Laura on Life column: Are you crazy, or just dotty?

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2011

The English language contains many words and expression to describe people that are just not right; two of the most common being ěcrazyî and ěa little off.î There are degrees of craziness, though. That is why we are constantly trying to find new ways to explain just how crazy someone is.
A person who acts oddly in a social situation may be one brick shy of a load or not playing with a full deck.
A person who forgets their own address or how to add two numbers is called senile if they are over 65 and distracted when they are under 15. Anyone between those ages has no excuse. They have simply lost their marbles.
It is no longer enough to simply say, ěSheís crazy!î Your listener will be waiting to hear to what degree she is crazy. Is she just a little flighty or is she a full-blown, card-carrying, needs-medication lunatic?
There are times when I wouldnít be surprised to learn that I am a full-blown lunatic, because it would explain so many things. But no, there has been no diagnosis of lunacy. It could be that my doctor simply doesnít know me very well.
To be fair, I havenít caught myself bashing my head against a door frame or chewing on my pajama sleeves, so maybe there is some hope.
The British have the perfect word to describe someone like me: Dotty. ěSheís a bit dotty, you know, but harmless just the same.î
Dotty. Thatís what you call someone who slathers her hands with a tube of lotion, only to discover that she had used a tube of acne medication.
The same can be said for someone who would use the vacuum cleaner attachments to get crushed graham crackers out of a four-year oldís hair. Donít ask me why he would crush graham crackers into his hair in the first place. He was probably distracted.
I have been known to find, in March, a gift that I meant to give to my husband the past Christmas. Oh well. It was only a thermal leak detectorÖ whatever that is. Itís what he asked for, for Peteís sake. It certainly wasnít my idea. So, maybe my husband is a bit dotty as well.
If you are between the ages of 15 and 65, you may be concerned that people may call you dotty behind your back. You really donít have to worry about it unless you:
1. Wander around looking for your keys only to realize they are in your hand.
2. Instead of taking sinus medication, you swallow a laxative by mistake.
3. Dunk your donut in your soup instead of your coffee.
4. Pour Froot Loops into the catís bowl.
5. Drive around a traffic circle twice before you remember where you are going.
6. Walk into a teahouse and realize that your dress has the exact pattern of the tablecloths.
Until you find yourself doing all of these, you have not achieved dotty status. If you have done one of these every month or so, your relatives will consider your antics a good topic for family get-togethers. If you have done all of them in one day, your relatives will consider you to be just plain bonkers and will start the process of procuring long-term care for you. You will be fortunate to make it to 65 before they have discovered your dottiness. After 65, you will have a perfectly good reason for it.
I would not be surprised if my dottiness someday blossoms into Alzheimerís disease. I will be able to hide my own Easter eggs and sleep with a different man every night. It could be good.
But then, only a dotty person would say Alzheimerís could be good.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist. Visit her website at for more info.
Laura is a syndicated columnist, author, & speaker. You can reach Laura at Or visit her website