Madness is sanity

The Sandman, Morpheus, the Prince of Dreams is discussing a human with his sister, Delirium. His younger siblings have bet Dream that this man Joshua Norton, having lost everything, will succumb to their respective realms and that he would be unable to stop this. The Sandman gives Joshua a dream which he acts out, proclaiming himself Emperor of the United States. His home town of Victorian-era San Francisco takes to this eccentric character – tourists come to see him and he establishes a nice life for himself from the ruins of the old.

Despair cannot understand why Joshua has not succumbed to her grey realm. Delirium who was once Delight and sees the world through mis-matched eyes, knows Joshua Norton is mad – yet he is not hers. He has not wandered into the realm of Delirium.

“He should be mine, but he’s not,” exclaims Delirium.

“No, he is not,” agrees her brother Dream.

“His madness…” says Delirium, slowly working out how Dream has outmanoeuvred Joshua from their clutches, “His madness keeps him sane.”

“And do you think he is the only one, my sister?” enquires Dream gravely.

From Neil Gaiman’s wonderful – in all senses of the word – Sandman series.

For some people a little craziness is a very fine way of protecting your mind form the everyday slings and arrows of life. It’s the totally straight folk who usually end up cracking like Joan River’s make-up after another face lift.