display | more...

"When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane." - Hermann Hesse (1877-1962)

A couple of events in my life today led to this idea. First, I woke up with my alarm this morning and couldn’t remember what day it was. I had been having a dream where it was Sunday and I was naked on television and the anchor was interviewing my ass (that, of course is another node). When I woke up I had that feeling, as most people I’m sure have experienced, where I knew the dream had been real and I was now experiencing some disbelief of what my conscious brain was telling me. I got over it and made it to work.

Later in the day I was watching the movie May. To be brief (and do the movie no justice), it’s the story of this lonely girl who eventually goes mad and cuts up some people to make a life-size doll that she hopes will like her. Rent it.

Only now am I realising that I’m basing my theory on a dream and a movie, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Here it is:

I hypothesize that some people appear to go crazy because their brain somehow gets caught in that dream zone, even when they’re awake. It’s more than just not being able to tell right from wrong – that’s a different sort of crazy I think. What I’m talking about is the feeling that what’s happening and what you’re doing makes perfect sense to you and the people around you. Just like in a dream.

My mind can dream and trick me into thinking that the dream is real and no matter how insane the plot seems when I awake, it seemed perfectly normal at the time. Therefore, I know my brain is capable of moving to a state where I could do (or at least consider) very strange (and wrong) things, and believe that there’s no problem. Even though I consider myself quite stable, I must admit that my brain is capable of being insane.

I mentioned the movie May because in the film you see the main character slowly losing her grip on reality and eventually massacring a few people for a project that she appeared to believe was perfectly normal – making a doll of human body parts. It was during the movie that I realised she doesn’t understand that what she’s doing is completing insane. Insane meaning that the average person in society would consider her actions wrong. However, to her, at the time, they seemed completely normal and even necessary.

So that’s it. Maybe some crazy people, like Jeffrey Dahlmer, have just slipped into a state where their brain thinks everything is a dream and forgets to use the “real world filter”, which considers how others would react to his actions. I'm sure it seemed perfectly normal to him to keep body parts in the freezer, just like I thought (last night at least) that is was perfectly normal to have my ass interviewed on prime time. Personally, I wouldn't mind acting out a few of my dreams, and I wonder how much it would take to make me slip them from the 12-6 shift over to the 9-5 time slot.

I’m not a psychiatrist, a psychiatry student or in any way an authority in the field of how the brain works. Could you tell?

"Two cups of coffee, por favor."

It was Kenny's signature request. Two cups of coffee instead of one. While some customers were known for their eight sugars or requests for obsolete creamers, Kenny always took two cups of coffee simultaneously. Doris once asked him why, but had since forgotten his answer.

"It is going to be a hot one today," Kenny reported when Doris returned with his two cups of hot, black coffee. Kenny would squeal like a pubescent girl who just found out her ex-con uncle was reading her diary if any cream or sugar so much as touched his coffee.

"Almost a hundred degrees outside already and you're drinking two cups of hot coffee at high noon. You're a trooper, Kenny."

"I fight the good fight."

Kenny had been coming to the Lucky Dog Coffee Shop for three years. After his release from the state hospital, where he lived for four years, it was the first place he had come upon. Here in this small, disregarded town it was left alone in the storm of corporate sanitation. It was still the kind of place that kept a bulletin board of community events and available local services. If you needed some yardwork done, there was the flyer for Chuck's Lawn Service. If you wanted to know where this week's garage sales were being held, you went to the board at the Lucky Dog.

"You lookin' for lunch today?" Doris asked.

"I would not mind tasting a grilled cheese sandwich with six strips of bacon. You do still have real bacon, don't ya?"

"What else would we have?" winked Doris. It would be a cold day in hell before the Lucky Dog sold out and started offering bacon substitutes.

Kenny opened his newspapers. He liked to examine the news from a variety of sources. The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Weekly World News and the hometown paper were all in his queue today. Somewhere, in one of these newspapers, he would find a slice of truth. Truth no longer came as a package deal. You had to dig hard and fast for it.

"Men long ago submitted to the seductive power of the double-tongue," Kenny said to himself out loud. "Nothin' but agendas, agendas and sales pitches. It don't much bother me when they lie to me to sell me soap and candy bars, but now they lie to me to sell me ideas. It isn't easy fighting the good fight these days."

The master of lawnmowers and pruning shears himself, Chuck Gideon, was sitting behind Kenny enjoying a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with an extra-tall iced tea. He turned and leaned over the booth.

"Whatcha think about these new terrorist attacks they've been talking about this summer?"

"They don't have much issue with the people in this town, so I wouldn't much worry, Chuck."

"Yeah, but what about them big city folks? Ain't you much concerned about them?"

"I don't really know any of them too well. They don't letcha get to know them very well. They want this and that. They want to be left alone while they figure out how to make more money and install more locks and security systems in their homes. They went lookin' for something and then forgot what they were lookin' for. They ain't got nothin' on account of all that, so if you ain't got nothin' you ain't got nothin' to lose."

"How about them losing their lives from a bomb, or like those poor souls in them double towers that went down?"

"What was they doin' in there, Chuck? What are people doin' bein' in buildings like them? People just keep wantin' more. They want bigger, higher, shinier, richer... they want so much and then they want low carb bacon because they've gotten so fat on their own greed that they just don't know who they are any longer. They don't know what's real any longer. Low carb bacon? Shit, I ain't worried about them none."

Doris brought Kenny his grilled cheese sandwich with six strips of bacon. She refilled one of his two cups of coffee because it was now almost empty. Kenny thanked her and went back to his newspapers.

"Did you hear about old Clyde's boy?" Chuck asked Kenny. "I was takin' care of his crabgrass the other day when they came to tell him the news. His boy done got killed over there in that desert war."

"Yeah, I was pretty sad for old Clyde on that one," Kenny reported. "Mike was a good boy and a good soldier. He fought the good fight and they killed him with their lies. I remember I was in church when they announced that Mike was goin' to war. Wasn't right they made that boy who knew how to tend his own garden go fight and die so the double-tongues could keep messin' around in other people's gardens. Wasn't nothin' right about it. I done asked Jesus to look after that boy."

"I guess Jesus couldn't help him."

"Oh, he helped him plenty. He got Mike out of there before he got corrupted as well. Mike done died standing up, fighting the good fight. Old Clyde ought to be plenty proud of his boy."

"I dunno about you, Kenny. How can you say he died fightin' the good fight when you say this whole war is so wrong?"

"I has just got my own opinions, Chuck. What does my opinion matter except in my own little kingdom, in here," Kenny said, patting his chest. "If you done believe in something, you believe in it, and that's a fact. A lot of these people, they is just goin' through the motions. They don't believe in what they be doin' and they don't believe in much of anything 'cept what other people tell them. Once you stop believin' in somethin' then you is done fighting the good fight. That's just how it is."

Chuck finished his sandwich and his iced tea and paid Doris for the damages. Getting up, he put his hand on Kenny's shoulder.

"Keep fightin' the good fight, Kenny. Some of us are still with you."

"Look at this, Chuck," Kenny said, pointing to a story in one of the newspapers in his possession. "Some boy up there in Alaska was born with three hearts. I wonder what that's all on about?"

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.