After reading the #operaplot entries for the day, it appears that there is a new disease sweeping the globe. Because it is so new, a complete list of symptoms has not been codified. Several participants have hinted at general feelings of hopelessness in the face of what they perceive to be other, more superior, contributions, a rapid decline in productivity and an inability to think of anything else.
For those readers that may suspect Miss Mussel is using her media platform to create panic over an illness that is really of no consequence, read the following unsolicited testimony of Brian Robison (@brianrobison) from Middlebury, Vermont:
“Help! Entering operaplot contest is like dipping into a bag of potato chips laced with sea salt, malt vinegar, and crack cocaine.”
Operaplotter Maura Lafferty (@mlaffs), who works for the New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco, has contributed detailed reporting re: her symptoms. If you are experiencing these or additional symptoms, please leave them along with any anecdotes in the comments. Until we have a better idea of who is affected and how the disease is transmitted, we will be unable to put together an effective treatment plan.
- Talking to yourself – Because of the flu’s all-consuming nature and tendency to render suffers unable to focus on anything else, it is not uncommon for brainstorming to be audible. In a peculiar quirk, the mumbling is not often audible to the sufferer, only to those around them. If you look up at the bus stop, on the subway or at the lunch table to discover everyone staring at you, either your fly is down or you are suffering from operaplot flu.
Here’s an example from Maura: “True story – I was brainstorming on my way to work, and inadvertently smiled at a stranger because I had an “aha” moment at the same time that I looked up, and right into his eyes”
- Enthusiasm for clever entries trumps all else, including factual accuracy – When suffering from operaplot flu, people who are normally sticklers for detail and uncommonly obsessed with minutae will throw caution into the wind and ignore key plot points in favour of a good rhyme, killer alliteration or haiku stylings.
- Extreme hoarding behavior – the 10 entry limit means that contestants have to pace themselves. Operaplot flu sufferers are often the most enthusiastic competitors and will write down 30-40 possible entries and choose the best from there. They will guard their drafts like a mother bear with her cubs and are prone to becoming aggressive if another competitor comes within 20 feet.
- Multiple personality syndrome – thought to be related directly to the 10 entry limit. In the beginning, sufferers may wheedle their friends into lending out their account or bribe them with the other ticket should the entry win.
Sufferers in the end stages of operaplot flu may open additional Twitter accounts to increase their chances of winning. Some may acknowledge their duplicity by appending the prefix Fake to their original account name while others may use completely new names.
- Depression – after reviewing the other entries, it is likely that operaplot participants become depressed about their lack of witiness or poor knowledge of opera. Dedicated operaplotters will review full length synopses but for some, the depression can become crippling and feelings of hopelessness will surface.
- Tendency to speak in short sentence fragments – Because sufferers are devoting large amounts of time to compressing 180 minutes into 140 characters, it is not uncommon for them to involuntarily apply this to other areas of communication.