You’re all crazy. Trust me: I’ve worked on psych wards and in churches. I can spot all the signs.
You’ll undoubtedly notice with some chagrin that I said You are all crazy. Correct. I leave myself out of this particular equation.
Let me clarify. Maybe I shouldn’t have called you all crazy. It’s more subtle, this malaise.
Back on Ward Two West, where I did most of my shifts, the patients and the staff seemed to be swapping roles all the time, so much so that I stopped doing case notes every shift since I didn’t know who was who after awhile. Instead, I spent my hours watching everyone, carefully.
The young kid on the ward who’d swallowed a can of turpentine and spent two nights crapping out his burned up intestines before he died in agony spent only an hour or two with us, on his way down to the ICU, since the head nurse who sternly scratched away in her log without ever looking into another set of human eyes considered the kid not self-preoccupied enough to qualify for a garden variety schizophrenic. She wanted to study him before he kicked.
Back at St. Andrew’s United Church, at the secret meeting of my friends and colleagues where I and my job and family were deemed suddenly expendable, several of the church ladies in attendance that night who’d voted for my expulsion made a point of hugging me at my last service among them the following Sunday and told me that they were praying for me, without telling me what they were praying for.
What all of you allow yourselves to live alongside every day is enough to demonstrate with cosmic precision your exact substance – the nature of anything, as old Aristotle pointed out, always and only being shown not by what that thing says, but what it does. And knowing your two natures as eros and thanatos, each of the same potency and inescapability, what can you all do but go as mad as our friends the turpentine tippler and the head nurse and the church ladies. And so rather than being thus merely crazy, which is too simple and genuine, you have all opted for something much more discreet and deadly, and hence, cloaked from your sight. From the sight of all of you.
But I see it.