Monday, October 04, 2004
Chapter 1 - October 4, 2004
A high school friend of mine named Gary Palmer was going through a troubling time with mental health in the 1960's. More and more he had to spend time in one facility or another, including the one that nobody wanted - the state hospital. During one of his visits, he became fascinated with the idea of humor. He told me a story about some of the inmates that he had known - particularly a patient who was obsessed with leprechauns. This began to get the attention of the keepers, who lectured him about the nonexistence of these fantasy figures. One day it went too far, so a psychiatrist got the patient in the day room. "I'll be taking you to Ireland," the patient was told. In fact, the patient was led to the garden out back, where he and the psychiatrist walked around the trees and bushes. "See, no leprechauns." At the end, the patient thanked the psychiatrist and went back to solving puzzles. Another patient whispered to him: "That doctor thinks you're crazy." "He thinks I'm crazy? All I did was talk about some leprechauns and I got a free trip to Ireland."