I’ve come to the conclusion that mental illness is genetic. Last Friday, I went to my stepbrother’s apartment in Long Island City. He has a balcony, and when I went outside onto the balcony, I started to pretend that I was Adolf Hitler. My father showed up about a half hour later, and when he went onto the balcony, he pretended to be the Pope.
Now here’s the thing. When I started acting like Hitler, I wasn’t thinking, “Hey, let me be like Dad! I’ve seen him do stuff like this before, and it was really funny!” Likewise, he wasn’t imitating me. But when I stepped out onto the balcony, I “saw” thousands of people that I needed to address. So did my father. Whether we were “at” a Hitler youth rally, or “at” the Vatican is not important. What’s important is that when 99% of the people of this world step onto a balcony, it doesn’t occur to them to start portraying historical figures. But my father and I both had the urge to do this. Interesting.
April 2, 2005