The Thin Line Between Genius and Insanity: Really, Guys. It is Super Thin.

There is a very common phrase that says, “There is a thin line between genius and insanity.” It is, in essence, saying that if we were to map genius and insanity, they would be Canada and the United States. Albert Einstein and Charles Manson would be close enough to touch, but still not quite in the same territory, with Einstein focusing on what M might equal and Manson focusing on homicidal messages in Beatles songs. I guess they would be unlikely to grab a Pumpkin Chai latte together, but there is a chance they might end up at the same Starbucks.

There are a lot of phrases like this that are just stupid. A dog might be a man’s best friend, but that is a very sad man. If it “ain’t” broke, I won’t fix it, but I probably couldn’t fix it if it was broken. Sure, it isn’t over until the fat lady sings, but what if she is slow getting there? She is, after all, very over weight. I would imagine she moves very slowly and a lot of things end before she starts singing.

While those may be stupid nonsense phrases, there really is a thin line between genius and insanity. This is just a dumb phrase, it is a fact of life.

For example, look at Christopher Columbus. Now, we all know that this man was brave enough to take three ships the WRONG direction to India just to prove that the world was round. Believing the world was round in that time put you in the vast minority. For realizing that the world was round, we have awarded him with his own holiday, basically saying that this man was a genius for having the foresight to listen to actual scientists about the Earth’s shape.

What if the Earth had been flat, though? We would sit around telling the story of that moron who sailed off the edge of the planet because he thought it was round.

“What an idiot,” we would say. “What a big stupid moron. What kind of sane person would think the world was round? Man, I am so glad I’m not as dumb as that stupid Christopher Columbus.”

Sure, he turned out to be right. (About the shape of the planet. He was totally wrong about where India was, but that’s a completely different story.) He could just have easily, though, fallen off of the planet and plummeted to the bottom of the universe, splatting on the universe floor and leaving a mess for the universe to mop up.

The line, though, has not gotten any wider in recent years.

Imagine for a second I walk up to you and say the following: “I have a million dollar idea. Why don’t we take some blankets and sew sleeves on them?” Your gut reaction would be to smack me upside the head, call me names, and continue to berate me until I cried. You would probably hold that urge inside and just tell me this was an insane idea. No one would ever buy sleeved blankets except maybe mental patients.

Well, guess again muchacho. By 2009, a little company named Snuggie had made $40 million off of the insane idea of sleeved blankets. It turns out people really like their blankets to have sleeves. They also like to buy crappy presents for people, thus the marketplace was primed for genius product like Snuggies. What seemed insane was actually a stroke of brilliance.

Since this line is now a proven fact, I have been trying to figure out where I’m at. Am I on the genius side or the insane side? Maybe I’m not even near the line. Maybe I’m all the way over there in an area named “boring and obnoxious” and I’ll never be near the genius/coocoo for cocoa puffs line.

I do know one thing for sure, though. I may not be near the line. I may not even be on the same planet as the line. The line may be a completely foreign concept that I will never, ever encounter in my life.

With that said, though, I have approximately 8,000 ideas a day. Each and every one of those ideas are less insane than the Snuggie.

Seriously, guys. A blanket with sleeves. Good work, you nutjobs.

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14 thoughts on “The Thin Line Between Genius and Insanity: Really, Guys. It is Super Thin.

  1. Nathan, I think you’re just wishing that you had invented the blanket with sleeves. Or how about the guy who said “let’s put some masking tape on a stick and use it to get lint off our clothes?” He’s living in the Caymens next to the Snuggie guy, and the guy who invented Velcro.

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  2. I wish I had invented the little odd shaped plastic bottle known as the SheWee. I’d either be in a nut-house for being obsessed with urinary containers and thus getting the help I needed OR I’d be sat on my yacht in Monte Carlo drinking Champagne… from a gold plated SheWee

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  3. Great points. You’ve got to see the world differently in order to make innovative breakthroughs. Sometimes you’re rewarded with success and celebrated as someone who thinks outside the box. But other times they lock you up.

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  4. Nathan, here’s a million idea for you to run with and all I want is 10%. take the blanket with the sleeves idea and add a fly… sure would come in handy on those cold nights when you’re drinking lots of hot chocolate to stay warm. And about the fat lady singing thing… it must be confusing at the opera because a singing fat lady is usually on stage from the very beginning. And how are we supposed to know when a Celine Dion concert is over? She’s like a bean pole! I’d pay to see a band that toured with a fat lady that would only come on to sing the last song of their encore!

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  5. Pingback: Steven Wright: Genius or Nutjob? | All American Atheist

  6. Maybe you aught to grow up!
    Insanity is really masked stupididity, Really genoious, I sshould know, cause I’m Insane and drunk!!!

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    • I know it is, because I’ve been fighting it all my life and I’m the same person (people) that wrote the previous message & I’m still drunk. Guess what, not all psychopaths hear voices, it’s really all in our heads, just left over messages left over from childhood – BAD or poor parenting – yes it’s true – I hold a PHD from the Sam Houston Institute for Technology – laugh if you get the acronym!!!

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      • Love that – I use the Sometimes Hear That Idiot as my school – It’s called the school of life!!
        And to think – the voice inside my head is really my own. I’m only (now visualize this) “I’m this many years old” and tht child holds up one hand. How many old can the child actually be?
        Logic is not taught in the Universal Stupid Academy!! I should know, I’m a by product of this society – USA all the way, to what? Baby Boomers Forever!!!!
        Nuff said!! Know what I mean? LOL, Hey Genx & later, Grow UP!!! It’z not working 4 U!!!!

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      • Okay, we’ll take this line by line.

        “Love that – I use the Sometimes Hear That Idiot as my school – It’s called the school of life!!” I don’t know what any of this means. Maybe you need to be drunk to understand it.

        And to think – the voice inside my head is really my own. I’m only (now visualize this) “I’m this many years old” and tht child holds up one hand. How many old can the child actually be? If I were to watch a movie with a serial killer, this is a sort of speech he would give before he slaughtered a victim. Also, how many old can the child be? I don’t really know.

        Logic is not taught in the Universal Stupid Academy!! I should know, I’m a by product of this society – USA all the way, to what? Baby Boomers Forever!!!! Is there a Universal Stupid Academy? Where would that be located? I also would very much like to know if you like the USA or not. On one hand, you are saying that we don’t teach logic. Then, very illogically, you say “USA all the way” before asking “to what?” I do know that you, sir, are the proudest Baby Boomer I’ve ever heard of.

        Nuff said!! Know what I mean? LOL, Hey Genx & later, Grow UP!!! It’z not working 4 U!!!! Okay, time for a mini-rant. Why must we say “4 u”? Is it that much work to just type out words. I mean, I know that as a society we have gotten lazier and lazier, but come on! Let’s have a bit of self-respect! There is no reason that typing by a full grown adult needs to look like it was done by a 12-year-old girl.

        End analysis here.

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      • I did not laugh because I do not laugh at rude people. I also questions whether you are hearing voices while your write this. I hope you are because otherwise your thoughts are so scattered it hurts my head.

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