crazy blahs

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about the difference between “eccentric” and “crazy.” I consider myself, and most of my close friends, to be on the eccentric side of the personality scale. The scale goes something like this:
SQUARE/YUPPIE—>FUNCTIONAL BORE—>FUNCTIONAL NORMIE—>FUNCTIONAL QUIRKY—>FUNCTIONAL ECCENTRIC-->QUESTIONABLY FUNCTIONAL ECCENTRIC—>YOUR WACKY AUNT OR UNCLE—>EDITH BEALE (JR)—>EDITH BEALE (SR)—>COLLIER BROTHERS—>FUNCTIONAL CRAZY—>CRAZY
Most of the people I really like fall between Functional Quirky and Questionably Functional Eccentric. This is the sweet spot, arguably, where a person finds him or herself able to be accountable for their actions even if their actions come from a neurotic, as opposed to reasonable, place. A Functional Quirky sometimes flakes on you because he or she is feeling “overwhelmed.” But an FQ never screws up an important engagement, they just honor their artist’s souls by crying alone in their cars or quitting their jobs on a whim. A Questionably Functional Eccentric might miss your wedding or sleep through an important meeting, but in general, you feel as though they have a place in society, even if that place is often in their parents’ basement and sometimes Xanax won’t do the trick.
Beyond the QFE, things start to get tricky. Once you venture into Beale territory or find yourself anchored all the way over to the right, in Crazyville, you’ve officially disposed of any value you may once have had for belonging to our general society. I’m not talking here about mental illness, per se, as encompassing only the right end of the spectrum, since we’re all disordered in some way, even the Square/Yuppies and the Functional Normies; no, I’m talking about any kind of societal disassociation. A choice. I also don’t mean to use the word “crazy” to imply anything bad: I spend a lot of time fantasizing about running off to a cabin in the woods and getting water from the well and hooting at birds. I would have described Christopher McAndless as being Functional Crazy, or anyone who chooses to live off the grid, or Grizzly Man. Maybe if you die because you’re hugging bears all day, you’re just “crazy” and not functional, but what I really mean is that Square Normies and Functional Bores would consider you to be crazy. I don’t judge on craziness, I just make charts to document what our general population considers to be aberrant behavior. I mean, I don’t dig sociopaths for obvious reasons, but what you do on your own time isn’t my business, other than to talk about you in a general sense and be interested in your heres and theres.
The best thing about being crazy has got to be that you live in a world completely bereft of rules. Rules are things that I struggle with daily: I know the rules and honor the rules, perhaps to a fault. Sometimes I wish that nobody had to wear clothes if they didn’t feel like it, or that it was okay to sue someone for being an asshole even if they didn’t break the law, or that I could take a shopping cart home and pick up TV’s lying on the street along the way. Sometimes I wish that I could wake up in the middle of the night and go to the store in my bathrobe and sit outside Ralph’s talking to myself. Sometimes you’re in that sort of mood. Once you commit to observing the law, you start to feel obliged to observe social laws: someone calls you, you have to call them back. Someone needs to merge, you let them merge. You have a plan with Denise, and you don’t feel like going, but you go because you feel as though you have to. If you’re Functional Quirky or Functional Eccentric, you feel the pull of wanting to ignore these things in favor of your own preference to sit around in a muumuu eating Cheez Doodles. Can you imagine if you didn’t care about any of it, if you made your own rules and forgot all of the norms we’ve arbitrarily set in place?