The Joys of the One-Can-Short

by S. M. Hutchens

Working with people who are obviously non compos mentis is far less stressful than working with those who are only a little insane—who are "functional" in the world and know what sanity looks like, but use it as a tool for self-aggrandizement and the torment of others.

The great difficulty in communicating with people like this is that if you knew from the start they weren't quite right, it would be easier to treat them with the deference one, for charity's sake, gives the impaired. As it is, their madness is often discovered only some time after they pull you into it—to a depth corresponding with that of the doubt's benefit you have already given them. All the while you were fooled into approaching them as entirely rational, but getting more and more heated at their amplifying outrages of rationality.

At a certain, often fairly advanced, point in the interchange, a mental switch flips and gives you the relief of moving the half-madman to a category in which he need no longer be taken seriously, as someone to be approached well, therapeutically—which would drive him to complete insanity if he knew it had happened, for the half-crazy are proud spirits who cannot abide patronization.

S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor.

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!

personal subscriptions

Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

RENEW your print/online

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!

RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.

more from the online archives

32.4—July/August 2019

Image- Bearers for God

Does Biblical Language for Man Matter? by Stephen F. Noll

22.3—April 2009

Wasted by Watching

Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by J. Daryl Charles

24.6—Nov/Dec 2011

Liberty, Conscience & Autonomy

How the Culture War of the Roaring Twenties Set the Stage for Today’s Catholic & Evangelical Alliance by Barry Hankins