Today, as I was in the process of hurriedly attempting to apply for a passport in the four hours between my scheduled events of the day, I made a stop at the Bellingham Public Library to print off a passport application. As I was waiting in line to speak to the Reference Librarian, I overheard an older woman speaking to the RL about the US Army.
When I heard the VA in St. Louis mentioned, I jokingly said the following: “that’s only a few blocks away from Fort Leonard Wood.”
The woman then proceeded to embark upon a verbal acrobatic dance of the mind, bending realities and making new life where before there was simply the absence of existence.
“My grandfather was a Prince of the Federation of the Commonwealth. He was descendant of King Arthur… who isn’t supposed to be alive! And the government’s trying to cover it all up and shove me in the wind. Yeah, I’ll show em! I’m here getting the number for the VA in St. Louis so I can call em up and tell em what’s up. My daddy’s army record here proves it all. And I’m just finding out…”
I hope my brain circuits never find themselves as far beyond repair as those of this poor woman. This poor woman who thought that PFC stood for Prince of the Federation of the Commonwealth, instead of Private First Class. This woman who thought that the signature of the MEPS agent was actually King Arthur, instead of Sergeant King, Arthur. This woman who had created a fantasy of every single line in this document that was a deceased soldier’s employment records.
I thought about saying something… anything… but I didn’t. I just stood there and listened to her tell her story about kingdoms that no longer exist and giant sea monsters and the government conspiracies that are covering it all up. I let her tell her story because that’s what I believe she needed. She needed someone to listen to her story, because in that way, she was listened to. I am not sure how exactly to inform a person that they are delusional. Every attempt that I have tried in my life has so far been unsuccessful.
When I was a kid, I believed in conspiracy stories. But as I get older and more wiser to the ways of the world, sometimes I have to tilt my head in bewilderment at some of the conspiracies that I come across.