As the world continues to spiral into weirdness and Twilight Zone territory, I’ve become increasingly suspicious of everyone around me. In The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (currently a featured free read until May 29th), Sebastian believes Elyse is a legendary mermaid come to life and I think he might be on to something. In a dimension where facts are relative and anything is possible, I have a sneaking suspicion that some of my coworkers may be… not quite human. Particularly, I’m starting to believe there may be mermaids lurking around the halls of this office.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “he’s lost his mind.” But there’s tons of evidence if you look for it, and I’ve decided to share this information with you, dear reader, so that you, too, may be able to identify the mermaids in your life. Remember that any single one of these do not necessarily point to your friend being a merperson, but when a few are lumped together, the truth starts to come into focus. So here we go: Diego’s checklist for investigating whether or not your coworker/friend/classmate/strange teacher is actually a merperson!

1. They Have Something to Hide

Mermaid Jeanine 2
Long skirt… or fish tail camouflage???

Do they always seem to be wearing loose-fitting clothing? Are they often wearing long pants and/or skirts? Sure, it could just mean that they’re cold…or it could mean that they’re covering up their merperson scales. Think about it.

2. They’re a Hydration Fanatic

mermaid desk

Look at that picture. Why in the world would anyone need that many cups of water? And TWO water bottles? No way that’s normal. Clearly they’re not drinking it. My theory? The evaporating water saturates the air around the desk and helps the mermaid feel like they’re actually still underwater. I mean, hello, there’s even a HUMIDIFIER. I’m not 100% sure about the science behind it all, but mermaids needing water-saturated air sounds about right to me. Or maybe the cups were once filled with coffee and this person hasn’t slept in 6 months.

3. They Have Magnetic, Siren-Like Abilities

Music notes

Some people just have a magnetic personality, a certain something that draws friends and admirers. We all enjoy these people. Then again, how sure are you that what is drawing you to talk to these people is their personality and not something for more sinister. Maybe that suspiciously popular person drawing people to them is like a mythical siren, daring them to crash upon the rocks. If there is a desk or office that your coworkers constantly flock to after the bell rings on a Friday instead of leaving, there’s a good chance they’re being drawn there by the merperson’s song. Or maybe you’re just jealous of your popular peer and are projecting. It’s a toss-up.

4. They’ve Got Knick Knacks and Gizmos A-plenty

Yes, this is a line from “Part of Your World,” but just because it’s a Disney movie doesn’t make the line any less reliable. In fact, I’m convinced that it’s even more reliable than something they’re spouting out on the Discovery Channel. I mean look at all this stuff:

Knick Knacks 1
A-plenty doesn’t even begin to describe it

What kind of person keeps their work space like that? A merperson, that’s who.

Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty knows the truth, but he’s not cracking

Need more evidence? Check out this desk!

Knick Knacks 3


Oh wait. That last one is my desk. Nevermind.

5. They Have Suspicious Seafood Meals

Even if you're not a mermaid, please don;t subject your peers to these
Even if you’re not a mermaid, please don’t subject your peers to these. Especially not with a little hot sauce and lemon juice.

Cans of seafood have started showing up everywhere in the office. Now, if it was just tuna, I’d attribute it to coworkers looking to get out of a turkey sandwich rut. But the mermaid signs could not be denied when I found… herring fillets. NO one likes herring steaks. Period. Unless they have a deep-seeded childhood connection to them – say, growing up underwater, munching on schools of fresh herring.

Ok, so maybe the herring fillets were my snack. Whatever. Doesn’t prove there aren’t actual merfolk running around here.

6. They Have an Undeniable Clumsiness/Questionable Knowledge of Objects

Take notice if they have notes like this around their office!

This one is one of the easiest to spot. After a lifetime of swimming underwater, it can’t be easy to transition to dry land and the goods available here. Is someone around you constantly tripping over their own feet? Do they occasionally try and use objects for things outside of their intended purpose—say, paperclips as toothpicks, or Frisbees as plates? You might have a mermaid on your hands.

7. Their hair is always perfect

It feels like we’ve been cycling through seasons faster than you can say “conspiracy theory.” Do you know someone that come rain or shine or humidity nightmare, their hair always stays in place?

Mermaid Jeanine
They’re practically twins!

Under salt water and your “hair” still looks this good? I’m on to you, Ariel. Now, I may not be the world’s foremost authority on hair, but people are supposed to at least have one bad hair day once in a while, right? Maybe it’s not magic or Maybelline, but simply that what you are calling “hair” isn’t actually hair – we all know that mermaids actually grow fin extensions from their heads.

Now that the truth has been exposed, I don’t know what will happen to me. I just hope that this information can help some of you out there. Do you have any tips for uncovering the merpeople in our midst? Let us know in the comments below, and stay vigilant!