Mad as a Hatter

Some say that to survive the presidency, you need to be as mad as a hatter.

Recently, President Donald Trump finally gave the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a nickname, “Crazy Nancy.” However, it is not a unique one as she will have to share the moniker with “Crazy Bernie” Sanders. But Crazy Nancy shot back, saying Trump had a temper tantrum and she worried about his well-being.

mad as a hatterI’m pretty sure she wasn’t expressing concern about the number of cheeseburgers he consumes. She was referring to his mental health.

Should we be worried about the President’s mental well-being? Many say that Trump is as mad as a hatter while others (and when I say others I mean Trump) believe that he is an “extremely stable genius.”

One reason people wonder if Trump is deranged is because of things he has said including:

Vaccines cause autism.

Wind turbines cause cancer.

Exercise uses up your body’s finite energy, and

He and the North Korean madman, Kim Jung Un, fell in love.

Given these strange beliefs, it is no wonder that many people think he is nuttier than a fruitcake. Some say he may be the craziest world leader in history. But I don’t think that’s true. There have been some other real crazies in the past.

One of the most insane rulers was Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled Babylon from 605BC to 562BC. He suffered from boanthropy, which is a psychological disorder in which a person thinks that he is a cow (it’s really a thing). He is reported to have lived as a bovine, eating grass for seven years. Fortunately he was cured before he was turned into hamburger meat. No world leader today believes that he is a cow, although many people are of the opinion that a few are clearly a horse’s ass.

Ancient Rome produced its share of insane rulers including Caligula. The Emperor Caligula; thought he was a god, married his sister, slept with the wives of other men (although no porn stars or Playboy models) and planned to make his horse a senator. He also once threw some of the audience into the arena to be eaten by wild animals because they had run out of prisoners and he was bored and maybe he thought the lions were still hungry. Near the end of his reign he is reported to have gone to war with the sea, not by ignoring climate change, but by lining up his army on the beach and ordering it to engage the sea in battle. Take that Neptune.

The Emperor Nero was another Roman nut job. He killed more relatives than Trump’s love interest, Little Rocket Man. He had his mom killed, married his step-sister, whom he also killed, and allegedly kicked his pregnant second wife to death. And we have all heard the story of him playing his lyre while Rome burned.

It wasn’t just the Romans who had rulers that were one brick short of a full load. Charles VI, aka Charles the Mad, who reigned over France in the late 14th and early 15th Century, was as mad as a March hare. There were periods where he could not remember his name and forgot that he was the King of France. And sometimes he ran wildly though the castle believing he was being chased by nameless assailants. If that’s not enough, for one five month period he wouldn’t bathe or change his clothes. He also suffered from glass delusion which is a psychiatric disorder that causes people to believe that they are made of glass and therefore likely to shatter like a mirror. He never did break but France, under his leadership, suffered more than seven years of bad luck anyway.

It would be difficult to take the cuckoo prize away from Charles the Mad but King Christian VII, the late 18th/early 19th Century ruler of Denmark, came close. This unhinged ruler would sometimes toss food at his dinner guests, slap people for no apparent reason and leapfrog over visiting dignitaries as they bowed. But the biggest issue that the court physicians had with him (and probably the Queen too) was his need to constantly pleasure himself which, beside the risk of him going blind, made it hard for him to fulfill his royal duties. Had this ruler gone mad? I’m afraid he was entirely bonkers. But to let you in on a secret, all the best people were loony back then. Nevertheless, he was eventually talked into handing over power to one of his physicians who took care of the country…. and the queen.

Another crazy king, was King George III who is well known in England as the “mad king who lost America.” King George, suffered from a mental illness called acute mania. He also exhibited signs of a mental disease called logorrhea. This is a communication disorder that causes extreme wordiness and repetitiveness which can lead to incoherent babbling (very similar to what men hear from their wives when trying to watch a football game). When he was ill his sentences could run as long as 400 words and contain as many as eight verbs. Thank God Twitter has a 280 word limit. During his periods of ceaseless loquacity, the king would talk until foam ran out of his mouth, much like Rush Limbaugh today.

So, although President Trump may be a few cards short of a full deck and we probably should worry about his mental well-being, there have been world leaders throughout history that were far more deranged than him. And to paraphrase the Cheshire Cat, “The presidency is a position like no position on Earth, one filled with wonder and danger. Some say to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter.”

Hopefully, in a year and a half we can get off this crazy train. Let’s hope we don’t go down the same rabbit hole in 2020.

JC Wade
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