One story that comes to mind is a ridiculous one from college.
In my dorm, there lived a young man "Rah" from Bangladesh. Rah was a pretty close friend of mine. He was very smart at physics. He liked to make up elaborate lies to see if he could convince people. Another interest involved singing certain songs over and over. One year, he started singing "I just called to say... I love you" every single freakin' day. He sang it in our House courtyard, in the hallway, in the bathroom. After six months, I got so annoyed that as soon as he opened his mouth and the first melodic "I" emerged, I would yell at him to stop. But he would of course finish singing the chorus.
To this day, I cannot listen to that song without becoming agitated.
One day, Rah told us that his family arranged a marriage for him back home. He was now engaged to a young woman. We dismissed it as one of his fabricated stories. Over the next two months, he let slip more details every few days. He griped about the annoyances of international phone calls, of getting to know his fiancee through this constrained manner, of worries about her youth and inexperience, of his doubts about the upcoming marriage.
Eventually many of us were mostly convinced that it was real. Then Rah announced it was all a huge ruse, for him to see how many people he could trick.
The House became divided. Some thought it was his most elaborate ruse to date. Others thought the engagement was real and fell through, and he claimed it was fabricated to avoid admitting that it didn't work out.
Rah spent the next weeks explaining details of how he tricked us, why he picked particular lies.
I still don't know if the engagement was real or not.
At another college, Rah might be ostracized, or at least considered very strange. But we didn't bother asking "Why would someone make up these ridiculous lies?" We accepted his game and played along. And I'm nostalgic for this -- for a community of bright minds who collectively engage in these pointless yet highly entertaining pursuits.
From a dialogue yesterday:
"My point is that never doing anything even slightly askew of the ordinary routine of life, career, families, parties, and whatever is really awful. And yes, I recognize that this is not as important to you, perhaps not important to you at all."
"No, I also like non-conformists. Normal is boring."
I'm not sure how a post about Christmas ended up being about non-conformists.