When you live in or near the city and take public transportation, it’s not uncommon to encounter the occasional crazy person. You know the type: they shout crazy, nonsensical stuff to no one in particular or dance around to the music in their head. They usually don’t bother people, but when they do, my friend Laura and I have a theory that the best way to deal with crazy people is to out-crazy them.
Someone comes up to you and says something crazy, you say something crazier. They yell at you, you yell louder. It generally confuses them enough to make them walk away. No one is better at out-crazying the crazies than Laura. She takes great pride in this fact.
On one of my morning runs in Vegas, I was crossing one of the many bridges along the Strip when I saw a guy running past me in the opposite direction. He clearly was not a “runner” judging from the clothes he was wearing, but I didn’t think too much about him until the same guy came flying past me, this time running the same direction as me. As soon as he passed me, he quickly turned around and started running backwards in front of me in a shuffle-type move with his arms outstretched and his fingers moving up and down in a Freddy Krueger type way. Then he took off running in the opposite direction again.
As I was trying to make sense of what just happened, there he was again, running past me, then swinging around to run backwards with his arms outstretched again. This time he started making some “whaaaaa!!!” sounds. After a few seconds of utter confusion, it clicked: OH! I’m dealing with crazy! Okay!
I immediately started going through the Crazy Playbook in my head to plot my next move as I stared at the waving fingers in front of me. I realized pretty quickly that my playbook wasn’t that advanced. Where was Laura when I needed her? I had to look him square in the eyes and admit defeat.
“You win. I can’t out-crazy you,” I said with remorse. “You’re going to have to leave me alone.”
Without missing a beat, he turned and ran to the other end of the bridge again, then found his next unsuspecting challenger who was running the opposite direction.
I recounted the story later that day via text to Laura who responded: “Careful. Vegas crazies are crazier.”
Indeed. Lesson learned. Chicago crazies have nothing on Vegas crazies.