Sanity is overrated.

How many of you have ever lost your mind?

No.

I mean lost your freakin’ mind and done something truly crazy. Inexplicable. Indefensible. Prosecutable…

Yeah, there are a few of you. But would you admit it? What’s at stake if you do? Friends? Work? Status?

It’s an odd time, isn’t it? We’re all hunkered down, keeping a low profile, saying, “Sir, yes, SIR!”, and working a hundred hours a week so the next time the axe swings we’re not on the trimmed limb. But it ain’t natural.

Can’t tell you how sick I am of seeing all these jacked up SUVs with their, “I (heart) FREEDOM” stickers wrapping the tailgates like some kind of vinyl cast. These are the last people who really want freedom to ring. Why?

Because I know what freedom really means: it’s the complete absence of inhibition, the emancipation of impulse. The abolishment of logic, ration, and control to take a swan dive into chaos and drown in a sea of passionate indulgence.

It’s short-sighted, sure. Unless you get away with it. And then every time, you toe the line you crossed before, jumping farther from the cliff to see where the sharp rocks are, damn near hoping the next time you find them.

Acrophobia. I have it. The fear of heights. And I can tell you 100% that my case is not the fear of death. When I’m inches away from a fatal drop, the urge to fling myself over is so powerful I can only just stop myself sometimes.
What? Do I want to die? Are things so bad?

Hell no.

Unless you have it, it’s hard to explain, but it’s rooted in a powerful desire to fly. To leap from height, spread wings and soar, it’s so basic an urge in me that the cliff beckons me to leap from it. I know I can’t fly. The idea of flying unaided is folly. Stupid. The stuff you read about when some dope takes too much PCP. We mock those dumb bastards who self-destruct so spectacularly, right?

But that’s reason talking. It’s the nanny within that wants to keep us safe. The one that says, “wear a helmet, it’s dangerous out there.” Doesn’t matter the nanny is dead-solid right. For those few seconds of weightless free fall, the imagination of flight…that singular expectation of pure experience lures me to the edge, then taunts me for cowardice when I shrink back. Like I said, if you don’t have it, it’s hard to explain.

Mine is not the kind to grow old, yet I have so far outlived my life-expectancy by eleven years due to the calm, persistent, rational voice within. It’s persuasive. Annoyingly so, at times, such that I want to spray paint it and shave its head while it sleeps.

For me, life is the accumulation of experience. Is it insanity to risk one’s life for the attainment of these experiences? The more elusive, the more valuable, perhaps. This obviously roots in some Neanderthal kind of bravado that borders on stupidity demanding ridicule. Some defect at the base level which will prevent the DNA from thriving or living long enough to reproduce…

That isn’t it at all.

It’s a calculation. An assessment. In the same methodical fashion one would inspect, appraise, and buy a house, I look at something that might take my life and I find value. Some people dive out of airplanes. Some charm snakes. I… Heh, you’ll just have to hang out with me sometime.

In these ways, I feel free. There is nothing which can predict the outcome. Incalculable. The ability NOT to see the future…doesn’t that hold some value?

It’s the whole reason someone reads a book to the end, is it not? Because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you need to find out…

Most people understand this. But there are hugely varying levels on which people are willing to act upon it. For those who just go for it unabashedly… Is it madness? Or does it boil down to some kind of rational cause and effect?

Don’t answer that. That’s the whole problem. Think think think think, no feeling. The person who takes his work break to sit alone on the lawn in the sun. Crazy. Too loosely wrapped, we don’t do that here. Our forefathers killed every predator, tamed every threat so we could live in total security. One must be divorced from nature…To sit out in the sun and air alone like that, so odd…so bizarre. We have air conditioning, but he just sits out there, so weird, so strange, he must be a serial killer.

Nope.

It’s fun to imagine playing the role, but murder doesn’t suit me. I’m not a killer. That holds no thrill at all. There is nothing in the harming of man or animal. In fact, I think every creature should enjoy a natural life: the cow should be allowed to graze on open pasture before it’s slaughtered, the chicken should be able to peck and scratch in the sun, the hog should be able to dig and root and wallow to experience its full “pigness” before delighting us with its bacon. By denying the food a decent life, we internalize the grief and make it our own.

And now… We shuttle ourselves to work in our four wheeled cages, hating the damnable bastards who cut us off and dare to be in our way, filling the cabin with the olfactory chemicals of stress. The social being implodes and becomes one who despises contact, one who rails against the proximity…while simultaneously feeling isolated and alone.

To me, that is insanity.

I will feel until I die. That is my purpose in life. Not that this idea belongs to me. Millions, billions, maybe, who’ve passed before might have made that same claim. There is nothing original in my statements tonight. Except to mark my stance in the over-arching question, “What does it mean to be alive?”

In my opinion, being alive means risking security, happiness, life (at times), to experience the full spectrum of human existence. To appreciate the less fortunate. To hold a greater understanding beyond our own personal existence… To respect life, human or otherwise. To be grateful for life, however transitory… This is insanity?

Then I am a f****** nutter.

-Allen Farnham

3 thoughts on “Sanity is overrated.

  1. Insanity? No
    Nutjob? No way

    In general, being a thrill-seeker is just a part of who someone is. Hard-wired. A free spirit. Always looking for the next best thrill. A future looked upon in seconds instead of days, weeks, months or years. Knowing that people come and go and thrill-seekers thrive on the idea. Independent. They believe that freedom travels with them, alone, with nothing and no one else in the way of the journey – where they are never quite sure where it leads, but must continue on. Brave as noble kings. Focused. If someone is in their path – prepare for the painful lick of their sword.

    Thrill-seekers rightfully demand they not be
    caged. They demand to be set free. And graze wherever they wish. The slaughtering house means confinement in any and all things. Certain death. Searching through the grassland where greener pastures always lay ahead. The “best” is highly improbable, but they try their whole lives to be it and obtain it. They probably get closer than the rest of us. Enviable.

    Never afraid to try something new, but the new gets old quick. Yearning to be free and [ironically] detached. Dedicated lovers of nature by trade – the playground. Lovers and unrelenting fighters for their own freedom – the license-plate donning SUV’s in a different context. Will go to any length to obtain their current objectives and succeed in their goal(s). Risking life and limb.

    They are admirable in their own rite. Impulsive. Wild and outrageously entertaining. Never a restful thought. Never a dull moment. Never truly satisfied, but are somehow able to thrive in it. A lust for something greater than its predecessor. A thirst that can never be wholly quenched. A cease in danger, solitude, change and suspense is the only way they can truly die.

    The thrill lies in self-fulfillment. Happiness derived from fooling the odds.

    No, no… it’s not insanity.

    It’s a never-ending means to an end.

    1. Based on your comment, it’s clear to us you should be our client instead of old Farnham. Should he befall any unfortunate “accidents”, we’d be more than happy to offer you his contract.

      Of course, if you can deliver an ending to his current book in 30,000 words or less, that could be as soon as tomorrow, once we have our alibis worked out.

  2. Ha! I am not nearly as talented a writer as Mr. Farnham. He writes with more conviction, passion and consistency. I only wish I had the focus and drive to write a book. That takes some serious dedication. I can only write short stories. He writes whole books. It’s like asking a 20-yard dash sprinter to compete in the Boston marathon. =p

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