Because of my affinity with the crazies, I have developed skills similar to those who work with wild animals. I am not saying that crazies are animals. Far from it, insanity seems to put a touch more humanity into a person than the amount gifted to normal boring people that crowd this planet. I’d take a conversation of coffee with a crazy about `how the government is using our pets to spy on us’ over a discussion of which grocery store has the best price on sun dried tomatoes.
It’s just that, like the crocodile handler or lion tamer, there are signs you must be aware of. These wild beasts can turn on you, and it is in the interest of the human handler to recognize these signs so that he ends the day with the same number of limbs he started it with.
Talking with crazies has similar requirements. Normal people have been socialized successfully and as such avoid doing these that society may frown upon, like jumping onto restaurant counter tops, dropping their trousers, and slapping their bottoms like a bongo. Being able to identify these signals can help one anticipate when a crazy is about to earn their moniker.
For example, before a lion attacks its pupils dilate completely. Useful to know even if there is probably little can be done if you are close enough to see the dilation, but if god gives you enough time to curse him or your luck before you meet him, I say take it.
The consequences of crazy conversing are not near as dear. The worse is an hour dialogue about foot health. An uncomfortable but survivable experience. Each crazy is unique in his madness but there are some helpful generalizations. Eye dilation is indeed one. A more important one is `god talk’. When a crazy moves the subject to god, caution should be used. This is a potentially volatile situation. We are definitely getting closer to ‘bare ass cheek bongo’ territory, but a conversation might still proceed calmly. It is when a crazy uses nicknames for god and the devil that one should immediately review evacuation procedures including eyeing the nearest exits.
The correct response to hearing talk of `prince of light’ and ‘lord of flies’ is “very interesting. I agree whole hardily, but I must hurry away.” Another dangerous subject is numbers. If normal questions of “How far is that?” is answered with “Oh it’s about from here to that old man multiplied by four thousand six hundred and three. Maybe four thousand six hundred and five, depending on the gravity waves.”, it’s also a good time to bail. It’s only going to get weirder. Requests to touch you or have you touch them are a sign you have missed previous signs.
There are more, but I feel learning to crazy converse is best learned through error. Once you have been hugged and drooled on, I guarantee you’ll not make the errors the proceeded those events.