This is a question I often ask myself especially now that I’m getting older. I can’t help looking for signs.
I think I kind of liked it better when there wasn’t such a strobe light on one’s actions once you hit a certain age.
When my father used to walk to the news store in his pajamas and fishing cap, no one thought he was nuts, just still in his pajamas.
And when my grandmother kept losing her wallet and we’d find it in the oven a little well done, no doctor was called in. We just exchanged her crisp bills at the bank and bought her another Lady Buxton. We even laughed about it.
Nowadays however, you have to watch your step. God forbid you have a hole in your sweater or a stain on your blouse. Next thing you know everyone thinks you’re losing it.
“Did you see Susannah today? It looked as though she had soup for lunch.”
“How old is she now?”
The truth is, I’ve been nuts my whole life which is different from going crazy. When I was born I just came with a screw loose, you could say it was in my DNA.
I was raised by a screwball who in turn was raised by one who too was raised by one. The oddities were handed down like family heirlooms. I also think it’s part of being Italian, like how we were known to scream rather than talk to one another. Chalk it off as enthusiasm but if you didn’t know better you’d think we were all out of our minds (which we were).
My mother was the only MC in the history of Philip Sheridan Grammar School who at the annual Christmas pageant didn’t require a mike. I remember at rehearsal (I was a shepherd) she made 2 of the Wise men cry. I’m pretty sure they were Presbyterian and probably hungry, I think is what my mother told the parents who complained to the principal.
“The minute Susannah starts to whine I feed her.”
That may sound nuts right there but when you think about it, my mother was way ahead of her time. I can just see her on Dr. Oz discussing the child-rearing benefits of pasta fazool.
Frankly I think a strain of quirkiness can be quite endearing not to mention entertaining like when my friend Jackie used to wear her mink coat whenever she cooked. She said it gave her great recipe ideas especially in regards to meat. Of course her sleeves kept getting in the way but what’s a little gravy here and there. It added character plus she never had to worry about it being stolen from a cloakroom.
Would you want a coat that smelled like the butcher?
Sometimes I think things get misinterpreted such as the time my mother and 2 aunts made a planter out of my grandfather’s Oldsmobile. He had just died and no one, including my grandmother who kept insisting he was still in the house, could part with it.
“How’s Papa going to get to the store without his car?”
“On his wings Gramma, on his wings.”
The next thing you know it was parked at his end of the driveway with geraniums and tulips bursting through the windows. Marge Lowenstein, who lived next store, called the police saying it was causing her great distress whenever she came out to walk the dog. You have to remember it was Connecticut, not the Ozarks, so Marge eventually won.
It didn’t help that my mother paid some kids to pelt her patio with tomatoes.
I don’t know. Let’s just say the definition of crazy can be very subjective.
“Well that’s a handy explanation Susannah.”
“No, I think it’s true. What right does anyone have to judge what’s insane unless it’s outrageously obvious.”
“Like when, give us an example.”
“Hmm let’s see,
like if your mailman is suddenly naked in front of the house speaking in tongues while knitting, how’s that for a barometer?”
“Great, except now we’ll be afraid to check the mail.”
“Now you see, that’s crazy.”