I’m drawn to weird—weird things, weird people, weird situations, etc. Some people (let’s call them normal folks) steer clear of it. Me, I’m fascinated and I want to learn more, know why it’s weird and what made it weird. So what do I mean by weird? Well, I have a couple of examples.
First, there’s Marilyn Hartman. She’s the serial stowaway from the Bay Area who has been trying to sneak onto planes around the country and in a number of cases, she’s managed it. What has me hooked on this continuing story—she’s done this over a dozen times at last count—is her reasoning. Her first claim was she wanted to go to Hawaii to die because she has cancer…but it turns out she doesn’t. Other reasons have followed which have been less cogent, such as she’s trying to shine a light on the mental health issues in America. Psychologists have evaluated her and her statements have changed so often that I feel she’s telling them whatever she thinks they want to hear. When she’s interviewed on TV, there’s a sparkle in her eye that makes me think she’s yanking everyone’s chain. So why is she doing it? God knows, but boy, would I love to interview her. There’s a reason behind this—and I’m not sure even she knows—but I’d love to find out.
Second, there’s Malachi Love-Robinson. He’s the teenager who’s been arrested for practicing medicine without a license in Florida. What has me fascinated about this guy isn’t the crime itself but his persona (for the want of a better word). He’s very cool and controlled about wanting everyone to know he’s a qualified medical professional. Instead of cowering from the media, he’s taken control of it with press conferences and making himself available for interviews. What has me following the case is I can’t make out if this guy is a hustler or simply deluded. There’s something about him that feels like it’s a performance which doesn’t clarify the situation either way. When he talks about a team of lawyers working on his case, I kind of think to myself, really? I’m not sure lawyers would let you talk to the press this freely. Then again, this kid wasn’t operating out of the back of a pickup. He had a full on doctor’s office, so who knows?
I don’t bear either of these people any ill will and can’t condemn them. I’m viewing both of these cases from afar without all the facts and it would be wrong of me to pass judgment. Courts and juries will decide these situations. For me, I just want to know the truth.
The reason I like weird is because it inspires my fiction. The mundane and the ordinary don’t do it for me. I’ll take the improbable any day, and that is always at the weird end of the spectrum. It always throws up my two favorite questions—what-if and why!