You’ve all been there. You’re just minding your own business, going about your day, blithely unaware of the hidden hazards that surround you. Perhaps you have other things on your mind; plans for the evening with a special someone; a show you’ve been looking forward to on the DVR; a book that you had to put down just as it got to the good part. Then – BAM! It happens.
You are accosted by a crazy.
At first you are bemused. Perhaps you think it is all a joke! This couldn’t possibly be happening to me, you think, looking around surreptitiously for the hidden cameras. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life, to real people.
Oh, I beg to differ, my friend.
And once the crazies have their scent on you? Well, be prepared, because crazy can smell crazy, and they’re going to start crawling out of the woodwork. You’re going to start seeing them everywhere. It’s like those Magic Eye posters; once you can see the sailboat, you can’t UNSEE the sailboat. Or so I’ve heard. I can’t see the sailboat. When, lord, when’s it my turn to see the sailboat in this metaphor?
I may not be able to see the Magic Eye posters (and I’m not 100% sure there’s even anything there and you’re not all messing with me, because that’s just the sort of thing you people would do, let’s be frank, you’re all a bunch of yahoos), but I’ve seen the crazies. Oh, yes. I’ve seen them. And they’ve turned their overly-avid eye to me, and they’ve latched on like remoras onto my awesomeness. AND THEY ARE NOT LETTING GO.
I know what you’re thinking. “Amy,” you’re thinking, your eyes overly-bright with fear-tears, “what can I do? What is my recourse? I am so, so afraid. I have nowhere to turn. Crazies to the left of me, crazies to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with MORE CRAZIES. What am I to do?”
Well, first, you can stop screaming, because that’s just rude. Also, you’re spitting a little. Dial it back a notch, hombre, this isn’t a Spanish soap opera.
Your first, best, and only defense is a good offense. Are you totally proud of my sports metaphor? I am. I don’t even know what sport it’s referring to. All? Probably all, right? I mean, you defend something in most sports, I suppose, like a goal, or a basket, or your honor, so I think this is a sports metaphor that works for EVERYTHING. What is your offense, you ask? Well. I am SO GLAD you asked.
You need to be able to identify your crazy.
Once you can identify your crazy, you can use your knowledge of the particular type of crazy and your crazy-defense skills and you can defeat your foe. It is as simple as that.
Stop yelling, I said.
“HOW DO I IDENTIFY MY CRAZY?”
Man, you’re loud. But because I just can’t stand to see my fellow man suffer, I will help you. We must band together to defend ourselves against the crazies. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
AMY’S SUPER-DUPER SHINY AWESOME GUIDE TO KNOWING YOUR CRAZY
How to identify: Talks a lot. Sad, pathetic, kicked-puppy eyes. Constantly trying to get you to hang out or to invite him or herself along to hang out with you. Always inserting him or herself into conversations that do not involve him or herself. Lots of pets that he or she calls “the kids” and possibly has accordion-style foldout photo displays on his or her person at all times, ready to show you, even – especially – if you don’t ask.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings? One.
The Lonely Crazy is a sad case. He or she won’t stop talking. You try to get a word in, and the talking continues. You try to extricate yourself, but they make you feel so guilty, because of the loneliness, that you are trapped. Utterly trapped. In the time suck of loneliness and guilt. The best way to deal with this person is to not. If you see them coming, immediately turn the other way and go, go, GO. Unless you have about an hour that you wouldn’t rather be doing something, ANYTHING, else. If you have a ton of free time and don’t mind talking to someone about things you have no interest in, then go to it. I can’t help you if you don’t want to be helped.
How to identify: Your nose will do it for you. This person smells like they haven’t showered in a month, then baked themselves in a hot van with the windows closed for another month, then bathed in Old Spice (if it’s a man) or one of those Designer Imposters from Kmart (if it’s a woman.)
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings: one, but if you have allergies or are prone to migraines, eleventy-billion
This person always sits next to you in confined spaces, like the bus, a theater, or a plane. And then you are trapped. I’d recommend carrying around one of those little travel-sized containers of Vicks Vaporub with you at all times. Like coroners do? I mean, if it blocks out the scent of decomposing bodies, it has to help with this. They’re not dangerous to anything but your respiratory system. Caution, however – I have found that B.O. Crazies often are COMBINED with other crazies on this list. A multi-headed hydra-like crazy is fear-inducing, indeed. Proceed with caution.
How to identify: Too much eye makeup. Sighs a lot. Wears a lot of black. Listens to a lot of Morrissey. Possibly scribbling in a notebook. Hair that falls in their eyes a lot. Angry. Sad.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings? Two
The Emo Crazy will probably not harm anyone but him or herself. The Emo crazy will probably just annoy you. Do not attempt to engage the Emo Crazy in conversation, as the Emo Crazy will answer you in monotones and say things like “I don’t care,” and “Life’s an endless wasteland of tedium,” and this will make you sad, therefore sucking you into their headspace and you do not want to be there, trust me. Do not attempt to brush the Emo Crazy’s hair out of his or her eyes. It is supposed to be like that. I know. I don’t get it, either. Yes, I agree it seems like it would constantly be annoying and in one’s eyesight.
How to identify: Talks a lot. Brings every conversation back to him or herself. Takes the tiniest thing and makes it into a huge yawning drama canyon. Unstable. Cries easily. Prone to hysterical laughter. Uses both emotions as a way to get attention. Possibly involved in community theater.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings? Three, unless you’re in a relationship with him or her, then eight
The Melodrama Crazy is merely an annoyance to be avoided unless you are foolhardy enough to get into a romantic relationship with him or her. They are very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and they talk a lot, and they seem like maybe they’d be a lot of fun, until they start crying because they TEXTED JAMIE OVER TWENTY MINUTES AGO WHERE IS HE OMG and you realize that this one is volatile like C4. If you are thinking about getting romantically entangled with a Melodrama Crazy, WALK RIGHT AWAY NOW. Did you see Fatal Attraction? Do you WANT a boiled bunny? I mean, if you want that, go right ahead, they’re probably super-enthusiastic sexually unless they’ve imagined some sort of slight and then start weeping, I don’t know. Maybe you dig that kind of thing.
Strangely High Self Esteem Crazy
How to identify: Will. Not. Stop. Hitting. On. You. Even though you are miles, fathoms, LIGHT YEARS, out of his or her league.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings? Four, because if they’re this delusional, how far exactly will they go?
Ladies, you’ve all been there. Men, does this happen to you, too? I don’t know, I don’t know too many unattractive women who think this is ok, but I’d be willing to hear stories about it if it does. The Strangely High Self Esteem Crazy hits when you’re alone. He starts chatting you up. You are polite, but distant. He continues. You stop making eye contact. He continues. You stop even responding and continue listening to your iPod/reading/playing with your phone. HE CONTINUES. You say, “Sorry, I’m really kind of in the middle of something?” He calls you a bitch, or a dyke. I’m sorry, Strangely High Self Esteem Crazy. Did you think I was going to take off my pants and let you do me doggy-style in the bus kiosk? THIS IS UNWANTED ATTENTION STOP IT. Also, I’m smoking-hot today, because I actually brushed my hair. You look like you slept in that t-shirt and there’s crud on your jeans and your facial hair is only growing in on one side of your face. I am out of your league, Strangely High Self Esteem Crazy.
How to identify: Yelling sexually-related terms at you. Leering at you so you feel naked even though you are fully clothed. Brushing up against you for no reason. Unwanted touching. Sitting way too close in public places even though there are like a million other seats. Starting a conversation and leading it around to sex, even if it started out about baby pandas.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings: Six. People like this are ick, and also have rapey eyes.
Hey, you know what’s not fun? Getting asked whether or not you are still a virgin when you’re fourteen by a Pervy Crazy at a farmer’s market. Also, getting felt up by the Pervy Crazy sitting next to you at the movie theater; getting caressed by a Pervy Crazy gas station attendant; getting followed out of a bus by a Pervy Crazy and followed around campus while he screamed about having sex with you. Pervy Crazies are NOT GOOD TIMES. They’re kind of an offshoot of Strangely High Self Esteem Crazies, and a precursor to both Mentally Deranged and Serial Killer Crazies. Until they start their shenanigans, there is very little you can do to identify them. Once they start their shenanigans, you can shut them down by removing yourself from their area. If that’s not an option, I’ve injured them, insulted their manhood, and started screaming, all with varied, mostly positive, results. Danger, Will and Wilhelmina Robinsons.
Mentally Deranged Crazy
How to identify: Charles Manson crazy eyes. Spouting nonsense. Talking to themselves. Wearing odd combinations of clothing.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings: Six. It would be higher but you’re usually able to use their mental illness as a weapon against them.
You know these people because they’re the kind that start following you on the street, or that you see sitting on the steps of a building as you walk past holding a full conversation with themselves. They’re scary, sure. But also sad? Because the mental health system of our country has kind of failed them in some way? If you find yourself trapped by a Mentally Deranged Crazy, distract them with something shiny like a pot pie tin; or say “The man in the orange socks said to meet him by the arrow,” or start singing, loudly and off-key, “I’m Henry the Eighth I AM I AM.” One of these things will no doubt work and then you can make your escape while they’re trying to swat invisible mosquitos.
Serial Killer Crazy
How to identify: Van with no windows. Waiting in your closet. Knives and ropes. Taking trophies. Wearing a suit of human skin. Crazy eyes. Putting the lotion in the basket. Fava beans and a nice Chianti.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings: It’s a SERIAL KILLER. Ten. TEN TEN TEN.
Listen, if you are in the clutches of a Serial Killer Crazy, I don’t know that I can help you. You are probably going to be one of his victims and your poor dead body is going to wash up next spring when people are picnicking down by the river. I could tell you to do what they say to do, like make sure he or she knows your name and try to identify with him or her and agree with whatever he or she is saying or whatever but THIS IS A SERIAL KILLER. What I plan on doing, personally, when the serial killer undoubtedly comes for me, is asking him or her if he knows a lot of serial killer trivia? And then engaging him or her in a trivia-off? Which I will undoubtedly win because I’d clear the serial killer category on some sort of sick and twisted Jeopardy tournament? And then he or she would be all “Touche, my little lemon drop, I HAVE TO LET YOU GO NOW YOU HAVE BESTED ME” and that would be awesome. NO you can’t steal my strategy THAT ONE IS MINE.
Lunacy That Defies Definition Crazy
How to identify: You can’t. Don’t even try.
How dangerous, on a scale of one to ten stabbings? One to infinity. There is no way to tell.
Sometimes you meet someone who doesn’t fit in any of the categories. The crazy who wears antlers and sings to you as you walk around downtown; the crazy who says “I like your DRESS” when you walk into the post office and you’re wearing slacks. Play it by ear and follow the instructions for whichever category above the crazy seems to fit best into. You’ve got to take some responsibility, now that you can see the sailboat, Willem. It’s your duty. ONE OF US ONE OF US.