04 May 2012

Crazy? Take This Test...

From Special Forces Briefing, Ft Bragg, NC, 1978

Back in 2005, pal and crime writer, Wallace Stroby was looking for back ground on an ex-Army character he was developing for a third novel. Rather than winging it and creating a complete joke (Jack Reacher comes to mind), Stroby consulted my father who was kind enough to cc me in on their correspondence.

From: phred
To: Wally
Subject: Of Looney Tunes & Real Nutzos
Date: 11 May 2005

Looney Tunes goes with the territory of Special Ops people, cops, and similar "elite" (as they see themselves) in order to maintain the "glamorous" image portrayed in film and novels. Generally, this involves relatively harmless "prankster" stuff. The cop at a party who crawls under a glass-topped table to see if the woman sitting on it is wearing underwear. The SF guy who crawls up in the rafters in a bar and takes a "dump" over the ceiling fan.

But, then, there are the real Nutz with severe mental problems. At one point, you refer to the character as feeling "...no one is fit to judge him or his actions." That may be, but it's also characteristic of psychopaths and sociopaths, and then it becomes a real danger. In Special Forces, for example, precautions were taken to "weed out" the real nutz.

I remember taking a variety of psychological tests, including the Minnesota Multiphasic. Problem is/was that psychos are able to lie so successfully that they're most difficult to detect -- and can even beat a lie detector. I had such a nut on my first team. Was able to get rid of him before he did serious harm.

I understand that the shrinks are getting better with more effective tests than the simple multiple choice versions that attempted to catch people contradicting their previous answers. Here's a sample:

A woman, while at the funeral of her mother, met a man she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy she believed him to be just that! She fell in love with him right there, but didn't ask for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed her sister.

Question: What is her motive in killing her sister?

Answer: She was hoping that the man would appear at her sister's funeral. If you answered this correctly, you think like a psychopath or sociopath.

By the way, if you got the answer correct, please let me know so I can take you off my email list -- unless that will piss you off, in which case I'll be extra nice to you from now on.


Wallace Stroby said...

I'm still getting mileage out of this seven years later at speaking engagements. So I'll always owe your dad for that one.

tintin said...

And you'll always owe me for a broken Reidel Bordeaux glass and a bottle of Spinetta.

Anonymous said...

Loving the weapons choices of the SF guy's in the pic.

Both the AK and Uzi remain viable systems to this day.

I would take them into battle over an AR any day.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Pat said...

I don't see any other possible answer to that question...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I failed the test. That is to say I passed it? Anyway, I'm not crazy. As much as I thought that I was nuts while in my 20s, I was only kidding myself. I've always been sane and rational. I was just "artistic." Which put me in a whole different light with others...


Dave T said...

Luckily, I couldn't figure out the motivation. One of my friends did, and they don't follow "The Trad". Holy Crap!