Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Playpen

In old age we are like a batch of letters someone has sent. We are no longer in the past, we have arrived.

Knut Hamsun
I'm a mad man. No, there's no doubt about it, I'm completely cracked; stark, shivering crazy. I've lost it.

Shakespeare calls old age "second chilishness." It is a theory that all babies are born insane and gradually grow into sanity and wisdom as they mature. I don't remember much about my babyhood but I'm of the opinion that it might be the other way around. I think it's possible that all babies are born completely sane and knowing everything which they can't articulate except to other babies and that they gradually grow to lose it in the carriages and play pens of the world. Imagine how frustrating it must be for a baby not being able to tell anyone what you know. It's enough to make you wet yur diaper and wake up in the middle of the night crying for no apparent reason.

Not having lived a normal life has taught me that there is no such thing. Being a wanderer has taught me that the only place anyone really lives is in his own head. And being an artist has taught me to gracefully let go of the ball and chain which is generally known to the world at large as common sense.

But being mad is a good healthy way to be as far as I can determine. I do illogical things. If I am on my way to the market I stop and feel the leaves of a tree or a bush. If I pass the kitchen sink I squeeze a little soap into the sponge and wash three dishes instead of the whole sink full. If anyone lived with me they would become exasperated at my behavior or else go mad themselves.

I say things no one understands. I know that, because every time I make a statement of pure, inspired wisdom it's met with a blank, uncomprehending stare. There's a small tree in front of the house. When I refer to it as "yonder wood" no one cares to know why.

When I find conservative nonsense and liberal grunting humorous people don't get it. But when I become fascinated by some obscure news item that doesn't make the papers or the TV news every day they just think I'm off the beaten path of life. Well, I am. I'm the crazy old loon who lives by himself in the attic, harmless in his madness. He listens to Wagner operas and reads philosophy. He's a total fruitcake.

The letters have been sent and read and the attempt to summarize the contents has taught me that there are no summations (which it also says in my Profile).

So what's left for an old crackpot to do? To what have I arrived? A certain benign orneriness, acceptance and refusal, an abiding sense of humor, willingness to face the fog and walk into it. I can now change my own diapers, if I wake up in the middle of the night the only thing I want to know is what time it is. I accept the fact that I will never have all the things in my playpen that I want. I refuse to get angry at any one but myself. I refuse to do today what I can put off to tomorrow. I don't follow the Phillies. I refuse to accept everything any authority tells me. I will think for myself and not worry about it if the thoughts come from the mind of a lunatic.

I refuse to be afraid of death. If you go to England you can visit the grave of Charles Dickens, but Dickens isn't there, he's still alive. If I could live my life all over again I would change almost everything. But would I then have something to summarize? I doubt it.

Being an actor has taught me that the world is a stage and the roles keep changing, but they are all masquerades. So I will set Sir Percival spinning, wash my hands and face in the words of some other old maniac's sink, play in my pen and enjoy, as much as possible, the role in which I have somehow cast myself.

DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.

Only 4 responses so far.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.


DB - The Vagabond


pacifica62 said...

If the crazy old loon took a moment to look around him, he would see he had plenty of company. Perhpas it is the privilege of old age that allows a person to throw away all the rules and directions and just do what they want. Like who cares. Have fun I say and don't take yourself or life too seriously.

Liz said...

You ‘play’ with the words cracked, mad and crazy, which only goes ‘to show’ you are completely sane and have never been seriously challenged on that point by doctors.
I had to prove that when I was sectioned for the maximum of 6months because I refused to take the psychiatric drugs prescribed for my misdiagnosed bipolar condition. I did so within 10 days by totally ignoring my surroundings and setting up the request for an independent tribunal. I was released almost immediately!
I now know I suffer brain damage from a road accident for which I received no emergency treatment and consequently required three major spinal operations. Whilst attempting to maintain a single-handed Veterinary Practice and look after my two parents, one dying of cancer and the other after a major stroke. Is it any wonder I finally suffered a total mental and physical breakdown?

I cannot ‘play’ so easily with the words, cracked, mad and crazy.
Which only goes ‘to show’ that I have been too close to the edge and find myself unable to be entertained by such words.
I have tried to lighten the load and the latest post on my journal ‘I’m Half Crazy’ is only a few words that carry some of my thoughts away from the cracked, mad, crazy mind that they are forced to inhabit.

Yet I love to read your part in ‘The Play on Words’
Which only goes to show that you are a very good actor and that I love the theatre.

Lori said...

Ooh, which to choose, which to choose? You know I'm just full of quotes about madness. Let's see, this one from Alice in Wonderland seems to fit: “'But I don’t want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can’t help that,' said the Cat. '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.'”

And then, of course, Seneca, whom I'm sure you've read, said that there is no genius free from some tincture of madness.

Personally I think it's the creative minds, the ones who can look outside of themselves and see things from different perspectives who are the "sane" ones, and those who don't get it are the "mad" ones.

Rose~* said...

I love the comment from Liz - and I often wonder if in all of my aged years, whether I have met a "sane" person in this world. . .

Gerry said...

I joke that I am certified but in my early twenties staying out of the clutches of the men in white was a major concern of mine, after having been incarcerated twice in two different states totally against my will. I found I had a 'record' and was more suspect even than my husband who was threatening to commit suicide when I was incarcerated the second time. I was trying to get help for him at the behest of a Mormon Chaplain in the service and inadvertently let slip to the district attorney I had a 'record.' I can just imagine the shock of that Mormon Chaplain when the district attorney had my husband brought from base, asked him if he did what I said and threatened to commit suicide. He said no, and so he called armed guards and I was once more incarcerated and it took me a week to get out, even though I had a two month old baby waiting for me at home under the care of my sister who only thought I was going to be gone a few hours. I swore to myself I would never mention my past again, and the next time he went beserk I called the cops and saw him escorted off to jail. I then saw him break loose and run over the tops of hedges with armed cops in pursuit as he did not know what was going to happen to him either. A cop returned that evening and said I did right to call them as he had kicked the walls of the jail cell for 5 hours and called them every name he could think of! He was however so sane acting when he sobered up the judge let him out in 3 days. It took me a week to go before a board to prevent my being shipped off to the state mental where the nurses said I would undoubtedly be shocked. They seemed to be saying, "Just don't act crazy, if you want to get out of here!" I did not know at this point whether I could succeed in not acting crazy!

salemslot9 said...

I remember you
mentioning tree in
front of house
yonder wood

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Our roles do continuously change, but that is part of what puts spice in life. Me, I like my salsa hot :o)

Big Mark 243 said...

I think that spring has finally arrived... you need to find a way to Florida or Arizona. Maybe you have a friend or someone to help you become acclimated and you can make it your home.

Change is good. You have a lively mind and the newness of where ever you are will compell you to new adventures.

Just my thinking...