I remember when.  I remember I remember when I lost my mind.  Gnarls Barkley’s words, not mine.

The word “crazy” gets thrown around a lot these days, and it’s one of those words that carries a whole litany of potential meanings.  It crossed my mind tonight that, if I were a documentary filmmaker, I’d want to make one about being “crazy.”

First, I’d start with a black screen, and Gnarls’ four snare hits would start us off.

POP, POP, POP, POP…

[reversed white on black text quickly appears]

Crazy1: To be insane.”

Even that one has a long list of sub meanings.  It’s generally not a very desirable outcome, whether for the person becoming it or anyone around them.  I don’t think I’d spend much of my movie on that one.

[more reversed text]

Crazy2: To act or carry one’s self in a manner dissimilar to what most people would consider ‘normal’.”

Ah, now here’s the fun one.  I could spend all kinds of time with quirky, fringe-dwelling oddballs, dissecting what it is that makes them who they are.  Of course, after some time and research, I’d probably find out that they aren’t so strange after all.  There’s just something that makes them, well…them.

And what would be even cooler is the fact that there’s probably a whole subgroup of people just like them.  Freaks are only freaks until they find other freaks like them.  Then, they become a “tribe.”  Tribes have their own culture.  Their own language.  Their own unwritten laws of (sometimes) defining characteristics and general governance that defines them and sets them apart.  And I find them unbelievably fascinating.  In fact, here’s one right now — people who freak out over fruit.

Next, and perhaps my favorite:

Crazy3: Somebody who is willing to take on risks that most people are not.”

“Girl, you craz-ay.”  These are the ones who push past fears, ignore the “what-could-go-wrong’s,” and just move on things.  They zipline, bungee jump, skydive, and full-body tattoo their way past the status quo and do things that most folk would consider “unbelievable.”  Which brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

That would find its way into my movie somewhere.

But, that’s the point.  Most people are fine living their lives without much “crazy” in their lives.  There are those of us who would reach Crazy1if we didn’t get the chance to pursue Crazy3.

I’m not judging those who don’t want to pursue #3.  It’s scary to risk.  And some don’t even have the desire, let alone the curiosity or motivation to do things that most people won’t do.

But those people rarely make history.  And making history doesn’t necessarily mean you have to or want to be remembered.  However, it usually means you want to do something memorable.  And that takes courage.

My favorite definition of courage used to go something like this:

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s the willingness to act in the face of that fear.”

And maybe I’d add to it:

“…in the face of that fear, with a little dash of crazy thrown in the mix.”