I Am Not Insane


Today, in the middle of a conversation, I realized that the man I was speaking to was insane. This gentleman, whom I have known for quite some time, without warning began to tell me of his vast collection of the works of an obscure writer and insisted on detailing this writer’s entire career to me right down to how different manuscripts of various books differed from each other by even the slightest word. As if he were passing a scandalous stock tip he leaned in and whispered to me that he’d recently bought a rare edition worth over $100 for merely $90. He seemed somewhat crestfallen at my narrow-eyed, slow-nod, ‘alrighty-then’ reaction. This bizarre turn of the conversation into something I considered utterly snooze-worthy led me to the discovery of his insanity.

NesquikSo I nodded, and agreed, and oh-I-see’d until he was done then beat a hasty retreat back to my office. As luck would have it though, he followed me and there in my lair caught sight of part of my comic book collection. I explained to him that he mustn’t touch or read my issue of Captain America #25 Vol. 5 (First Printing) because it was a mint condition document of the assassination of one of America’s most enduring patriots. He nodded his head, he agreed, he oh-I-see’d, and then he quietly slipped out of my office because he suddenly remembered his wife needed him to be home by five.

Clearly a crazy man.

So aren’t we all defined by our various insanities? Yes, of course we are. Here’s a short list of some of the many ways in which I am certifiably insane.

1. The aforementioned comic book disorder. Happily, I only have a couple hundred and therefore have not yet been relegated to the realm of the true nerd. Distressingly though, this number is growing at an alarming rate.

2. My Strawberry Nesquik (which I must have every morning) must be made only of the powdered mix, never the syrup, and must consist of three heaping teaspoons of mix in a large tumbler type cup. (The use of the word ‘heaping’ here carries the very scientific and culinary meaning of “really freakin’ huge”)

3. Butterflies may touch me. Grasshoppers may not.

4. I play this really geeky game with the kids at work called Heroclix. I can best describe it as chess with Superheroes. Sometimes I refer to my superheroic army as “all zee little pepples” and line them up so I can pretend like they are my henchmen.

5. Movies make me cry. I wish this only applied to movies like The Way We Were and Steel Magnolias but I’m afraid I cry a little for pure joy when Yoda pulls out his lightsaber and I cry a lot when Sam tells Frodo he’ll carry him. I’d talk about Pride and Prejudice but I’m afraid I’ll start crying right now.

6. Food on the plate is not allowed to touch other food except on rare occasions where it is unavoidable–like Thankgiving. Even then, the cranberry sauce must be kept a close watch upon.

7. I hate hot weather, love snow, and live in Florida.

8. I voted for Ross Perot.

9. I secretly love Meatloaf songs, and wish Andrew Peterson would write more in the style of Jim Steinman.

10. When I go out to eat Mexican, I spend the entire drive (35 minutes for me) agonizing over whether I should order cheese dip, guacamole dip, or possibly both. Lately, guacamole is winning the battle for my soul.

So those are a few of mine (trust me there are more, so many more). What are yours?

Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


  1. Russ Ramsey


    For me, I have a fascination with bobblehead, uh, dolls, I guess. I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and twice a year, they usually give away as a promotional item, some collectible figurine of some sort at the stadium to the first 25,000 fans– and every other year its a couple of bobbleheads.

    Here’s where it began to get insane.

    A friend gave me my first one–Scott Rolen, 3rd base. Cool. It sat on my desk. Then they got me another one a year later, Bob Gibson, hall of fame pitcher.

    Nice, I have two now.

    But then I got to thinking. I wonder if you could field a team of these here bobbleheads–you know, one for each position, plus a manager, plus a relief pitcher, and maybe a pinch hitter.

    I sketched out the baseball field and began to list who was available for each position. And now, only three short years later, not only do I have all the aforementioned bobbleheads, I also have a custom made display case which holds them all proudly on display in my ofice.

    When people show the slightest curiosity, I take them through, player by player, regaling them with all kinds of information they never asked for. It takes maybe ten minutes to get through it all.

    Unrelated to that, I grew up in a house that was underground and we owned three, yes three, hearses (two green and one gold) because, according to Dad, where else could you get a Cadillac with a 355 engine for $500? I was mortified by those cars around town, but when we took them on road trips, like to Christian music festivals, I thought we were the coolest thing around.

    There’s more, but this is enough for now.

  2. Curt McLey


    1. While driving down the road, sometimes I count telephone poles by clicking my teeth. If the cadence gets too boring as it always does, I start adding clicks to form interesting patterns.

    2. When my copier/printer print head moves back and forth, it sounds like it’s chanting. “Heave ho, heave ho, heave ho, heave ho.”

    3. I make it a point to tell each of the cats that live in my home, “good-bye” when I leave the house, even when I’m in a hurry. Sometimes I do the same for my wife and son.

    4. This next one is a holdover from when I was in grade school. Sometimes I still don’t use ketchup on my French fries. It wasn’t too long ago that I realized why. It’s because my grade school best buddy Kevin didn’t put ketchup on his French fries and made a big point of telling everybody so. I must have surmised it was uncool to use ketchup on fries. I could see that unconscious tendency lasting into maybe junior high, but adulthood? Now that truly is insane.

    5. Sometimes I wear a particular shirt because it hasn’t been worn for a long time. It’s because I feel sorry for it that it hasn’t been worn in awhile.

    6. I don’t mind if foods mesh together, but not every food can be meshed. Like jello, for example. Jello just needs to be off by itself, for sure. It may even warrant its own dish. Some foods are like that, of course. It’s mandatory for cherry pie or chocolate cake to have their own plate. Meshing pie or cake with mashed potatoes is just ugly. An eater should get probation for that. On the other hand, pork chops, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, and corn can all be mixed together and it’s great. They might as well be a casserole, for all I care.

    Yes, there are more, but I’ll spare you. As I rested in bed mentally reviewing a couple of these insane idiosyncracies that I wrote as follow ups to Pete’s insanity, the less insane portion of my brain determined that at least two of my notations were too insane for publication. So in horror, I scampered down the stairs to my office to delete them as fast as I could. Insanity should only be divied out in small doses. Six is enough. Phew. Thank goodness for the edit function.

  3. Joshua

    1. I talk to myself. A lot. I practice conversations I know I am going to have with people and predict their responses and then predict my responses to their predicted responses. Out loud.

    2. When I am up late at night and cannot go to bed, I make a practice of looking at the clock and playing games. For example… 11:35. 1+1+3=5. 11:36. 6/3=1+1. 11:37. What am I doing? Why can I not fall asleep? Why am I playing this stupid game…

    3. I hum when I vaccum. I can’t stop it. There’s that sound of the motor dronning on and on, and before I know it, I’m humming with the motor…that low, monotonous, dronning sound…

    4. I hardly ever finish a book. No, no, it’s not what you think. You think I don’t read. It’s simply not true…it’s just that I have this thing where I can only read to page 100, maybe 200, and then the author starts to repeat himself…so I stop, and move on to the next book. Or, I get to page 34, see another book that intrigues me, and forget that the other book is on my shelf.

  4. Kevin

    “But still. I never thought I’d live to see the day that Disney would show the world Aslan telling Lucy she could get to know him in our world. And US movies go overseas, out into the world. ”

    And you still haven’t. Disney neither makes nor distributes The Chronicles. 20th Century Fox took over distribution after Disney dropped the franchise when Caspian disappointed at the box office. In any case, Walden Media is the company that has actually made all three Narnia films. Just a random little tidbit. =)

    Personally, I loved Wardrobe, was disappointed by Caspian (but still enjoyed it somewhat as a film), and I feel like Dawn Treader is just a poor film. The script is mediocre, the editing is rushed so quickly that there is no build-up. Really the whole world of Narnia felt very small. Perhaps what makes Dawn Treader so disappointing to me is that it was such a perfect opportunity for a great character-based fantasy film, but it ended up just another action-driven fantasy film. That said, there were some real bright spots, for me. Among them, Will Poulter’s performance as Eustace, the entrance into Narnia, and the End of the World scene.

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