Either I’m crazy or the voices are lying

The three voices in my head have a game they like to play. Well, actually, they have a few games they like to play, but one game is a particular favorite: The game is called “Is The Rest Of The World Crazy, Or Am I?”

The rules are pretty simple: The first voice in my head argues that the rest of the world is crazy; the second voice in my head argues that I’m crazy; and the third voice in my head just sort of runs around babbling how it feels about various things. Voice One is crazy, since only a crazy person would think that everyone is crazy; Voice Two is sane, since knowing you’re crazy is a much more reasonable position to take; and Voice Three winds up being invoked by both One and Two as proof of their opposing points. The whole thing would be pretty entertaining if I weren’t trying to sleep … which, most of the time these days, I am.

The latest round of this game has been going on for an abnormally long time and is fueled by the fact that everything has been totally bonkers the last few weeks. Voice One has been having no trouble scoring major points in the “rest of the world is crazy” category.

“Britney Spears shaved her head and actually looks hotter than she did before,” Voice One blurts. “Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl. The Democratically controlled Congress is celebrating because it managed to pass half of a bill that does absolutely nothing. Hell, Congress is controlled by Democrats in the first place!”

Voice Two recoils at the onslaught of undeniable bizarreness, but he’s never at a loss for long. “Yeah, that’s all pretty weird,” he’ll return, “but you’re still the one who found a solo cup in your bed four days after the last time you had a party. And hey, what’s with the weird writing in urine in the yard? God didn’t do that; you did that.”

“OK, OK, yeah,” admits Voice One. “But that’s not nearly as weird as the fact that the President of Russia is trying to start Cold War II. And even that’s not as weird as the fact that NASA just identified an asteroid that’s bound for near impact with Earth in 30 years. Everything is totally fucked out there.”

“The only reason you know that stuff is that you’re addicted to the internet,” Voice Two shoots back. “What the hell kind of lunatic reads the Science and Technology headlines on cnn.com, anyway? You’re the one who spent an hour on YouTube last night, first watching some kid doing the robot and then watching Ronaldinho highlight reels because they came up as ‘related.’ You don’t have anyone but yourself to blame for the weird-ass dreams you had afterwards.”

Before Voice One can respond, though, Voice Three will enter the picture, a pasta pot covering his head as he careens toward One and Two on a three-wheeled skateboard he found in said yard and whose provenance is unknown to all.

“There’s a man running for President who, apparently, is both African and American but not African-American,” he giggles with abandon, “and I’m the only one who finds this weird.”

“See?!” both One and Two will shriek in unison. “That’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

As Voice Three shoots off toward the horizon, Voice One starts again. “What about the gay NBA dude?” he asserts. “This guy John Amaechi — a retired NBA player that no one has ever heard of — announced that he was gay and that he wrote a book about it. Then, a few days after he came out of the locker room, Tim Hardaway — a retired NBA player that a lot of people have heard of — went on a popular sports radio show in Florida and dropped a few homophobic slurs. But that’s only a little crazy: The really crazy part is that nobody seems to be making nearly as big a deal about this as they did when the guy who played Kramer went onstage at an LA comedy club and dropped a few racial slurs … especially since what he was screaming like a nutcase didn’t make any sense, while Hardaway unequivocally said, ‘I hate gay people.’”

“But only you’re crazy enough to have noticed that,” Voice Two says evenly. “And you’re definitely the only one crazy enough to think it matters.”

“And then there’s San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom,” Voice One shrieks further. “The guy had an affair with his campaign manager’s wife (after divorcing a lawyer/lingerie model). Then, in order to atone, he said he’d check himself into rehab for alcoholism, like step seven of twelve at the Delancey Street Foundation is going to be ‘Stop banging your best friend’s wife, you asshole.’ Does anything in that story not seem totally surreal if you stop and think about it even a little?”

“Hey, it makes sense,” Voice Two shrugs back. “Alcohol rehab has become the new industry standard for demonstrating to the public that you know you’ve done something wrong. Just ask Mark Foley (who went seeking the ‘Stop being a creepy bastard who masturbates to AIM conversations with 16-year-olds, you asshole’ step), or Ted Haggard (the ‘Stop doing speed and having sex with male hookers while preaching that homosexuality is a sin, you asshole’ step), or even the president. Everyone in America seems to be okay with this, so I must be the one with the problem.”

The battle rages on unresolved even as I write, interrupted only by subsequent robot kid viewings. Neither side can gain much traction on the other because, as truly bizarre as any of Voice One’s observations seem to be, Voice Two’s perpetual counterpoint — that the world seems nonsensical only because I’m the one trying to make sense of it — seems perpetually valid.

I know, I know, I’m thinking too hard about all this stuff; it’s bound to drive me crazy. That’s what Voice Three keeps trying to tell the other two over and over. As right as he may be, though, it’s really hard to listen to him — partially because he’s crazy … but mostly because he still has that damn pasta pot on his head.

David Chernicoff actually has three voices in his head. Yes, they do play games. No, there are no winners: Everybody always seems to lose.

Comments