Our friend Barry from college – he went crazy once. He was more of a friend of a friend, I guess, but we all knew him pretty well. He came over often enough. Anyway, he went crazy as a shit house rat for about a week. Dragged every piece of furniture in his entire apartment into the living room and piled it up, barricading the front door. Then he climbed atop the pile and dipped his fingers in canned gravy leftover from Thanksgiving and wrote on the wall: “THEY’RE WATCHING US AND THEY SEE ALL! SEEK REFUGE OR BE VANQUISHED!” The sentence wrapped around a corner very high up, just a few inches below the ceiling. He wrote just like I wrote it there, in crazed caps lock and with furious exclamation points.
Then he locked all the doors and windows, wouldn’t let anyone in the house, not even his roommates. They said they could hear him inside talking to himself in more than one voice and got worried he was going to hurt himself or something. One of them broke a kitchen window and tried to climb into the house. Before he could get his feet on the ground Barry punched him right in the face, shattered his occipital bone. Poor guy had six or seven surgeries over the course of the next year and had to wear one of those creepy plastic masks anytime he left the house. He didn’t get laid for eighteen months.
Eventually Barry’s parents came down from Grosse Point and had him institutionalized. Doctors called it a mental break, which seems pretty vague if you ask me. Kind of like pointing out the obvious. But whatever. I’m no doctor. After he was released he was on some heavy duty drugs for a while – lithium or clozapine – I can’t remember which. He went to therapy for a while, too.
Then when we came back for spring semester he seemed like the same old Barry. No medicine, no therapy, no nothing and he seemed no different than before he’d gone nuts. We were all sort of waiting for him to snap, though. Seemed like if it happened once it was likely to happen again.
Right before we graduated a rumor started going around that he’d walked in on his girlfriend going down on this guy from the lacrosse team and that’s what triggered the break. Actually, she was Barry’s fiancé at the time all of this allegedly happened, but then they broke off the engagement. Anyway, it’s kind of funny or, not funny, but weird because Barry loved lacrosse. He used to go to all their games. He’d drag her along with him. He was their biggest fan.