Dialogue: A Concerned Citizen Confronts the Madman

“Life is malignantly useless,” the madman sighs.

“Where’d ya get that line from, one of those damn high-falootin’ philosophy books you drool over?” replies a concerned citizen. Unable to conceal his hatred, the concerned citizen spits out a question intending to inflict a wound, with his eyes glaring with condemnation and righteousness, “Do you work?”

The madman, undisturbed by this invasive interrogation, meets the citizen’s angry stare, preparing himself for a confrontation, and takes the bait. “Do you mean, am I employed? Do I have a job?”

“You know what I mean, smart-ass! Where do you get money to live? You living off the sweat of MY brow?”

“Government relief. The dole. Social Security benefits,” the madman eventually replies, knowing this was the confession that the concerned and irate blockhead was digging for.

“You ain’t no ‘senior citizen’ and you ain’t DIS-ABLED, so how can you be living on Social Security? You on general assistance or SSI?”

“… disability …,” the madman hisses back without turning away or lowering his head in shame.

The citizen melodramatically looks to the heavens in disgust. “Dis-ability? You don’t look or act or sound disabled. Hell, I got more physical disadvantages than you do, and I bust my ass from sun-up to sun-down every god damned day of my fucking life. You got some nerve … My kid risking getting his pecker shot off over in the mother fucking Middle East, and you sitting around like some kraut genius with your blue-eyed face buried in some stupid-ass book filled with some asshole bitching about the misfortune of being born into God’s glorious Creation! I oughta tar and feather your ass and cut your frontal lobes out with this here buck knife.”

“Get the fuck out of my face, you thick-necked, knuckle-dragging gorilla. Back off. I’m crazy, and you’re going to trigger a psychotic episode.”

The citizen, towering over the madman, sizes up the skinny philosopher, smirks, and whispers angrily, “You ain’t crazy. I can tell you’re pretty damn intelligent and gots a shit-load of book smarts. Hell, you got the brains to be a fucking accountant.”

“It’s called BIPOLAR DISORDER, rapid cycling, chief. By the way, accountants aren’t all that smart. Adding up debits and credits isn’t really mathematics.”

“Bipolar? That’s some serious BULLSHIT. You can work. You just prefer to spend all the hours of all your days with your nose buried in books. In fact, Mister P H D, you got one foot in the grave already, and you don’t know it. You pretty much a walking dead man, a ghost. You done given up on life, and you so damn smart, you on your way to thinking yourself right into the grave. You’re too smart for your own good. Anybody ever tell you that before? Huh? I wouldn’t give you the time-a-day if’n I wasn’t so concerned. Hell, I’m talking to you like family, not blowing smoke up your ass, but trying to talk some COMMON SENSE to you.”

By now, the madman became a little perplexed. He was hoping the citizen wasn’t about to offer him a job right there on the spot. The last thing the madman wanted or needed was to be at the mercy of this goon all day. The madman, after all, was quite a bit older than he looked or behaved, and was beyond the years of being ‘molded’ or ‘reformed’ into ‘employee of the century’ …

In an attempt to ground the conversation in reality, the madman finally replied to the concerned citizen’s moral talk. “I’ll rap the boss’s head in with a hammer.”

At this, the citizen scoffed, “Then you get your boney ass thrown in jail, bro. Game over!”

“Sabotage that jail-bait set up shit. I’m gonna spell it out for you. I am a living breathing protest against the idiotic norms of mass-industrial society. I do not aspire to conform to the wealth-warped values of this automobile-infested Bizarroland. In fact, I’m like that horse who is not lame, but refuses to return to the track … touched in the head … the zoo-keepers don’t want to put me down, so they let me stare off into space chewing on the grass. Of course, that’s all just allegorical, as you well know. I read texts of a pessimistic and nihilistic bent alienated and dejected, but I have found some ambitionless peace in this self-chosen and obscure orbit. Why does it get under your skin that I find some relief in my own idios kosmos?”

“Your what?”

“My IDIOS KOSMOS, my inner realm.”

“Man, you talk too much … way too much BULLSHIT for my taste. If I thought like you, I would just get the rope out and hang myself.”

Before the small-boned thinker could respond to the large-boned bully, the big man contorted his face, and, pointing his finger at the madman, yelled, “Now, you listen to ME, asshole. You’re living off the tax-payers backs! Me and my kind are going to encourage the law-makers, if they can find the time in between the luxury cruises they be enjoying off the sweat of my brow long enough to assemble, to pass some laws to let us build a good amount of work camps from sea to shining sea for the growing flood of slackers and psuedo-professors like yourself. We’ll throw you all in a detention camp, and the only books you’ll be able to get your hands on will be Bibles and Big Books – the Twelve Step kind, not those fat an-fucking-thologies of doom you jerk off to! You’re a subversive con-artist who sits on his ass all day smoking cheap-ass discount pipe tobacco while pawing your way through god damned books. I bet you got so much time on your hands, you got the luxury to look up the queer words in a dictionary!”

The madman stared blankly, now a little disturbed by the thought of being in a cage without access to some books he was currently engaged in exploring, so, wanting to walk away from this lecture abruptly so as to return to his literary investigations, all he could muster was, “Did you just call me an asshole?”

Several ravens cawed in the distance …

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