I recently received an e-mail asking me the following question: “Dear Joe, I was wondering, who do you think should be allowed to judge who is and who isn’t crazy?”
That immediately brought questions to mind: was this person referring to me, themself , or someone else (creating the possibility that a trio of crazy people are now in the discussion), and more importantly – how did a crazy person get my e-mail address?
Noted German philosopher and cat lover, Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.” That has nothing to do with what we are talking about. I just figured you would think I am smarter if I quoted Nietzsche. I was right, wasn’t I? Now who’s the crazy one?
Since we are talking about Nietzsche, I would like to point out a few things. Nietzsche’s most famous quote is, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” While pretty good as far as quotes go, it is flawed, as Nietzsche did not take into account barbells, which can do both. They make you stronger if you lift them, and they kill you if you accidentally drop them on your windpipe.
Further proving my point is the fact that “Freddy,” (as friends called him if far enough away as not to be slapped) suffered a nervous breakdown in 1889 and then again in 1909, nine years after his death. This brings to mind the question whether or not something can break twice, suggesting that Nietzsche may have been repaired in the interim period.
In the later years of his life, Nietzsche spent his time theorizing about the existence of God and carving whimsical faces out of potatoes, assembling them into what he called his “potato army,” which he assured everyone would someday rule the world. He died in 1900 of crop infestation. My guess is that he found out about God right after that.
While we commonly know bologna to be a tasty sandwich filling made of unknown meat and meat by-product, bone and sawdust, it is of Italian origin, referring to the city in the north-central part of the country dating back to at least 1000 B.C. (according to everybody except Nietzsche). Once the hub of modern Italian philosophy, Bologna was the home of such noted thinkers as Vincenzo Gioberti, “The Father of Sausage Theory” and Augusto Vera, the first man to put anchovies on his pizza.
Known to dip a little too heavily into the vino, Gioberti and Vero did not garner large amounts of followers despite their efforts. Both insatiable partiers, their most noted contribution to mankind was the “Il grande gruppo di sesso,” which when loosely translated means “the big sex party.” Both men died happy.
The term “the pursuit of happiness” didn’t come into popularity until after it was inked into the Declaration of Independence. Little-know factoid: the original phrase read “Life, liberty and freedom,” but Thomas Jefferson didn’t like that idea because he had slaves, so he put some whiteout over it and rewrote the line. See how pigheaded people can be, even when trying to do something good? Shame on you.
Perhaps the Germans summed it up best. Their philosophy of life is called “die Ziege trägt meine Socken” which literally means “the goat is wearing my socks.” It is sort of an “oh well, such is life” credo which accepts all sort of unique and odd people unless you try to take away their beer.
So, how did we get here? I don’t know, but for some reason I am hungry.
To answer the original question about whom should be allowed to judge sanity, I would say “nobody.” I say it for two reasons. Number one – I believe it. Number two – I have to say it for my own safety and well-being. (I don’t like straightjackets. After about an hour, they hurt).
Pizza is always good!