Get out there and find someone!
The idea that someone out there is designed just for you is beautiful. All you have to do is find your soul mate and life will be perfect. It's as though the only reason you have a shitty job and an ugly kid is because you haven’t met this person yet, but when you do everything will be amazing. You’ll be eating rainbows for breakfast and riding around on a vacuum cleaner made of orgasms and you'll be able to quit your shitty job, because you’ll subsist off of happiness. Even your ugly kid will transform into a nice leather sectional. The only thing you’ve got to do is get out there and find that one special someone. But how? We don't fucking know, so we called an expert on finding people: Stephen Ryan, head of the Nova Scotia Missing Persons Association.
VICE: So, Stephen, I hear you’re the champ of real-life “Where’s Waldo.” Truth?
Stephen Ryan: Well, I’ve never heard it put like that before, but I guess so, yeah.
And you’re good?
OK hotshot, say I want to find someone, how would you go about it?
It depends. If the person is known to be lost in a rural area and they’ve gone missing very recently, a quick, physical search is the best way to go. We get as many people as possible and scour the area. We create a grid and systematically search through the grid until we find the person. If it’s an urban area, it’s different. It’s a lot of talking to people, trying to recreate the path the person took. Of course, this is assuming you know the general area the person is lost in.
Right. Let's say I don’t know where the person was at before they got lost.
That’s something we’d have to track down. We’d have to take the person’s name, Social Insurance number, address...any information at all we can get our hands on. Then we’d use that information to try to find out where they were last seen.
What if I don’t have any of that information ?
What do you mean you don’t have that information?
What if I don’t know the person’s name ?
So let me get this straight. You want to find someone, and you don’t even know their name?
I can’t say I’ve ever run into something like that.
But if you did--
It would be an awful lot trickier at that point.
But you’re the best, right?
Well, I suppose we could take a description of the person, get all the background that we can ... it would be a lot of work, but we might be able to determine their identity from the information you give us.
Makes sense. And what if there's no description or background information at all?
What do you mean? You have no background information?
I don’t follow you.
I mean, what if you know absolutely nothing about the person you’re looking for .
So you’re looking for someone. But you don’t even know what they look like?
Right. No idea. Hopefully female.
And you don’t know where they’re from?
Not a clue. Could be anywhere.
Or anything else about them?
That’s about right.
Um. This doesn’t seem like a realistic scenario. I can’t imagine how this would work. Why are you looking for a person that you don’t know anything about? How would you even know if you found the right person?
Oh, I’d know. Don’t you worry about that. I just need you to find them. Could you do it?
I don’t think that’s possible. You say you’d know them if you found them, but you don’t know anything about the person. I’d pretty much have to show you everyone in the world, and have you figure it out by process of elimination. There’s just no way that could happen. I still don’t understand why you’re looking for someone you know nothing about.
Well, I’m told there’s a special person out there for me. I just have to find them.
You mean like a soul mate?
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Think you could find them?
That’s not really what I do.
Hmm. So you’re saying you wouldn’t be able to help me?
Sorry. There’s really nothing I could do for you.
That’s too bad. Just one last question. Say there is one person somewhere on the planet for me. Realistically, what do you think the chances of me finding this person on my own are?
What are your chances of finding one person who could be anywhere in the world, when you don’t know anything about them? Probably around zero.
Zero? That’s pretty low.
Well, think about how many people there are in the world.
True. There are a lot. Like infinity-billion.
Exactly. You’d have to go through all of them to be sure you found the right person. How many people do you meet a day?
Not many. Maybe a couple a week?
Yeah, you’re pretty much screwed.
Yeah. OK, Stephen. Well, thanks a lot.