“We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
(Alice in Wonderland)
Yes, today’s topic is madness. Perhaps you would like to join me for a trip down the rabbit hole. Just to let you know, this is not my first go round. If only I would internalize Albert Einstein’s infamous words, “Insanity (madness) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Then a thought occurred, “Perhaps it’s not me that’s mad; it’s the world I inhabit.”
To test my theory, I begin with a google search, finding 458,000,000 entries, starting with an English ska and pop band from London. I further find countless definitions such as: “a word for mental illness which was used by doctors in the past but is now offensive,” “behavior or thinking that is foolish or dangerous,” “ailments of animals marked by a frenzied behavior.”
Choosing to believe that madness, at times, can be a good thing, I next search for quotes on the subject, and find 1,182 to peruse. Here are a few of my favorite:
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” — Marilyn Monroe
“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” — Philip K. Dick
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” — Aristotle
“In an age of madness, to expect to be untouched by madness is a form of madness. But the pursuit of sanity can be a form of madness, too” — Saul Bellow
“You should only fall in love with a person who enjoys your madness. Not an idiot who forces you to be normal.” — Elin Peer
“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” — Akira Kurosawa
“Flirting with madness was one thing; when madness started flirting back, it was time to call the whole thing off.” — Rohinton Mistry
So, I believe I am justified in exposing my occasional madness in this mad, mad world. In fact, I’m off to watch “It’s a Mad, Mad, World,” from 1963, with an all-star cast of comedians. I certainly could use a good laugh, maybe you could too.
If you’re still with me, here’s my personal favorite from: The Madness Vase (Andrea Gibson, 2011)
“The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables.
Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a day
I would be grounded, rooted.
Said my head would not keep flying away
to where the darkness lives.
The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight.
Said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do.
I handed her the twenty. She said, “Stop worrying, darling.
You will find a good man soon.”
The first psycho therapist told me to spend
three hours each day sitting in a dark closet
with my eyes closed and ears plugged.
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking
about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet.
The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth.
Said to focus on the out breath. Said everyone finds happiness
when they care more about what they give
than what they get.
The pharmacist said, “Lexapro, Lamicatl, Lithium, Xanax.”
The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help me
forget what the trauma said.
The trauma said, “Don’t write these poems.
Nobody wants to hear you cry
about the grief inside your bones.”
But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi jumped
from the George Washington Bridge
into the Hudson River convinced
he was entirely alone.”
My bones said, “Write the poems.”
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