There is an old joke retold and commented on by Woody Allen in his movie Annie Hall:
“A guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. Then the doc says, why don’t you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.”
The truth is that we are all a little crazy! We all know depression, panic, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, anxiety, trouble with intoxicants, and so forth. Who among us has not felt like they’ve lost their minds? And if we didn’t have a little humor about the people who drive us crazy with their craziness, then we would follow suit and become as crazy as them—maybe crazier.
Admittedly, it’s easier to be serious and judgmental about the crazy people in our families or the crazy homeless people living on the streets. It’s harder to take a moment to find the humanity in others, even the most difficult and crazy others. It’s harder yet to make small gestures to connect with those who seem foreign to us through their difference. But when we reach out with compassion, we find something new and vital within ourselves—we revitalize our humanity. So when you meet a guy that thinks he’s a chicken, be kind—someday you might be a chicken! And don’t forget why we reach out: we all need the eggs. That’s no yolk.