Sunday 5 July 2009

The Nutter Magnet

I have an affliction that has tormented me for most of my life: I am a complete nutter magnet.

I’ve asked myself why nutters are drawn to me but I simply cannot see what it is about me that sends them into a frenzy. I could be in a room full of people who are all completely different. When the nutter enters the room, he will invariably look around for a victim, spot me and then home in. As soon as he sees me, he will shift into the highest gear of weirdness, smile his crooked smile and, before I can blink, he will be there, inflicting his nuttiness on me.

It’s happened all of my life and continues to happen to this day.

Here are a couple of examples of my encounters with nutters.

In the eighties, I was sitting in a pub with a mate. He got up to buy a couple of beers and when I turned around a second later, the only nutter in the pub had taken his seat. It was as if he had been waiting for my friend to leave. This guy (they are always guys) stared at me with a very creepy grin. He didn’t say a word.

“Excuse me,” I said politely. “This seat is taken.”

His grin widened but he said nothing. I should have simply stood up and joined my mate at the bar, but being the idiot that I am I stayed there.

“I can read your conscience,” he claimed. “I KNOW your mind.”

Oh no, I thought – a bloody nutter. Instead of getting up and walking away, I tried to engage him in conversation.

“Look mate, my pal’s at the bar and will be back in a minute.”

“I knew you were going to say that,” he said, his grin becoming even weirder. “I can read your mind like a book.”

“No you can’t,” I said. “Nobody can read minds.”

What kind of idiot was I? What was I doing trying to engage the nutter in conversation? I knew that it would end in pain.

The nutter, buoyed by my stupidity, settled into his seat and started to explain why my thoughts were so easy to read. I can’t remember what he said exactly but his words were mad enough and loud enough to attract the attention of quite a few people in the pub. Instead of coming to my rescue, these people simply enjoyed the show and started laughing openly.

“What’s he saying now?” said one.

My mate returned from the bar and, being much more forceful than I am, said “Oy, mate! That’s my seat.”

The nutter got up and I breathed a sigh of relief. However, such is the strength of my nutter magnet that he wasn’t finished. He walked behind me and continued telling me, in increasingly bizarre terms, why my every thought was screaming at him. And then the final humiliation – he put his hands on shoulders and started massaging my neck. He lowered his lips to my ear and said “I think you can read my mind as well – we’re so alike.”

I have to thank my mate at this point because he intervened.

“I wouldn’t touch him, mate,” he said to the nutter. “He’s got AIDS.”

I have never seen a man fly out of the pub so quickly.

Perhaps I should have simply ignored the nutter. Unfortunately that doesn’t always work as my second tale will reveal.

I was on the London Underground. The train was full but I had been lucky enough to get a seat. When I say “lucky” I really mean “unlucky”. I was listening to music at a fairly high volume and was so engrossed in it that I was oblivious to my surroundings. I noticed that the woman opposite me was staring in my direction – I thought for a brief second that I may have attracted the welcome attention of a nice young lady. But then I noticed she wasn’t looking at me at all; her gaze was focussed slightly to my right. Her eyes briefly flitted back to mine and her brow furrowed as if she were puzzled. I turned my head to my right to see what was so fascinating.

That’s when the person to my right grabbed my headphones and ripped them off my head.

The man next to me was a complete nutter, one of the worst kinds – an angry nutter. He had apparently been yelling at me for a while but my music had been loud enough to cover his insane screaming; that’s why the lovely lady opposite had looked so puzzled. I had been sitting next to the nutter as he screamed at me but my music had been so loud that I was oblivious to his insane ranting.

He gripped my headphones in his dirty hands and shouted “WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME????? NOBODY LISTENS TO ME.”

The person on the other side of the nutter must have breathed a sigh of relief at this stage because, as usual, the nutter had focussed all of his attention on me.

“Can I have my headphones?” I asked calmly.

He threw them into my lap in indignation and shouted.


Because he was angry, I agreed to listen to him. He spent the next ten minutes telling me about alien invasions, evil doppelgangers and peculiar conspiracy theories. He punctuated his ranting with “DO YOU BELIEVE ME????”

I nodded in the hope that he would leave me alone – he didn’t. I’m sure that if I said “No,” he would have carried on ranting.

Of course, the rest of the train found my experience highly amusing and again some people were openly laughing. It was as if the nutter and I had been surrounded by a bubble impervious to sound; he was oblivious to everybody else and the mocking laughter that echoed around the train.

When the train finally stopped, I waited for the doors to open and a few people to get off, before leaping up at the last minute. I managed to get off the train before the nutter could react and follow me.

These days I am more aggressive to nutters; if one were to sit next to me in a pub I would get up and leave rather than being subjected to a one way humiliating tirade of abuse.

All this has got me wondering whether I have any physical properties that draw nutters to me. Have I got a kind face? Can they really read my mind? Am I an alien?

Ah – I think I may have it. I think it is my mad bad hair. It must be an antenna that draws nutters in. Perhaps if I shave it all off the nutters will leave me alone. Perhaps I’m like Samson – except my hair doesn’t give me strength; it is the nutter magnet.

Maybe I’m wrong though – perhaps it’s just me. Whatever the reason, I fear that nutters will still be drawn to me. I have never done anything to encourage them at all. I wonder whether I have an invisible tattoo on my forehead saying “I LOVE NUTTERS” that only they can read.

Anyway, I’m not the only one who suffers:

Listen here for the Birmingham commedian Jasper Carrott's experience of nutters: Nutter On The Bus

I know exactly how he feels.


Bill Lisleman said...

The guy in the first story was just hitting on you.

Traveling in pairs probably helps in avoiding nutters. I guess nutters make a dull day more interesting.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi lisleman,

Even in pairs, the nutter picks me.

They make a dull day more interesting when they are picking on somebody else.




Susan said...

Everyone at work says that more nutters seem to come into the shop when I'm there, it's as if they seek me out just to annoy me.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Susan,

I'm really glad I don't work in a shop; my nutter magnet would crank up to overdrive.