For all of us, and when I say “us” I refer, of course, to those who society might describe in terms less than entirely flattering, for example, “laughing academy graduates”, “strange rangers”, “those who dance to the beat of a different marsupial”, and of course, “Followers of Lord Whackadoomious”, to cite only the most widely circulated, familiar to schoolchild and senior citizen alike, there comes a time and, speaking from experience I assure you it is a time one remembers
Like it or not, mentally ill people need to find employment just like everyone else. This leaves many of us wondering – precisely where might a mentally ill person slip into the workplace undetected? Indeed, what kind of jobs are mentally ill people even capable of performing? Well, the answer might surprise you! Obviously, even the most seriously impaired in our midst are qualified for positions in The State Department, House Ways & Means Committee, Senate Sub-Committee For Overseeing The Oversights Of The House Oversight Committee, and Halliburton. But, beyond the rarefied world of insider politics - where nothing consequential occurs and receiving money simply for demonstrating the ability to appear busy while basking in incompetence and indolence - is a world of real labor, populated by skilled professionals accomplishing meaningful tasks. It’s true!
According to a recently released survey conducted by The National Association of National Associations, your choice of vehicle may be telling the world a whole lot more about you than you think, in fact, it might even reveal what, if any, form of mental illness hounds you, dogs your every step, and accounts for ruff patches in your life. Ashton Frampton, spokesman for the HMMA (Heavy Mental Motoring Association), which sponsored the study, put it like this. “While automobile ownership is not proof of insanity, we have noticed that many different forms of mental illness track closely with specific cars. To start with a very simple example, every Hum V owner in the study was plagued by delusions of other people’s grandeur.
Those of us who fit the description “mentally ill” face exceptional challenges when it comes to networking, career advancement, and interviewing techniques. Johnny All-American Lunchbucket probably never had to explain away that year in a Turkish prison to a horrified Human Resources executive. And yet, for the likes of us, that is not even an exceptional challenge. The mentally ill – (extra-normally enabled) – job seeker needs to be ready with plausible explanations for suspicious terminations, demotions, and outstanding warrants. Honesty is always the best policy, but, bear in mind that when you are talking about intergalactic chess tournaments played in five-dimensional swimming pools, your interviewer simply isn’t qualified to understand you. There is a fine art to crafting alternate explanations that might conceivably be true and satisfy your HR representative’s need to fill out a form that will never be read, or even touched, by anyone else. It is your responsibility to make yourself easy to hire, and one of the ways you do this is by discussing your past in terms that do not fill prospective employers with dread.
If you’re “funny in the head” like me, you’ve had to learn how to self-regulate – that is – evaluate your own behavior to determine whether you’re merely “in a mood” or riding the downtown express to Cookoopantsatopolis. Outsiders cannot understand, to them the answer will always be obvious. We know better. Frequently the dividing line between eccentric and incarcerated is only a few shades of gray, and one doesn’t even notice the point at which fun has turned into funkachunkabagooboo. To help all of you out there cursed with the responsibility of being one’s own strictest supervisor, I have devised this simple quiz which can be self-administered whenever needed. If you answer “B” to more than 5 of these questions, you’ve been boodoogelized and should get help as soon as you retrieve your clothes from the dishwasher.
"Why raise the bridge when you can lower your expectations of the river?" Taz Mopula You may be surprised to learn that even the irrational, off-kilter, cattywhumpus and – yes, I’ll say it – whackadoomius among us gaze upon the vast, blank canvas of an unused year and think to ourselves – how can I do better? Of course, in our case this means – how can I be an even shinier wing nut, a more twisted slinky? Way back when, Mark Twain reminded us, “It isn’t easy being eccentric.” This observation is as true today as it was when he said it – which is why I’ve had a good long look my own shortcomings and failures in 2011 and put together a list of resolutions which – with luck – will make my humble blog even funnier in the weeks and months to come.
As 2011 slinks silently towards the exit sign, like a kleptomaniac at a bridal shower clutching a bag from Neiman Marcus, I must take time out from my busy schedule to pen, yet again, the Funny In The Head Family Letter. Naturally, both of us would much rather speak with all of you individually but, between making Halloween costumes for the homeless, managing our halfway house for wayward squirrels, and building awareness for The Hugh Manatee Memorial Foundation, there simply isn’t enough time. (By the way, our new slogan, “Oh The Hugh Manatee Foundation” has been very well received.)
It has been said that - an expectation is a preplanned resentment – and since the holiday season is built upon wave after wave of rosy, grandiose expectations it is reasonable to imagine that an avalanche of resentments ready to sleigh you cannot be far behind. This is particularly true for those of us who every day unwrap that most bizarre of all gifts, commonly referred to as mental illness. As ever, your friends at Funny In The Head are here to help.
"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. However, the mice will switch all your street signs." Taz Mopula One lovely, sunny afternoon, a traveling salesman was driving his shiny new Cadillac convertible down a quiet country road. Without warning, he was rudely wrenched away from his predictable, uninteresting thoughts by a flubadubbadub sound indicating his left front tire had gone flat. The fellow pulled to the shoulder, stopped, and surveyed his situation. Beside him, an imposing wrought iron fence stood sentry before a sweeping, well-manicured lawn. At once annoyed and bemused, he observed the lawn to be studded with solitary individuals wearing white jumpsuits, calmly entertaining each other and themselves. His mystification ended when he saw a large sign that read, "Shady Acres Home For The Deranged".
"What I find most annoying about self-absorbed narcissists is they don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about me." Taz Mopula In the fascinating world of mental illness and mental health one can always fan the flames of debate by throwing down this challenge: Can what we call “mental disorder” be the response of a healthy mind to a society that is, itself, not sane? Recent decades have seen an alarming increase in the incidence of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This leads the medical community to wonder - What were these folks called before the ADD diagnosis? Did the disorder even exist a century ago? Or, is ADD a mass response to cultural shifts de-emphasizing thoughtful deliberation in favor of superficial, trivial and constantly changing entertainment?