I cannot afford to visit a psychiatrist. Instead, I have turned to a more economic method of self-discovery: the online personality quiz. Certainly you've seen somebody else's results even if you haven't taken one of these yourself. After a painfully obvious battery of agree/disagree questions, you are given an identity based on your personality type. You can discover which Powderpuff Girl you are, which Greek goddess, which Tin-pot dictator, or which Care Bear. There's even an online personality test to tell you which online personality test you are. (I am the Internet Addict Test. This is predicated mainly on the fact that I enjoy "in-jokes," according to the omniscient scorekeeper. When I take the actual Internet Addict Test, I learn that I rate a 70 on a scale of 1-100. It's reassuring to have vague ideas about myself quantified so definitively.)
With the onslaught of reality television, personality "types" have become an unavoidable abstraction for summing people up. If you watch any amount of TV, you'll quickly be able to lump everyone you see into a nifty category: the slutty bitch, the shallow manwhore, the lovable gay guy, the unknowingly sexy country naïf, the Jackass-inspired jackass. Online personality tests give you the opportunity to find out who you are in general but increasingly well-defined social roles.
It doesn't take George Lucas to figure out which way the quiz is going if you answer "strongly agree" to the "are you hairy" question on the Star Wars Character Quiz. Other personality tests are slightly more unnerving. The Personality Defect Quiz, for instance, is more intimidating than the Colossal Death Robot Quiz. It involves questions of ethics, motivations, social interactions, and self-perception. Based on the questions it posed and my relatively frank answers, I waited to be told that I was a Passive Aggressive, Slightly Narcissistic Rage Suppressor. I was relieved to be labeled simply as a "Starving Artist." (The quizzes sometimes elaborate on their answers. Apparently, I am intuitive, introverted, gentle, and arrogant. I tend to get along with Emo Kids and Haughty Intellectuals.) The accuracy of the Personality Defect Quiz freaked me out. I knew everybody else was reducible to cookie-cutter stereotypes, but could I really be this obvious? I think I'd rather be a Gummi Bear.