Best Of Tucson®

Best Place To Watch Crazies

Fourth Avenue

READERS' PICK: You've got your garden-variety crazies, who are the kind who wander around poking accusing fingers into the sky, railing at an indifferent God. You've got your neighborhood eccentrics, folks who wander the streets dressed in diapers or Jerry Garcia's castoff clothing, searching behind the streetlights for the black helicopters of the United Nations occupation forces. Then you've got your full-tilt wackaloons: the kind of ferocious-countenanced folks who could snap at any minute. To get a glimpse of our state's failed mental health-care system in inaction, or just to assure yourself that there's always someone out there just a little nuttier than you are, take a stroll down scenic Fourth Avenue -- and smile as you go, just to keep your fellow passersby guessing.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Downtown Saturday Night. Mill with the crowds on the first and third Saturday nights of the month, and you'll get a taste of every form of lunatic inspiration ever to strike a disordered mind. Many, of course, nourish the perfectly laudable ambition of gaining title to some of the smaller of your banknotes; but others have more noble aspirations, or at least, more interesting pitches.

For those with a terpsichorean bent, cheerfully deranged bystanders will be happy to sing, not so much to you as at you. One particular gentleman has "a thought to share," as he'll beatifically announce, his eyes freely wandering about in joyous independence from each other. Do not flee this apparition, for from his pockets will emerge a multimedia stage show artfully composed in pop-up form from matchbooks and the like, and if by the time you reach the denouement you don't feel like the inner secrets of the universe have been vouchsafed unto you, well you damn well should.

Many of the world's less cynical cultures have a reverence for maniacs quite unlike the wary avoidance we so timidly practice. The hearing of voices, the speaking of tongues, the boisterous and indiscriminate public eliminatory practices; who is to say that these are not the gifts of a spirit untrammeled by the limitations of our too-literal minds? So the next time you're downtown seeking the mundane entertainment of clubbing and shopping, give your attention to the raving lunatic over there, the one who can do that trick with his pants. He has something for you.

MORE MANIA: Mr. Spock once observed that, in the insane society, the sane man must appear insane. And, since we're clearly living in an insane society, it's no surprise Tucson City Council seem so crazy sometimes. Watch George and Fred fight about Rio Nuevo. Watch Fred and Steve fight about water. Watch Steve and Shirley fight about megalomarts. Watch Shirley and José fight about downtown. Watch José and Janet fight about the solar village. Sometimes, Council meetings can make Bob Beaudry seem sane. Can't make it to the regular Monday meetings? You're in luck -- it's all televised live on Channel 12.