I’ve experienced my share of crazy.*
I’ve received the occasional rant, just as I’ve had the joy of the occasional dissatisfied customer (still one of my all-time favorite tirades). I was recently asked, how do I deal with the crazy. My answer is simple: I ignore it. I don’t advertise them by giving them a platform (read: I don’t respond to nitwits nor to self-important nobodies trying to make a name for themselves) because that only gives them credence. And I certainly don’t argue back. Why? Here’s what I’ve learned about crazy:
Crazy has time on its hands. I’ve got stuff to do. Because crazy has the time, focus, and energy to sit at a keyboard for long lengths of time …
Crazy LOVES to send out letters. I’m lumping blogs, message board/social networking site comments, and actual letters into this category. In my rant hall of fame, I have a 20 page, single-spaced missive from a fan/(self-described) nemesis. That was an e-mail rant. Number 2 in my hall of fame was an 11 pager that arrived in my physical mailbox. The time it takes to type 11 pages, print it out, put it in an envelope, address it, stamp it, and put it in the mailbox should provide a lot of opportunity to come to one’s senses. However, …
Crazy has other issues they need to work out. When you get an over-the-top screaming meltdown, there to what at first blush seems to be a rather minor point, there’s probably something else going on. In fact, there’s usually a lot going on when the crazy decides to erupt. The actual triggering event is typically only the last straw. A lot of little things had been building up unresolved before the eruption point.
Crazy has to save face. At some point, crazy recognizes the mess that they’ve made. They delete their MySpace/Twitter/Facebook/Message Board accounts in hopes of taking a break from things. (When I’m feeling less generous, I also assume it’s because they don’t want to be held accountable for their words and actions, forgetting that the internet is forever). They wisely go underground, find new circles to travel in, and hopefully time will ease the sting of the fallout from their eruption.
Crazy can’t be argued with. Facts don’t matter. Logic need not apply. The reality of the situation is a waste of time to explore because the only one that matters is the one that they’ve created.
So, no, I don’t argue with crazy. I’ve even quit poking crazy with a stick for my own amusement (who says I haven’t matured?) . Nor do I defend myself against crazy. For one thing, my life speaks for itself. If the accusations made by someone matches the experience people have had with me, then so be it. Secondly, crazy speaks for itself. Most people recognize it as such.
The bottom line is that I try to ignore crazy and leave it alone to work out its issues. I try to deny the eruptions the opportunity to do irrevocable damage to the bridge of our relationship. Crazy needs time and space to heal and gain perspective. And since I’m not going anywhere, crazy always has a place to return to. We’re going to get dirty wading into the tapestry of issues that constitutes the mess of other people’s lives. Might as well be prepared for it.
*For the sensitive, I’m using the term “crazy” to describe the behavior.