“Liking” The Crazy Mike of Haverhill Page is Sad and Stupid

Here’s the part where I lose some of my Haverhill friends. I don’t care.

Mood music (click the “watch on YouTube” link. It’ll do you good): 

In any city there’s a guy like “Crazy Mike.”

The stereotype is usually a long beard, ratty clothes and the fellow is usually living on the street. He talks aloud to no one in particular and falls asleep on playground equipment.

People like to laugh at him.

I’m no saint. I’ve made my share of fun of people like this, and in the rear-view mirror, looking back at my own struggle with mental illness, it makes me feel ashamed. It makes me the last guy on Earth who would be fit to judge others for poking fun at someone less fortunate.

But I have to believe that God put me through those earlier experiences in the hope that I’d come out of it wiser and more compassionate. If I in fact have, then I need to be the guy to stand up for “Crazy Mike” and others like him. I need to start by never making fun of someone in that condition again and, if I’m lucky, take a few people with me.

A friend of mine mentioned today that he was more than a little disappointed in some of his friends for “liking” a Facebook page dedicated to “Crazy Mike.” I looked up the page to find that the page has 1,166 “likes.”

The description of Mike reads: “Walking any and everywhere, Yelling at cars, Using imaginary machine guns, talking to myself, Having a court trial while walking down the sidewalk, Screaming racial slurs, Sleeping in and around Building #19 1/16, Lighting chips on fire in Market Basket.”

He yells at cars, you say? We all yell at cars. It’s just that we’re usually behind the wheel pissed off because someone cut us off in traffic.

Using imaginary machine guns? I’ve seen plenty of so-called sane people do that while talking about their favorite scene from “Lethal Weapon” or “Con-Air.”

Screaming racial slurs? That’s wrong of him, but many of us have used the same awful slurs. Not because we are racists, but because we tend to master stupid talk when we’ve had a bit much to drink.

Talking to himself? I do that all the time, and I’ll bet more than a few of the “Crazy Mike” page likers do it, too.

Sleeping in front of Building 19? That’s just because he’s not as lucky as those of us who have a home to sleep in. I’m sure there are twenty-somethings who like that page and still enjoy the comforts of their parents’ houses.

It would be easy for me to say you people are hypocrites and shitheads. But I am, too, so I would just be piling on another layer of hypocrisy.

Instead I’ll just end with this:

We are all God’s children. We are all crazy to varying degrees.

We all have the capacity for big acts of wisdom and bigger acts of stupidity.

Instead of laughing at this “Crazy Mike,” just thank God you’re not in his shoes.

I’d like to know more about Mike, now. We all have a history that molds us into who we are. I’m wondering about his story.

Did he fight a war and come home with post-traumatic stress disorder? Maybe, maybe not.

But if nothing else, his story — one of mental illness — deserves to be told.

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13 thoughts on ““Liking” The Crazy Mike of Haverhill Page is Sad and Stupid

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  6. I’ve known the man known as “Crazy Mike” for a good span of life. Some will say hes a nam vet who lost his capacity in the war. Others will say he isn’t. I have had a few people in my family with disturbing mental illness. Sometimes you can’t help bit laugh at somethings. Mike is a man who is very disturbed. Making fun of his situation is a sad bit of humor. Although he’s made me genuinely laugh. Calling my grandfather Dr. Stroodlenaker. Asking him for tylenol for his headache in kmart was a funny time. My lobotomized grand aunt once told him “shes not his lil box of chocolates” in building 19. All I know is you cant rise above when you drag others down. So god bless Crazy Mike. You know that website wasnt made by him. Dont know or care who made it. Just know he’s a person with some hard issues and be helpful not harmful.

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  8. Thanks for writing this, Bill – I had the same feeling of disgust when I saw the “Crazy Mike” page. It’s much easier for people to poke fun at his antics than to try and understand the personal hell that he’s going through each and every day. I couldn’t in good conscience “like” a page that makes a joke of something like that. I should have known that you’d be the first to come through as a champion for his kind of suffering, and I applaud you for it.

  9. This is a great post Bill. We have all had our own demons to battle, with varying degrees of success. I am someone who was afforded every advantage possible. I made bad choices and had to live with the consequences.
    I have been successful and I have also been to the very bottom! I am now what I can only classify as a miracle.
    To see a page that is made for the purpose of making fun of someone who has no recourse is awful. I too made comments to Mike as a teenager that, I look back upon with regret. There are many things I did that I regret. My hope is not to forget them but hopefully use them to teach someone else to not make the same mistakes I did. I’m willing to bet that the people who started this page are the same ones in HS who made fun of the special needs kids, or picked people just because they were littler than them! It’s unfortunate that some never mature.

  10. i “liked” it so that i could read the wall and see what people were saying. there are some people who really enjoy mike and his presence around town. i’m scared out of my mind of him, because he attempted to grope my daughter’s friend when we were walking in groveland a few years back.

    i’m surprised at the amount of attention this is getting around the FB and blog scene.

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