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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.

 
 
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Mar 2, 2010
About 15 years ago I was laid off for a period of exactly 5 months.

Any argument that I have with my wife that happens to rehash that event turns out to be a great barometer of how mad she really is, because she never remembers "5 months", and it's usually some figure over a year. I think "2 years" was her screaming jeebie max and "9 months" was once when she was just a tiny bit irritated.
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
I just realized this past w'end that all of my memories are actually four memories fighting for brain time.
 
 
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
My wife forgets nothing I ever did that turned out wrong and forgets everything I did that was right. In fact, I think she's got the same brain as my boss.
 
 
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
Dingbat,

Well, Adams had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. He took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not the Cartoonist Scott Adams', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the ship from the previous Cartoonist Scott Adams, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Cartoonist Scott Adams either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Adams has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.'

(with a nod to The Princess Bride)
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
- Albert Einstein
 
 
+26 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
For years I built fences, beautifull picket fences. I must have built fences for at least half the houses in my village. Did they call me "Brian the Fence Builder"? No.
I was the best fisherman in three counties and won every fish tournament ever held, but did they call me "Brian the Fish Catcher"? Of course not.
I Killed a Grizzly Bear in '82 with a sharp stick when it tried to attack the scout camp, but did anyone nickname me "Brian the Bear Killer"? Heck no.
....But you f@*k ONE damn goat...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
[I laughed for 30 minutes over this story. -- Scott]

Delighted to return the favour.

For years now, my wife and I have also been arguing about my right to keep a wildly dog-eared copy of "The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century" on top of the toilet tank in "her" bathroom. She thinks it's "just wrong" to read in the bathroom. Plus, she thinks it's a science fiction novel and simply can't understand how I can read the same novel over and over again.

Webster
 
 
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
Scott,

You have gifted me with a new explanation for my relationship with my crazy wife.

Over the decades, my wife and I have had thousands of arguments. This is not her fault, really, since I'm the one who loves to argue. I could have stopped them years ago, as early as the wedding day. All I had to do was pretend to agree with her bizarre view of the world. By 'bizarre', I mean different than my view, of course.

What I had not noticed before reading your blog this morning is that a fair number our arguments (the ones not dealing with important things like the colour of the walls in the living room) have centred on the difference between what we remember about this or that event in the past. We sometimes even have arguments about arguments we had in the past. She will say I said this about that. I will say that I did not say this this about that, I said that about this. And so on.

One of our recurring arguments, one of my favourites actually, is whether my wife knows how to drive a car with a manual transmission. Let me explain.

A few years ago, when I decided to buy a Jeep Wrangler as a 'just for fun' vehicle, my wife objected to the purchase because she did not feel it fair that I purchased a toy that she could not have some fun with as well. This led to an argument, of course, with her hammer point being that she "did not know how to drive a car with one of those stick shift things".

I will never forget that moment. I was stunned.

When I got over the shock of the stupidity of her remark, I patiently reminded to her that the first car we had purchased, not long after our wedding day, was equipped with a manual transmission. Adding, for emphasis, that she had driven that car every day for 3 years. I should have stopped there, but I also added that I was surprised that she did not remember because she had managed to go through two clutches and a transmission in 3 years.

In response, she looked at me with her piercing blue eyes and said, "What in hell are you talking about, Webster? That car had an automatic transmission, just like all of the other cars we have owned over the years -- until you bought this stupid Jeep that we don't need." An argument ensued, one that did not really end until I sold the Jeep a few years later.

Until reading your blog this morning, I simply assumed that my wife was crazy. Thanks to you, I am now working on a new hypothesis. Men and women have different memories of their shared experiences because the female mind does not experience the world in the same way that the male mind experiences it. In other words, I have now left room for the conclusion that all wives are crazy. ;-)

Great blog, Scott. Thank you.

Webster


[I laughed for 30 minutes over this story. -- Scott]
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
Maybe an athiest is someone with an OCD that compels him on at least a subconscience level not to believe in God and rationalize any evidence against it.

Anyways, a good capitalist would tell you to make your compulsions valuable or productive.
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
@callcopse:

Well, technically he didn't. Since one would assume that the crazy person is one of the people who is building their life around something that is not real (and thus crazy), Christians will simply assume that he is talking about the crazy person and the Muslim and Muslims will assume that he is talking about the crazy person and the Christian. As he pointed out, only Atheists will assume he is referring to all three, and they don't believe in God anyway.
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
"A lot of my so-called life is apparently a patchwork of delusions."

Glad to see you are finally waking up. I've been ghost-drawing Dilbert for you for years. You owe me a very large check.
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
The last line in today's soliloquy is going into my collection of famous and not-so-famous quotes.
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
Wow, this must have been posted at least an hour and none of your fervently religious compatriots have yet responded to your gentle poking of their nests. Come on Americans, Scott suggested God is not real - froth a bit for us!

god save England - S h e l l y contains the word h e l l thus if i write hello (h e l l o) will it also be asterisked? Let's see.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
Please correct the last word in paragraph 4 to say "practical". I want to frame this post.

[I meant it to say practice, as it does, not practical. But it might be bad writing if your brain is trying to force it to another word. That's interesting. -- Scott]
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
weird the blocked out work is S.H.E.L.L.Y cant believe your wifes name is considered a rude work, thats either very clever or the most lucky peice of engineering i have ever seen...
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
Or well "is" my grammer is apparently warped.
 
 
Mar 2, 2010
glitches in your moist robot brain..??? Possibly your inability to interface with any sort of technology is affecting the tech that powers your moist Robot body that your concious mind has been down loaded into...

On the other hand !$%*!$ might be trying to convinse you that you are going mad.
My wife finds is very stress releving to have a converstation with me and then get to almost the end and pretend that it never happened. I have a tendency to "plan out" conversations that im going to have with her to make sure im not inadvertently going to insult her. In doing so i predict the most likely responses from her to any give comment. The net result is that on several occasions i have been reduced to rocking back and forth unable to tell if i have had a conversation and she is winding me up, or not... its very confusing and a little disturbing...

by convinsing you that an entirely different serise of events has occured she may be well on her way to making you bound round the house on a pogo stick pretenging to be a 1 legged kangeroo, screaming "Zoot Zoot Watang kerlag" before locking youself in the elevator for 3 hours...

Just a thought,.

God save the Crazy people.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
This was officially the best blog post I read this year. :)
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 2, 2010
I think that will be my new signature line (on Gmail, of course):
'A lot of my so-called life is apparently a patchwork of delusions.'

Think how much easier it will be to write your autobiography!

 
 
 
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