Conversations with Cranks

I’ve had the good fortune of spending most of my life in the company of people most of us would describe as “insane,” but even among the insane there are gradations, from winningly eccentric (like yours truly, I hope) to touched in the head to crazed monomaniacs to the cleaver-wielding. Fortunately for me, my encounters with the insane have mostly been in that more pleasing half of the spectrum. Like most of us, though, I’ve had occasional encounters with kooks and cranks. Of all the vivid descriptions of such encounters I’ve read, most have been from the perspective of the sober, non-insane party. But now, thanks to James Howard Kunstler, I can read about just such a conversation from the perspective of the loon.

I was content to let it drop, but G then said. “You know, you’ve been predicting all these catastrophes for years now, but we’re still here, the cars are all rolling down Broadway out there, and life is going on. You’re beginning to sound like a crazy person.” It didn’t bother me especially that G thought my my ideas were outlandish so much as being comprehensively written off by an old friend as a crazy person, someone who… I dunno… rummages through dumpsters and talks to himself on the street without any sign of a cell phone in hand.

I’ll note, briefly, that I know many freegans who strike me as at least as sane as Kunstler, not to mention people who occasionally talk to themselves, usually about subjects other than peak oil.

I didn’t hasten to defend myself. G obviously needed to feel that the world would continue functioning like a well-oiled machine now that he was responsible for an operation that employed a hundred other people. We parted agreeing to acknowledge a difference in our view of things.

Fortunately this conversation didn’t end with Kunstler stabbing G in the heart with a broken glass bottle. Let’s all be grateful for this minor Christmas miracle.

Of course, Kunstler will get the last laugh when I start working as a stick-thin rickshaw-puller in the nightmarish dystopia that will follow a … gradual increase in oil prices.