"But it just might be a lunatic you're looking for...." If you're anything like me, you can't say the words "I may be crazy" without breaking into song. And no, this does not mean you are crazy. Although it also does not mean you are not crazy.
My husband thinks I am crazy. Granted, he has many examples for why this is true, most of which I am not going to share with you today, although I believe I have discussed some in prior postings, but the primary reason he thinks I am crazy is that I like to make up stories in my head. And no, not the good old bedtime stories that a mother is required to tell her children so they can stay up just a few minutes longer. But real stories. Manipulations on life.
Now, I think I come by this trait naturally. It runs in my family, I do believe. For example, as a child, the best part of Thanksgiving was all the children (16 in that generation) cramming into a bedroom, lights out, to listen to my Uncle Dan regale us with stories of Jonathon the Great. Oh, we loved Jonathon the Great (never once, in all the stories, shortened to just "Jonathon". It was always "Jonathon the Great went to the Tower of Stones" and "Jonathon the Great rescued the Princess" and "Jonathon the Great found the magic feather".) There's something to be said about consistency, constant affirmation of Jonathon's greatness, and my Uncle's imagination and dedication. I often wonder now how much he dreaded being roped into these hours long story-telling sessions and if he breathed a sigh of relief when we'd all outgrown the stories, although now we've got a whole new generation of children (19 so far, with only half of the original 16 married and producing) dying to hear Jonathon the Great stories, despite the fact that I don't believe, when eavesdropping, that this generation of stories is anywhere near as great as the ones I was raised on.
My father is also storyteller. In some post soon I will share with you his talks with the Elves. He is a story teller with a conscious. A modern day Grimm brother or Hans Christian Anderson. His stories have value, purpose, and a moral... not just entertainment, but a higher calling. But I'll share those stories in a later post. My father has actually written a book on storytelling within organizations; granted, I haven't actually read his dissertation (yet, Dad, yet), and he would probably define it very differently, but in my head, that's the premise.
Many people in my family write- whether drafting novels, marketing blogs, or weekly news-filled letters and emails-- and I think I've learned that the written word is often more powerful than the spoken word. (There is also likely to be another post on "Mommy letters"-- our affectionate (?) term for the long tirades my brothers and I (and our spouses) would receive from my Mother when she was not pleased with something we had done.) And hyperbole is definitely a hereditary trait...just ask my father, my brother's wife, or my husband... but sometimes the details of what happened are just more interesting when you embellish them. (My husband has picked up on this and when I tell him a story he'll typically follow it with "Now tell me what really happened.")
But it is not the hyperbole or the written word that concerns my husband (except for the times I send him emails he does not want to read at work-- and I'm not talking about the risque ones). The story telling that concerns him- well, I say "concerns", but I really mean "makes him think I'm crazy"-- are the stories that go on in my head. The long conversations I have with people-- with strangers in the grocery store, with family members with whom I am having an "issue", with him, with my children's teachers, pediatricians, fellow gym members (typically these conversations revolve around how great I look after only seven visits to the gym and how they wish they could be as svelte, stylish, in shape as I am), therapists (should anyone in my family ever need a therapist, those conversations have already been prepared). I constantly have a conversation ongoing in my head. Sometimes I create these conversations out of boredom. Sometimes they are begun because I have something I want to say and no one has asked me my opinion, so I just tell it to the person in my head who asked me (often a prestigious political A-lister who is then so impressed with my level of understanding of the issues that they offer me a job and I am catapulted to instant success; sometimes Dr. Phil or Oprah- same result of instant success, but also including instant fame and wealth). Sometimes, I really want to propose a specific theory or brag on my children, so those conversations have to come up somehow. And sometimes, I'm just tired of talking to children and there are no adults around, so, voila, an adult conversation! It just so happens to be in my imagination, but at least I'm getting some mature and intelligent discussion going.
I've read articles on interviewing (heck, I've WRITTEN articles on interviewing) and they all say the same thing "prepare for your interview before hand by going over your answers to the questions the interviewer may ask you". Sound advice. I do do this. But I do it even when I don't have an interview scheduled. I just carry on a full interview in my head while doing the laundry. And yes, they always offer me the job.
And sometimes, I need to make some very powerful points to my husband about the things he should or should not be doing. These conversations can get very intense, and this is where the line (in my husband's opinion) gets crossed from normal to crazy. Because, while it does not happen often, there have been times-- maybe one or two, three at the most-- that I've sort of, somewhat, kinda forgotten whether or not the conversation was real or in my head. Now, I know this can not be all that unusual. It can't possibly be. It's just that my imagination is so vivid and our conversations are so intense, and since I know my husband so well, I can pretty accurately determine what he is going to say in a real conversation and, therefore, recreate it in my head. So when he tells me "That conversation was all in your head"... sometimes I've had to stop, think, and say "oh, yeah. You're right"; while other times I vehemently deny it... which leads to one of those fights I discussed in a prior post. But sometimes I can just say to him, "You know what? Maybe it was. But it's something you WOULD have said if we had had that conversation in real life". At which point he is forced to stop, think, and say "oh, yeah. You're right."
So he may be right, I may be crazy (cue singing)... or maybe I'm a genius. And if I ever doubt this, I'll just ask someone. And if I want to get an intelligent and informative take on my own level of genius versus potential craziness, who better to ask than myself?