Unprompted: Poor Decision-Making Skills 

There’s so much daffy behavior that I wonder if we should call it normal.

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The FBI has finally closed its books on D.B. Cooper, the idiot who famously hijacked an airplane and jumped out with $200,000 strapped to his chest. That was in 1971 and nobody ever saw D.B. again, unless it was the bears that ate him. The whole thing was daffy. D.B. was just one in a long line of daffy dudes we’ve come to notice because they make good stories.

Bob Durst killed his neighbor and then sawed off his arms and legs and put them in plastic bags. He never explained that fully. He also never told us what he did with the head. Still, lawyers described his actions in all sorts of ways except what it really was — daffy. Speaking of which, the jury found Durst not guilty. Now that’s daffy.

Frequently bad people are dragged into court only to find that they aren’t guilty by reason of insanity. If someone does something really crazy we sometimes give them a free pass because … well, because, they did something a rational person would not do. At one time bad people were punished, no questions asked. Not so much anymore. They’re non compos mentis, so they can pretty much write their own ticket.

I think it’s a bad decision to rob a bank, but a fair argument can be made that anyone who does so suffers from at least temporary insanity and therefore sometimes they’re found innocent of robbing the bank they just robbed. (When legendary bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks he famously said, “Because that’s where the money is.” But I digress because I like the story, not because it fits here.) Are bank robbers daffy? Of course they are … they robbed a bank, didn’t they? They should have just opened an account and let the bank do the robbing. Banks are good at that.

Many of us leave our houses each day assuming the people we encounter will be normal like we are. Most of them are. But in every crowd there’s someone ready to jump the White House fence or do something equally unrewarding. There are people who think driving a car is a good time to send an important text message. Still others taunt police into high-speed chases. Name one person who ever got away with that. Running from police is a sure bet you’ll be caught by police.

There are different levels of daffiness. A few young people seeking adventure run away and join ISIS, thinking somehow … Lord knows what they’re thinking. It’s just daffy. We have daffy religious people in our own land ’tis of Thee. I don’t mean to demean anyone’s religion, but evidence suggests that snake handlers are at least a little bit nuts. I’m taking about rattlesnakes here. Playing with a harmless black snake proves nothing, except that you’re bored. But because of an obscure line in the gospel of Mark these snake-handling geniuses take up serpents and sometimes the serpents get pissed off and bite. Actually, snakes don’t bite but that’s beside the point. But snake handlers keep doing it because … well, they’re daffy.

Speaking of prominent citizens, which we weren’t, but no matter, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner comes to mind. Weiner decided to show his equipment on the internet and imagined no one would notice. Apparently he thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t. It was daffy.

Television stations would have to cancel at least half their news shows if daffy people suddenly went away. Good evening, thank you for joining us, we start with Breaking News, of course, guess what dum-dum did today. We’ve got exclusive details. Did I mention it is Breaking News? Oh yes, I said that. Now this word from your local mattress store, where quality mattresses are on sale for 88 percent off. And so it goes. We buy the damn mattresses because we’re a bit daffy.

There’s so much daffy behavior that I wonder if we should call it normal. Daffy and normal mean the same thing. It’s normal to be a little bit daffy. But keep it under control. If you make the evening news you’ve gone too far. You are then officially daft. D.B. probably won’t make the news any more. The FBI is done with him. S

Gene Cox is an author and inventor who recently retired from a 35-year career as a television anchor in Richmond. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at genecoxrva.

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