Once upon a time, we thought this kind of thing was confined to the nutcases you met in regular life. You think you know someone. You hang out, exchange emails. Make a few jokes. Maybe you work with them. Then, one day, out of the blue, you discover they are a firm believer in the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Or know the new Messiah. Even better, they know they are the new Messiah.
I lived in Jerusalem for almost 9 years. Big surprise, you meet a lot of people who are sure they are Jesus Christ come back to finish his work on Earth. One of them worked at the local pizza joint and seemed normal, until in the middle of a casual conversation, he would drop a bomb about his mission. And there you were, transported to wacko central. But he made pretty good pizza.
I had a casual friend who was a piano player. He sang and played at fancy hotel bars, like the Hilton Hotel. He was an American, so it was inevitable we would meet. We struck up a little chatty relationship. One night, he called and invited me over. He had something important to tell me.
Important? Our relationship consisted of reminiscing about life in the U.S. in the 1960s — and I’d done his horoscope. I was (coincidentally) the astrology columnist and managing editor of a short-lived English-language weekly. Please, let’s not discuss astrology or my psychic abilities (or lack thereof). You don’t want to know and I don’t want to tell you.
Having nothing better to do at the time, I walked over to his house (just around the corner) and we got to talking. Suddenly, I knew. He was going to tell me:
- He was an alien and had come from another planet or galaxy.
- He was Jesus Christ.
It was the latter. Jesus again. I should have known. We were, after all, in Jerusalem. He wanted me, because of my brilliant psychic abilities, to be his version of Paul and spread his word. I worked hard to tell him his timing was off, but I would advise him when the right moment came. Then I fled into the night and home. He was one of several people who convinced me there was no future for me in the psychically predictive arts.
Now, we have an entire party — those red people — who are as fruit-loopy as anyone I’ve met in my travels through the years. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or maybe do both at the same time, but I am certain of one thing.
I need a good, sturdy, tinfoil hat.
Then there was the guy I worked with at one or another of the many high-tech companies at which I was employed who one day informed me he was quitting his job and moving to an underground bunker. In anticipation of the upcoming apocalypse. Not zombies. Regular. I hadn’t even done his horoscope. It turns out he may have been more right than I understood at the time.
These days, it’s not the weird people you bump into at work or at the grocery or pizza joint. It’s your own supposed government. My government and yours too.
The thing about the people who believe in bizarre cabals, know they came here on an alien spacecraft, or will be leaving on one shortly? You can’t argue with them. These aren’t people with whom you can have a conversation. Forget sensible. ANY kind of conversation. They do not converse. They rant. They rave. And worst of all? They predict the future — and you are part of it.
They believe what they believe. Absolutely. Don’t bother them with facts. Their minds are made up. And since they probably think I am one of their many, many, many enemies? Pass the aluminum foil. I need a new hat.