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Thinking about Mom
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The things paranoid schizophrenics say can be funny, I agree. Most of the time, though, they are downright scary. I should know. My mother was one, diagnosed when I was very young. My extensive family kept trying to have me removed from her custody, and as you can imagine, those efforts made her act out even more.
I laughed only once at her; I couldn't help it. Upon the start of the first Gulf War, my mother called me saying that Saddam Hussein's airplanes were going to bomb the Lawrence Livermore Lab and start a nuclear holocaust. I burst out laughing before I could stop myself. She said, "You don't think that will happen?"
How do you explain to an 84-year-old woman who doesn't have a clue about the range of aircraft and what it takes to start a chain reaction? You don't.
You say, "No, Mama, it will be all right and Saddam is not going to invade Berkeley. Go back to bed, Mama." Still, she slept with a knife on the bedstand in case the marauders got into her home. Sigh.
It must have been awful for her, as for Friedman, to live such a distorted and fear-filled life, so angry and so afraid for decades. I'm glad she's at peace now.

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