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So you've decided to lose your mind?

By h3lldr0p in Culture
Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 09:57:51 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

A beginners guide to losing the marbles that you have fought to keep over these long years and to live a long, happy life.

Alright, you've decided that attempting to stay sane is not the best idea anymore. Let's get a few things straight to begin with. Unless you're willing to give yourself a massive head injury or already have been diagnosed with an actual mental disease, this is going to be a long and difficult journey. You're going to have friends and family try to "save" you. Doctors and quite probably the courts are going to attempt to "cure" you. In general people are going to do their level best to avoid your presence and at the completion of this program you will be the living incarnation of the word "pariah".

Then again, this is the whole reason for choosing to lose your mind in the first place, isn't it?

Part the First: Setting up your "eccentric" behavior

In this section, I'm going to present to you three simple steps with which you can use to start that short, steep decline into the blissful madness that we all seek to keep ourselves insulated from the outside world. The first step is an alteration to your appearance. Something both subtle and profound. The second step is an alteration to your behavior. Also something that is subtle at first, but much more pronounced as it becomes easier and easier. The last step that I'm going to present to you is one altering your possessions.

If you're still with me, reader, then the first thing you need to do is go out and buy a hat. Not a baseball hat, nor are we to the point where you need a sports helmet yet. No, I am talking about a dress hat. For the guys, might I suggest you find a nice flat brim fedora, circa 1945. For the ladies, anything from about the same era would also do well, especially if it has some sort of lacy cover for your face. When shopping for this hat of yours, keep in mind your wardrobe and look for one that matches several outfits that you already own. Once you have bought this hat, you need to wear it as often as possible. Dinners, dates, dancing, whatever.

Now, I can hear your questions beginning. Why a hat? Because this guide is one for a gentle descent into madness and your first steps need to be simple, easy ones to achieve. Real dress hats have gone and stayed out of fashion for quite some time now, and anybody wearing one, really stands out in a crowd. Also, keep in mind that this step can easily be disguised as a simple shift in your attire.

In following our path of easy, simple steps into madness, this next one is as painless as the first one.

Laugh. Laugh at the little things which are funny. Laugh at the joke you just told yourself. Laugh at the idiot that just wrapped their car around the tree as they tried pass on the highway. In general: don't hold back anymore. Let it out as loud and as often as you want, no matter where you are. Funeral, library, or even during sex. I humbly suggest that bookstores and operas are a good place to start. And don't worry if you don't feel it welling up from deep inside. This is why I suggested being in a bookstore to start. Grab yourself a book which you know is funny and let it rip. Soon you'll find that it becomes a lot easier to find even the smallest thing funny enough to laugh at out loud assuring that everybody around you is going to stare and think that you have in fact, already lost it.

The last step that we're going to over is the alterations to your possessions. Pick a hobby, any hobby. For the beginner, I suggest that you pick something that you already have an interest in and that seems to be fairly innocuous to those around you. It can be anything; A television character, an author of some series of books, some set of children's toys like Hello Kitty or Marmalade Boy, or even something slightly more unusual like weapons or power tools. Depending on your current income level, devoting several thousand dollars to such a hobby might not be out of the question.

These first steps might not seem like much of anything and many have already taken these steps without even knowing that they were on this path. But without taking these initial movements, everything else becomes that much harder to attempt or even achieve.

Let's get on to bigger and better things then shall we?

Part the Second: Choosing a specific madness

Before moving onward, one must first decide what sort of madness you wish to descend into. There are several to choose from, but such a choice cannot be taken lightly. When choosing, you should keep in mind to pick one which can be achieved with the amount of effort you're wanting to put into this. Some of the choices you have at this point are paranoia, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive, or depending upon your chosen field of expertise in this world, Twisted or "Mad" Scientist might not be out of the question. These are but a few of the many different choices you have at your disposal.

It is not enough to simply study your choice of madness and then emulate the behavior. After all, that is what is known as acting. You must delve deeper and believe in what you are doing. This will take some time however, and could be more trying than you might at first think. But not all is lost! Again, if we take things in short, simple steps, madness can truly be yours before you know it!

For the next example, let us consider the choice of paranoia as a madness.

First of all, there is the choice of the depth that you want to take this. There is the "Weird Uncle" level where you have a wide collection of strange and unusual items all somehow related to what you choose to be the central thesis of your paranoia; JFK's assassination, Bigfoot, the Illuminated, UFOs, Big Brother Government spying and controlling you or any combination there of. This choice is usually typified as quiet individual that lives in a trailer with or without electrical hookups out in a far flung wilderness. This same individual doesn't ever really hurt anybody, but tends to frighten the more uptight of the locals (whenever there are locals to be frightened). This one point is one of the more mild versions of paranoia that one could aim for. While there isn't exactly a sliding scale of sanity, there is a broad area to explore between this point and the "Raving Street Loon" including that place Hamlet visited. However let us continue with the initial type as our prime example for the time being.

Reaching for the "Weird Uncle" goal can be easily extended through the "Alteration to possessions" step in the basic changes I mentioned above. Simply begin choosing to collect those things that help to shape and promote your paranoia and new obsession. Documentaries on your chosen thesis are a good start as with the eccentric behavior helps to disguise your intention of leaving the collective reality of society. The next for this goal is to find others that also share in your newfound belief that the world is hiding something insidious or is out to get you. There are plenty of clubs, groups, and gatherings of people all around the world who share any number of attributes that could help increase the chances of your successful descent into madness. And should you choose a somewhat more original or rare thesis for your paranoia, don't despair! The Internet should help you in all sorts of ways by allowing you to vent your newfound belief to anybody and everybody who will listen! It will also help form a support as you can subscribe or even start mass emails with those who share in your particular thesis.

Part the Third: Certifying yourself

Now comes the hard part. You've spent months, possibly years building up this belief in others that things aren't quite normal with you anymore. You've taken to wearing odd clothing, possibly even an aluminum hat everyday. You don't bathe anymore than is necessary to keep massive infection at bay. Those that work with you are quite certain that if they found themselves locked in the store with you at night, that they wouldn't ever be seen or heard from again. Your family has even begun to worry that they may have to call the men with the "hug-me" jackets if they see one more Bigfoot turd mounted on your wall.

Congratulations! You're almost there.

You would think that you have finally made it. This is, unfortunately, the hardest part. Now you have to plan carefully and make sure that all of your ducks are lined up in a row before we go any further. You see, it is at this juncture that most loving families are going to attempt some sort of intervention on your part. Why this is, is fairly simple: They don't want to be left behind. You see, nothing makes a normal human more jealous than to see somebody else get away with rejecting the reality that they still have to deal with. Your case, and this guide, are no exception to this. So there are a last few things that you need to setup before you take the final step into madness.

First of all, you will want to make sure that you have some sort of legal document that outlines what you wish to have happen should you lose your mind, become a vegetable, or what have you. Besides just being good idea for those who haven't rejected reality yet, it gives you a great deal of leeway with determining your fate. Decide what, if any, sort of asylum you wish to reside in the rest of your days. The most common of choices are between a state one or a private one (if you have the funds at your disposal that is). In making this decision keep in mind what goes on in one: Most likely you will be drugged insensate for most of the rest of your life. So you won't be finding yourself with the time to write that great novel you've always been wanting to. On the upside is that you won't ever have to worry about taking care of yourself ever again as you will have an entire staff dedicated to your cleaning and care. Should you choose private care, you will be dealing with professional mental health caregivers. These people are going to know a great deal about the particular madness that you are afflicted with, so you are going to be putting in a lot of time and effort into keeping up the careful charade that you have constructed.

Another thing that you are going to have to be careful of is modern medicine. There are a great deal of treatments out there for many of the most common mental diseases, and your family and friends are going to want to make sure that you have access to them. Again, who knows why they would want to do this to you after all of the effort you've put into going mad, but there are easy ways to avoid this situation. You could plan on moving to another city a fair distance from your family, and over a certain period of time, simply loose touch with them. While this may be a more humane method for them, it also conveys a bit more freedom to you in terms of the amount of time you have to go mad. Because after losing touch with them, you can start to use any number of aliases that you have had the chance to build up with the different groups and so forth that you have become part of over all this time. Thus increasing the chances that you are successful in your attempt to lose your mind.

The last domino you need to setup is one involving the government. This is the most delicate one that you have and so, the more preparation and time you can devote to this step, the better. First, become intimately acquainted with the different mental health and mental sanitation laws for your area. You will need to know this to make your plans as foolproof as possible. Find out for instance, under what circumstances can the state compel you to live in an asylum, or even compel you to be medicated and thusly throw off your plans of madness. Find out, how or even if, your family could do the same through legal means and the courts. Use this knowledge to your advantage.

Well, that's it. I've given you a very basic and simple guide to planning out and accomplishing a descent into madness. Sure, there are even quicker ways, but then who wants to go through the pain of ingesting simply unhealthy amounts of illicit drugs so you could be considered crazy? Likewise, taking a crowbar to one's own skull is not just questionable, but also downright painful! The means I have outlined here are ones to keep the physical pain down to a bare minimum and to help make things easier for your loved ones as you take a path away from their reality.


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Are you ready to lose your marbles now?
o Nope. Gotta hang on a bit longer 13%
o Almost ready, just have a last few things to do... 8%
o Nearly so... 2%
o Ready if you are 4%
o Already there friend 38%
o Hmm. I like your philosophy and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter 33%

Votes: 136
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o flat brim fedora
o Hello Kitty
o Marmalade Boy
o "Mad" Scientist
o JFK's assassination
o Bigfoot
o Illuminate d
o UFOs
o Big Brother
o Also by h3lldr0p

Display: Sort:
So you've decided to lose your mind? | 94 comments (78 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
fedora?! (3.16 / 6) (#2)
by showboat on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:57:25 PM EST

I own a gray felt fedora... but that's perhaps a symptom of "madness", rather than preparation for it.

After reading this I think I may be under-medicated.

Gray (1.00 / 2) (#48)
by derek3000 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:33:13 AM EST

It's a sign of mental illness when one's favorite color is gray.

Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

Whatever happened to hats? (4.55 / 9) (#8)
by IHCOYC on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 09:00:40 PM EST

Real dress hats have gone and stayed out of fashion for quite some time now, and anybody wearing one, really stands out in a crowd. Also, keep in mind that this step can easily be disguised as a simple shift in your attire.
This raises an issue that is even more interesting than the somewhat laboured humour of the article in chief. (Ought to include a link to DSM-IV, the world's greatest party game (Find your friends! Find yourself!) in the bit about choosing a mental disorder.

Why have dress hats gone and stayed out of fashion since the early 1960's at least? There was a time when they were nigh-universal, and a ubiquitous part of the male wardrobe, as any movie prior to period will prove. I own a number of slightly unusual but broadly in the category men's dress hats.

There used to be an elaborate hat code of rules to follow as to when and where you should wear a dress hat and when to remove it. There were hat rituals involving flags, women, and other dangerous things.

My hypothesis is this: people who might wear a dress hat, but don't, are aware that these rules exist but haven't a clue what the content of them is. Moreover, the code is obviously so sexist and ageist as to seem absurd today. But the sea change in social attitudes concerning such matters occurred when dress hats were nearing the low point of fashionability. No one thought to update the absurd old code for contemporary mores.

So people who might be tempted to wear a dress hat don't, fearful of making a social faux pas. They know the old law of the hat is slightly ridiculous. But they risk offending by adhering to it, and by ignoring it. There is no new consensus on what the old hat law covered. Dress hats probably can't make a comeback until the very existence of the hat code has been forgotten.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman

Hat code? (4.80 / 5) (#13)
by J'raxis on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 09:40:43 PM EST

From the hatcode site:
A situation that requires some dexterity is that of a gentleman on a Sunday or weekday in a city street who stops to speak to a lady of his acquaintance, in taking his hat and his glove off, and in getting his walking stick and his cigarette out of the way. This constitutes a maneuver that needs considerable practice to be done without effort, though the process is easy enough to describe. First of all, he transfers cigarette and stick, if encumbered with either, to his left hand, takes off his hat and transfers it to left hand, and at the same time grips the fingers of right glove, pulling it off! He than gives her his gloveless right hand. All of which perhaps explains why the smart would never carries anything but a crooked-handled stick which can be hung on the left arm.
Do this nowadays and it might be the perfect way to look like you’re losing it.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Cars... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by RandomUsername on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:21:56 AM EST

Several things happened to hats, but personally I think that the most important thing that happened was that everyone got a car.

If you go from your house to your covered carport to your air-conditioned car to your office undercover carparking place, then you have no need for the following fashion items:

(1) Fedora
(2) Overcoat
(3) Bowler Hat
(4) Raincoat
(5) Black Umbrella
(6) Gloves

This all applies to women as well...

[ Parent ]

Cars vs. hats (4.00 / 3) (#54)
by IHCOYC on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:25:38 PM EST

The design of cars has also changed in the forty hatless years. Contemporary cars are more low-slung and have less vertical space in the driver's area than they did back in the Forties and Fifties. Wearing a hat with a wide brim or any kind of crown no longer works well in the car, at least not for tall people like me. This makes the hat one more thing that space needs to be found for.

Of course, those of you who use SUV's, minivans, and similar scows have no excuse.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

minivans? (none / 0) (#81)
by lonemarauder on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 03:10:26 PM EST

I love your application of the word "scow" to SUVs. But if you apply it also to minivans, what choice does the family driver have in a vehicle?

[ Parent ]
SUVs and minivans (none / 0) (#85)
by IHCOYC on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 11:16:11 AM EST

To be honest, never having even considered such a vehicle, I'm a tad vague on the exact line of demarcation between an SUV and a minivan.

During the Sixties my mom hauled my sister and me around in the back seat of a VW bug. We both lived. I am unconvinced that minivans are necessities of life, even for breeders.
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

hmm... (none / 0) (#86)
by lonemarauder on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 11:43:23 AM EST

I'm sure that a VW bug is practical, providing you don't have to deal with car seats. But the physical space required to install car seats and get kids in and out of them is considerable.

A minivan is a vehicle originally based on a full sized van, but it is scaled down in size and weight; designed to seat 7. This results in a vehicle which is roughly the same size as a European van, and the largest engines I am aware that they use is 6 cylinders. It features at least one sliding door.

We use it because no passenger car safely accomodates three car seats abreast in the back seat. I opposed an SUV simply because I didn't way to pay for popularity, and have no use for the vehicle's ability to operate off-road. I can think of no effective alternative to the minivan for us.

[ Parent ]
Three? (none / 0) (#89)
by IHCOYC on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 07:56:21 AM EST

I was fortunate to have grown up before the madness of which those car-seats are a symptom had even been invented yet. (And we didn't worry about sitting the manpups behind the airbag, neither; we didn't have those even for adults.)

Somehow I managed to survive. According to the TV news, this must have been a small miracle. I suppose that if you need to get three of them in something, you may have little choice.

GraySkull is home to the anima, the all-knowing woman who gives power to the otherwise ineffectual man. -- Jeff Coleman
[ Parent ]

regarding your opinion on carseats (none / 0) (#91)
by lonemarauder on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:23:31 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Get a PT Cruiser (none / 0) (#92)
by epepke on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 02:50:34 AM EST

It goes great with a fedora.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Yay (3.50 / 8) (#9)
by HABIB on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 09:17:07 PM EST

This is the most interesting story I've read on K5 in weeks. Please find the time to submit more often.

how about... (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by han on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:49:04 AM EST

I am sure many madmen and madwomen (madladies and madgentlemen?), regardless of whether they have followed this article or have become mad by other means, would appreciate a tutorial on how to become sane and normal again. After you have lost it, it's very hard to remember what exactly is considered normal among the myriad possibilities life offers. At that point it would be handy to be able to look it up in a k5 article, especially if it was written in the clear and concise style of the current article.

[ Parent ]
madness is. (none / 0) (#52)
by majik on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:10:40 PM EST

i've always been of the opinion that madness was like innocence or smoking, you just don't go back. innocence lost, can't be regained... once a smoker, always a smoker. and once you've lost your mind... can you ever really be sure that you found it?
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
[ Parent ]
Oooohhhh (3.16 / 6) (#18)
by salsaman on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:36:57 AM EST

Laugh at the little things which are funny. Laugh at the joke you just told yourself. Laugh at the idiot that just wrapped their car around the tree as they tried pass on the highway. In general: don't hold back anymore. Let it out as loud and as often as you want, no matter where you are. Funeral, library, or even during sex.

Wow...you mean mad people even get to have sex ??? Where do I sign up ?

Careful about the clothing (4.25 / 4) (#20)
by xriso on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 05:02:15 AM EST

It can become again fashionable at any moment. As we speak I can see the signs of a Fedora uprising.

Anyway, if you are interested in people-repellant I would suggest the natural solution: body odor. However, if you don't want to inconvenience others, I suppose the old aluminum foil hat could do the job.
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Bravo (3.57 / 7) (#21)
by d s oliver h on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 06:38:45 AM EST

I think this is a good article because it encourages nonconformism. Madness can be seen as a valid rejection of the ideals and notions of society at large. It is only a shame that mad people are not trusted by others, are in fact persecuted in a grossly unfair way.

The last thing a mad person wants is to be captured and forced to live in a hospital, as the doctors will do everything they can think of to make you stop behaving irresponsibly. I am quite sure that if you persist in expressing bizarre beliefs or behaving strangely, even after having brain-destroying drugs forcibly administered to you, you will be given electro-convulsive therapy, or even a lobotomy. So in reality, this article should offer advice on avoiding apprehension and committal. If you do go mad, do everything you can to avoid being caught.

psychiatric treatment (none / 0) (#63)
by Xia on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:10:50 PM EST

Uh. At least in the US, there are a lot of laws that make it hard for someone to be forced to undergo treatment. There have been massive changes since the days of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Ever wonder about those homeless guys out on the street who talk to themselves? Thirty years ago, they would have been living in a mental hospital, but now there's nowhere for them to go if they don't have relatives willing to help. Unless you're violent, the state will probably try to pretend you don't exist. However, life in a psych ward is pretty boring, so I wouldn't really recommend it unless you actually need help.

[ Parent ]
I wish nonconformism was more than dress-up (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by misanthrope112 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:18:36 PM EST

"I think this is a good article because it encourages nonconformism. Madness can be seen as a valid rejection of the ideals and notions of society at large."

I agree than nonconformity is a good thing.  I only wish that people's nonconformity would go past the dress-up stage.  I know too many people whose appearance is defined by what I call a studied quirkiness, while what comes out of their mouths is anything but unusual.  They'll scour the goodwill shops for shabby-chic clothing to make up their "look," and they take great pride in being different, but it's just clothing.  I know that "people are superficial" is an old and pointless complaint, but it still bugs me.  Read a book, for crying out loud.  I'd much rather spend time talking to a guy in standard Wal-mart 50/50 blends who happens to be passionate about Van Gogh and Schopenhaeur than any of these would-be iconoclasts who roll their eyes at LL Bean because they're too cool for THAT.

[ Parent ]

confusing 'normal' for 'healthy' (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by anansi on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 11:50:25 AM EST

In a world where organized warfare is considered a sane thing to do, what would it look like to find your own soul? I personally judge this world to be insane, so it's to be expected that as I discover my own sanity, this world will call me crazy.

I think of it as a linguistic process, only possible later in life after one has gone through a bit of the school of hard knocks. The soon-to-be-crazy person finds themselves having thoughts that have no associated language. Just like a child learning a new language, the initiate begins to babble. This makes everybody else nervous, and there's a whole specialized secular priesthood whos job it is to interrupt this process of new thinking, in the name of 'Normality'.

To be normal is to be as fucked up as all the other poor sods out there. I'd rather be abnormally healthy.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"
[ Parent ]

Well, I already have the hat thing down, (1.40 / 5) (#24)
by butter pie on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 10:23:35 AM EST

but my marbles are safely stored in a jar sitting on the dresser.

taking this seriously for a sec... (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 02:58:30 PM EST

I think there's real value in pursuing madness as a choice. madness is the exception to every rule as well as the exception that proves the rule. we have only to look to Alonso Quixana (Don Quixote), to find value in losing your common sense. As they said in the play, perhaps too much sanity is madness.

I'm working on a piece right now in which one of the main characters is flirting with madness, and as a consequence, I have to bring myself to his precipice. All I can say is: "What a view!"

I drank what?

As another hat option (4.33 / 6) (#26)
by Edwards on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 04:10:32 PM EST

May I recommend the aluminum foil hat? It fits in quite well with the weird uncle thing. Keeps the government's spy satelites from reading my mind.

Signs (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by dipierro on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:15:49 PM EST

Unfortunately if you do that nowadays people will just think you're advertising for some Mel Gibson movie.

[ Parent ]
Read men have a lead one (2.00 / 1) (#44)
by dublet on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:48:55 AM EST

You may want to the the inch thick lead hat, should keep your head free of most forms of radiation and signals. Ofcourse your neck would probably break when you look up.. or down..

Badger. Badger. ←
[ Parent ]
The problem with your programme (4.75 / 8) (#27)
by localroger on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 09:51:17 PM EST

Your advice only allows one to create an affectation of madness. The real thing, of course, is not the same as wearing funny hats and acting strange. It is exalting. I'd post links to some interesting comments illustrating this, but the article I wrote on the topic got dumped because of an illiteracy problem.

True madness is a magical thing. It can be healing, passionate, and educational. It can fill you with purpose and vision and energy. Even when it passes after a couple of months it can leave you changed for the better. On the other hand it can royally fuck up your life and never go away. But if your life sucks enough to start with, anything has to be an improvement, right?

When I submitted Walking In I was surprised at a few of the comments by people whose experiences were much more disruptive and intense than my own. I wish I had had a chance to pursue some of those threads. Because I for one would pay a large sum of money if I could trigger another "psychotic break" at will; it was the happiest, and one of the most productive, times of my entire life.

P.S. I do, incidentally, own a fedora, and I wear it all the time on vacation. Unfortunately, it doesn't do the trick :-(

I can haz blog!

Psychotic break from reality? (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by dipierro on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:10:11 PM EST

Because I for one would pay a large sum of money if I could trigger another "psychotic break" at will; it was the happiest, and one of the most productive, times of my entire life.

You can, and it's not even that much money.

[ Parent ]
But real madness is legal (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by localroger on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:41:10 PM EST

From the website, it is not legal to possess the shrooms; and while it is legal to possess and sell the spores, it isn't legal to grow them into shrooms. At least in the USA. In more civilized countries they might have daintier attitudes toward artificial madness. Besides which, I'm not sure the shroom experience would be like what happened to me naturally.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

In the U.S. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by dipierro on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:49:58 PM EST

It's not legal in the U.S. But if you're willing to pay a "large sum of money," that can be solved, either by bribery, buying from a trusted source, hiring expensive lawyers, or travel.

[ Parent ]
Even easier (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by CokeFiend on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:50:06 AM EST

Go down to your local college and ask around. The sum of money required is not even very large.

[ Parent ]
Madness and firearms (3.40 / 5) (#28)
by BOredAtWork on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 10:13:16 PM EST

So, the front page now has an article on descending into madness, followed by one on firearms advocacy... ...does the name "Mr. Heston" ring a bell with anyone? *ba-boom*

that reminds me of UHF (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by dublet on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:52:30 AM EST

"Guns don't kill people.. I do."

Badger. Badger. ←
[ Parent ]
Charlton Heston put his vest on (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by PenguinWrangler on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:58:00 AM EST

So, the front page now has an article on descending into madness, followed by one on firearms advocacy... ...does the name "Mr. Heston" ring a bell with anyone? *ba-boom*
All we need now is a thread about truly dreadful wigs!
By the way, I do hope Mr. Heston has had his guns taken away now he's going ga-ga (Going! There's a laugh, he went ga-ga ages ago!).
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
There is a much easier way of becoming mad (3.50 / 8) (#29)
by gmol on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 10:25:09 PM EST

Simply try to make your country as armed and dangerous as the United States. Then you can be a madman, despite your ability to form complete sentences and put your pants on the right way.

The NYPOST is, of course, not the only media guilty of the misnomer. It has also been applied to Q'addafi, Castro etc. People, who as far as I can tell from what I have seen of them, not mad.

Nixon (none / 0) (#53)
by wji on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:23:07 PM EST

Nixon had a "madman theory" of international relations that went like this: Since we've got all kinds of weapons, if we pretend to be totally nuts and ready to launch at any moment, the Russians will back off and treat us nice. Only thing is he wasn't pretending.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
reminds me of a hitchiker's guide book (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by KaizerWill on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 10:38:26 PM EST

quote from Ford Prefect:

"I went mad for a while, did me no end of good. ... I decided I was a lemon for a couple of weeks. I kept myself amused all that time jumping in and out of a gin and tonic."

You were there for that...

So where, (none / 0) (#56)
by sab39 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:10:01 PM EST

asked Arthur, 'did you find a gin and tonic?'
"Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
"Quinze" -- Amélie

[ Parent ]
Compatriots (3.75 / 4) (#33)
by tokage on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:28:42 PM EST

I am the embodiment of both normalcy and sanity. I am the rock reality gnashes against in a vain attempt to define itself.

Do you love?

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

Mmmm... The hat really works wonders. (2.33 / 3) (#36)
by TheRealZappa on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:37:47 AM EST

I can confirm that a hat does make everyone around you quite concerned.

On last chrismast, I got a fairly simple but classy felt "bucket". All my friends made some weird comment about it... as if they truelly hated the hat... they really where uncomfortable with the idea of me wearing it.

I might have to do with the fact that they had never seen me wearing one... but it shure got a "strong" reaction.

Sadly I lost it... (Or maybe "THEY" got rid of it... bastards)

Its a shure thing that I will get another one soon enough... but this time I feel like going really "wacko"... a panama... or why no go plain nuts and get a Red Gambler (locked up and sedated in less than a week guaranteed).

HAH AHHA ha I've LOST MY MIND (3.00 / 4) (#40)
by juln on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:29:31 AM EST

A most appropiate time for this article. I've been claiming to friends for a week or two now that I have gone insane.... really the proper description would be MORE INSANE... but I feel like I REALLY LOST IT But I can still do italic tags in the middle of words. Incongrous, eh? So, I don't really need the suggestions in this article... but I love the HAT idea, hat hat hat thank you. Actually, the great things is I BOUGHT (sorry for all the caps) a hat jsut last week.... it was a leopard print hat. It was sewn by a very ncie (okay, she was kind of dour but you know) woman. I was disapointed to hear that this was a womans hat (my girlfriend told me). Now that I have accidentally lost it this is of little matter. ANyhow, I am certifiably insane, at least a little: grandfather, mother, brother, all manic depressive. However, they're mainly depressive. I seem to be the most manic, and you know , i really like that feeling YIPPEEE YOOOOW (sorry about all the caps again). Usually it takes something to trigger a manic episode for me. Other times they just roll around. The in betweeen times and the depressive times are reaaly boring. And I don't want to take that lithium shit, thanks, my kidneys are good friends of mine and useful besides. And antidepressants... marijuana worked much better than imimpramine for years, but now has lost its charm. And Prozac... whhhe hooo yooooow yoo yippeee, that pharmaceutical sort of pushes me over the edge into psycho hyper impulsiveness... being under the impression that psychiatric medicines were intended to make people LESS insane, this effect was unexpected. Annnyhow I'm concerned that I won't end up totally losing my mind, but will instead become more dulla s my manic episode fades. Sniff. I can already feel my skills of eleoquent expression fading. Today, I'm not visualizing (er, coneceptualizing?) entire sentences filled with real vocabulary bizaroos as well as I could the past few days. But I want to lose my mind. Okay, I';ve lost it. Like I 've been telling my friends,, I've never feeelt so freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

sorta on-topic, here (none / 0) (#41)
by Shren on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:24:00 AM EST

How to role-play someone/thing insane has been an open question for a while. Fiction writers generally dodge the question of what it really means to be insane by not placing thier characters in places where they have to answer the question. If you're role-playing, however, you don't really have control over where you end up, so you have to face the question head on. White Wolf did no favors for thier fan base when they decided to make one thirteenth of thier fictional supernatural population 'insane' without any real discussion on what it actually means to be insane.

I felt I got a grasp on what it might mean to be insane from the following document, which remains one of my favorite things I've found on the web.


I wish I knew who the original author was. This copy is expanded and the original author's name has also been taken out.

Malkavians are fiction, not reality (none / 0) (#61)
by Xia on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:00:30 PM EST

It's a pretty good document on playing a Malk (I used to LARP), but definitely not an accurate description of what actual mental illness feels like. Mental illness is not fun. Insanity interferes with your ability to deal appropriately with the world, even when you realize it's happening. Rather than 'look, I get to bend all the rules of reality' it's a lot more like 'my reality is doing this disruptive thing and I can't stop it'. The more your perception of what's real differs from everyone else's, the more likely you are to have things happen that you don't want, and be unable to do anything about it.

[ Parent ]
oh, I know that... (none / 0) (#73)
by Shren on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:47:13 AM EST

You got to admit, though, that it's far ahead of the average movie or book portrait of madness. The madness is still portrayed as inescapable and reality-distorting. Rather appropriate to intentionally going mad, as well.

But, yes, if you really want to see true madness you need case histories, abnormal psych texts and a copy of the DSMV. I certainly don't deny that.

[ Parent ]

Emperor of the United States (4.85 / 7) (#42)
by zerovoid on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:07:57 AM EST

Norton I, Protector of Mexico's accomplishments include:
  • Patrolled the San Francisco streets, making certain that all pavements were unobstructed.
  • Reviewed the police to see that they were on duty.
  • Saw to it that all office city's ordinances were enforced.
  • Issued a proclamation abolishing Republic and Democrat parties.
  • Called upon world leaders to form a body where disputes between nations could be resolved peacefully.
  • In the economic downturn after the Civil War, mob violence broke out against 'foreigners,' particularly against Asians. At one meeting, a fiery speaker roused a crowd to a near riot against the Chinese. Norton, a constant presence at any public meeting, demanded to speak. The leaders allowed this, assuming that it would be great fun to hear the ravings of this absurd looking man in his bizarre uniform. Norton mounted a box, hammered the crowd to silence with his cane, and, with great dignity, quietly led the entire group in reciting the Lord's prayer. He followed with a few remarks of his own on tolerance, ending with the declaration that "we are all God's children," and requested the crowd to disperse. Brought to their senses by a madman, the crowd filed quietly from the hall.
    -- http://members.tripod.com/snfn/funnies/sf_2af2.htm
  • The 'Duke and Dauphin' sequence in 'Huckleberry Finn,' where a crazy fraud is still a valuable asset, if only as entertainment, was clearly inspired by Joshua Norton.
    -- http://members.tripod.com/snfn/funnies/sf_2af2.htm
More eccentrics

The Emperor's Holidays (3.00 / 3) (#55)
by atreides on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:27:37 PM EST

IF you want to do full justice to his Imperial Highness, you will celebrate his holidays:

January 8, the anniversary of his death(which in vulgar argot is called "Elvis' Birthday)

February 14, his birthday (which is also shared by Valentine's Day)

September 17, the anniversary of his Ascension to the throne of America

Surely, if you keep these holidays, his blessings will follow you all your days.

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
[ Parent ]

Arsenic and Old Lace (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by AgentGray on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:59:24 AM EST

Anyone ever watch Arsenic and Old Lace?

It too can help one delve into a world of madness...


Nothing like a woman to go properly mad (1.50 / 2) (#46)
by dublet on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:00:10 AM EST

They're Coming to Take me Away, Ha-Haaa!

Remember when you ran away
And I got on my knees
And begged you not to leave
Because I'd go beserk

Well you left me anyhow
And then the days got worse and worse
And now you see I've gone
Completely out of my mind

And they're coming to take me away ha-haaa
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa
To the funny farm
Where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those nice young men
In their clean white coats
And they're coming to take me away ha haaa

You thought it was a joke
And so you laughed
You laughed when I said
That losing you would make me flip my lid

Right? You know you laughed
I heard you laugh. You laughed
You laughed and laughed and then you left
But now you know I'm utterly mad

And they're coming to take me away ha haaa
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they're coming to take me away ha haaa

I cooked your food
I cleaned your house
And this is how you pay me back
For all my kind unselfish, loving deeds
Ha! Well you just wait
They'll find you yet and when they do
They'll put you in the A.S.P.C.A.
You mangy mutt

And they're coming to take me away ha haaa
They're coming to take me away ha haaa ho ho hee hee
To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those nice young men
In their clean white coats

And they're coming to take me away
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they're coming to take me away ha haaa!

Badger. Badger. ←

actually (none / 0) (#50)
by dirtmerchant on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:31:44 PM EST

that song is about a dog
-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
a bitch anyhow.. (n/t) (none / 0) (#57)
by dublet on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:16:47 PM EST

Badger. Badger. ←
[ Parent ]
Read Nikolai Gogol (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by jazman_777 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:24:26 AM EST

He is extremely funny. _Diary of a Madman_ is must reading, especially in the context of this topic. _The Overcoat_ is perfect for getting into an early-winter funk. These are short stories, BTW.

Also... (none / 0) (#93)
by Eater on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 05:24:59 PM EST

Read Mihail Bulgakov (sp?). "Master i Margarita" (translates to "Master and Margaret" perhaps...) has some great stuff about madness.


[ Parent ]
Damnit I was wearing a hat for religious reasons.. (none / 0) (#49)
by pakratATB on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:21:48 PM EST

When religion found me, a hat became a daily part of my warddrobe. One could say that being found by religion when one has been a devout cynical agnostic is a walk into insanity, but when a religion with hundreds of laws knocks on the door and I notice that the list of regulations 1) Is shorter than the business conduct guidelines at work 2) Makes more sense than the business conduct guidelines at work, it's sudden embrace is not unappreciated.

As for hat etiquette, the hat is to stay on your head unless you're showering, combing the hair, changing hats, or preparing to go horizontal.
Please pass the milk please. Please pass the milk

Religion as an escape route? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by Jel on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:21:39 AM EST

OK, so.. since we're talking about escaping from reality through madness..

By going insane, we'd lose our right to make certain decisions.  On the other hand, by becoming religious, we gain the right to religious expression.  Since we're talking about our own particular form of madness, why not simply create our own particular religion?  If our religion says that we can't wear a shirt and tie, due to the pretense involved, then aren't we legally protected from being forced to in work??

Does anyone know to what extent citizens become exempt from everyday laws and lifestyle requirements if their religion is against it?  Also, does anyone know what the minimum work involved in creating a valid legally recognised religious belief would be?

I'm from the UK, not the US, but any insight you have into either side of the pond would be real interesting ;)

...lend your voices only to sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery, and we shall lead a life uncommon
- Jewel, Life Uncommon
[ Parent ]

I've always wanted to be eccentric (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by SomeWoman on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:23:20 PM EST

It has long been my dream to be so successful that I could be wildly eccentric. I would be able to go to work in a bathrobe and combat boots, and everybody would understand that's just my "thing."

Merely giving the illusion of madness appears to be very liberating. You are no longer bound by reality's expectations. The only problem is that you have to walk the fine line between being slightly mad and being institutionalized and forcefully medicated.

the problem (none / 0) (#69)
by Fuzzwah on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:43:20 AM EST

In general I've found you can only get away with such eccentric behaviour if people also use the word genius to describe you. What about all us average Joes who also want to dabble in some weird behaviour? If you can easily be replaced by someone who better fits the social norms you're not going to get very far. Although around the office I have managed to turn my card flicking talents into an accepted eccentric behaviour. Just as long as I pick them back up again.

The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

manic depression (4.50 / 2) (#58)
by anansi on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:17:18 PM EST

I've heard that 2% of the population is manic depressive, same as diabetics. It's often compared to diabetes, especially when someone is trying to get you to take mind altering chemicals. So I imagine that there are plenty here on K5 who are biting back some choice words, I sure am.

In practice, calling someone mentally ill is the same thing as saying that no one need pay them any attention or give their words credibility, except maybe in the law enforcement sense.

Romanticizing mental illness is pretty common too. Look at all those genuises throughout history, see how messed up they were, wouldn't you like to be like that?

For a less cynical view, try Utne reader's article on the topic.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

make it easier... (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by faecal on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:44:27 PM EST

...by making yourself mad, rather than just putting on the show. Once you're actually mad, you don't have to act anymore, and your everyday (mad) life will be far easier and more natural.

Don't focus on the mad things that other people can see, focus on the things that only you can see. Don't sing a silly little song in the street, sing it in your head with only a slight smile on the outside. Remember, it's just our little secret!

Don't leave the house that much. When you do, you'll get to experience the world with the wonder of a small child. Doing so conveys the impression of madness the the observer, but the key thing is that you really are feeling this way.

When playing videogames, try to select either ultra-violent (Soldier Of Fortune II) titles or ultra-trippy titles (Super Monkey Ball). Then, get really into the game. Let down your artificial barriers between fantasy and reality. Remember, they're lying when they say computer games aren't real. Throw a computer game at them and ask them if it hurt.

When you're letting just a little of your internal insanity slip through your fingers to make contact with the outside, do it with your eyes. Nothing freaks people out like an artfully placed look, and when you're really twisted up, the timing will come naturally.

Just my $0.02.

UMR claims another one... (none / 0) (#60)
by skim123 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:23:05 PM EST


Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

Right you are... (none / 0) (#62)
by h3lldr0p on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:00:51 PM EST

Even in victory, there is no beauty
And who calls it beautiful
Is one who delights in slaughter
[ Parent ]

Did you happen to see this? (none / 0) (#65)
by skim123 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:16:59 PM EST

Missouri's Rolla campus ranked at bottom of 'Purgatory'

R.J. Agee says the University of Missouri-Rolla is a great place, no matter what you read about it. Citing "dungeon dorms," bad food and poor community relations, The Princeton Review's latest college survey says Agee and his classmates at the university should be the unhappiest students in the country.

My favorite thing about the article - the picture of one guy sitting there watching another guy play a video game. Shit, if I had a nickel for every hour I burned sitting in one of either of those guys' places while I was serving my term at UMR... well, let's just say I'd be a very rich man. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Yeah, KC Star ran it as well. (none / 0) (#66)
by h3lldr0p on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:44:53 PM EST

I found it funny that the only student that they happen to feature in the article is the current stuco president. Hmmm. Wonder why that could be? I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. This seems to be about the only trick they know to get people to come there. Heh. Even funnier was the fact that the Star ran another bit about UMR right next to this talking about how enrollment is up again. Go figure, with this economy they way is and all. ;)

Even in victory, there is no beauty
And who calls it beautiful
Is one who delights in slaughter
[ Parent ]

Already There! (none / 0) (#67)
by Jebediah on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:54:55 PM EST

Huzzah! I've been a nutcase since 1993. I don't have the certs to prove it, but I'm afraid I'd end up never getting out of the Asylum (but then again, America is it's own asylum for mental illness). Course, I'm missing the hat too, but I got OCD and a touch of manic-depression which I spurred on from copius alcohol and drug abuse. I'm in the clear! *Jeb twitches oddly and giggles*

too late (none / 0) (#68)
by Mr. Piccolo on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:58:21 PM EST

already there.  I think.  somehow it seems less fun than you say.

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.

i don't get it. (none / 0) (#70)
by blisspix on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:44:46 AM EST

is this supposed to be funny?

Want to be mad? (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by diego on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 03:31:35 AM EST

Try learning perl.

Or even better.. (none / 0) (#87)
by snakey on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 12:07:01 PM EST

.. functional programming!

[ Parent ]
or : (none / 0) (#88)
by pandeviant on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 05:26:25 AM EST



[ Parent ]

Good God man... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by obyteme on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 03:40:41 AM EST

get a job or something cause you have way too much time on your hands.

I take that back, cause if your like me you did this while you are working

Everyone knows there is only one step needed to say that you are completely off your rocker.

Tell 'em you understand the US tax code!

To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.

Trivialisation (none / 0) (#74)
by LQ on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 07:58:57 AM EST

I don't want to appear humourless, but mental illness is not in the least bit funny. People descend into a private hell and, all too often, their loved ones suffer almost as much. No laughing matter.

how do you know you are mad? (none / 0) (#75)
by Lialia on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:22:17 AM EST

Surely if you realise that you are mad, then you are not mad? If you are mad, you would not question if you are mad, you ould make sense to yourself.

Make a religion (none / 0) (#78)
by quinwound on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:58:36 AM EST

You can alaways make a religion and start to preach it, a nice touch

No... (none / 0) (#80)
by gjetost on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 01:43:09 PM EST

It's "Your views intrigue me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter."

A Simpsons fan! (none / 0) (#82)
by h3lldr0p on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:40:36 PM EST

Actually, the reason I screwed it up was because of Fox going after fan sites again lately. Don't need K5 getting a C&D because of a little thing like this. =)

Even in victory, there is no beauty
And who calls it beautiful
Is one who delights in slaughter
[ Parent ]

insane you say ? (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by ethernet0 on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:18:37 PM EST

the only think that comes into my mind is 'there are comming to take me away, hhaha' /dev/eth0

i've got a recipe for you (none / 0) (#84)
by qwaszx on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 09:37:23 PM EST

day1: take 3 hits of acid; day2-7: smoke crack; repeat untill crazy

If all I had was a hat (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by Odins Quest on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 11:04:23 AM EST

If a hat were all I had, I thing I would insist on a Bowler hat. I don't believe it is possible to wear a bowler hat without being viewed as at least a touch dillusional. Madness is often associated with hats. Remember the Mad Hatter? I wonder if it was just his hat that made him mad? I wonder if I am crazy- I do own several hats, afterall. Do you remember the Dr. Suess book, 'Go Dog, Go?' All through the book the one dog was constantly asking if the other dog liked her hat. I think anyone that so much as dresses a dog is a bit crazy, but all I want is a bowler.
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." - Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
Insanity in one easy step: (none / 0) (#94)
by MetalMorph on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 01:50:52 AM EST

Stare at a picture of Janet Reno for longer than thirty seconds. :)
Try and describe me and I'll change shape again.
So you've decided to lose your mind? | 94 comments (78 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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