I had a lovely time reading at the WYSIWYG Talent Show last night. (Curse them for making me type that name out, time and time again. The acronym gives me pause, because whenever I type it I end up moving my lips like an idiot and sounding it out.) I was glad to be in the company of some talented performers/writers/both. And man, do those bloggers love to attend bloggy-type shows! They blogged the shit out of that theater.
The piece I read was a little out of character for me, primarily because it was both true and personal and, if you've read this site more than three or four half-hearted entries deep, you'd know that specific personal matters are not something I usually care to share – and when I do, it's usually because I'm staving off a miniature nervous breakdown, which means I end up deleting them as soon as I experience my next moment of clarity.
Not be a tease, but I'm not going to reprint the entire story here. It seems silly when I look at it now. But here's the introduction, which is a start, isn't it?
[Addendum: video of this performance has been posted online, if watching is easier on your brain than reading. plus, you'll get to hear the whole thing; not just the parts i deemed ok for public consumption. See the video here.]
When I agreed to do this show, my choice was obviously motivated by a passionate, almost compulsive desire to have people look at me. But I also wanted to set the record straight with regards to this month’s theme. When I learned the show was called “Psychos I’ve Dated, Or Worked For, Or Both,” I was a little concerned about the title for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn’t really sure how to spell “psycho.” I know it’s is a short word, but it has that tricky silent “p” in it, as well as a silent “e.”
But also because “psycho” is one of those words I think is too liberally applied to individuals. It’s like the word “genius” in this way. Did you know that if you search for the phrase “...is a genius” on Google – you can find Google on one of the Internets – it produces over 124,000 results, applied to almost as many people, including:
- George Lucas
- Michael Moore
- Russell Crowe
- Jessica Simpson - attributed to her mother, who claims Jessica’s I.Q. is in the 160s
- Josh Whedon – I had to look him up, sadly.
- George W. Bush
- Rob Schneider (comic genius)
And, as shocking to me as it will be to you, one of the search results was actually my own name – again, attributed to Jessica Simpson’s mother. That woman has always been good to me.
I’m pretty sure no one on that list is a genius, with the exception of Voltaire and possibly Russell Crowe. I expect genius is frequently employed as a way to generate sound bites. Superlatives demand attention. But the thoughtless use of “psycho” has a different source. It can sometimes be attributed to maliciousness, sometimes to a need for closure in a soured relationship, but most often I find people mislabel former lovers PSYCHOS based on a lack of insight or an unwillingness to explore what was really wrong with their partner – and what role you might have played in his or her personal drama.
I personally don’t think it’s fair to call ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends psychos just because they acted bizarrely during or after a relationship. Love is delicate, and it does weird things to you. It makes you call someone against your better judgment, sometimes multiple times in one night. Love makes you throw things down the stairs. Love makes you push people off Jet Skis. It makes you enter a Popeye’s Chicken and take hostages, then use them as emotional bargaining chips, promising to release one hostage for every Air Supply song your ex-wife will dance to with you. Love makes you crazy, but it doesn’t necessarily make you psychotic.
That’s why I think there should be strict guidelines applied to words like psycho, in order to re-establish some much-needed objectivity. Here’s what I suggest: in the future, you can only say you dated a psycho if that person was clinically diagnosed psychotic, and institutionalized for a period exceeding three weeks; or if that person was or is currently assigned to a regimen of anti-psychotic drugs, such as Thorazine, Trilafon, Clozapine, or Haldol. Only if your ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever met any or all of these conditions can you confidently and accurately claim to have dated a psycho.
So…I dated a psycho. And it was one of the best relationships I’ve ever had.
[photos from the reading have been posted on the WYSIWYG site. you may now enjoy me at full-length. yes, i wear jeans with fashionably bleached "whiskers."]