Apparently, the Russians are coming for me
"Crazy" is a word that gets tossed around pretty cavalierly, to the point where we use it to describe someone who has merely had a momentary spell of craziness. For example, someone who is otherwise completely medically sane may make an outrageous claim such as, "St. Louis is the greatest state in America!". A common response might involve accusing that person of being crazy. Of course, they're not really crazy; they've just SAID something crazy. It doesn't make them nuts.
The unfortunate drawback to this commoditization of the word "Crazy" is that when it actually applies, people believe you're just giving someone a hard time. I bring this up because of an encounter that I had with a gentleman over my lunchhour one day this week who actually was crazy. As in, medically, clinically insane. And when I told people about this when I got back to the office, they mistook "Crazy" for crazy -- because I throw around the phrase "crazy guy" like the Brothers Manning throw the pigskin.
This, of course, significantly reduced the impact of said story, which is a damn shame because its amazing. After the jump -- I shall introduce you to the dude who tried to save my life from, ahem, Russian spies. No, seriously, Russian spies.
My lunchhour was the only time I had open to go get my hair cut before my big plans on Thursday night, so I headed to the salon on Tuesday around noon. When I arrived, nothing seemed amiss, other than the fact that my usual stylist now had a piercing in her face. Not in her nose. Her face. Ouch. Not to get off topic here, but to have a piercing in your cheek has got to be a new definition of pain, doesn't it?
Anyway, after I instructed her on what I wanted done to my hair, we started chatting about the usual hairstylist/customer things: the weather, cool stuff I've done lately, cool stuff I'm about to do; you know, the usual. In the background, I hear the words "concentration camp" and "Hitler" in the same sentence, which is something you don't often hear at a hair salon. Naturally, I shut up and listened in. The guy was telling his stylist that history books lie about the realities of concentration camps, and that if she knew the truth, she would be a different person. Suddenly things were getting interesting, and by "interesting" I mean "weird".
I glanced into the mirror and made a face at my stylist, the one with the piercing in her cheek, who responded with a non-verbal look that was so expressive it almost made me laugh out loud. I knew exactly what she meant, even before she leaned over to whisper about the Crazy Guy.
Here's the thing. When she said "Crazy", I figured he was crazy, not "Crazy". As I continued to listen to him, I quickly discerned that the dude was, in fact, "Crazy", as in, he was a nutjob.
Keep in mind, if I were writing this guy as a character in a book and assigned him this dialogue, no one would believe it. You can't make this stuff up. That's how crazy it is, so keep that in mind. Distilled down, here's the essence of his story:
The Russians have infiltrated our government and our cities, waiting for the signal to attack. When they do so, they will put us all in Concentration Camps, and only Christians who have taken the Lord Jesus as their Savior will be saved. Everyone else will be, and I quote, in "a lot of trouble".
How does he know this? Because he has been chosen by God to receive a special channel on his Cox Digital Cable box that the Russians are secretly using to communicate with one another. This channel, called PT109, is located in between the frequencies for Discovery Health and 62O, the local sub-channel for WOWT. It is normally only visible to those who have modified their cable boxes to receive it using special codes from the KGB, but God has chosen him to receive it on his cable box so that he can warn the world of its impending doom.
Remember, I'm not making any of this up. Ahem.
God has asked him to broadcast what he knows to the world, but since the mainstream media doesn't believe him, they won't give him access to the airwaves which they control. This is why he operates a ham radio station, hijacking and overpowering the signal of local stations to get his message out. Additionally, God gave him a list of people he has been instructed to contact personally to save from the horrible death sure to befall them once the Russians execute their plan. His calls it his Ark of Salvation.
The trouble is, the United Nations knows about him receiving the decoded Russian signal over his cable box, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has the U.N. running around-the-clock surveillance everywhere he goes to monitor his evangelizing. Again, I quote, "They're watching our conversation right now, listening in even! I have to be careful who I choose to bless with the truth, because some people are programmed to subconsciously transmit information to the Russians while they sleep!"
The United Nations, acting on Putin's request, flies planes around his house several times a day, just high enough to not arouse suspicion among his neighbors, just low enough to take high-resolution photos of his every move. They usually perform the fly-bys at night, but not always.
At this point, after listening to all of these ramblings, I was overcome with extraordinary feelings of misunderstanding. Russians? A special digital cable channel? The United Nations? Vladimir Putin? Spy planes? What the hell is going on here?
We both were done with our haircuts at roughly the same time, and I eagerly stood in line at the cashier behind him because I had to get a glimpse of this guy up close. The first thing I noticed was that his haircut was solid; his stylist had done a boffo job making him look like an average, ordinary handsome man, which is no easy task when the guy believes he's on a mission from God to save the world from Russian spies. The second thing I noticed was that he had a look of extreme conviction in his eyes when he said these crazy things -- he REALLY believed everything he said. Including this next sentence, spoken to the stylist in reply to her thanking him for his business and telling him she'd see him next time:
"Oh, I probably won't be back. I was sent to you by the Lord to save you from the Russians, and since you won't accept my help, I unfortunately have to move on to the next person on my Salvation List. The Russians are probably hot on my tail as I speak. Never fear, for you can listen to my radio broadcast this weekend for instructions on how to modify your Digital Cable Box to receive the secret Russian signals so that you can save yourself! God Bless you, and thanks for the haircut!"
No longer able to stand in silence while this ridiculousness occurred around me, I said something to him before he could leave. "You, sir, have made my day. God Bless YOU!"
He understood this to mean that I was thanking him for saving me, when in reality I was thanking him for the laugh of a century that was about to happen as soon as he left. Shaking my hand, he looked me straight in the eyes with the sort of steely glare that pierces walls, and told me, "Yes, I know, for the prophecy told me you would be here!"
And then, still grasping my hand in a firm handshake, he pulled me in to whisper in my ear. "Beware of the Russians, for they knew about you! They are following you, spying on your house, your work, EVERYWHERE! May God be with you, for you will need His assistance when the Russians come for you!"
And with that, he turned around and walked out the door, opening the unlocked door to his ordinary-looking Chevrolet before driving away. I looked at the stylist and said, "What in the world was that all about?"
"Oh, that guy is crazy, don't mind him."
I guess we shouldn't throw the word around so cavalierly, because in this case the dude actually WAS crazy. But people thought I was just saying that to be saying it, when clearly, crazy is not even a strong enough word to describe what's going on there.
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