I get a perverse joy dancing in the wicked flames of the weird, but it has never been a calculated maneuver to draw people out from behind the barriers they erect for others. I just like the weird affectation. I like the effect being weird has on people. I like to see them think less of me. I like to see that crinkled face that tells me that they don’t get it. I like the confusion that asks the question, “Are you serious?” I also like to get booed.
These boos result from the fact that they don’t get the mental dance. They’re never audible boos, but everything in their body language suggests that I just got booed. People get uncomfortable when a joke you tell isn’t funny…Especially when it bombs. They’ve been raised to be polite and laugh politely. Little kids tell you when you’re not funny, point blank, but adults will usually try to soften the blow of your bomb. Some of the times they can’t though. Some of the times, they just don’t get it, and this frustrates them to a point where they may call you out on it. It’s a perverse joy I derive from this dance, but it’s still a joy.
A funny thing happens to people when you start really grooving in this fire of the weird though. If you do it right, and you do it often enough, you’ll eventually run into the genuinely weird, the wacked, and the insane. You’ll find out a lot about your fellow humans by the way they react to your dance, for most of the truly weird ones can’t hide their reactions. Like a dog that has its instinct to chase triggered when you start to run, the weird comes out of the weird when you start in on weird. They accidentally start telling you where they stand on the various demarcation lines the separate the normal from the weird, and the insane. They can’t help it. It’s a biological function as indigenous to their makeup as sleeping and eating.
Most people have a view of where they stand that lacks true objectivity. Their parents taught them where to stand in the world to avoid being perceived as weird, their friends and family ridiculed and bullied them into the knowledge of how to stand, and everyone else tells them where they stand when it’s all said and done. The question that must be asked is what happens when everyone in their immediate world is weird. Parents are the single, most prominent influence on our lives and our mental state, but what if they’re weird? What happens to that kid who has those parents that have weird built into their DNA? Their weird heritage is normal to their insular world but weird to everyone else. What if all their friends and family members have lied to them, to be nice, for most of their lives? The occasional potshot will come out, in reaction to a weird statement that a person makes, but for the most part most people are too polite to tell another when they are fundamentally weird. Some may recognize these niceties for what they are and seek true definition that they can get nowhere else. Some of these people may turn to TV, the movies, and other mediums, but most of these mediums exaggerate the true definitions of weird for entertainment purposes. Regardless where they think they stand, or where they’ve found solace for their definitions of what is weird and normal, one dance in the wicked fires of the weird will reveal them.
The key to my particular dance in the wicked flames of the weird is that I’m not afraid to follow the trails that lead to weird. I know my way back to normal. I’m so normal it bores me, and that’s why I do this dance in the first place. I also do the dance because most of the people I know are normal, and I like to separate myself from them in varying ways.
Most people are normal. If they weren’t, it would be weird to be normal and normal to be weird. Most people see my dance for what it is, and they laugh, and clap, and encourage me on. They’re the normal ones. They have their own bread crumbs laid out on the trail back to normalcy, and they don’t mind watching a normal person occasionally act weird. They think it’s fun, and they have occasionally added a few dance moves of their own to my performance, because they get the sense that that’s what it’s all about.
Some people think I’m a fool, and they have no time for me. They’re the serious, normal people with serious and normal ambitions in life. They have no time for my playtime and my weirdness. I’m not going to tell you that I’m not a fool, for that would be an opinion you would have to shape based upon my performance. Plus, if I were to show you the pictures of people who think I’m a fool, you would see that most of them are much better looking than I am, and you would be prone to side with them.
As I said, I’ve never started this dance of the weird to gauge people. There has never been a calculated decision on my part to find out more about a person I’m talking to, but it has been very instructive nonetheless. “Why would a person would act like?” is a question an abnormal person asks when they see me dance. They don’t go beyond that question, for doing so might reveal them. If they did, it would probably go something like this: “Why would a person who is normal, act so abnormal? Why would he enjoy dancing in the wicked flames of the weird if he is, as you say, normal? Why would he dance in a fire we all try to avoid? Is he making fun of us? He must be weird, because no normal man would act like that on purpose would they Irene?
The completely rational types that grasp for mental health are usually my favorites. These people are perpetually grasping at different rungs of the monkey bars, trying to determine if they’re abnormal, weird, or just as normal as you and I are. Most of them choose math and science as their definition of normalcy, because it creates order in their otherwise chaotic minds. Those who are truly adept at math and science can usually quash my attempts at bringing chaos to their minds, for I have never been a great student of these subjects. I know just enough to know their basic order however, and I know just enough to funkify that basic order for the individual that clings to them like a life preserver. I know just enough to remove one block of the order and twist it around and try to insert it in another part of the chain. In other words, I take what I know of their rational world and present it to their rational mind with an irrational tweak, and I let them figure out the rest. Also, and this is the important part, I phrase my question in the form of an answer.
As any propagandist will tell you, the best method of convincing another person of your point of view is to let them think they’ve arrived at your answer independently. The best way to funkify a mind is to have them arrive at your irrational answer through the rational order of the subject. This dance involves me earnestly turning to them for an answer, “You’re good at math…” I say to introduce them to this irrational world, and they enjoy the compliment. Then, when the heart of the question arrives, they are then eager to live up to that compliment I offered them.
As I said, those who know the schematics of math and science, would simply throttle me with their knowledge. For those insecure individuals clinging to sanity through their limited knowledge of the mathematical order, my dance of the weird is not a pleasant experience, and there have been occasions when my little dance has nearly led us to the brink of physical confrontation. They’ve worked hard to maintain their order, and there is a severe punishment waiting for those that dare to shake it up. It’s been the only barrier they’ve been able to construct to keep the confusion of the random at bay, and they’ve worked hard at fortifying it.
Some of the weird ones have started out with laughter when I start this dance, but they usually stop when it dawns on them what’s really going on here. Why did they start laughing? Did they think they were being granted an opportunity to laugh at another weird person, to take a step up on them, and gain a greater foothold in normalcy among their more normal friends? Why did they stop? Did they stop, because they were in awe of my ability to step in and out of the weird with ease, and this frustrated them because they’ve never been able to do it with such ease? Or did they see how far out of the normal I chose to go for fun, and it frightened them in the manner it would frighten someone to see another laughing while dangling off a building? Whatever the case is, they don’t like me after all this. They can’t quite put their finger on it, except to say “He’s just weird,” and they leave it at that.
The insane ones are the scary ones. When I write the word insane, I’m not talking about the clinically insane. I’ve never met a clinically insane person, so I know nothing of them. If I met a clinically insane person, and they introduced me to their definition of the fire, I’m quite sure I would be so frightened that I would never dance in the wicked flames of the weird again, but I haven’t so it’s still a fun place for me to visit on occasion. When I use the word insane I’m using a literary license to describe those fully functional, insane types that walk among us and take a point I’ve given them and use it as a launching point to dive deeper into the depths of the weird that my fun, weird brain could never understand. When I use the word insane I’m using it as an extension on the word weird to describe those brains with cylinders so lubricated with pharmaceuticals that they aren’t the same person at noon that they were when they awoke to take their medicine. There have been a few occasions where I thought they were purposely being weird to add a few steps to the dance, and I wanted to applaud their gamesmanship, until I realized this was no game for them. This was the world that they woke to that morning and the one they would sleep in that night, and if I took their hand and followed them into the dark caverns of their mind I might never find my way back. My “what do you think of that?” smile quickly fades when they introduce me to their first shadow, and I realize it’s no dance to them. I realize that this is their land, their home field advantage, and that they are welcoming me into it. They’re just glad to have some company.