A few weeks ago my neighbor decided to cut down about 20 established trees in his front and back yard. Established trees. Red Oaks, Live Oaks, Pines, a gorgeous Magnolia, etc. I'm assuming some of these trees were here 50-75 years ago. His entire plot of land was covered in one huge canopy of shade. A rare sight in the concrete jungle we call Arlington, Texas. My wife, a landscape architect, noticed the spray painted red x's on the trees. Oblivious to these things, I noticed the red x’s once the industrial sized wood chipper began to purr. This dumb bastard decided to cut down all but two trees on his land. Ironically the two trees he left are in decline.
I tried for days to understand the rationalization for such moronic behavior. Did he not want to deal with the leaves? Did he want to have a grass yard again? I played out every possible reason for leveling huge, gorgeous trees. I tried to justify his decision. I talked with my wife about it. I talked with my neighbors about it.
Truth is, he's effing crazy. Or stupid. Whatever. Case in point, he kept two trees that are dying and leveled perfectly healthy trees. That's crazy. I don't give a s#*t what his reasoning was. Crazy. It's his land and he can do whatever he wants… within reason of course… but, the moment he decided to hire a crew to massacre those trees is the very moment he became crazy in my book. Crazy is crazy… no matter how we try to call it something else or new age it up… mofo is cray cray.
You know… we all have crazy in us and we all have crazy around us. I've personally completed three lifetimes of crazy s#*t. I get it. Don't worry… I'm not going to put grapefruit in a pillowcase and visit the a-hole next door. The trees are gone… I can't, he can't, and you can't bring them back. But, his stupidity can give us all a reason to pause and think critically about crazy. Yuup, a silver lining of sorts.
Let's talk about crazy and how to identify in our lives. Personally, I believe life is a game of avoiding crazy at all costs. But avoiding crazy is easier said than done. Once you identity crazy… what's your next move? Here's my do's and don'ts with regards to crazy. Note to self: Crazy is a shape shifter so you might have to use multiple moves.
One of my all-time f
avorite moves. The Shun. Act as if crazy never happened. Look the other way. Never engage crazy. If crazy wants attention, look the other way. If crazy emails you, delete. If crazy calls you, never answer or hang up. For every action that crazy makes, don't respond in any way. Shun crazy.
Out Crazy Crazy
Admittedly, this is difficult move. Occasionally, crazy can have a conscious and/or even know what they are doing. In those instances you might want to consider being more irrational than crazy. If crazy acts weird, you act weirder. If crazy cusses, you out cuss them. If crazy is inappropriate, you Andrew Dice K them. If crazy is drinking, you get hammered. At the end of the day, you want crazy to think you are crazy. You know that you've won when crazy won't return your calls or emails, etc.
The Pity Party
Everyone has a sob story. Guilt is albatross we all carry around with us. The goal with this move is to get crazy to feel sorry for you. So, you might have to invent some real serious somber s#*t. Use your imagination… combine the last seven pitiful stories that you've heard and make them your story. I know, I know… doesn't seem right… I get it. Remember the mission. We're trying to rid ourselves of crazy. Even crazy doesn’t want to be around pitiful.
When dealing with crazy, here are a few nevers…
Never shout at crazy. Crazy is crazy for a reason. And, folks around you won't be able to discern normal from crazy. In some ways, if you yell at crazy you are now on the same level as them. Pat em on the head but never yell at them. Never.
Never try to outwit crazy. Key word… outwit. And wit assumes crazy has some. Which, of course, crazy does not. Don't over think it. Crazy is crazy… not smart. Crazy like a fox… horses#*t.
Never bully crazy. Truth is… never bully period. That is especially true when it comes to crazy. Crazy doesn’t respond to violence because crazy doesn’t have a rational mind. Crazy doesn't connect the dots or get subtly. Walk away.
When “cray cray” shows up at your doorstep… have a plan. When you have to manage crazy… find a way to make them less crazy or, better yet, find a way to rid yourself of crazy.
Funny… this all started with crazy's decision to level a bunch of innocent trees. That's crazy.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.