Recently, I discovered a whole new category of mental disorders, known collectively as Delusional Misidentification.
With Capgras Syndrome, the person’s primary delusion is that a relative or loved one has been replaced by an imposter who is an exact double. In married people, it is always the spouse. Well, duh!
Cotard’s Delusion makes a person doubt his own existence; he often believes he is dead.
There’s a bunch of other variations. I like autoscopic phenomena, in which a person believes he is an imposter of himself. That one sounds like a really sticky situation, doesn’t it? It seems like a paradox, or at least a conundrum. Larry King would call it a ‘Catch 22,‘ as I heard him refer to some mundane conflict last night. Then there’s intermetamorphosis, reverse intermetamorphosis, temporal reduplication, and mirrored-self misidentification.
I once knew a woman who was hideous in every way, including aesthetically. But she would describe her impact at a party or somewhere, by saying “I looked like a million dollars!” She was absolutely sincere, even though her enormous snout moved up and down as she spoke. There should be a category for that sort of delusion! Or what about those creepy guys who are always talking about their screenplays in a really loud voice. I heard a guy last week in Ross For Less, explaining into his cellphone that if a producer said she “got” his script, then it wasn’t “smart” enough. That’s probably Joe Eszterhas Syndrome.
I found Joe Eszterhas by googling ‘worst screenwriter.’ I wonder if he’s proud of coming up first. I’m not sure what his particular disorder is, but I like that he’s given us a yardstick for awful screenwriting.
My own delusion is that I can still wear really tight jeans at my advanced age. But wait, maybe that’s because I don’t have a full-length mirror! Ignorance is bliss. Or a Catch 22.