The Crazy Train


Melissa Stagnaro

Who’s crazier: Charlie Sheen or Moammar Gadhafi? That’s been the most talked about topic in The Evening Sun newsroom this week. Both the former Two and a Half Men star and the soon-to-be deposed Libyan despot seem to be in competition for the top prize, despite the ever-delusional North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s long-time supremacy in this category.

Sure, there have been other challengers. Like Hugo Chavez. And the NFL. (With so many states facing cataclysmic budget deficits and schools being forced to cut programs and staff, am I really supposed to be broken up about over-paid athletes and gazillionaire owners hashing over how many millions they get? I think not.) But few have garnered headlines like our current contestants.

The competition heated up this week, as Gadhafi (When did we start spelling that with a “G,” anyway?) tried to place the blame for his country’s unrest at first Al Qaida and then his arch-enemy of choice, the good old U.S. of A.

And if his senseless rantings weren’t enough (sure, buddy, bin Ladin’s been feeding pills to Libyan’s youth just to get under your skin), Time Magazine came out with an utterly damning slide show of some of the dictator’s more, ummm, interesting wardrobe choices.

Any one of these unfortunate outfits would be enough to guarantee him top seed in the Crazy Train competition.

But, not to be outdone, “The Sheen” gave a couple of particularly interesting prime time interviews which may very well have solidified his place in the standings. Then he took it one step further by exploding onto the Twitter scene. In less than 24 hours he had more than a million followers on the micro-blogging site, each one hanging on every insane word. Soon, the ethernet was buzzing with phrases like “Tiger Blood,” “Warlock Latin,” “Rockstar from Mars” and “Plan Better.”

The word “winning,” which Sheen throws around with abandon, has taken on a whole new meaning: Losing. As in, losing one’s mind. Because that’s what we’re doing – watching this man who is so addled by addiction crack up before our eyes.

It’s a sad commentary on our society, I think, that so many of us want a front row seat for the show. Not that I’m taking the moral high ground on this – I’m one of @charliesheen’s more than 1.5 million Twitter followers.

As for Libya, while we may poke fun at Moammar Gadhafi’s delusional rantings and actions, the events in the North African country are nothing to joke about. The lives of some 6 million people – and the fate of the nation which holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves – rests in the balance.

It is human nature, I think, to use humor to deal with dire situations. But let us not lose sight of what is truly at stake.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.