Waylon was the Cricket who dodged the fated Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens flight to Fargo, N.D., Feb. 3, 1959. It was The Day the Music Died. Jennings gave his seat to the Big Bopper and hopped a bus. Before they departed, Holly told Jennings, “I hope your ol’ bus freezes up.” And Jennings told Holly, “I hope your ol’ plane crashes.”
Yikes, no wonder Waylon was crazy.
Let’s pair Waylon’s introspection with that of Thomas Paine’s when he stated in his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Tommy was referring to the mounting incivility towards British oppressors in the colonies. Neutralists, loyalists and rebels were bumping heads in every settlement. Hostility, oratory and systolic BP’s were escalating to hypertonic levels. Ultimately the time came to sever ties and heads. One can only imagine that being crazy during those revolting days could avert insanity.
Fast forward to the present day. Waylon and Tommy are still relevant. America as I know it is in social, economic and political disorder. The rich get richer, while I get poorer. My fiercely independent parents have grudgingly moved into an assisted living facility. Clueless politicians preach their own brand of morality and try to shove it down my throat. Our legislature is beyond dysfunctional and my wife admonishes me for swearing too much. With every additional calamity I feel I will soon go bonkers. In an attempt to ward off the inevitable, I rely on cocktail hours, trout fishing, comforting carbohydrates and profanities to stem the rising psychotic tide. I also spew forth these biweekly Express columns. It’s my belief that Editor Lisa and Publisher Kevin allow me to continue because they fear what will happen when I’m at last muzzled. Consider the premature release of hot air from a pressure cooker. KABOOM baby.
I need to be a tad crazier than I already am. I think it will assuage my decent into madness. I don’t want to go so far as to be mentally deranged or demented. I strive to become a more impractical, unpredictable and nonconforming crazy person. This level of craziness is sufficient to scare away solicitors, do-gooders, Halloween beggar kids, Bunnyman and the loquacious troll residing under my bunky.
Ideally I’d be considered endearingly eccentric like an inscrutable Adirondack hermit, rather than a raving lunatic squirreled away with John Hinckley, Jr., in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC. I actually played basketball in the St. E’s gym against the inmate team back in 1960 something. Their center, Psycho George, was incarcerated for making organic fertilizer from his family members. We shared cookies and lemonade after the game, which our team prudently lost 120 to 2. Our lone bucket was a pass that bounced off my head. I apologized immediately. But I digress.
I think that a transformation into charming weirdness will enhance my aura as an Express columnist. My research shows that people who read free newspapers and worship talk radio and cable TV news celebrities crave the preposterous rantings of crazy people.Who am I to deny Expresslandians their right to the pursuit of happiness. Rush knows what I’m talking about.
As a Navy airdale, I appreciated Joseph Heller’s 1961 satirical novel “Catch-22,” about angst-ridden WWII Army Air Corps aviators. You’ll remember that if you’re caught in a catch-22 you can’t escape a problem because of contradictory rules and constraints. Solving one problem simply leads to another. I interpreted a catch-22 to mean, any aviator who requests a psych evaluation hoping to be found not sane enough to fly at night from a pitching deck, thereby avoiding crashing and burning, would thereby demonstrate his sanity. “You mean there’s a catch? Sure there’s a catch. Doc Daneeka replied. Anyone who wants to get out of night flying in bad weather isn’t really crazy.”
By the way, Heller initially titled his book “Catch-18” but Leon Uris’s “Mila18” came out first. So Heller changed his title to “Catch-22.” Holy insanity. A catch-22 is really a catch-18.
I am Captain John Yossarian. I can’t be declared crazy, especially when I know I am. Since the current cast of Presidential candidates is certifiably crazy and I recognize that they’re crazy, I must be sane. Mitt Romney is nuts. Adirondack, not Michigan trees are just the right size. General Motors makes me crazy because their $3 billion third quarter profit was made possible by my commandeered tax dollars which kept Chevys, GMC’s, Buicks and Caddies from going extinct. Meanwhile, I haven’t recouped a single penny of my capital losses from the 2008 market crash. The fact that I realize I’ve been royally screwed by our government and their financial cronies makes me sane, even though they drive me crazy. Believing that I’m crazy is my only solace. Otherwise, I’m inconceivably jumping from the Cliffs of Insanity directly into Count Rugan’s Pit of Despair. The Princess Bridies know what I’m talking about.
Okay, let’s see if we can find a way outta this column. I don’t expect that any sane person has continued reading this far, so it’s up to me to find my own way out. If nobody’s gonna read the column, why write it in the first place. Okay, I’ll write it to prove that I’m crazy, then I won’t submit it to Lisa which will prove that I’m sane. But if I don’t submit it, Kevin won’t sign my beer voucher and I’ll have to create another flight of fancy to keep from going insane. Thank goodness it’s five o’clock somewhere. It’s time for Waylon’s “I Ain’t Living Long Like This,” a bag of Crispy Cheetos and a flipping anti-psychotic adult beverage. Crazy works for me, Ol’ Waylon. RIP good buddy.