You’ve more than likely heard this question asked sometime in your lifetime.
Maybe even directed toward you?
I know I have.
That begs the question, I just realized, if anyone has ever uttered the words, “Are you sane?”
Not quite the same, is it? But that’s another story.
Anyway, back to insanity.
Albert Einstein is well-known for coming up with his own definition of insanity. According to one of the most brilliant minds that ever lived, insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Go Albert! That’s always been a favorite of mine. That may explain the causes of my deep-seated insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But that’s another story.
When I Googled the word insanity, I came up with one legal definition and 1,863 some-odd number of websites dedicated to the exercise routine called Insanity.
Now that’s insane!
Anyway, Webster on the other hand, has two saner definitions for insanity: “1) a severely disordered state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder (as paranoid schizophrenia)”; or “2) unsoundness of mind or lack of the ability to understand that prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status or transaction or that releases one from criminal or civil responsibility.”
I actually found one more I kinda like: “3) An extreme folly or unreasonableness; something utterly foolish or unreasonable.”
But these don’t really seem to paint a true picture of what I envision as insanity. Let me step back a day or two ago and explain something. You see, I bring this issue of insanity because, well, last week I signed my last will and testament.
What? What do the two have to do with each other?
Well, it all started when my mom had a health scare not too long ago, and it started me a-thinkin’. So, I decided to get my will and related paperwork out of the way because, well, it was the right thing to do. Not that I have anything to leave in my estate, unless you consider an 8-year-old Chevy an “estate.” I realized, however, after starting this process, that there are a lot more formalities involved than just dying.
Who gets what?
Are all the beneficiaries properly assigned?
What to do with my remains?
Do I have a safety deposit box?
Are all the proper papers signed?
What bills will be left to be paid?
Who will pay the funeral expenses?
What to do if the person, my mom in this case, isn’t around to get my 8-year old Chevy? Who would be next?
There’s more, but it’s too weird to get into greater details.
But that’s not what I wanted to write about it. It’s just the catalyst. Finalizing my will was just the catalyst for my debate over sanity — or rather of insanity.
You’ve probably heard the phrase in movies. It dawned on me as I was finalizing my papers, don’t you know. You’ve heard the phrase, “Of sound mind.” Body gets thrown in there too, but it was the mind part that became the issue.
You see, after the witnesses were all assembled in my lawyer’s conference room, and after we just determined it was Aug. 2, 2012, as I filled out the paperwork, my lawyer asked me a question. An odd question, considering. You see, he all of a sudden, out of the clear blue, and with what seemed like a wink in his eye, he asked me what day it was.
Didn’t we just talk about this?
Is he crazy or losing it?
We just talked about it being Aug. 2, didn’t we?
So, I cocked my head and questioned back, “Do you now mean what day of the week it is? Thursday?”
“Who’s president?” he asked.
Something was afoot. I just knew it. I’m clever that way!
“Huh?” I cleverly retorted.
“Who’s president?” he repeated.
“President Obama?” I said with uncertainty, as if he knew something I didn’t.
“What do you think of the two presidential candidates?” he again badgered.
Now I knew I was being set up, when it hit me out of the blue ...
“Are you trying to determine if I am of ‘sound mind’ enough to make a will and testament?” I asked.
He just laughed.
I just looked bewildered and befuddled.
He giggled again and proceeded with the notaries and witnesses and such ... but I couldn’t stop thinking about this less-than-scientific procedure for determining one’s sanity.
The only thing I regretted as I walked out of my lawyer’s office that day was that I didn’t really have an answer for him as to whether or not I was of sound mind. I really don’t think I did anything to convince him I was, but he let me skate and I left with the paperwork all intact anyway.
I also remember never really attesting to the fact — legally — that I wasn’t insane.
But, roughly three days later at around 3 o’clock in the morning, I woke up, sat bolt up in bed, and thought of what I should have said when asked about my sound mind — or lack thereof.
I should have said that, “Yes, I have always been insane, am now insane and always will be insane. And ‘that’s the truth,’ as 5 1/2-year-old Edith Ann/aka Lily Tomlin would attest to.”
I still may be without a will and testament if I had, or at least without a legal one. At least I wouldn’t be a liar. I wouldn’t have a valid will under false pretenses.
OK, so finally, here’s the point of contention that has always, well ... to coin a phrase, driven me insane. If you admit you are insane, are you?