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"Crazy, they call me, sure am crazy ..."

Updated: Mar 3

David Sherman


What if we’re all crazy? Or most of us. Riddled with personality disorders, neuroses, psychoses. Basket cases in a variety of sizes. Maybe there’s no maybe about it. Some more than others, but we’re a world of damaged souls, most behaviours now thought to be engraved in the womb, no choice in the matter.

A study came across my screen that claims about a quarter of the population suffers from mental illness. I think I know most of them. Maybe I’m a member of the clan. Scientists blame it on what’s called transgenerational trauma, a relatively new area of research.

Your parents’ parents, or their parents, lived through some atrocity. It’s often ascribed to children of the Holocaust or Rwandan genocide, children whose grandparents lived through World Wars and witnessed the unspeakable. Despite filmmakers’ profit-motivated attempt to recreate carnage on screen for our popcorn-chewing enjoyment, the two-dimensional screenwriters’ versions don’t come close to what many of us or our ancestors faced. If they did, it would be inhuman not to weep into your $10 Cokes.

Perhaps embracing ultra-violence on the big screen, and paying for the privilege, is another symptom.

There are also children of alcoholics, or COAs, as they call themselves in their self-help groups. Or people of colour who have been targets for a thousand years along with children of the endless wars that explode across the planet generation after generation. First Nations people, children of colonized and massacred generations and complex geopolitical slaughter. See England-India; Israel-Gaza; Russia-Ukraine, etc., etc., etc. What will their children be like, if they survive to procreate?

Research is indicating the trauma not only carves scars in the brain, but is transferred to the uterus and into the child. It is not nurture, it is nature. Many are born with faulty wiring, not dissimilar to a Boeing jet.

Through no fault of our own, like the pilot of the doomed airliners, we are driven by inherited traits we often don’t understand or control. The pilots of the Boeing Maxes that fought in vain but nosedived to their death and, at first, were blamed by Boeing, are not dissimilar to many of us who wrestle with addiction or abuse, neuroses or personality disorders, unhoused and impoverished. Or plain insanity. Some of us crash and burn through no fault of our own though those who surround them rush to judgement.

“That guy’s really fucked up!” And he may be but, if the 25-per-cent figure mentioned above is to be believed, it is no fault of his or her. “And there but for the grace of whoever…”

I was intimate with a woman who wore a basket of personality disorders that she only sometimes exhibited, only sometimes acknowledged. And sometimes would just be plain nuts. She was expert at hiding them. Her mantra was, “I can be myself when I’m with you.”

Perhaps accepting her behaviour was a manifestation of my own disorder.

Some days, she said she knew she needed a psychiatrist. Some days she just went off the rails, punching, kicking and screaming. What loose wiring in my brain pan made me stay as long as I did while friends berated me for staying? Was it love? Was it need? Was it sickness?

Shrinks told me she had inherited the faulty wiring that drove her parent’s illness while she believed she picked it up like the flu.

Perhaps her illness prevented her from seeking the help she knew she needed. No abuse is acceptable and my confidantes thought I was crazy to stay. One of my own multiple disorders.

If that 25 per cent is correct, it explains many I have known over the years. People who can’t stop talking about themselves; people who can’t let go of the past and recount endlessly life stories from decades ago as if life stopped in 1974. People who remain in the high schools they left half-a century ago like the high-school football star who still basks in the cheers half a century later.

People who scream rather than discuss, hit rather than debate, demand rather than negotiate. People who are never wrong. People who today march, screaming “Seig Heil!”

People who drink themselves into stupors as often as I go to the supermarket, who believe coffee and Advil were invented as hangover cures, who bang their head against the wall because it feels good when it stops. People who are one person one minute, another the next.

People who you think you’re doing a favour but only confirm that no good turn goes unpunished, for whom hatred is easier than love and more appropriate, who believe Trump was sent by God.

Poverty, homelessness, unemployment or addiction is not a choice. And, perhaps, ignorance and labeling a sociopathic fabulist a deity as Hitler’s adherents did before them, is a symptom of inherited damage wrought by hardship of generations of hardscrabble living, poverty and forever wars.

Nazism, like Trumpism, is a pandemic for which the only vaccine would be therapy. Their folly, perhaps their indoctrination, was and is that this is normal and acceptable. Or heroic and revolutionary. They won’t seek treatment but even if they did, there’s not enough treaters to go around. And pharmacies don’t stock logic meds.

It just takes a few seconds of watching Fox news and their standard bearers to see how easy, even profitable, it is to spew hate, believe it and be blind to the truth, accepting lies as “alternate facts.”

Humans did not rise from the primal ooze with the personality of mad dogs. Canines have to be beaten and abused before they will bite at first glance. Or they are inbred. Humans come to it easier.

It now seems we may inherit our disorders down through generations, our lack of humanity, our inability to function or love, our need for anger and violence is as predetermined as the colour of our eyes.

And, the numbers are increasing as the planet disintegrates. Is it sane to hawk deadly planes, cigarettes, guns, booze and oil to the many for the profits of a few? And to celebrate it?

Is it sane to collect Ferraris bought with earnings made from the fingers of those who earn enough to eat only rice with their hands in the Third World, as does a well-known Canadian garment-maker. And some not so well-known.

We accept it, we celebrate it, pension funds embrace it and therefore many of us profit from it without guilt.

If the theories of transgenerational trauma are accurate, we’re destroying ourselves via inherited disorders.

Or, in simpler terms, as pundit Bill Maher told the TV cameras and the laughing studio audience, “we’re just shittier.”

62 views6 comments


So fun! woohoo! 😂😫😉😯😪😜😟😖😕😧🙃🤔we're riding on the bomb in dr. strangelove. Thanks, David, for so flowingly expressing some of your real nitty gritty lived truths along with the pretty deep insights into our shared hum(ins)anity.🌘💜☯️


As they say, you dont have to be crazy to live here ... but it helps. (And dont worry. Well train you.) Excellent piece, you crazy mofo.

Replying to

They're coming to take me away, ha ha, like trees and flowers and chirping birds, ha ha...I'm only crazy in the irrelevant part above my shoulders ha ha...


Only 25% ???

That is old news. Over the past decades, through the thin membrane of rationality, the process of reverse osmosis has gradually increased the % of of insanity in homo sapiens sapiens and we should reach 99% penetration long before climate warp has destroyed the planet.

Replying to

If you consider Trumpites, the U.S. has hit 50 per cent, minimum, since must be a good portion of Dem voters not sane either.


mmm by what I read, I guess we are all crazy ?

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