Month: February 2016

What Makes People Tick?

Tizzy and Bitty
People are always asking me why I write, where I get ideas for stories. It’s all about daydreams. While you are daydreaming about some good looking person you passed on the street, building your castle in the sky, or drooling over imaginary concoctions of Beef Wellington, I am wondering what drives a person to madness.

We don’t become crazy overnight. Of course there are some cases of chemical or endocrine imbalances, brought on by medication, trauma or sudden illness, which trigger aberrant behavior. But most disturbed individuals get there by degrees. What gets explained as a “fussy baby” grows into a “hyperactive child”, grows into “ADD”, “ADHD” or perhaps becomes diagnosed as  Aspberger’s Syndrome. We want to label or medicate it, thinking that temperamental children become unruly teenagers who may turn violent as adults. That’s the fear, so we sometimes step on the behavior hard, lest it get the better of us. This is the old school notion of discipline. The new school notion is more lenient, less punitive, more time-outs, fewer spankings.

I often wonder why two children, raised by the same parents in ostensibly the same environment, turn out completely differently. I used to babysit two children who exhibited “good child”, “bad child” patterns – and they sometimes swapped positions. I don’t think they ever talked about it or were conscious of the pattern, but it was very visible to me. Somebody always had to be the bad one.

Over time they became the saint and the sinner.  The saint would not only give you the shirt off his back but, should you admire any portable stick of furniture in his house, you’d find it packed in your car when you left.  The sinner battles alcoholism and wavers between model citizenry and vicious verbal assaults on even her oldest friends and staunchest allies. Which one is the most likely to go postal? I’d lay money on the saint.