Category: Rants


There's nothing like a choice of tie to define sanity...

I was just sitting on the harbor wall gnawing on half an uncut ham when an old man walked past on the street above. The bemused look he gave me made me wonder if eating ham without first cutting it into thin slices was some kind of social faux pas I was unaware existed.

It made me feel a bit like a stray dog. I wondered if I might be crazy. You know, like one of those old bearded men crouched under the flyover and sucking the blood out of his socks. I’m sure that sometimes I probably look a bit crazy, but that’s not the same as actually being crazy, right?

Crazy hobo guy needs your help

Yet I worry that maybe my attorney was right. Maybe I might actually be crazy. How would I know?  I mean, he managed to get some disreputable head shrink to state that I was crazy as part of some legal gambit, but that’s not the same as actually being crazy, right?

So I tried a little research. Looking about on the internet, particularly personal blogs, it seems that nearly everyone is declaring that they’re crazy in some way. The meaning of crazy varies wildly between individuals.

So, if I might be crazy, let’s have a look at my options:

For some people “crazy” means that if the quality of the conversation at the bridge club doesn’t improve next week they may actually have to use a four letter word (in the privacy of their own car, on the way home perhaps). Well, fuck that.

For others, “crazy” means that they had one more beer than they intended on Friday night and missed the bus home. Maybe they had to get a taxi. Whew, crazy night. I mean, taxi? In this town? You could have saved six euro if you’d walked.

For some brave people, crazy is fighting serious mental conditions. Crazy is struggling through each day in a disorganized mess and taking pills to try to counteract the effects of the other pills which they’re taking because they don’t have the confidence to argue with the profiteering doctor that prescribed them. I guess this one requires a doctor, so clearly not that kind of crazy.  I sometimes struggle to get through the day but it’s more likely that I’m just drunk or hungover (or both).

It seems the most popular however use of “crazy” however, seems to be referring to rather formulaic, repetitive faux quirkiness that, if anything, is so entirely normal it’s painfully dull. “You don’t have to work to help here, but it’s crazy”.

You don't need to be crazy to work here - but we'll make you eat your fucking dumb sign...

At first I thought that finding all these other crazy people was a good sign. Maybe it means that my worry that I might be crazy is just a sign that I am actually rather normal?

But then I looked about a little more and I realized that most of the people who are saying “Oh, I’m crazy!” don’t mean it at all. They really actually mean: “I’m a bit dull, but I want to appear quirky and exciting somehow.”

You're clearly not insane - you can't even pull a silly face, you have to let a cartoon character do it for you...

Those with actual troubling mental conditions aside, people who say they’re crazy are often about as bland, uninteresting and unexciting as people can be.  They’re not the ones sitting on the harbor wall chewing on a pound of meat, they’re eating at McDonalds. They’re not the ones trying to look casual walking along the beach at 5 am wearing nothing except a stolen raincoat and a pair of bright orange stilettos; they’re sitting at home watching T.V. wearing a T-Shirt that says “I’m with stupid” and hoping people think it’s ironic.

... and I forgive you for wearing that stupid shirt

These are the kind of people with nine to five jobs that they don’t really like. These are the kind of people that argue over whose turn it is to clean up the dog shit. These are the kind of people that eat at the same fast food restaurant every week because it’s kind of familiar. These are the kind of people that go to church because they go to church.

I was thinking… what’s wrong with this picture? Why would I want to be like these people? Why would anyone want to be like that? Is there something here that doesn’t quite fit?

There's something in your world view that I don't think you've taken time to consider...

Then the realization hit me. I was wrong. They’re right. They really are fucking crazy. They may be in the majority across a lot of Europe and North America, but that doesn’t mean they’re not crazy; they’re totally bat shit insane.

I remember a story about a guy who decided that the whole world was crazy. He built a circular wall and declared it the wall of the asylum. Then he lived in the middle of the circle. I can’t remember if he ever went in to visit the crazy people in the asylum but I suppose I’d have to find the original story to find out.

Still, the idea seems like reasonable one. I haven’t got the real estate to build me an actual wall, but in any case I’m declaring the lot of you certifiably insane and you can all go live in your asylum. If anyone wants out you’ll have to convince me you’re mentally sound enough to be released…

Choose life.   Choose a job.   Choose a career.   Choose a family.   Choose a fucking big television.   Choose washing machines, cars,   compact disc players, and electrical tin openers.   Choose leisure wear and matching luggage.   Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics.   Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning.   Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.   Choose rotting away at the end of it all, in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarassment to the selfish fucked up brats that you spawned to replace yourselves.   Choose your future.   Choose life.   I chose not to choose life.   I chose something else.

Suicide: A beginner’s guide

The world need's action!

The trouble with suicide is that it’s always being attempted by untrained amateurs, usually when they’re not in the right frame of mind to be trying anything quite so serious or dangerous. In fact, it’s almost a given that if you meet someone that has first hand, practical experience in the field, then you can be sure they’re not very good at it.
I think part of the problem is that many people turn to suicide when they’ve already failed at pretty much everything else. If you can’t get anything else right, why assume you can perform a decent suicide? I suppose at the time they just don’t care that much, which just adds to the problems.
I’m going to look at the most popular reasons for making an attempt. I figure if you’re not in one of these reasons, then you might as well not bother at all.

  • • Star crossed lovers
  • • Revenge
  • • Feeling a bit sad at the moment
  • • Incurable, terminal, and painful illness
  • • Being danger to others

Star crossed lovers

Without you, I'm nothing
This one is pretty common, particularly in works of fiction. People who lose love or for some reason can’t be with the one they love decide that the only course of action left to them is suicide. Romeo and Juliet are probably the most famous examples of lovers that can’t be together deciding to take their own lives, but they’re not the only ones. Loreley is supposed to have thrown herself into the Rhine on the same kind of premise and I’m sure there are plenty of others.
While this kind of juvenile behavior is often painted as the height of romance and somehow noble, the truth of the matter is that it’s just plain stupid. Romeo and Juliet were a pair of whiney, self centered, overly dramatic children who managed to kill themselves out of dumb luck more than anything. I for one was glad they were dead; at least it shut them up.
The point is that no matter how it might read in a romance novel, dead bodies are never romantic or beautiful. If Shakespeare had described an accurate scene, in which the two dumb teens vomited and shat themselves before curling up on the floor like rodents to die, I’m sure people would be put off the romance of it. But I suppose that’d spoil the mood of his story.
In conclusion: If you think you might be considering the star crossed lover approach, just give it up – have a cold shower and go out and meet someone that’s not stupid enough to poison themselves.

Revenge

I figure this one is more common than people want to admit. This is where someone does something nasty to you and treats you wrong and so you decide you’re going to be all dramatic and kill yourself.
“I’ll show them!” you think in a fit of righteous fury “they’ll be sorry when I’m dead!”
Actually, they probably won’t; at least, not half as sorry as you’ll be in the seconds before you die.
If you’re thinking to yourself that revenge isn’t the reason you’re considering it – then check everyone you know – are you doing everything in your power to make it as painless for them as you possibly can? Have you considered all the shit they’re going to have to deal with? I’ll tell you this: finding dead bodies is not a pleasant thing to do, particularly if it’s someone you know. Imagine each person you know is the one to find you all cold and urine stained in the corner. If you feel even slightly vindictive about the trauma that person would suffer – then there’s a little bit of revenge in your reasoning. To be honest, if it’s a revenges thing, you might as well go the whole way – why not get a tattoo on your face that says “I did this because my brother beat me at scrabble” and then hang yourself from his bedroom light fixture?

.... and I wanted diet coke, damnit
If that idea sounds stupid, it’s because the whole premise is stupid. Killing yourself to hurt someone else is about the most stupid thing you can do. If they really do hate you – then they win. And if they don’t hate you then you both just lose. The people you seek to hurt aren’t responsible for your life – you’re the one that has the most to lose. Just give it up – go create yourself a better life and beat them by just being happy.

Feeling a bit sad at the moment

On the bright side, at least we got ice cream
I guess this is quite common too. People get depressed or blue and decide that they don’t really like being depressed. So they hurt themselves. It’s a bit silly really because being depressed in a temporary state. I’ve been sad before. Sure, it’s no fun being sad and sometimes you just want it to be over, you don’t think you can take it anymore. Turns out that you can. You can clear things up and be happy again. Unless of course you kill yourself. In which case you just stay sad. Maybe you make some other people sad too. Maybe nobody cares. But you are responsible for your own happiness and it’s there when you want it.

I’m not going to say you can just decide to be happy one day and it’ll just happen. I know that’s not the way it goes. However I will say this: It does get better.

When I say “feeling sad” I mean any number of states of emotional  trauma. This covers sadness, guilt, shame, and even fear. Sometimes you might be so afraid of something that dying seems less scary that facing whatever it is that really scares you. Hell, there are some things that I know I’d rather die than face. Yet, I figure that fear can be overcome. You don’t want to fold out as a coward, and whatever you’re guilty of, it’s done now – being dead ain’t gonna help.

Incurable, terminal, and painful illness

Some people are in constant and endless physical pain with no hope of ever being healed. Usually they are very old and have lived well and decide that now is the time to move on. I think you’ll know if you’re in this position. Pain is scary and it can make life feel like a burden. I’ve never been in quite that position, so I can’t say how I’d handle it – but I can say this: I have been injured to the point where I didn’t think I would recover. I lay in the dark in terrible pain and wished it could be over more quickly. However, I did recover, and now I’m glad I didn’t take action based on that wish.

Being a danger to others

Some people just know they’re dangerous. In their calm rational moments they fear that they’ll later lose control and hurt those they love. These kinds of people are, luckily, pretty rare. Most people are pretty good at not hurting others, just getting on with life in an orderly fashion. Those that can’t play gently are usually locked up for the good of everyone else. But if you knew you were that person…. If you knew you were that loose cannon…. What would you do? You could invoke the higher purpose clause – kill the one in favor of the many. But even if you decided that it was the right thing to do – could you do it?

If you're gonna shoot yourself in the mouth, you might as well be half naked, right?

I figure that everyone has thought about it at some point in their lives. I don’t mean, actually seriously considered it. Just thopught about it. Has the thought ever crossed your mind, just in passing?

Mice in the grain store

Everyone knows that people in crowds behave differently from individuals. Individuals may be smart, but crowds are stupid. There’s something about being part of a large group that somehow seems to strip away the mental capabilities of the individual; they give up their decision making to the group and hence shrug off responsibility for their own actions. Suddenly they can behave like wild animals.

Crowds - Not as smart as mice
“Let’s smash stuff up!”

The IQ of a crowd is the IQ of the smartest member, divided by the number of people.

So what’s the IQ of the human race? Well, the highest IQ on record is Physicist and Engineer Kim Ung-yong with a score of 210. The earth’s population is 6.92 billion. So the human race as a whole has an IQ of about 0.00000003. You’ll not need me to tell you; that’s a poor IQ for a glass of water.

I figure we’re not even on the same scale as animals – we’re barely alive. Some kind of low level cell virus or something.

But seriously, what about those mice?

A Mouse

Do you know what happens when a few mice get into a grain store undetected? Well, with the food supply so good they make themselves at home. They have babies. Because the food supply is so easy, all the babies grow up healthy strong. They have babies themselves. If twenty mice pair off and have six little mice, then you’ve got seventy mice. All of which can breed. So then you’ve got 280 mice. Then 1120. The population explodes and there are mice everywhere. Hundreds! Thousands! Swarms of the little buggers. It’s good times for mice! The party just keeps rolling.

High in mouse - low in pollyunmouse

Mice rule the world!

The population keeps rocketing until one day, quite suddenly, the grain runs out. Ah – bummer.

So then what happens?

Well, there’s a problem. The surrounding countryside can’t support the massive population of mice. The farmer isn’t going to restock that silo because she’s gone bust (all that grain she had to sell, well, it’s kinda missing). So the mice empire crashes. Every plant and bit of wood for miles around is gnawed to ground and there are desperate mice fighting over bits of dirt and pebbles that aren’t even edible. Soon the ground is littered with the dying and dead. It’s the mouse apocalypse.

Maybe a few survive. These few manage to scratch out a living in the wasteland, but they’ll never have it so good again. Life for the survivors is hard.

So what should the mice have done?

Well, what if back when the first few mice snuck into the grain store they all got together and had a mouse meeting. Some important and clever mouse could address his comrades:Smart mouse knows what to do...

“Listen up lads, we’re on to a good thing here. We can live like kings for as long as we like. So long as we only take a small amount of the grain, and keep quiet, no one will ever know. We can stay here and build self-sufficient way of life that will last not only for us, but for our children, and for their children. We can ensure prosperity for our progeny for all time; until we finally evolve into something that can beat the shit out of a cat.”

They could set themselves up a little self-sufficient hippy commune and live in harmony with their environment. The farmer gets the grain, they take a small cut, life goes on and everyone is happy.

But mice don’t do that. They’re not that smart.

And honestly? Neither are we.

Oh, damnit! There goes the last of the brandy...

It seems some people love to complain. They will complain about the weather, their internet connection, their partner, their friends, and even the dress sense of strangers. Avoid those people.

If you find yourself complaining about something, stop a moment and think. Complaining is a completely negative response. It regurgitates the problem again and again, reliving and retelling the same issue only makes it worse for the person doing the complaining, there is no real satisfaction to be gained from it. In all honesty, nobody really wants to hear it either. Maybe close friends will tolerate a little complaining now and then, after all, friends put up with a lot of shit, but I’m sure they’d rather not have to.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t let you friends know how you feel, if you’re upset you can tell them without complaining about it. Also, I’m not saying that you should accept bad behaviour or bad service from others; you can make clear your disapproval and request compensation without needing to complain.

Complaining is an inability to accept the way things are. Whining and complaining about the state of the world just makes the state of the world that little bit worse, because now it’s got some crying baby whinging in it as well. To make the world better takes positive action. Making your life better takes positive action. Impressing your friends takes positive action. Getting your money back from the cable company takes positive action. Complaining is always negative and will always get you further away from where you want to be.

Whenever something goes wrong or things don’t pan out the way you’d hoped, just take two simple steps.

Step 1) Accept the way things are
Step 2) Take positive action to improve the situation

It’s worth remembering that we can’t all have what we want all the time. Maybe your TV is broken and you can’t fix it. Maybe you can’t afford a new one, or even a second hand one. Maybe you’re just going to have to live without a TV. Now you could spend the next few days complaining to everyone you know about how crappy it is not to have a TV and how if that stupid dog hadn’t vomited on the old one you could be being brainwashed by Fox News right now instead of standing here whining about it. Alternatively, you could dust off a pack of cards, invite a few friends over and play poker and have a decent conversation about something. There is always something better to do rather than complain.

I’ve noticed that the more affluent and privileged a person is, the more likely they are to complain. In the dusty back streets in South Africa, where the going is tough, everyone is talking about what they’re going to do – how they’re going to make something of themselves. In the glossy malls of America, there are girls sipping latte and whining about the tariff on their cell phone or complaining that they can’t get quite the right shade of eye shadow.

Tinkerbell; killed by a complaint about cold coffee in McDonald's in April 2011

Fairy killings rise sharply every time Microsoft releases a new operating system. Bill Gates said to be saddened by the news.

Now and then I take a look at the way I behave and I think to myself: If I’ve got time to complain about things – I’ve got it too good. So I stop wasting time and energy killing fairies and use that time and energy making the world more beautiful (by killing Insurance salesmen instead).