I remember university. (Well, mostly.) Our college partying, once Quarters grew old, was this game called "I Never." It would begin a circle determined to get others drunk while annihilating their own brain cells through some good old ethanol poisoning. Taking turns, the speaker would declare "I never..." followed by some activity, usually sexual. Should anyone actually have participated in sex in the kitchen, visiting Japan, sex outside, lying to a good friend, sex with more than two people, etc., they had to drink as a reward for their accomplishment. Is it any wonder so many look sentimentally upon their college partying days?
And now, has this tradition departed? Has everyone forgotten about partying? Or is it merely that "I Never" has gone the way of the dodo since this writer graduated a long long time ago? For nowadays, something called the "purity test" is popping up like stubborn weeds all over the internet. Answer a bunch of "Have you ever"-style questions and you can discover how experienced you are in kissing, how much of your mind is occupied by sports statistics, how conservative you are politically, even something called your "philosophical standing." "I Never" has come a long way from college partying.
Beware, however, these things can become addictive. You may find yourself in a graveyard-spiralling inner monologue, tricking yourself into thinking things like, "Five hundred questions about sex? Sure, I've got time, I'm only working," and "What's this? A link to another purity test? Cool!"
My Friend Ted became particularly hooked once his obsession with Sid Meyer's Civilization II died down. Staring into the glow of his computer screen, he'd announce to bored guests and roommates that he scored thirty-six point one seven two five on the gambling purity test, eighty-eight point five five on the I-hate-working purity test, fifty point one percent on the hot sex purity test. (Like we really wanted to know that without the social lubrication of beers and vodka...) He may still be plugged into such self-examinations, for all we know. Many of us grew tired of his one-way conversation and bought him a poker CD-ROM for Christmas one year. He got to one million dollars before quitting for good and checking out how he scored on the card-playing purity test. (Seventy-seven point seven nine, for the record.)
Wherein lies the appeal of these things? Is it a substitute for college partying? (Call it e-college partying.) Is it simply more e-psychological masturbation? Is it yet more indication of anti-social internet behavior? Are the purity-quizzed going for high scores or low scores? Are there blogged competitions? And, perhaps most importantly, are people downing a shot every time they answer "I never..."? My Friend Ted was at a loss to explain.
Such idle questions are probably not worth asking, for the same reasons that queries about college partying are mostly useless. Why take purity tests? Because they're there, dude. Come on.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I just found this cool purity test that'll tell me just how much of a "Star Trek" geek I am. Frankly, I'm afraid to know. Hmmm...no, I don't know the name of that symbiote that slept with Dr. Beverly Crusher...I know it wasn't "Dax"...