Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Crazy?
Matt Seinberg

A co-worker, of mine, has an uncanny resemblance to the actor Richard Dreyfus. His last name is not Dreyfuss, but he’ll work the name into his story. He even writes it on his business card.

He knows people like crazy. He admits that he is crazy. Of course, we think it’s just an act. Might it be real? Do people buy from him because they think he will go totally nuts on them, if they don’t? Of course, they do not, that isn’t being a business professional.

A couple of weeks ago in New York City, some man climbed up a light pole in the middle of Times Square and started performing some of his original rap music. Naturally, a crowd formed to listen, more out of curiosity than actually listening to his noise. Someone sold a pile of his CDs as the police took him away; I saw on WPIX-TV news.

The police took him to Bellevue Hospital. That’s where all the crazy people in New York City area go. We haven’t heard anything else about him since that day.

People are just naturally curious, which is why there are always traffic jams at accident scenes. The rubberneckers just have to slow down and revel in the misery of others. I think they are crazy for hoping to see all the blood, gore and twisted metal. If you want to see that stuff, become a doctor, work in a morgue or join the cast of “CSI.”

Then, of course, we all have relatives that everyone thinks is crazy because he or she doesn’t conform. Maybe they did something when they were young, which wasn’t necessarily normal and the crazy label stuck.

Maybe they enjoyed the label. It defined them as a person. They not only embraced it, they started to live it. Maybe they became a crazy cat person, a hoarder or just plain creepy. They need love; loved simply because they are a part of the family.

I have and uncle and I love him very much. I considered him more an older brother than an uncle. I rarely call him uncle, using his first name most of the time.

I mention my uncle because for his entire life, he never conformed to what I thought was normal. For many years, he was a student, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Masters in English and, later, a PhD. I never understood the need for all this schooling. Neither did his parents, my grandparents. My mother especially didn’t understand it and when asked about him, she always shook her head in frustration.

People like my uncle not because he’s crazy, but because he’s a very smart man. Such much education, I would hope he’s smart. He taught in colleges, consulted for cities and corporations and made a nice living buying and selling real estate. Smart and rich is good.

One of my favourite actors is Christopher Lloyd, best known for his role on “Taxi,” as Jim Ignatowski, and in the “Back to the Future” movies, as the mad scientist, Doctor Emmett Brown. Both characters were quirky and offbeat; maybe we can even, say, crazy.

Jim Ignatowski had a heart of gold, which shined through his drug addled, unkempt life. Although the character started as a stereotype, Jim grew into a lovable eccentric, with a childlike innocence that audiences loved. I wouldn’t call him crazy, but he was certainly amusing and confusing.

Like moths to a flame, people will gather wherever anything unusual is happening. You’re reading this column, aren’t you?

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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