Tuesday, July 21, 2009

R U Bonkers? #3


Chapter 2: What's My Line?

Right, you’ve found yourself institutionalised, been drafted onto the Acute Department football team and now you’ve got to make yourself at home. Lesson two is: Every psychiatric patient needs a gimmick. If you haven’t got one you might just as well be sitting at home in your underpants or in a pub all afternoon staring into a glass of warm lager. You could for instance be The One Who Dresses Up As His Mother or The One Who Eats Insects or The One Who Believes He Is The Messiah or perhaps The One Where Rachel and Phoebe Disinter People and Turn Their Body Parts into Household Ornaments (that’s “Friends” – Ed.). But these have already been done. Hopefully you’ll think up a new one, one that’s really “you”. Here are some top ideas to try out:

The One Who Talks to the Goldfish

Everybody needs somebody to talk to, and sometimes the psychotherapists are So Rubbish that you turn elsewhere. The hospital cat might pretend it’s listening to you but it’s not a reliably captive audience. That’s why if you’ve got any sense, you’ll pull up a chair next to the fish tank. And don’t worry, you’re not “interrupting” just because your friend’s mouth is still opening and closing your mouth when you want to say something.

The One Who Plays Chess with Himself

(And it’s definitely himself, by the way). Chess players are plain strange, and I myself spent a bit time playing it when young. But to be weirder even than Bobby Fischer you need to go beyond the paranoia by eliminating actual competition. As with other forms of masturbation, solo chess is self-satisfying and self-congratulatory and, most importantly, you’d be even more autistic if you didn’t do it.

The One Who Thinks He's a Robot

Former computer programmer, natch. Again, I’ve fulfilled this function so feel I can speak with impunity. A standard process of psychological disintegration is observed: 1. Admiration (they’re just so smart, and clean, aren’t they!), 2. Sexual Attraction (I take my laptop to bed to play Solitaire but end up falling asleep cuddling it!), 3. Rejection (why don’t girls like me now?), 4. Identification (only computers understand me!), 5. Bonkers (Look into my eyes... see where the circuitry is wrong! No, don’t touch me with wet hands!!!)

The One Who Swallows Light bulbs

To recapture that inner glow, that spark of life, that radiance you felt you lost when you had your breakdown, why not swallow light bulbs? Start by swallowing them when they’re not switched on, to get the hang of it; then wait till Christmas and pop a couple off of the tree in your mouth whilst nobody’s looking - the transformer will ensure that you’ll only get a slight tingle inside (the flashing ones make it even more tingly); then work your way up to 60W Osrams and 3’ long neons. Soon you have an act that you can take on stage and they’ll let you out knowing you can find a place for yourself in the outside world! Hurrah!!!

The cheery song ending this chapter is The Velvet Underground’s “I Heard Her Call My Name" - about 28 seconds into this rather distracted young chap’s home video – which has got me through many a night.


Gorilla Bananas said...

Idi Amin's former justice minister impressed me with his toothy grin and demonic eyes. He now runs a convenience store. Do people like him still get sent to the booby hatch?

Francis Sedgemore said...

"staring into a glass of warm lager"

The horror!

I am currently sitting at home in my underpants, such is the life of a freelance journalist.

I is not bonkers.

Scarlet-Blue said...

I am disappointed. I thought the bedroom was going to be transformed - a bit like on Changing Rooms... or How Clean Is Your House...
*Wanders off muttering*

inkspot said...

I bet Lou Reed's mum made him tidy his room.

Gaw said...

My late Uncle Mervyn was bonkers. He believed he'd become an internationally famous opera singer who mingled with celebrities of the time, such as David Jacobs (Radio 2 disc jockey).

He used to visit on his way back from "parties in London" and not leave. The only reliable way to get rid of him was to escort him to the scarp slope of the Cotswolds and make sure he went over the brow of the hill. His Morris Minor Traveller wasn't capable of getting back up, see. Home to Wales was his only option.

Anyway, got to get back to my singing practice - Wossy's having me over for cocktails this evening.

Lulu LaBonne said...

this rather distracted young chap’s home video – which has got me through many a night.

And what does Mrs Dilo think of that?

Madame DeFarge said...

I think I may be one who thinks it's good to work in public service. That makes me barking in the extreme.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Yup. Barking.

When I cracked up I spent six weeks playing patience. I suspect I ate and drank at some stage but I'm not sure.

No Good Boyo said...

The uncle of a friend (not Welsh) thought Edward Heath was following him. Although mad, he was able to lead a relatively normal life. Sir Edward was a big man, and so there were few things he could hide behind. The Uncle just stuck to open spaces.

The Velvets will all get Welsh citizenship thanks to John Cale, who will be Minister of Culture, War and Religion.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Bananas, Amin's compadre's grin might have been enough to get him by on the outside, but it wouldn't have washed in the Kampala Clinic for the Criminally Cuckoo.

Dr Francis, stick to the real ale, and make sure you change your underpants regularly in case the man to read the gas metre comes round!

Scarley, yeah, I don't think he was too focussed on the room tidying, but then he's a teenager and life is just so unfair...!

Inky, as a teenager, Lou Reed was sent to a psychiatric hospistal to "cure his homosexual feelings" - he probably had somebody else to clean his room there.

Gaw, every family has them and - only with retrospect, obviously - they add a certain glamour. I've a very beloved relative who was at one time put inside for her own good - and also had a Morris Minor, as it happens - and she's the most glamorous member of our family as she kept escaping :-)

Oh, and say hello to Wossy - I'm due to be on the show next week, you know.

Lulu, Mrs Dilo knows nothing of my admiration for The Velvet Underground, though she's just about got used to me playing Bartok so she might be ready for the discordances of that particular song.

Madame, it's excellent to work in public service: I spent 7 years working for the health service in Plaistow, which is near Barking.

Kevin, I read Steven Fry's autobiography over and over without stopping, probably more than 10 times in all - funny what you do. But here we both are now, professional people, with an enhanced life experience, and respected members of The Blogging Community :-)

Boyo, Edward Heath was an intimidatingly big bloke though my memory of him comes mainly via impressionist Mike Yarwood, who really was scary. As minister, John Cale would send Wales back to the Dark Ages for which it has always felt nostalgic.

Gyppo Byard said...

Gadjo bor - don't you mean "reinforce Wales's continued habitation in the dark ages"? Remember, you can't have a dark age without a bit of Celtic Twilight first.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Gyppo bacsi, there was never any such thing as a "Celtic Twilight": it was a myth concocted by soapdodgers to pursuade us to buy their clunky, home-made jewelry.