I’m a nut. Ask anyone who knows me well and I’m sure they would agree. My close family despair of me, I’m sure.
‘Head in the clouds, and doesnt know his arse from his elbow, most of the time’ might be the assessment from my very smart and capable, feet firmly on the ground brother-in-law. And I’d agree, up to a point. I personally havent shat from my elbow, nor attempted to give anyone a forearm-jab using my bottom, so I’d disagree with the arse and elbow statement. But I AM a Nut, and I actively seek to keep my head in the clouds at all times.
I fit one of the agreed profiles for nut-jobs.
It all started when I was 9 years old, walking to school on a particularly unpleasantly dark and misty morning. My younger brother was with me. There is a main arterial road which runs from Stevenage town centre out to various housing estates, and it separated the housing estate we lived on from the school. We were obliged to wait for a retired pensioner, wearing a fluorescent yellow coat and wielding his characteristic round warning sign on a pole, to guide us safely across the road.
Our well-loved ‘Lollipop man’ must have been in his late 70’s, and had thick pebble lens glasses and was also somewhat deaf, and wore a large hearing aid. Eventually, with no sign of traffic, he stepped into the road and beckoned us across. My brother Malcolm, as usual, was one of the first to cross. He was a fairly hyper-active kid who seemed to get into all sorts of scrapes very easily. Little did he know that he was about to get into his very last scrape.
Without any warning, it suddenly became apparent that there WAS a car heading up the road from the Town Centre, and on hindsight I believe that he was travelling at some speed. All we knew of it was a sudden screeching of brakes, a couple of sickening thuds, and then a sudden eruption of screaming and general hysteria. I watched it all happen in horrified slow-mo.
And when I got shepherded across the road, it was my turn to join in the hysterical screaming, as I couldn’t see or find my brother. I did however spot a broken looking doll underneath the back of the car, and it seemed to be wearing my brother’s raincoat.
And that’s pretty much all I remember of that day. I apparently become uncontrollably hysterical for most of the day, and was confined to the school’s medical room and looked after by the school nurse all day. When my parents eventually came to pick me up, they looked pretty broken too. When we got home, they told me the bad news. My younger brother had gone to hospital in an ambulance, but had fallen asleep before they had got there. And he wasnt going to be coming home. In later years, I was to discover that he had sustained a fractured skull and a ruptured liver and spleen. It also transpired that at the inquest, the Lollipop man had accepted full responsibility for the accident, and died shortly after, a broken man. I have no idea what became of the car-driver, but if he’s still alive, i imagine he’s had just as hellish a life as I’ve had since that day. He’s probably just as nutty as me.
Psychological counselling was not around in those days. It was decided that I would be better off not attending the funeral. A session with the School’s educational psychologist was considered, but not taken up. I was left to ‘come to terms with it in my own time’. I became almost catatonic in my withdrawal, and remained a very quiet, socially awkward fucked-up person throughout my teenage years, and finally started to come out of myself when I went off to University.
However, by that point I had learned the value of drinking to excess, and had also discovered the value of smoking a lot of cannabis resin as a sleep-aid. So when I got to UEA, I continued with my heavy drinking and pot-smoking, and not surprisingly missed out on a lot of classwork and associated marks towards my degree course. And so I got kicked out of the University at the end of my first year.
But that was OK. By then, I knew that I was a hopeless basket-case , living in a more and more surreal world where lying to my parents about most aspects of my life had become the norm.
The way I felt back then, I would have been happy to have got smashed one night and never woken up again. And yet here I am, some 40 years and 2 nervous breakdowns later.
I’m still a nut of course. After my first nervous breakdown, I had a brief course of counselling and was encouraged to grieve for my dead brother. I tried hard, but the feelings were buried too deeply and although there were some tears as I asked my parents all sorts of questions, trying to reconnect with them, my brother and indeed my own humanity, ultimately my deep-seated PTSD would not start to be excised until I had just turned 50, when I had my second nervous breakdown as my 2nd marriage fell apart. I then lucked out with a private psychotherapist, who over the course of 8 weekly 2 hour sessions managed to carefully and skilfully guide me into revealing my many onion layers and the full truth of my situation finally became apparent.
And so on the 7th session, she said ‘I think you may be suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD’ and when I did some research about the subject, I realised she probably was right, the usual symptoms of the condition fitted me to a tee.
Sadly, my therapist was due to leave the practise and move across country. She arranged for one of her colleagues to take over. On our last session together, my therapist told me that her expertise was in Jungian psychology, and that she believed that Jung’s ideas may be helpful to me.
Oddly enough, her replacement came into our first session, declaring that she was NOT a Jungian and had no intention of going into Jungian methods. And so I gave her my 20 quid and told her where to stick it and walked out.
And that’s when my path to relative sanity began. I read lots of Jung’s books and did indeed find them very helpful.
When I had started my course with my Jungian therapist, I was regularly smoking some severely strong weed which on hindsight contributed to the final breakup of the marriage. But the damage was already done, and the feelings of paranoia and rage that was I going through just accelerated the process. In my wacked-out state, I had come to the conclusion that I was possibly the reborn Jesus Christ, and she hadn’t pooh-poohed the idea.
So you see, I at that point could easily have become a Certified nut. But the research did pay off, and I came to realise what a nutty notion that was. About this this time, I also started reading HH the Dalai Lama’s books. And came to realise that everyone is Jesus Christ reborn. It just depends on you working at being the best human you can be, to become more like Jesus.
Roy Harper has a great line in one of his songs, ‘Twelve hours of sunset’ which has always stayed with me:
I used to think I wasn’t mad
But now I know its all I had
Can hope be lost? Or only seeming
These daze, I am content to be a crazy nut. Its the source of a lot of my creativity. Some of my ideas are well and truly out there. Others seem to be feasible and worth pursuing. My life’s work these days is to try and figure out which ideas are actually quite wacky and which are not.
And then there are those ideas which come to me, which are nuttier than a nut-loaf with an extra helping of nuts, but which my inner voice tells me are pure gold.
Such as this one, which bubbled up out of nowhere fairly recently.
We are beginning to see an increase in people with enhanced mental abilities, such as telepathy, psychokinesis, far-viewing, astral travelling and the like.
We are also aware that various nuts resemble parts of the human body, especially various organs. And the alternative-health folks would have you believe that these nuts are somehow beneficial to those organs.
So my question is: If a walnut looks like a brain, should I eat lots of them to increase my brain-power?
And if my brain-power IS increased, does that not mean that my brain IS ITSELF a nut as well.
Cos if so, I can foresee a day when we’ll need to crack our heads open and let our nuts grow out in the wild.