Q. I have a friend who has been diagnosed with mental health. Is it contagious?
A. You tell me. Recently, scientists put laboratory mice with mental health into a cage with mice who were crazy about bluegrass. After an hour, the mice with mental health were singing that high, lonesome harmony on “Wreck of the Old ’97,” and asking about banjo lessons.
Q. I’m worried about going crazy. What can I do to prevent that?
A. One of the key misunderstandings about mental health is that people who get it are crazy. The important thing to remember: if you don’t have the one, you don’t necessarily not have the other. Give or take. But be wary. When you talk openly to the trees, the net people will find you.
Q. I’ve heard people at work say “we just need to put our heads together and we’ll figure this out.” Isn’t that how mental health spreads?
Q. What about bodily fluids?
A. Always wash your hair after thinking.
Q. If you’re doing mental gymnastics, should you wear sweat pants on your head?
A. Does a giraffe stand in the front row for the annual group shot at the zoo?
A. Go ahead. Wear them.
Q. What is the difference between being crazy and being a knucklehead?
A. People may refer to you sometimes as a “crazy knucklehead.” This is a misnomer — not to be confused with a mrsnomer or a misternomer. Crazy and knucklehead are very distinct terms, as different, for example, as clowns named Bozo and Cracko. Fact is, if you are a crazoid, people seldom call you a knucklehead — unless it’s in the context of “Oh you crazy knucklehead, now I’m going to have to spank you.”
Q. How do you know if you’ve come down with mental health?
A. Start every day by asking yourself: am I crazy? If you answer yes, then you’re fine. If you say no, then you’re fine. If a voice says “Who wants to know?” and it sounds like your mother but your mother is in Kansas visiting the wheat, then go immediately into the bathroom and brush your teeth.
A. Look, if you’ve got mental health you’ll certainly need dental health, because dentists don’t want nut jobs with bleeding gums dripping any nut juice on them.
Q. My father says Uncle Ed is “crazy as a bedbug,” but Aunt Martha is “an out-and-out lunatic.” Which is worse?
A. As long as Aunt Martha stays out and out, you’re okay and okay. Might want to change the locks. As for Uncle Ed, it’s bad enough to be like a bed bug, because they bite. To be a crazy bedbug, well, let’s just say Uncle Ed might want to start flossing.
Q. My father says he has a mind like a steel trap. Is that good or bad?
A. The problem with keeping your mind in a steel trap is that after a while it turns feral. The next time you open the steel trap, say, to find out where you left your keys, that mind could bite you. Getting rabies from your own mind is no picnic (although barbecuing hamburgers and hotdogs is). Your father’s steel trap may be a ploy to keep from admitting he has lost his mind (probably left in a Sears dressing room when he was trying on sweat pants.)
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.