, come on, don't YOU think this woman seems at least SLIGHTLY developmentally disabled?

  3. Unless she was 5-7 years old, I can't in my heart of hearts find this believable at all...
    I totally buy that she would lie on her application, but getting upset that you liked bears? Literally the definition of absurd. Bears are awesome.

    1. FACT: Bears eat beets.
      Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

  4. If she can fill out an application and fake a dissertation - she's not developmentally challenged.


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