There's a fine line between crazy and entrepreneurial. If you bark at the moon to make it go away, you are considered crazy. But if you start a business for which there is less than a 5% chance of success, you are considered an entrepreneur.

If you feel the need to turn a light switch on and off exactly seven times before leaving a room, you have OCD. If you need to run exactly five miles every day before breakfast to feel right, you are considered disciplined and athletic.

On one hand, it is clearly different to engage in activities that have no practical value versus ones that do. Or ones that might. But what if the reason you engage in practical activities has nothing to do with your ability to reason, and everything to do with being lucky that your particular brand of crazy has some utility? That blurs the line.

I often think I was one lucky break away from being the crazy uncle who couldn't stop drawing pictures. For me, drawing was as much a compulsion as a career decision. From my earliest age, I drew on everything that would stand still. It's an extraordinary bit of luck that my compulsion turned out to be practice.

Warren Buffett modestly says he was lucky that his brain is wired in a way that suits the times. A few hundred years ago he would have been the crazy peasant who was always talking about ways to increase crop production if only he had the capital.

A Muslim, a Christian, and a crazy guy walk into a room. The one thing you can know for sure is that at least two out of three of them organize their lives around things that aren't real. And that's the best case scenario. Atheists would say all three have some explaining to do. And atheists are the minority, which is the very definition of abnormal.

My wife and I often have very different recollections of events. And not just the little details. Sometimes our shared memories don't even feature the same mammals, themes, or points. The scary part is that we don't realize these differences until we have some reason to compare memories, which doesn't come up that often. Every now and then there will some independent way to verify whose memory is accurate, and it is sobering to discover how many of the problems are on my end. A lot of my so-called life is apparently a patchwork of delusions.

The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +846
  • Print
  • Share


Sort By:
Mar 21, 2010
do hindus do-the-do - you didnt mention Hindus

Mar 8, 2010
Testing testing 123...
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 6, 2010
Mr. A, would you ever consider posting some pages of your sketchbook? I've never seen any non-Dilbert drawings of yours.
Mar 5, 2010
Scott, keeping a diary of some sort is a good way to jog the memory and keep a reference point of true personal history. Living in delusion is sometimes a choice.
Mar 4, 2010
Just one point Webster - do you not need a seperate licence to drive a manual? At least here in the UK if you took your test in a manual you can drive any vehicle, if you did it in an automatic, you can drive only automatics. On that basis if she had an manual licence she must know how to drive one - so unless that is not how it works wherever you are, then surely the type of licence she holds must determine the veracity of her argument that she cannot drive a manual.

I drove an automatic once - terrible experience, never liked it at all, wouldn't catch me using one - they're not popular here.
Mar 3, 2010
Callcopse said, "Presumably if your wife did not realise it was a manual transmission that might explain why you went through so many clutches etc, what with her driving everywhere in first or trying to change gear without de-clutching?"

I tried to explore that very likely possibility. Her response was something like. "Don't be ridiculous. If that was the case, I would know how to drive the Jeep."

As I mentioned, I love a good argument. But sometimes ... she stumps me. So we have to move on to another topic. It's a shame she doesn't use Gmail. I could nail her to the wall on that one.

Mar 3, 2010
@Eric327: Your post would not have been funny if it had not been for this site's swear filter. As it is, I laughed so hard that the guy in the next cubicle looked over to see if I was having some sort of a fit, apparently worried that he might have to do something.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 3, 2010
I found this post to be very thought-provoking. Immediately after reading this I went to the Wikipedia article on the Bath School bombing which took place in May of 1927. The perp had been under much financial pressure from various !$%*!$%*!$%*! before his mind broke and he lashed out against innocent school children. Thing is, as a farmer he had spent much of his adult life trying to develop mechanized single-pass farming, where the farmer prepares his ground and plants seed all in one trip, saving time, reducing labor and expense, boosting productivity, etc. His neighbors accused him of being lazy, told him he needed to just go do his work. He was on the right track, just ahead of his time. Had he held on, he would have seen that method begin to become normal practice by the end of WW2. If I were to mention him by name in the Bath area, he would only be remembered as a villian of the most evil sort, which he also certainly was. Same person, different perspective, different view point in space and time. Had I been alive in 1927, or from the Bath, MI area, I would certainly take the 2nd viewpoint exclusively. An extreme example, I know.
Most people go through life with "Self" as center, and only as long as we operate out of the same paradigm are other people's perspectives understandable. Bare bones, it is the "Sh*t/Stuff" theory, that is, if it's mine it's My Stuff, if it's yours, it Your Sh*t. Once we act outside of this pattern, actions become extraordinary. An example would be a soldier jumping onto and covering a hand grenade to save his fellow soldiers lives. Some would commend the soldier for saving lives by sacrificing his own, others would say "Dude, that's nuts!"
Where I work we have a material handler who really and truly believes he was kidnapped by aliens and held for a time on a space ship. BTW, he is excellent at what he does. At times people come up to me to tell me about him. I look them right in the eyes and tell them "He's only "Nutz" if it didn't really happen." Now at work I'm considered "not quite right". If I go fishing and catch a fish, then decide to throw him back, and the other fish ask him where he's been, and he tells them, they won't belive him, and he's "insane", no matter how much he protests, or the proofs he offers.
I am convinced that if you could understand through my eyes, and buy into my perspective, that you would find that I am the sanest person you know. Therefore, I am completely off my rocker. Or not.
-5 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 3, 2010
Scott, you must be stuck in the matrix if your life is a delusion. Better call Neo and Trinity for help.
Mar 3, 2010
@magic_matt I got notified of your comment because I accidentally forgot to de-check the notify me box, so I am not replying JUST because I am a saddo with nothing else to do.

I would posit, having read - I think - every one of Scott's blog posts since day one, that without actually meeting him you would be foolish to think you had much of a handle on his precise opinions. He does like to tease. I think I have some idea, but fully acknowledge that idea could prove as ephemeral as Webster's wife's memory.
Mar 3, 2010
"For me, drawing was as much a compulsion as a career decision."

In your book you said that 'Affirmations' caused you to succeed as a cartoonist. Now it's a 'compulsion'?

What's the truth?
Mar 3, 2010
Sorry, I should wait until I've finished my first pot of coffee before going out in public. Dumb comment.
Mar 3, 2010
You should read Scott's books. Start with " Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! " He quite plainly states his opinions.
Mar 3, 2010
@kingdinosaur, er, or maybe not. Maybe an atheist is someone who finds no reason to believe in any kind of God compelling. You are presumably a Christian - do YOU have an OCD that prevents you accepting evidence of both Buddha's and Mohammed's divinity? And the existence of Thor, and Zeus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I don't quite see how any of these compulsions might be productive or valuable.

@Dalebert7 - you are correct of course - Scott cleverly phrased his comment so that anyone reading would think the other peeps are the crazy ones.
Mar 3, 2010
Nice one Webster. Presumably if your wife did not realise it was a manual transmission that might explain why you went through so many clutches etc, what with her driving everywhere in first or trying to change gear without de-clutching?

I remember plenty of events very well but so much of my memory seems subjective it is hard to be sure of what has really occurred sometimes.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 3, 2010
Scott, if i start a religion based on your blog, do i have to pay you a percentage?
Mar 3, 2010
Well I can't relate to my wife in this situation -- but I sure as heck can relate to my Mom. Mom's reached the age when she's wanting to wind down from life, and has managed to rewrite all of family history in her mind through a set of lovely rose colored glasses. Bad events never happened... old arguments were never said... and she's never in her life had bad credit or a bad day at work (riiiight mom) LOL. Seriously though... I hope its 'nice' where she is.
Mar 3, 2010

You might be right. Regardless, thanks for the comment. True story, by the way.

... and thanks for the 'thumbs down' vote on my post. I'm not comfortable with positive integers. My father was killed by one of those.

+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010

I loved your story, right up to the point that you made the assumption that your wife is the norm and that all wives are crazy. Please consider the possibility that 1) She IS nuts, but the average woman would remember driving a car with a stick for 3 years and would remind you about what a piece of crap it was (requiring 2 clutches and a transmission in 3 years) as part of her argument against buying ANOTHER car with a stick, and that 2) You're equally nuts for staying married to a crazy person that you love fighting with. In regards to Scott's last sentence, it sounds like you have a balanced relationship - she has the delusions and you have the compulsion.
Mar 2, 2010
Bark at the moon long enough, and it WILL go away!

And you call me crazy!??!??!?!
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog