ROOFTOP – Jill called me on Friday night. I hadn’t talked to my kid sister in over a week. It was about at the 40 minute mark of the conversation when she asked me if I thought she was nuts. Seems one of our more remote family members told her that the rest of the family thinks she’s nuts. So she said, “Moke, do you think I’m nuts?”
Immediately, I started pondering a bigger question. Is it wise to lie to a person who thinks she might be nuts? It didn’t help that Jill had just told me about having to get rid of one of her Facebook friends so she would have an even number of friends. She doesn’t like to have an odd number of things. Does that make her nuts? – No, I’m asking, “Does that make her nuts?”
Then it hit me. Whop! This is Jill! Over the years, we’ve shared all secrets. Most secrets. That’s when I said, “Of course you’re nuts, Jill! Do you feel normal? No way!"
I went on to tell her that I’m nuts. There were signs during First Grade. I’m the only kid in Pasadena who thought First Grade just lasted one day. I had no idea that I was supposed to return for Day Two and Day Three and on to oblivion. (I’ve shared the story with you.) And, there was no one who ever went to school more surprised about “test day” than I did. – “What? A test? How were we supposed to know? Oh, she told us before she wrote it on the board? Was I born yet?”
But forget about my younger days. Right now, I’m sitting on a large pillow atop my roof, pretending that you’re up here with me. If ever there were a sign of nutness that’s it. In fact, when I said I was “pretending” you were up here, I lied. Some of you are sitting to the left of me, some to the right of me… Reminds me. I memorized “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in high school. -- “Cannon to the right of me. Cannon to the left of me. Cannon in front of me volleyed and thundered. Storm'd at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well, into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell rode the 600.” I saw the movie before I knew there was a poem. Tennyson wrote the poem. Alfred Lord. Errol Flynn starred in the movie.
So... where was I? Oh yeah, I’m nuts. The point I was trying to make with Jill was that being abnormal isn’t bad. After all, what is the measure one uses to determine normality? Or “normalcy” as Warren G. Harding, our 29th President called it. Harding was one of those persons whose middle name or initial was crucial in name recognition. Like Ulysses Grant. You take the initial of his middle name out and I don’t know who you’re talking about. Nobody ever says “Edgar Poe.” I don’t know an Edgar Poe. It’s Edgar Allan Poe. Isn’t that weird? It’s like Alfred Lord Tennyson. All along, I thought his middle name was Lloyd.-- Forget that. It's nothing like that.
By the time I finished my discussion on being crazy, Jill was convinced that she was the sane one. I’m pretty sure she was tempted to tell me that everybody in the family thinks I’m nuts, but fears hurting my feelings. Ridiculous. I’ve come to embrace my condition.
I’ve never really felt normal or natural, ordinary, typical or regular. Definitely not regular. I stood in HEB yesterday for a full three minutes trying to figure out if the slightly higher price per ounce on the quart jar of prune juice was worth not buying the big jug that I’d have to wrestle with.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s move on to—What? Where’d the time go? Sorry about that. So, uh, watch your step on the way down. I’m going to stay up here a bit longer to settle my mind. – Beg pardon? Of course you don’t have to leave. I’ve always appreciated your company. So, what say we look to the eastern sky? No, to your right… – Next time.