you so crazy

(JOHN is lying on a couch at the PSYCHIATRIST's office)

PSYCH: Tell me when you first began to notice the problem.
JOHN: It was last winter. I remember thinking that I'd like to see "Rushmore", so I drove down to the multiplex.
PSYCH: And what happened there?
JOHN: I bought a ticket, and I sat down in the theater. I was eating my Milk Duds, not really paying attention...eventually the lights dimmed, and the previews played, and then the movie came on...but it wasn't "Rushmore". It was "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer".
PSYCH: What did you do?
JOHN: Well, that's the thing. I just sat there.
PSYCH: You didn't get up and leave the theater?
JOHN: No. I had the urge to leave, but I didn't. I watched the entire thing.
PSYCH: Did you stay because it was good, or...
JOHN: No, it was pretty bad. But I sat there and watched it.
PSYCH: Mm. What happened next?
JOHN: I started to become...I don't know. Mediocre. My relationship with my girlfriend fell apart. She dumped me. I filled the emotional void in my life by watching E! Celebrity Profiles, and the worst part is, it felt the same as when I was with her. I lost the will to go out to record stores. I got into the habit of just ordering through Columbia House. First eight stamps I saw, I'd buy those eight CDs. My music collection became pretty toxic. I got evicted from my apartment. I don't blame the landlord for kicking me out. The things that came out of my stereo...(shudders) Yikes. After I moved into a new place, I nearly went broke because I kept buying infomercial products. It got to the point where I was having every other paycheck direct-deposited to the Juicemaster.
PSYCH: How did you feel during all of this?
JOHN: I knew it was all wrong. Sort of. Somewhere inside me, I first, I did. But the feeling gradually went away...I didn't really care. There didn't seem to be any point in resisting. I just went for the first thing I saw. Whatever was easiest. I only came here because I had a moment of clarity last night...I got drunk on warm Zima, and I was looking around the bar, and everyone around me, everyone I could see, they all had drinks with those little umbrellas in, green, orange...and I felt like the umbrellas were going to swallow me. I was going to be slowly digested over the course of seventy years in a faux-tropic hell. I knew I had to stop.
PSYCH: John, I think I know what your problem is.
JOHN: You do?
PSYCH: Let me explain. We live in an accelerated age. Our psyches were designed to handle stimulus at about the level of media that was available in, say, 1954. The human subconscious wasn't intended to process this much information. Sometimes it breaks down.
JOHN: So I'm having a nervous breakdown?
PSYCH: No. The opposite, in fact. Freud diagrams the psyche as consisting of three elements: the id, the ego, and the superego.
JOHN: But wasn't Freud crazy or something?
PSYCH: Oh, no. As it turns out, he was right about absolutely everything. It's kind of scary. John, you are one of those people I was talking about. Your problem is that you are pure ego. You don't have a dark, primal side nor do you have a noble sense of social good. They've both been destroyed by the total homogenizing of modern culture. Personality is formed by conflict between the ego and its two extremes, the id and the superego. You, however, don't have any inner conflict because you have no extremes, and hence you have no real personality.
JOHN: Is there some sort of medication that I can take?
PSYCH: No, but there is an experimental treatment that I'm developing. Are you willing to give it a try?
JOHN: I woke up this morning surrounded by a pool of vomit and angel statues. I'll do anything.
PSYCH: Alright. Come with me.

(the PSYCHIATRIST rises and leads JOHN to the side of the stage)

PSYCH: This process is designed to artificially transplant an id and a superego to people who haven't got any. Now, you said you like movies, so perhaps you'll like our Celebrity Package. Get ready for the rough and tumble life with one of the second-tier members of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack as your superego...Peter Lawford!

(PETER LAWFORD shuffles out onstage)

LAWFORD: (waves) Hey.
PSYCH: Show him what you can do, Peter!
LAWFORD: Is there a boat around? If so, we should rob it or something. And, uh, make a big score.
PSYCH: But that's not'll be the talk of the town with Broadway sensation Cab Calloway as your id!


CAB: A-hi-dee hi-dee hi!
PSYCH: (to JOHN) Look at those two go to work!
CAB: Don't mind if I do-doo-doodley-do!
LAWFORD: Stop poking me.
CAB: Shee-bop-a-wow!
PSYCH: Well, John? What do you think?
JOHN: I'd, uh...well, I don't know if they're right for me.
LAWFORD: (to CAB) Look, if you don't knock it off...I'll, uh, tell Dean.
PSYCH: Alright, you two. Back in storage.
CAB: Ah, dibbity-darn it.


JOHN: If it's all the same to you, I'll take the first pair of non-celebrities you've got. I don't really trust my own process of selection right now.
PSYCH: I understand.
JOHN: Are there any potential drawbacks to this experiment? Side effects?
PSYCH: Well, there's dizziness, nausea, vomiting...between you and me, we're required to mention those three by the government. If you notice, every single treatment everywhere includes those as potential side effects. The military-industrial complex wants you to think you're sick because of the treatment and not the space radiation experiments they're conducting.
JOHN: Wow.
PSYCH: The only actual drawback to this procedure is that you may never get your own superego and id back. You'll never be completely yourself. (pauses) Let's see...package 64, how about that one?
JOHN: Sounds fine.
PSYCH: (calls offstage) 64!

(the ID and the SUPEREGO enter)

PSYCH: This is John. John, this is your new superego...
PSYCH: And your new id.
ID: Boom.
JOHN: Hi there.
PSYCH: Now if you can just sign these papers, we'll have you on your way.
JOHN: On the line?
PSYCH: Anywhere within a few inches of it. We don't discriminate based on precision.
JOHN: (signs) That's good to know.
PSYCH: There you go. Good luck with your new psyche, John. Come back and let us know how it's going.
SUPEREGO: You should visit her again. It's good to be polite.
JOHN: Okay, I will.
SUPEREGO: Make the appointment now, so you don't forget.
JOHN: (irritated) I'll remember.
ID: Ask her for a piggyback ride.
JOHN: No. (to PSYCHIATRIST) Thanks for all your help.
PSYCH: Bye now. (exits)
JOHN: So, ah, hey.
ID: Yep.
JOHN: You guys, uh, do this much?
ID: What, this? Or...
JOHN: Be components of someone's psyche.
ID: No.
SUPEREGO: First time out for me.
ID: Yeah, I'm pretty new at this.
JOHN: So, ah, how do you train to be a superego or an id?
SUPEREGO: I read a lot of "Family Circus".
ID: I trained under Wilt Chamberlain's id.
JOHN: Okay, well, just to be clear, I'm not that kind of guy...
ID: Oh, don't worry. Neither was Wilt.
JOHN: He wasn't?
ID: Yeah. He was fudging the numbers.
JOHN: Oh, okay.
ID: It was actually much more like 30,000.
JOHN: Wow.
ID: I'm the kind of id that likes to get it on, know what I'm saying?
JOHN: I have no idea whatsoever.
SUPEREGO: John, what's on the agenda for tonight?
JOHN: You guys want to get something to eat?
SUPEREGO: Sounds sensible.
ID: I will have pancakes and eggs.
SUPEREGO: You can order when we get there.
ID: I will have them.
JOHN: Why don't we get going, then?

(the trio crosses to the other side of the stage, where a table awaits)

JOHN: This place okay with you two?
SUPEREGO: Looks fine and upstanding.
ID: Why aren't we sitting down?
SUPEREGO: The sign says we have to wait to be seated.
ID: Fuck that noise. I'm sitting.
SUPEREGO: You're going to get us thrown out!
ID: The table's open! It's screaming for us to sit down! "Please! I can't bear a moment longer without you sitting! Sit! Sit!"
JOHN: I think we should go ahead and sit. I mean, the place doesn't look too busy.
SUPEREGO: Oh, sure, side with your primal depths.
ID: (sitting) Hey John, I'm going to unscrew the cap on the saltshaker.
JOHN: Please don't.
SUPEREGO: You may want to send the diner spiralling into anarchy, but I still have a shred of basic human decency left. I'm going to wait to be seated.
ID: (happily) Chuggin' half and half.
JOHN: Okay, you (to SUPEREGO) do whatever you want and you (to ID) leave the half and...(ID gives a satisfied grin) Should we get any more half and half, you leave it alone. Understand?
ID: You're not planning on using the ketchup, are you?
JOHN: (sitting) Not anymore.

(BETTY enters)

BETTY: Hi, y'all. Can I take your order?
ID: (intensely) Pancakes and eggs.
BETTY: Would that be the Scramble For Your Sausage, the Sunny Supernova, the Yolkspectacular, or...
ID: I must have pancakes and eggs.
BETTY: Okay, but...
ID: (brightly) May I hump your leg?
JOHN: (quickly) He'll have the yolk thing. I just want some hash browns.
BETTY: Is he with you?
JOHN: He's the physical manifestation of a concept from my subconscious mind.
JOHN: In other words, yes.
BETTY: Why isn't he sitting?
ID: I'm sitting.
BETTY: Yes, you are.
ID: Will you admire my nipple?
JOHN: There was a misunderstanding, that's all. Could you tell him he can sit down?
BETTY: Why don't you tell him?
JOHN: He doesn't take orders from me.
BETTY: Hey, buster. Sit down.
SUPEREGO: Alright then. (sits) I'd like the Sunny Supernova with orange juice and a glass of milk.
BETTY: Great. I'll be back with your orders. (exits)
JOHN: Well.
ID: (to SUPEREGO) Try the ketchup.
ID: Come on, try it.
SUPEREGO: (to JOHN) Tell him to fuck off and then feel guilty for swearing.
JOHN: Do it yourself. You're the one who's mad.
SUPEREGO: I can't swear.
ID: Ketchup's looking good right about now...
SUPEREGO: Stop it.
JOHN: Can we please try to get along for a little while?
SUPEREGO: (shrugs) I'm behaving.
ID: I just want to be loved.
BETTY: (returning) I'm sorry, guys. We're out of eggs.
ID: (leaping up) I'll kill you! (JOHN and SUPEREGO wrestle him down) Pancakes and eggs, damn you!
BETTY: I'm calling the cops! (runs off)
SUPEREGO: Well, John, you've failed to keep your destructive urges in check yet again.
ID: (weeping) Pancakes and eggs...
JOHN: Let's get out of here.
SUPEREGO: You have to stay and take responsibility.
JOHN: The fuck I do. God, I shouldn't have gone for that treatment. I need my own psyche back. (begins to drag ID away)
ID: (still weeping) It's all lies!
JOHN: (to SUPEREGO) Are you coming?
SUPEREGO: We shouldn't...oh, alright.

(JENNY enters)

JENNY: John?
JOHN: (startled) Jenny, hi.
JENNY: What's going on?
JOHN: (nonchalant) Oh, nothing much.
JENNY: Why are you dragging that guy around?
ID: They stole my eggs.
JENNY: What?
ID: (brightly) You're pretty.
JOHN: These are some...well, that is to say, these guys are, uh...
SUPEREGO: (stepping forward) We're doing a group project. For theater class.
JOHN: Right. A theater class.
ID: I want my mother.
SUPEREGO: He has a hard time getting out of character.
JENNY: You're taking a theater class? That's unlike you, John.
SUPEREGO: Not unlike the John I know. This guy, he's wild. Nonstop fun with him.
JENNY: (slight smile) Really. I'll see you around, John. Nice meeting you two. (exits)
JOHN: Bye.
ID: So long, pretty lady!
SUPEREGO: Was that your ex-girlfriend?
JOHN: Yeah. (sighs) I really screwed up that relationship.
SUPEREGO: (distant) She seems like a...very nice girl.
ID: (looking offstage) Po-po creepin'.
JOHN: Shit, the cops are almost here. Let's go home.

(they move to the other side of the stage, which is now JOHN's living room)

JOHN: Alright, you two. Make yourselves comfortable. I'm going to the bathroom.

(JOHN exits. the phone rings)

SUPEREGO: I'll get it. (answers) Hello?
VOICE: Hello, John?
VOICE: John, this is your mother. Are you alright?
ID: Mother! (lunges for the phone, grabs it, and runs offstage)
JOHN: (returning, zipping his pants back up) Who was that on the phone?
SUPEREGO: Your mother.
JOHN: Where's the phone?
SUPEREGO: Your id has it.
JOHN: Oh, shit. (runs offstage and returns with the phone and a sheepish ID) Mom? Mom, are you there?
VOICE: John, what's going on there?
JOHN: Nothing. It's just me, Mom. Is everything okay?
VOICE: Yes, John. I don't know what you're so worried about. I think it's wonderful that you've taken an interest in basketball. All these new sides to you, it's great to hear.
JOHN: Okay, Mom. I've got to go. Bye. (hangs up) No more answering the phone.
ID: Can I howl at the moon?
JOHN: Please don't.
ID: It's being all saucy.
JOHN: Try to resist. Look, I'll talk to you guys in the morning. We need to re-evaluate this entire arrangement. Goodnight. (exits)
ID: I'm gonna howl at the moon anyway.
SUPEREGO: (distracted) Go ahead. Did you see that girl at the diner? John's ex-girlfriend? She was something, wasn't she?
ID: Maybe I'll start a fight with the neighbor's dog.
SUPEREGO: (shrugs) Fine. Whatever.
ID: Outta sight! (exits)

(the SUPEREGO is alone. he looks around for a moment and then sings - perhaps with piano accompaniement)

The stars outside are shining bright
Turn them all off, I don't want them tonight
Tell the crickets to chirp something new
Oh, what am I supposed to do?
What's a superego in love supposed to do?

Strangers meet each other after dark
Maybe for kisses, or dancing in the park.
I only exist in the subconscious mind
Which basically means that I'm the lonely kind.
Oh, what am I supposed to do?
What's a superego in love supposed to do?

How can I have a relationship?
How can I kiss her and hug her and hold her tight?
How can I love that girl?
When I'm just the (quick) physical manifestation of a Freudian concept regarding the compulsion towards behaving in line with (normal) social good?

(soft, sad)
The stars outside are shining bright
Turn them all off, I don't want them tonight
Tell the crickets to chirp something new
Oh, what am I supposed to do?
What's a superego in love supposed to do?

(the SUPEREGO sighs, shrugs, and sits down)

ID: (returning) Kicked that dog's ass. (pauses) What's the matter?
SUPEREGO: Nothing. I...(sighs) I'm in love with our conscious mind's ex-girlfriend.
ID: You can't be in love. You're his overriding sense of social good.
SUPEREGO: I know. But there was something about the way she smiled...I can't help it. I'm head over heels for that girl. How can I go on being John's superego if I'm pining for his ex-girlfriend behind his back?
ID: Wilt Chamberlain's id said something to me once. I'll never forget it. He looked me right in the eyes and he said "Damn". Of course it's frustrating, man. I get frustrated every time I'm not allowed to drink laundry detergent, because it looks so yummy, like candy. But we just keep on keepin' on. You push the ego in the right direction, he'll make you happy. Let him do the work.
SUPEREGO: Yeah, but he doesn't even want us around anymore.
ID: What does he know? Look, Wilt the Stilt lived by two maxims. The first one was "I'm sick of playing the fucking Celtics". I guess that one doesn't apply here, but the second one was "White boys don't know shit".
SUPEREGO: And our Johnny is clearly the white boy in this situation.
ID: Right. He doesn't know shit. You've got to stick with him or he'll never figure it out.

(JOHN enters wearing pajamas, yawning)

JOHN: Hey.
ID: Hey.
JOHN: You guys couldn't sleep?
SUPEREGO: I'm not even sure if we're supposed to sleep. I think we're supposed to be giving you fucked-up dreams.
ID: You know, I met the id who came up with the underwear-in-a-crowded-place dream. Interesting guy. He originally wanted it to be a fig leaf, artistic license and all, but it didn't work out. Hippies kept trying to smoke the fig leaf in their dreams. Killed the entire effect.
JOHN: I'm sorry I was yelling at you two earlier. I don't know. I'm frustrated. Being mediocre is frustrating. My life is in pieces, you know? All I ever wanted...(pauses) I don't want money, or fame, or any of that. All I want is for a stranger to see me in a store. I'd be there with a friend, or Jenny, someone. Maybe even no one at all. Anyway, I'd just be saying something. Nothing in particular. Not...whatever came to mind at that moment. And this stranger would look at me...her jaw would drop open, or his jaw, and he or she would look at me with this look of total awe and say..."You so crazy!" And that'd be it. That's all I want. I want the basic fact of my existence to inspire someone to say that. "You so crazy!"
JOHN: Yeah?
SUPEREGO: We're going to get your girlfriend back.
JOHN: We are?
SUPEREGO: You bet we are. We're going to turn your life around!
JOHN: My life?
ID: And we're going to get you a new job!
JOHN: What's wrong with my old job?
ID: Nothing. You just need to make more money to pay for the seven hundred bananas I ordered for delivery during the night. (shrugs) Sorry. Look, though. The point is, you are so crazy. You're anything you want to be. Here. (picks up a fork) Jab this fork into your forehead.
JOHN: Why?
ID: Don't ask questions. Just do it.
JOHN: (does it) Ouch. (waits) So?
ID: Actually, there's no real lesson. I was exploiting the tone of the conversation to get you to do that.
SUPEREGO: What we're saying, John, is that you can't go around missing the extremes of your subsconscious forever. The interesting things about you are between the extremes, where they always were.
ID: Yeah, that's what I was saying. Jab yourself with the fork again, John.
SUPEREGO: Shut up. I'm dialing this phone. (dials the phone) And I'm calling your ex-girlfriend. Then I'm going to hand the phone to you, and you're going to have to figure out what to do because we - your subconscious - are going to sleep. There's no one to help you. Your conscious mind is on its own. (hands JOHN the phone)
JOHN: No, don't...
SUPEREGO: It's all you.
JOHN: Uh, hello? Jennifer? This is John. Listen...(walks offstage)

(the ID and the SUPEREGO go to sleep. the lights dim and then come back up as JOHN returns)

JOHN: Yes, well, bear in mind that Trotsky did end up with an icepick in his head! (laughs) So I'll see you at eight? Great. Bye, Jennifer. (hangs up) She said yes! (the ID and SUPEREGO cheer) Wow, I can't thank you guys enough.
ID: Anybody's primal instincts would have done the same, kid.
SUPEREGO: John, she's a great girl. I want you two to have a great time together.
JOHN: Thanks. (smiles) I should get ready. (there is a knock at the door) It's open!

(the OLD SUPEREGO and the OLD ID enter)

OLD SUPEREGO: What's going on here?
SUPEREGO: Excuse me, who are you?
OLD SUPEREGO: I'm this guy's superego.
OLD ID: And I'm his id. Who are you?
JOHN: You two are my real superego and id?
OLD ID: Yeah. We took a vacation, but we're back now.
JOHN: Wait, my real superego is female? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
OLD SUPEREGO: What's all this?
JOHN: Oh, just...(looking at ID and SUPEREGO, conflicted) Uh, two guys I know.
OLD SUPEREGO: Well, tell them to get lost. You've got accounting homework to do.
JOHN: (pauses, then reluctantly) So I'll see you guys around, right? (the ID and the SUPEREGO are crushed)
ID: See you around, John.

(they start to leave. JOHN runs after them)

JOHN: Guys, I'm sorry. I just...well, this might be the only chance I get to be with my real subconscious. You know. I want to be completely myself again.
SUPEREGO: Yeah, we know. We'll find someone else's psyche to be physical manifestations of. It's no big deal.
ID: (sighs) Bye.

(they exit)

JOHN: (torn) Bye.
OLD SUPEREGO: Hey John! What's the story on your accounting project? Get to work.
OLD ID: John, as your id, I want you to scratch yourself and then take a nap.
JOHN: (looks back and forth and then calls offstage) Guys! Come back!
ID: (returning, along with SUPEREGO) Yeah?
JOHN: (to OLD ID and OLD SUPEREGO) You two abandoned me! You walked out! I don't care if you are my real id and superego. You're not my real friends. Go find your own psyche. This one's taken.
OLD SUPEREGO: You want us to leave?
OLD ID: (shrugs) Your loss. Come on, let's go chase trucks. (they both exit)
JOHN: I'm sorry I ever doubted you two. You're the best subconscious a guy could have. Besides, I don't really want to think about what it meant that I had a female superego. I don't know what that means, and I don't want to delve into it.
SUPEREGO: John, I have to take my leave of you now.
JOHN: But why? You're my best friend. You showed me who I am.
SUPEREGO: I need to go out there into the vast wilderness and find out who I am. I have to learn all those lessons that "Family Circus" just can't teach. I've got to live. I've got to love. You'll be fine, John. You're ready to be on your own.
JOHN: Good luck, Superego. I'll never forget you.
SUPEREGO: Goodbye.

(the SUPEREGO leaves. JOHN and the ID are alone onstage)

ID: I have a confession to make.
JOHN: What?
ID: I have a date with your mother.
JOHN: Oh, no.
ID: Wanna double?
JOHN: We can talk about this later.

you so crazy by marc heiden december 1999