CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE WEIRD KIND

I have had many encounters with weird people in my life. Each of these events has had a salutary effect on me. It is easy to deal with people of the rational kind, but not so with certain people who have the capacity to be, not only irrational , but other worldly. If you saw the original Men in Black, you saw a t.v. screen with lots of people you knew just had to be aliens, including Will Smith’s third grade teacher.

How is it that these kind of people exist and actually thrive in what we call “normal society?” Take a long look at your own backgrounds and marvel at those who have successfully navigated life while not following any orderly process. They seem to do pretty much the opposite of what you and I do, but seem to get away with it.

Some of these people are precipice walkers. They get on a wall, or a tightrope and navigate through life, sometimes falling, but always seeming to come out o.k. in the end. Yes, some do not and they make the news. We talk about their failures and wonder how they got this far in life.

I had one working for me a number of years ago. His view of his job and life was of a game of his creating situations that could destroy him and then navigate through them in some way. I can recall one day, he came racing into the office because someone was chasing him. He has passed this gentleman in a car. The speed limit was 45 and it was a well traveled two lane highway. He passed this car going about 60 and cut him off to boot. The man followed him into our parking lot. Fortunately, others were successful in calming the man down.This gentleman also broke his neck twice- once diving into the ocean, when the tide was low and another time in a automobile accident.

This is not say that we should always play it safe. Sure, you take chances in life and await their outcomes. But these people look for the banana peel on the ground to see if they really will trip.

The people whom I describe are in all walks of life. How about the woman who is married, has two children and a nice husband. She is dissatisfied with her life ( as some people are) and decides to make some extra cash selling her body at the local gin mill. She goes out each evening, sometimes leaving her children ( when her husband is off on a business trip) and comes home drunk each night. I would not argue that she does not have the right to change her life, but this is one way of saying, I am going to walk out of the ledge to see if I fall off.

How about the bureaucrat who makes some illegal investments with public funds. He is caught by his auditors and declares that there is nothing wrong with what he is doing. His lawyer disagrees and tries to persuade him that he will do some jail time if he does not clean up the mess. Rather than slinking away or fixing things, he writes to all of his political friends and tells them what a wrong is being done to him. His final actions led him to be fired and many others to be assessed over $350,000.

In each of these instances, there does not seem to be any rationale for the person’s actions. Life is made precarious because of this overwhelming need to take unnecessary chances. The chances taken, unlike those taken by others, never have a chance of leading to a positive outcome or an advancement in their lives.

In his young life, many things happened to this young man, of a negative nature. In his teens, he received a scholarship to a private boarding school. He seemed to thrive there and enjoyed the time that he spent there. After he graduated, he went to college and began to make choices that he knew were not good for him. He wound up not using his skills, both physical and mental, to be successful.

He began a career in boxing and was told that he had the skills to be a heavyweight champion. He decided, after a number of months of training, that he did not want to do that. He wound up sitting in a field in North Carolina calling us for some money. He tried a number of other occupations, mostly in sales and never lasted more than a few months.

We have not heard from him for a number of years. He is said to be the father of a child and is with a woman living somewhere in New York City. Each step that he has made in his own mind, is the correct one. He is the quintessential precipice walker.

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