If you are at all into Political Correctness, you should probably leave now and go browse Lolcats. Otherwise, you have been warned.

Somewhere around the 1800’s, there was a hospital in England called “Bedlam.” It was a mental hospital, and in fact, where the word “bedlam” – meaning chaos – originated. Anyway, in the 1800’s, people could pay to see the “freaks of Bedlam” and laugh at their antics. So popular was this practice that they even had “Free Tuesdays.” In 1814 alone, there were 96,000 visits. Knowing what we know now, that those people were truly mentally ill, it was a pathetic and abhorrent practice.

However, I’m reconsidering the idea of a “Nuthouse”. Not for truly sick people. They need and deserve help, privacy, and respect. No, I’m thinking of a true nuthouse. A home for people like this.

Honestly, who thinks of some of this stuff?

So I propose that we open a true “nuthouse.” A place where we can put all those Darwin Award wannabes so they can’t hurt themselves or others, but we can walk around and actually see them in their habitat. These are not mentally ill people, they’re just what my uncles would call “dummies.” Because, seriously, who thinks putting fireworks into a coffee grinder and turning it on is a good idea???

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18 Responses to Nuthouse

  1. SKL says:

    You remind me of something I did when I was 16. I had taken a backpacking class to satisfy my phys ed requirement in college. I had bought a canteen and taken it on a hike, and then I left it half full of water. Before I got around to cleaning it, it had gotten all nasty inside. So I thought, boiling water gets rid of nasties. Let’s put it on the stove and boil the water. There was a little hole open for steam, but apparently it was not big enough. Pretty soon the canteen blew up and hit the ceiling. Ha ha! Nobody was hurt.

    Another time when we were younger, my brother had made or acquired an M-80 or H-100 homemade bomb, and decided to blow it off in the street. To prevent anyone getting hurt, someone had the idea of putting the dog’s water bowl over it before it went off. Ha ha! That bowl flew sooooo high! Nobody was hurt, but my mom probably still wonders what the hell happened to that nice water bowl.

    SO, if they are opening a dummy freak show, it might be a good thing for some of the folks in my family. Let me know when they start taking applications.

    • Laura says:

      Ohmygosh, I am laughing SO HARD right now!!!

    • Joy says:

      So am I SKL!!!!!! Who knew!!!!!!!

    • SKL says:

      I’m glad I gave you guys a laugh. To tell the truth, I assumed we would all have stories like that from our youths. I guess my family really is on the crazy end of the spectrum.

      Well, that’s what you get when you combine creativity with free time. Believe it or not, we were all considered “gifted.”

      The other day Miss E was up to something foolish as I was talking to my sister-in-law (the one whose kid is a genius). I said, “she’s the smart one. Meaning her life expectancy is the shortest.” My sister-in-law chuckled in agreement.

  2. Joy says:

    You’re pic says it all. You just can’t fix stupid!!! You just can’t.

    I clearly remember some of those “nuthouses” though from the past. I also remember going to a blind “asylum.” Isn’t it sad what happened to people back then? People just didn’t know what was wrong with some of those people so they just locked them up. And they called them insane asylum’s!! I had a very VERY shirttail relative and he had something wrong with him. It was brain damage of some kind but his parents kept him at home but a lot of people were very nervous around him. He rocked back and forth and he just had that look. A lot of my older uncles used to say he smelled too much gas when he was little but I think they thought we wouldn’t smell it if they told us that!!! The things people used to say and can you imagine locking up a deaf or blind person now?

    Does anyone remember that old Little House where they had that “wild boy” that the guy took around in that cage and people paid to see him and poke him with sticks? It broke my heart. Then Laura communicated with him somehow and here the poor boy was only deaf and Mr. Edwards ended up adopting him.

    I think our young people should really be taught these things and they should be so grateful how far our medical field has become because in my lifetime, those institutions are gone and really, so are those “pay to see” booths at fairs. That’s so sad to me.

    But, sorry for the off topic comment but I just had to. Like I said, you really can’t fix stupid!!!

  3. Joy says:

    Does anyone remember epileptics were known as “people who had fits?” People back in the 50’s thought epileptics had rabies.

    I know I’m VERY off topic but I had all these thoughts when I read this post. Sorry……….

    • Laura says:

      It’s ok… all of this started – the references to Bedlam – because I was reading, of all things, a “bodice ripper” romance novel. A period novel, set in the 1800’s, and the heroine was taken to that place. Put there by her uncle because he wanted control of her money. It’s really what got me thinking. The descriptions were pretty vague, enough to draw a picture, but not enough to turn you away from the story, which, in the end, was a romance. But it really got me thinking about the way we treat people with mental illnesses… which is why I was so careful in the piece to separate that from the regular dummies out there who put fireworks in a coffee grinder! (and blow up dog bowls with M80’s!!! 🙂 )

  4. Phyllis says:

    It IS amazing what we kids do get in to, isn’t it? I don’t have a story to share, but I’ll sure going to check with both my brothers because I’m SURE they’ve got a few tales to tell. And it’s true that it seems to be the extremely bright kids that get into a lot of trouble. Their brains are just waaay too creative and active for their own good, and curiosity usually gets the better of them. . Did you read the Darwin page? I can only imagine what “unusual launching pad” they were referring to. OUCH!

    In times past people were locked away for all sorts of reasons, i.e. extreme anger issues, Tourette syndrome, Downs syndrome, Autism, just to name a few. Pretty much anything could’ve gotten a person put away if the family so desired, and unfortunately lots of families preferred this to being know as a family who had ….. (fill in the blank). Nowadays, thankfully, people aren’t like that for the most part. Unless you consider the families that’ll have relatives declared incompetent to gain control of the finances. Sadly that still goes on a lot. My older brother had a classmate with Tourette who was known within the class as “the no-no boy” because he would shake his head as though saying no. Kids can be cruel at times, no doubt about it.

    SKL, I’m still laughing at the dog bowl story!. And I do remember the Little House episode with the “wild boy”. Those freak shows were big money makers during those times.

  5. Nikki says:

    I am all for a Nuthouse! It’d give a lot of my family a place to feel comfortable! LOL Maybe even including me, at times! 😉

    My brother decided to blow our mail box up when he was about 14-15. He’s brilliant I tell ya! He tried smoking tea…yea tea ground out of a tea bag. I told he is a brilliant one! I can’t say I did too many “dummy” things. I did my share of stupid things that could have gotten me in a ton of trouble, but none that would harm me. Actually, I’m sure I did-I just chose to not remember! LOL

    SKL-I did not expect those stories out of you! Hilarious!!!!!

  6. avomnia says:

    I never knew the etymology of bedlam That’s very interesting. As for putting truly stupid people on display somewhere, why go through all the trouble when all you really have to do is step out your front door?

    • Joy says:

      Very true JW, very true!!!

    • SKL says:

      I thought Bedlam was actually Bethlehem Something Something (the name of the insane hospital), and they shortened Bethlehem to Bedlam in everyday speech.

      • Laura says:

        I think, at one point, that it was Bethlehem something. I don’t remember now… hang on. From Wiki (which, I know, can have dodgy definitions, but on this one, I’m willing to take it): “It has been variously known as St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Hospital, Bethlehem Hospital and Bedlam.”

    • Phyllis says:


  7. SKL says:

    If I had time to think about it, I could probably come up with at least 100 stories of dumbass stunts from my childhood. Amazingly, we are all still alive and intact.

    My sister’s husband is another one. When he was about 10, he and a friend were sneaking a smoke near an oil company that had some storage containers outdoors. They thought it would be fun to see what happened if they dropped a lighted match in there. BOOM! As an adult, he chopped off his thumb while doing woodworking. It was sewn back on and while it was still healing, he got angry and punched a wall and broke his other thumb. I had to stay away so I would not laugh at him.

  8. Laura says:

    I’m surprised Mike or Jim didn’t come out of Lurk Mode for this one. They’ve GOT to have a few stories. I mean, Mike was in the Army for Pete’s sake. I think doing stuff like this is mandatory for advancement for those guys.

  9. Joy says:

    Well then come on you guys!!!! I wanna hear some of them.

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