I’d like to thank Tom Cahill of Alliance, Ohio for emailing one of the great conundrums of our modern world. Tom sent me a link to a newspaper story from Montana about a woman who killed, boiled and served her husband to the couple’s schnauzer. Along with that uplifting report of the state of the American marriage, Mr. Cahill poses an interesting question. “Scott,” he asks. “Do you think there are more crazy people now or do we just have more news coverage about them?”
Good one, Tom.
I’ve long fallen into the “glass-half-nuts” camp, believing that the number of so-called “crazy” people more or less stays as a constant percentage of the total population. Not only do I disagree that there are more crazy people now, but I can remember many, many more emotional and mental cases walking the streets and wandering the neighborhoods when I was a kid. I think the difference is not in amount of news coverage, but in the vast number of “mood-altering” downers available from your doctor, or, as street people know, available from that nice man in the parking lot of the sub shop down the street.
I believe we have the same number of crazies.
But we also have more drugs.
The reports of the wild antics of those who have lost their grip on the rapidly revolving Earth seem to have multiplied in recent years, but if you travel to your local library and hit the microfilm files hard enough, you’ll discover that every era has had an amazing amount of cruel and unusual crimes committed by the soon-to-be committed. I must admit to Tom that his Montana story about the poor pup’s surprise dinner is a new one, of sorts. But it does not prove that there are more crazy people or more coverage of them.
I know that provides no answer to your question.
I am, in fact, somewhat of an expert in the field. I attract folks with mental problems, those down on their luck, some who cannot tell up from down, right from wrong, but have an uncanny ability to recognize local radio talent from distances of up to three hundred yards. Some would argue that this attraction, an almost uncanny honing device that brings them to me during on-location broadcasts, probably stems merely from the gathering of a crowd in their usually quiet settings.
I know better.
I believe the deranged “network”. They talk. They tweet. They post. Word gets around. My story among the skewed, as far as I can tell, is that I have a “certain respect and admiration” for their ilk. That moves me up a couple of rungs on the batty ladder. I hold in esteem those who are less equipped than most to face a Monday morning with no real ability to separate reality from fantasy. If you have to fight an army of devils to get to the corner grocery, I feel as though that accomplishment alone should be rewarded with my personal courtesy and some dignity.
We all have a rough time getting to work in the traffic, but imagine the guy who did so while having the specter of his dead father screaming at top volume into his right ear that he needs to “Get off the highway and find a big juicy earthworm, right now!”
The deranged network.
Word gets around.
While I have compassion and some amount of regard for those with emotional problems, in turn I will show no patience for those who “act” crazy just to get some attention. After years of dealing with the general public and that small percentage of this world’s perplexed and irrational members, I have learned that there are those, in turn, who fake being loony.
Not just disc jockeys.
Not only do the fakers disrespect themselves with carnival show antics aimed at shining a personal spotlight, dressing up as Marie Antoinette at the wave pool or running onto the field during the National Anthem; they also disrespect the truly insane. Unbalanced people normally do not want to call attention to themselves. Unhinged folks are not interested in fame. The unsound do not jump in front of television cameras or radio microphones (unless, of course, they sight that worm their deceased father has been screaming for).
So I guess my argument is that the world does not contain “more crazy people”, Tom. There are probably just about the same amount as have ever been. What the world does contain, unfortunately, are many more people who seem to need plenty more attention from the rest of us. Unable to gain that notice through normal means – joining the Rotary Club, shooting par or making it to Sunday school nine years straight without missing – they tend to veer away and steer their ship into the rocks that bring them coverage. That, unfortunately, is why you remember the last Allman Brothers show not for the great playing and singing, but because the guy two rows in front of you got naked, shouting “I am the Alex Trebek!” and unleashed a stream of urine into the aisle.
Or, it could have been the drugs.
Meanwhile, the truly insane, the sadly maddened, the ones who corner me at the bank machine and warn that I “stay inside for three days” while the world ends (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, for your information) aren’t looking for attention. Their self-appointed purpose is much more important and selfless. They’re looking to save us all from the Technicolor hell that has been shown to them between their ears.
I appreciate that.
I need all the help I can get.
And who knows? Maybe they’re right and perhaps it’s we who are crazy.
We’ll find out on Friday, huh?
In the meantime, thanks for the email and attached article, Tom. It’s always nice to know what people in Montana are using to make their schnauzers grow.
Do you know what color Eukanuba bag that would be?