When you love somebody crumb by crumb

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When you love somebody crumb by crumb

I have, on numerous occasions, encountered conversations starting with, "You know, so-and-so is schizo."


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 2 Mar 2017, 8:09 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Mar 2017, 10:24 PM

Someone I know - attractive, articulate, intelligent and seemingly sensible - told me she'd love to marry Kevin Wendell Crumb. She's fallen in love with him. All of his 24 Crumbs. Okay, just in case you were wondering, Kevin W. Crumb is the splintered character in M. Night Shyamalan's Split, that I finally watched - and enjoyed very much (even though I sat with my eyes covered most of the time) - last Friday. But I was a bit stunned by this young woman's confession, and spent considerable time trying to convince her to stop fantasising about her dream wedding.
No go. She's determined to love him till death do  them part.
Death, by the way, would be coming in no time - for her.
But she knows that already. Kevin has 23 personalities, including Kevin; they're all disturbed, most with a view to kidnap and kill. Then, there's a 24th one lurking on the fringes. The Beast. He mauls you, rips you apart, then eats you. Nothing as dignified as killing.
"You'd be okay if the man you love chomped on your dismembered leg, relishing every bite?"
"Yes," she said. "Absolutely." There was love and longing in her eyes. "You know, I love messed up characters. And James McAvoy [the guy who plays Kevin and Co] is soooo good-looking. What a combination! Beauty and the Beast. I'd do anything to be with him. And yes, I'm willing to die for love."
That got me thinking. Kevin Crumb would have been a great case study had I been a psychiatrist (have always wanted to be one), but can you seriously identify with someone who has multiple personality disorder of the two-score kind?
When I was growing up and OD-ing on R.L. Stevenson, I was in love with Dr Jekyll (he seemed so awfully nice, the sort you'd want to take home to meet the finicky parents); but definitely not Mr Hyde; and when I realised Jekyll and Hyde were two sides of the same coin (in the medical sense), I decided to move on to the consistently brooding hero in Mills & Boon 'romances' - at least he wasn't split, I'd only have to get through to him, break the barriers, and he'd, predictably, be mine. unidimensionally.
Getting back to the Split-personality syndrome, I have, on numerous occasions, encountered conversations starting with, "You know, so-and-so is schizo." Mostly, these alleged "schizos" were inducted into a clinical hall of infamy because he/she had been plain moody. "He was laughing three minutes ago, now he's snarling at everyone - be careful, he's doing his schizo thingie" - that was something I'd heard about a former boss. "Didn't you know she's a schizoid? She'll be alright soon enough - give her a couple of hours to snap out of Ms Crazy persona" - that was an unflattering reference to yet another boss, a female one, who had spouted venom (and rendered me teary-eyed) because she didn't agree with the point of a story I'd filed for her.
I knew, of course, "being schizo" wasn't quite the same as fostering multiple personalities. I'd discovered the randomness of 'polarised' accusations when, many years ago, a friend broke up with her boyfriend of four years, sending shockwaves down our college corridors; "Turns out, he's a schizo," I was told; "Seriously?" I probed; then, it came from the horse's mouth - "It's just that he's terribly temperamental: he flips between wanting to become a journalist and doing his MBA. At times, he wants to be a restaurateur. I couldn't take it any more - called it off."
"So you said he's 'schizo'?"
"Well, yeah."
My former college mate, in much simpler times, walked out on her boyfriend because he couldn't be  linear; she also accused him of being schizo. when he clearly wasn't. And here was this woman willing to
embrace a man with 24 personalities. I had to be suitably impressed.
But before that, I needed to discuss this l'affaire with a female friend. I caught up with her, drank coffee, and proceeded to tell her about the Strange Case of Falling in Love with 24 Crumbs.
"That's brilliant," was her immediate reaction. "It's the closest you can get to practising legit polyandry - you know, be with 24 personas at the same time. The best part? You're not even technically cheating!" (I was immediately reminded of what Scarlett Johansson pointed out last month, during the course of an interview to a magazine I will not name: "I don't think it's natural to be a monogamous person".)
I stopped short of popping the petit four (that came with the coffee) into my mouth. "What? Really? Even if these are various faces of devious?"
"Yes, yes," she seemed stoked. "The thrill, babe, the thrill. Of living dangerously. Don't you get it?"
Sushmita is Editor Wknd. She has a penchant for analysing human foibles

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