2017-07-27 / Opinions

Want people to think you’re crazy? ... try eating bugs or scribbling on doors

By ROGER ALFORD
columnist

A teacher asked her class how to prevent diseases caused by biting insects.

“Don’t bite any,” came one little boy’s response.

The last thing most folks would ever do is bite an insect, but there are always exceptions, like the people in Florida a few years back who competed to see who could swallow the most crickets, worms, and cockroaches.

That bizarre competition grabbed national headlines because it ended in tragedy: One of the contestants, who by all accounts was a fun-loving fellow, choked to death on a cockroach.

It’s lost on me why people, who aren’t starving, would ever eat a bug. I don’t even like to touch most bugs, let alone put them in my mouth. I expect I’m not alone when I say the very idea is revolting.

But then, I’m sure you’ve noticed that sometimes people do the craziest things.

Before King David of the Old Testament ascended to the throne, you might remember his predecessor, King Saul, was intent on killing him. Things got so dangerous that David had to flee, choosing to go into, of all places, Gath. That just happened to be where Goliath, the giant he had killed some years before, was from.

Things had to be pretty dangerous at home for David to think Gath would be a safer place. Perhaps David thought Gath would be the last place King Saul would look for him. And perhaps David had hoped the people of Gath would not have recognized him all these years later.

But they did recognize David, who arrived wearing the very same sword he had taken from Goliath.

The people of Gath sent word to their king that David was in town. David feared for his life at that point and devised a plan that he hoped would save him.

“So, he disguised his sanity before them, and acted crazy, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spit run down into his beard” (1 Samuel 21:13).

His strategy worked. The king of Gath chided his aides, saying why did you bring this mad man to me. David did a good job acting crazy, and he left there, no doubt, feeling fortunate to be alive.

The fact is, as I said, people do the craziest things.

Fortunately, David’s scribbling and the drooling were enough to fool those Gath folks. Otherwise, he might have had to resort to eating bugs.

(Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.)

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