As many of you know, I am a devotee of quotations – those bite-sized nuggets of wisdom summarizing great truths of life quickly and with wit. Some years back, in a cold, dingy room choked to the gills with cigarette smoke, bad coffee, tattoos, and incomprehensible blather uttered badly by battered bikers, businessmen, beauticians and stay at home moms, united in anonymous terror, I first heard this said. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Later I found that this pearl of wisdom is credited to everybody’s favorite patent clerk, Albert Einstein. However… The more time I spent on the Internet the more I realized that roughly half of all quotes found there are bogus. Some are real but credited to the wrong author; others are totally made up and attributed to a famous, credible person.
As Tiberius said to Caligula, “It is better to be feared than to be loved.” You history buffs out there will recall that Caligula took these sage words to heart and ruled ancient Rome with a flamboyant accent on intimidation. Was Caligula crazy? Frankly, it’s too soon to tell. But one thing is certain, in fairy tales, foreign films, comic books and ballads – crazy is way scary yes indeed. Even bad guys – (guys so bad they would tear the tag off a mattress – so thoughtless and cruel they would blabber away at the top of their lungs in a crowded Starbucks – so insensitive to the fate of our dear mother earth they would purchase and drive a Hummer!) – are frightened by the whackadoomious among us. Speaking as a card-carrying resident of Cookoopantsatopolis, I am here to tell you that all of us have been overlooking a significant strategic opportunity! Instead of feeling contrite and embarrassed about our disabilities – (or “differences” if you prefer) – let’s flaunt them! Naturally we would all prefer to be loved for who we really are, but candidly, will that be happening soon? I thought not. So, in the interim, let’s find ways to make fear of the mentally ill a wedge in the door that opens up into social acceptance.
For days I have been tormented by blinding headaches, merciless nausea, recurrent waves of despair, and an overwhelming premonition of impending doom. At last I have discovered the source of my torment. The 2012 presidential campaign has officially begun. I am writing today from the New Hampshire hamlet I inhabit having just come back from voting in the nation’s first primary election. Returning home after exercising the franchise so many take for granted I had what people like me refer to as “an aha moment” – which is to say, I stumbled across an original thought. This is it – mentally ill people are uniquely qualified to redeem the unsightly quagmire we refer to as American politics.
WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of a world without Santa. As regular readers of Funny In The Head know, I am a firm believer that unflinching honesty is at the heart of all emotional well being, mental health, and peace of mind. Ignoring reality is not the best way to heal one’s inner child, and so, the day comes when we all must face [Spoiler Alert] the death of Santa Claus. Losing a beloved authority figure is like a roundhouse punch to the solar plexus, dealing with it is rough. Here, for your comfort and joy, are the Seven Stages Of Santacide, and how to deal with them.
"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. However, the mice will switch all your street signs." Taz Mopula One lovely, sunny afternoon, a traveling salesman was driving his shiny new Cadillac convertible down a quiet country road. Without warning, he was rudely wrenched away from his predictable, uninteresting thoughts by a flubadubbadub sound indicating his left front tire had gone flat. The fellow pulled to the shoulder, stopped, and surveyed his situation. Beside him, an imposing wrought iron fence stood sentry before a sweeping, well-manicured lawn. At once annoyed and bemused, he observed the lawn to be studded with solitary individuals wearing white jumpsuits, calmly entertaining each other and themselves. His mystification ended when he saw a large sign that read, "Shady Acres Home For The Deranged".
"What I find most annoying about self-absorbed narcissists is they don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about me." Taz Mopula In the fascinating world of mental illness and mental health one can always fan the flames of debate by throwing down this challenge: Can what we call “mental disorder” be the response of a healthy mind to a society that is, itself, not sane? Recent decades have seen an alarming increase in the incidence of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This leads the medical community to wonder - What were these folks called before the ADD diagnosis? Did the disorder even exist a century ago? Or, is ADD a mass response to cultural shifts de-emphasizing thoughtful deliberation in favor of superficial, trivial and constantly changing entertainment?
"Sometimes it seems like the inmates are running the asylum. Then again, would a sane person want that job?" ~ Taz Mopula Most of us who wrestle with mental health issues must also deal with feelings of low self-esteem. Knowing we are not quite “normal” sometimes leads to feeling “less than”. We work hard to address our maladies and gradually gain mastery over them. In time, we find ourselves moving among “regular folks” with new found comfort and confidence. Then an amazing thing happens.
"Driving with your eyes closed doesn't actually make you invisible; but it might as well." Taz Mopula It is widely understood that, to legally operate an automobile in the United States, one must possess a valid driver’s license. It is further understood that driving a car is considered a privilege which can be revoked at any time for various reasons. The individual who drives while intoxicated is considered a menace to himself and society so, to protect the general welfare, police officers are entitled to stop automobiles and administer field sobriety tests. Some jurisdictions even set up Field Sobriety Checkpoints. Inebriated drivers caught in these snares are severely punished, and drunk driving decreases as a result. Well and good, you say, but what’s being done about the equally chilling danger of DWI – Driving While Insane? Sadly, the answer is - not much! But that is all about to change thanks to the imminent introduction of Random Sanity Testing and Sanity Testing Checkpoints!
“All statements on the Internet are true, including this one.” Taz Mopula Here is a riddle to enjoy. You are walking on a road leading to Basingstoke. You arrive at a junction. The road splits in two. You do not know which road to take. There are two men standing there. You know that one man always lies while the other always tells the truth; but you don’t know which is which. You are only allowed one question to find the right road. You can ask the question to either man. What question will you ask to find out which is the road leading to Basingstoke?
Sooner or later we are all tormented by that nagging, unnerving question. You know the one. Am I wearing my underwear over my clothes? Is my cheese slipping off the cracker? Am I marching to the beat of a different didgeridoo? Is the diploma in my den from Whassamatta U? Like a pebble wedged firmly in your shoe the uncertainty refuses to leave, taunting and mocking until thinking of anything else is impossible. I’ve been troubled by these moments of existential meltdown for decades, which is why I was so excited when my friends at Kronko told me about self-diagnosis with SynAPPS® - the latest in “smart” applications for iPhones, iPads, and ay caramba. Here’s how it works. As an intelligent application, SynAPPS® records your online activities in order to build, and regularly update, a psychodynamic knowledge base enabling it to gauge your sanity quotient on demand.