Do you ever feel like you’re going nuts? And then you tell yourself, well, everybody is nuts, and you mention your fear to anybody and they’ll force a laugh and say, well, every body is crazy, ha ha ha. You make comparisons and you come out ahead. You aren’t in jail, or in a mental hospital. Two pluses right there. But still.
I’ve felt slightly crazy, if slightly is a possibility with crazy, since I was a young man, so horny that I considered raping my sister, but of course I didn’t. The gap between thinking something and doing it is wide, a long swim, fraught with what if’s, and those what if’s are internal cops. We don’t want to get a ticket.
So I was a young man and didn’t conform and turned into an older man who still doesn’t conform but goes to work everyday, although I cheat the IRS and I hope to fuck they don’t catch me. If they do, I am going to plead insanity. I was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1974 at the University of Vermont, so I know I am on a list, and that list consists of other subversives such as crazy people who cannot be controlled. We’re all being watched, but there is one loophole: being looped. The mentally ill in our country have more freedom than the rest of us. They can murder and eat children and if they can prove that they’re nuts, they get life imprisonment and three meals a day, maybe a couple of butt fucks, but hey, better than no fucks, right?
I don’t mean to be obnoxious, although that seems to be the hip mentality now. Loud, boisterous or, there is another choice, monk-like, soft-spoken, in-touch, superiorly enlightened, not of this world. Maybe I’d rather be obnoxious.
I work for myself, so I can be obnoxious at work. I live alone, rent a room with some younger folks, so I can be obnoxious at home in my own room. I am free, or so I thought, until I began to feel that I was going nuts.
There really are men in white suits. Standing by. You are not being paranoid.
I have always been well-liked, popular, with the ladies as well as my buddies. Even at my age, 55, I am still handsome if I wear a loose fitting shirt to cover my gut. I also wear baggy pants because my father always made fun of my thick legs, and my hook nose. “Where did you get that God damned ugly nose? And those legs, like water pipes, and for Christs sake, you aren’t wearing any underwear and your balls are hanging out. We’re sitting in the living room, with guests, and your balls are hanging out!”
Nobody wore underwear in high school that I know of. My friends didn’t’. It was 1972, we were seniors, cutting down billboards in Vermont, just after they passed a law banning billboards. Of course, there were a lot of billboards grandfathered into the landscape and we didn’t like them. By we I mean, my ecologically organic buddies and me. We were town hippies. We couldn’t go up into the mountains like the kids with trust funds, and dance around naked and grow pot, we had to stay at home and then go to a state college, and then end up like I have, sitting in front of a computer, word processing other people’s books and lectures.
It was a time of no underwear and short shorts. Thick socks and hiking boots. Long hair. A wisp of fuzz beneath our noses. Sawing down the enormous billboards and storing them in my parent’s basement. The law was as such: If a billboard fell down, or was removed, it could not be repaired or replaced.
Did I think I was nuts, then? Probably, but I had supportive friends who kept me busy. I didn’t have time to think about it. But when you grow up and start a grown up life, everybody else that you are friends with REALLY grow up and get good jobs and build houses and have wives and children and gardens and problems. Adult problems. One child is born without any hands, the wife gets breast cancer, there’s a fire. I don’t have a wife or children and I don’t own a building that can catch fire, so I feel like I’m ahead of the game. Wouldn’t Oprah be appalled? So politically incorrect to say I am better off without a family or a house. The American Dream! Well, I have credit cards. Isn’t that enough? Doesn’t that make me a member of the American team, and I play soccer with the boys and I play drums on weekends with a local band. Yeah, I have a grey ponytail, so what? Go fuck yourself.
You see, it’s like this. I am a man. I am 55 years old. I live in the United States of America. I have a place to sleep, a job, food, friends, tickets to rock concerts. I am one of the lucky ones. Then why do I feel like killing someone?