SCP-4245
rating: +14+x

Item #: SCP-4245

Object Class: Keter

belly1.jpg

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, moments before an SCP-4245 instance is triggered.

Special Containment Procedures: Since the origins of SCP-4245 are currently unknown, containment should focus on identifying transmissible clusters in civilian populations. All individuals who have witnessed an SCP-4245 event are to be detained and positioned on the multidimensional perfectionism scale (MPS)1 by Foundation psychologists. Witnesses are to then be released following the administration of Class-D amnestics.

Members of Research Task Force Mu-3 ("Ink Blots") are to monitor international competitions for manifestation of SCP-4245 events in audience bodies. Psychology conferences are to be disrupted worldwide (especially those pertaining to success and achievement) under the cover of requiring further quality assurance. Information about a SCP-4245 event is to be suppressed by Foundation web-crawlers.

Description: SCP-4245 is the neurological phenomenon by which failure is celebrated. The anomaly appears to be localised to an individual's performance of a specific task (whether it be mechanical, cognitive or social) and viewers' cognition of said task thereafter.

The affected task, performed under wilful action, influences viewers regardless of duration of time passed, location or medium. The effect correlates with the severity of failure, manifesting in the following:

  • Heightened oxytocin2 levels in the viewer's bloodstream.
  • A portion of the viewer's brain (known as the posteromedial cortices)3 lighting up in MRI scanners by a factor of three.
  • A compulsion in the viewer for praise and adulation of the failed task and/or performer, whether through excessive physical or verbal feedback.

Discovery: Foundation agents have responded to multiple instances of SCP-4245 from 2016 to the present, highlighting its prevalence in the general population:

belly2.jpg

Attendees at FailCon under the effect of SCP-4245.

In May 2016, Tony Fadell, former Head of the Google Glass project, shared how the company incurred over USD $1 billion in R&D costs and massive blow-back from consumers in terms of security and privacy concerns, all under his watch.

Fadell was giving a lecture at FailCon, an international conference dedicated to the study and sharing of failures by entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders. Examples of workshops held during the two-day conference at San Francisco include "Failing Spectacularly for Success" and "From Fiasco to Fortune."

CCTV footage captured members of the audience growing increasingly restless, standing up and raising their hands in the air, until the entire room was chanting FailCon's official slogan Fail Fast, Fail Hard, Fail Fail Again! to the point where Mr Fadell was unable to continue.

In exit surveys, participants rated Fadell's talk as a huge success.

In 2019, an early test screening of the Netflix production Losers had the audience bursting into applause by the end of Episode 6, which depicted professional sled dog musher Aliy Zirkle racing the Iditarod4 nineteen times since 2001 but never having won the championship.

Within 24 hours, Aliy Zirkle received multiple letters of congratulations and donations in excess of $1,000,000.

Select reviews are documented below from international critics believed to be under the influence of SCP-4245.

"Riveting! Genius!"

~Steve Greene, Indiewire

"Losers might just be the most uplifting thing you’ll see this year."

~Stuart Heritage, The Guardian

"Wouldn’t you relate more to the thousands upon thousands of people who failed than to the Tom Bradys of the world?"

~Joel Keller, Decider

"Almost makes you want to go out there and fail too."

~Moria Greene, Screencast

belly3.jpg

Defending Champion Truls Torp executing a near-perfect belly flop.

In 2017, at the Norwegian "Death Diving" Belly Flop Championships, Defending Champion Truls Torp lodged a formal complaint against the judges' ruling one week after he lost to Mathias Kruger, a first-time entrant to the competition.

In the annual contest held in Oslo, Norway, participants are scored based on:

  • level of sound generated upon impact (1 decibel = 1 point)
  • grace, beauty and overall style (10 points)
  • percentage of body left reddened (10 points)
  • overall reaction of the audience (20 points)

Live footage of Torp's event is documented below. Commentator voiceover is translated from Norwegian:

[BEGIN TRANSCRIPT]

[The camera zooms in on Torp's face at the top of a 10-meter diving platform: he's a heavy-set male in his early-30s, with short blonde hair. There's a buzz from the crowd below.]

Commentator: Torp taking his time. In a perfect world, everyone goes home a winner today, but only the champ gets $10,000. Torp looks… and he leaps!!

[Torp spreads his arms and legs wide, holding his body parallel to the water for the almost three-second descent. The "SPLAT" upon impact is the loudest of the evening, but the audience's reaction is muted.]

Commentator: And what an impressive fall for Truls Torp! We've seen some excellent belly flops so far in this competition, but I think the stars might align for the defending champ with that spectacular performance!

[Torp is already seen smiling as he swims to the side of the pool. He climbs out of the pool and almost his entire body is coloured pink from the impact. The buzzer sounds and the judges hold up their scorecards.]

Commentator: And it's a beautiful 9.5! A near-perfect flop for Mr Torp!

[Torp looks pleased as he climbs out of the pool. Meanwhile, the camera pans to the next competitor ascending the ladder.]

Commentator: And up next is first-time competitor, 21-year-old Mathias Kruger.

[Mathias looks nervous at the top of the diving board. His wiry frame is hunched over, slowly inching his way towards the edge of the platform.]

Commentator: I certainly don't envy this young man. It's going to be tough to beat Torp's performance…

[Torp is standing below, egging the young man on, shouting at him to hurry up. Soon, the crowds join in. Some boos are heard as Mathias wavers.]

Commentator: Young Mathias needs to demonstrate some excellent bellyflopology if he hopes to place the top ten, let alone win.

[Mathias takes a deep breath, spreads his arms wide, and then slips off the board. He makes a "PLOP" sound as he hits the water in no discernible direction. There's a small period of silence, before the crowd ROARS with approval.]

Commentator: HERREGUD! WHAT A PHENOMENAL PERFORMANCE FROM MATHIAS KRUGER!

[Mathias surfaces, looking slightly confused. Torp is jumping up and down by the edge of the pool, applauding and screaming praises in his direction. The judges all hold up perfect 10/10 cards.]

Commentator: A perfect score from the judges' table, ladies and gentlemen, and deservedly so! There's no doubt about it — Mathias Kruger has flopped hard!

[TRANSCRIPT ENDS]


Addendum 4245-01: Interview with Mathias Kruger

Foundation agent Anette Olsen posed as one of the organisers of the competition seeking an interview with Mathias Kruger the following day. Class-W mnestics were applied to Agent Olsen three hours before, temporarily heightening memory retention and perception of antimemes.

Interview was conducted in Mathias' home on the outskirts of Oslo, Norway.

Agent Olsen: Thank you for seeing me, Mathias.

Mathias: I told the guy on the phone I didn't want the prize money. You didn't have to come all the way down.

[At this point, Agent Olsen reported feeling the first signs of pain in the upper left portion of her forehead, a sign of mnestics working to counteract an active memetic agent.]

Agent Olsen: It's no problem. I wanted to meet the daredevil himself. We've never had anyone get a perfect score in the history of the competition.

Mathias: You're being serious, right? This isn't some elaborate joke you guys are playing on me?

Agent Olsen: What are you talking about?

Mathias: [frustrated] I clearly slipped and fell on the platform. I crashed and burned. Hard. And yet here you guys are, praising me to the moon and back. Torp should have won the competition yesterday. Not me.

Agent Olsen: Well, I don't know what to say, Mathias. The crowd clearly loved you. Even Torp was leaping for joy—

Mathias: That's the thing, isn't it? Earlier on, he was goading me to jump. I believe he used the term "vattnisse"5 a couple of times as well. A minute later, he's hugging me like a long-lost brother.

Agent Olsen: We apologise for Mr Torp's language, but maybe your story really resonated with the crowd.

Mathias: [laughs] I'm sure that's the reason. Or maybe this is all just an elaborate prank. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to turn down the prize money.

Agent Olsen: What? Really?

[Olsen pulls out a white envelope stuffed with cash.]

Agent Olsen: No strings attached, you know? Well, except for this interview.

[She hands over the envelope, but Mathias pulls back. Agent Olsen notices the throbbing in her forehead increasing in intensity the closer the envelope is brought to Mathias.]

Mathias: You'd be the first person to say that. Heck, all of you would. Since when do you get rewarded for doing fuck-all? There must be some kind of catch here.

Agent Olsen: No catch. We just want to know a little bit about you for our promotional content, that's all.

Mathias: Take a look around. There's a reason why I'm living alone in this shitty apartment.

Agent Olsen: Where's your family?

Mathias: Haven't seen them in years.

Agent Olsen: What about friends?

Mathias: You mean like you guys?

Agent Olsen: Okay. Can you at least tell us why you decided to join the competition?

Mathias: [shrugs] Needed the money. Beats working at 7-11 for the rest of my life.

Agent Olsen: And yet you're refusing to take it now?

Mathias: Listen, lady, everything I've touched in life has turned to shit. Everything. I don't know why, but I seem to rub people the wrong way. And now, out of the blue, everyone's on their feet, clapping me on the back and giving me free lunch? And for something I clearly know I messed up? It doesn't make sense. I've followed my instincts so far in life, and I ain't touching that envelope.

Agent Olsen: Fair enough. I'll let the organisers know of your decision.

[The throbbing appears to subside once Olsen places the envelope back in her bag.]

Mathias: Can I ask you one thing before you go?

Agent Olsen: Of course.

Mathias: Do you really think I deserved to win yesterday?

[Olsen considers the question for a moment.]

Agent Olsen: I don't think you're a failure, Mathias, if that's what you're asking. Maybe just a misunderstood young man.

Mathias: [nods] Because y'know, I've struggled with this my entire life.

Agent Olsen: What's that?

Mathias: Getting people to like me.

[Agent Olsen reports a flash of intense pain across her forehead again.]

Agent Olsen: I like you just fine, Mathias. Thank you for seeing me.

Agent Olsen's Debrief Notes:

Mathias Kruger placed 0.91 on the multidimensional perfectionism scale (MPS), a strong indicator of narcissistic grandiosity, self-perceived vulnerability and imposter syndrome.

While the classification of SCP-4245 remains at Keter, we suspect a large majority of infected individuals like Kruger are unaware of their ability to manifest instances in others and pose no direct threat to the general public after the application of Class-D amnestics.

I am thus forwarding my objection to the Ethics Committee against the containment of individuals like Mathias as a long-term solution to counteract the effects of SCP-4245.

All they want is our empathy, after all.

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