It’s amazing how little we know about ourselves.
In the existential sense — why are we here, what are we doing, why am I me, and you you?
If I’d been born 100 years ago, or a 100 years from today, what would I be doing the equivalent of what I’m doing today, the nearly 15,330th day of my life? What about you?
Do dogs call one another by the names we have for them, or do they have their own names? How do they refer to us when they chat with one another?
Does an ant know there are ants other places in the world? What is that world? Do dung beetles, which navigate by the stars, contemplate their place in the universe?
Some questions are answerable, some are just idle wonderings.
But some queries, as it turns out, do have answers. The Internet has answers to questions you didn’t even know you had, but now that you know, of course, can’t live without knowing.
According to those extremely scientific online surveys commonly found on Facebook I:
1) Should live in Iowa (although when I took it again and, just to see what would happen, answered “Andy Williams” instead of “Beatles” on favorite music, I got Texas. Explain that.)
2) Should live in New York City. OK. I could go for that.
3) My celebrity soul mate is …wait for it … JOHN STAMOS.
The analysis: “You like the well-established celebrities. They need to be mature to understand how you like to be treated. You and John Stamos love nothing more than a double date with George Clooney and his lover.”
Now a date with George Clooney, that’s a different situation altogether. Lyle Lovett, Alan Arkin, Jimmy Smits, Maya Angelou, Kermit the Frog, Dick Van Patten — now those are some famous people you could have a conversation with.
Oh, and according to a quiz I just took to determine what classic toy I am, I’m an ant farm.
I had an ant farm as a kid, but, unsurprisingly, all the ants escaped. I tried to repopulate with ants from the schoolyard but couldn’t get them to crawl into the jar for transport. They suspected something, and word traveled fast.
Another quiz — “How Mexican Are You?” — identified me as being “100 percent.” I get mistaken for a Canadian with some regularity, so I’ve got North America covered.
If I were a spice, I’d be basil. I’d prefer to be fresh basil, which would make me an herb, not a spice, but that seems like a small bone to pick. Living so close to being pesto is invigorating.
I took the linguistics test in the New York Times, and it was spot-on — correctly identified me as hailing from St. Louis. But that was a real test designed by experts, and the accuracy was unnerving.
These Facebook quizzes are silly, and yes, they’re designed to get you to engage and share data, and they mean nothing. They’re never going to say, “You sound like a real downer and your life sucks. No one wants to be around you. You have no friends.”
So we click away. And perhaps this phenomenon is limited to my own batch of Facebook friends, but are the clickers mostly women? Don’t dudes want to know what ’80s movie they are (“Gremlins,” which I’ve never seen) or what kind of car they embody (hybrid)?
I’m not going to say this is some cultural phenomenon that proves women are insecure or are desperate to adorn themselves with any identity, even if it’s obviously ridiculous and a waste of time.
Like these silly quizzes, such a pronouncement would be out of proportion.
Noting, however, that the vast majority of media aimed at women are centered around the insistence that we’ll never be satisfied with ourselves, our lives or one another, now that’s a discussion for another day.
But these brain-fluff wastes of time do raise a question of why we seek, what we look for — and what we’re willing to believe.