During the Thanksgiving holiday my brother-in-law kept tossing around the term “clinically insane” to describe various actions or statements he found amusing. I think at some point he may have even used the term in describing the way a particular breakfast food was prepared.
I’m not sure whether the American Psychological Association frowns upon the usage of the term “clinically insane” or not, but I’m guessing they do since we generally shy away from labels of any kind these days, particularly if they are easily applied to a relative or even a cinnamon roll. So I should probably abandon that phrase right here, although it’s worth pointing out that it’s my brother-in-law who said it, and he may kind of have a right to because there are times he can seem … well a bit “CI” himself.
But that’s not really the point. What IS the point is he seemed to have zeroed in precisely on last week’s bizarre vibe. It’s well documented that the holidays make people act like raving lunatics (can I get a ruling on “raving lunatic,” APA?), so I’m not blazing any trails here by saying I did notice a heightened amount of behavior over the holiday weekend that — were it to happen in some kind of clinic where such pronouncements are made — might be declared insane.
I checked the lunar schedule just to make sure we weren’t just experiencing standard full moon weirdness, but we were waxing crescent all weekend, so this has to be holiday-fueled idiocy. Naturally, a tremendous amount of that centered around our national pastime — football.
On the field there were some truly bizarre moments. Perhaps the strangest took place at the end of the “Egg Bowl” featuring Ole Miss and Mississippi State, a hard-fought battle between two teams with dreams of mediocrity. With just seconds to go, Ole Miss scored a touchdown that — with the extra point — would have sent the game into overtime. But the young man who scored the TD decided to crawl around in the end zone like a dog, then hiked his leg to pantomime canine micturition right in front of a referee.
A 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed, which made the extra point something more than a chip shot, which, naturally, led to the poor college kicker missing and Ole Miss losing. A game lost because a guy pretended to be a peeing dog. Crazy.
A couple of days later the coach was fired and the entire team has revolted. Could this still be fallout from the “dog pee” incident? I like to think so. On the positive side, the incident did spawn the headline “Hotty Potty,” which should earn someone a Pulitzer for headline writing.
I thought Alabama Coach Nick Saban jumping up and down at the end of the first half of the “Iron Bowl,” screaming what my six-hour course in lip reading leads me to believe were profanities, might be the height of wacky behavior in that vaunted rivalry, but it was nothing compared to what happened once the game ended.
After Auburn won, thousands stormed the field, which is technically bedlam, or at least lawlessness. But the most insane part of the celebration involved people jumping into the giant hedges surrounding the field.
I have little doubt many of the leaps were alcohol-fueled physics experiments in which the person was sure he/she could safely ride the shrubs down to the field as if upon a gentle green cloud. But miscalculations in weight, tensile strength of branches and leaves, wind speed, body-alcohol content and relative humidity led to some pretty hilarious fails.
The most famous was the woman who jumped in and was essentially swallowed up by the hedge and trapped there begging for help to get out. If only she’d packed her Swiss Army Knife or hedge clippers, she’d have been out in no time.
Other acts of clinical insanity hit closer to home for me and didn’t involve any kind of oblong ball. At one party, for instance, someone actually walked up and delivered the question outlawed at gatherings across the country, “What do you think of Trump?” Fortunately I was able to dive into a 10-foot-tall shrub and hide there until the fire department freed me hours later.
My wife and I also showed our own degree of clinical insanity by pulling over at a juke joint in Hernando, Mississippi, around midnight the day after Thanksgiving just because we felt the sudden urge to check out a redneck s-hole bar. It was the kind of place that would make a great opening for a very sad movie where redneck meth dealers kick some city slicker in the ribs a hundred times and steal his woman.
But the band was surprisingly good, and we left before the guy dancing with every woman in the bar got to Beth. I made it out with ribs and wife intact, but felt kind of dumb about it the next day.
Whatever was in the air was still with us as we traveled home. Hauling it along the crowded interstate, we noticed a man running through traffic ahead of us. He dodged his way from one side of the road to the other, and as we passed I could see he had an electric saw and was starting to cut a hunk of meat out of a deer that had been hit by a car at some undetermined time prior to his arrival.
This dude apparently didn’t get enough turkey and dressing and was out sawing up pieces of road kill while cars zinged by at 85 mph. For a moment I wondered if he were hit by a car on his way back across the interstate, would anyone stop to get the piece of venison he had gathered, thus completing the circle of life? I imagined we’d driven through a strange highway food chain with a run-over nutria at the bottom and a serial killer interstate trucker waiting at a nearby Stuckey’s at the top.
I’d like to think road kill guy had at least some idea how long the deer had been out there on the side of the road, but it didn’t look like he conducted any forensic tests before firing up the Black & Decker. Perhaps Grandma’s road kill recipes are fairly lenient when the word “fresh” appears.
Overall it was an interesting start to the holiday season. I have no doubt the insanity will only become more clinical as we move into phase two.
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