Thursday, October 25, 2012


I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday that included the following snippet:

“I think she’s definitely, you know, less … crazy.”

“I don’t know how good that is, though, because less crazy isn’t the same as NOT crazy. It’s like the lesser of two evils – less evil is STILL evil. Less crazy is still crazy.”

“You may have a point.”

I should say here that I use the word crazy with some care. When I speak or write about mental illness, I call it what it is: illness. If I have the name – anorexia, body dysmorphia, depression, whatever – I use the name without judgement. I would not call someone with mental illness crazy.

I would call someone who declares that she doesn’t believe in provable facts a little crazy.

For example, if you told me that you didn’t believe in gravity? I might begin to define you as crazy. Because, science.

I would also call someone who sees life as an obstacle course that must be carefully constructed for other people crazy.

Say we were having dinner. And you asked me what I thought that you should order. So I said, “The fish here is excellent” and you say “WRONG ANSWER” because you really want meatloaf, and then you go on a long explanation of the virtues of meatloaf versus fish? That’s crazy, and I will also never have dinner with you again.

Or, equally fun, say you asked me “Yellie, if you wanted to buy shoes, where would you go?” and I reply, quite naturally, “A shoe store,” and you said “NO. NO ONE BUYS SHOES AT A SHOESTORE. THAT IS WRONG.”

That’s crazy.

So the person my friend and I were discussing? On a scale of one to ten? Was an eleven, but now she’s down to, say … a nine point five. Which is an improvement, but still?


Which I will admit to sometimes being – well, a little beneficial. It’s definitely inspired my creativity, because every time she asks me a question, I try to think of some answer other than the expected one. This occasionally works. So if she said, “What do you think I should buy, a Smart Car or a Fiat,” I might reply: “A bicycle! They don’t require gas, they’re easy to park, and you don’t have to insure it!” and have that be … perhaps not the right answer, but one that is somehow acceptable.

I am also forced to confront my own willingness to believe facts and statistics, because she will look at years of carefully compiled data that shows provable trends and declare that she doesn’t believe any of it. This frequently throws me for a loop, but also makes me look at information more closely and ask questions.  That’s not a terrible thing.

So sometimes – sometimes – the crazy is helpful or a little entertaining.

Mostly, it’s exhausting and annoying. Because – how do you not believe in GRAVITY?! WHY would you make everyone you know guess what you’re thinking all of the time? Why WOULDN’T you buy shoes at a shoe store?

Because I’ll tell you what: it’s starting to make me crazy.

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