I'm Not Crazy

From The Joe Frank Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
I'm Not Crazy[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, 59 minutes
Preceded by: The Truth About Women (Part 2)
Followed by: Iceland (Part 1)

Oh one night stand, single page, dead end street, first and only never to be repeated passion

I'm Not Crazy is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1990.


The last 11 minutes of this show isn't amenable to synopsis. In the previous segment Joe, the private investigator, is headed off to get brain surgery from a malpractitioner. We don't hear the results, as we did of the previous medical malpractice from which he suffered. Perhaps what follows is the result. I offer excerpts and vain attempts at synopsis.

Joe delivers a paean to the one-night stand.

0:55: Joe tells of Lucille, a woman who dates veterans, first from the Vietnam War, then the Korean War, then WW2, then WW1, dressing appropriately, for each era, decorating her home and playing the music of their era. She makes each night the last night to heighten the drama. Eventually she visits military cemeteries, finds the dead more worthy of her love, sleeps on their graves.

11:50: 'So here's to the snappy salute, to spit and polish, the clicking of booted heels, the singing of martial odes; here's to the officers' club and a swaggering commandant, to the loving but abusive drill sergeant': Joe salutes those going off to war.[1]

16:00: Sounds of artillery firing.

17:40: Joe tells of his career as a private investigator. His first case is a young man who thinks his wife is having an affair. She is - with Joe. Joe investigates, films his wife having sex with him, collects other evidence, gives it to his client, who kills himself.

19:00: Joe's next customer is the owner of a department store in the Midwest who wants to have someone shoplift his store. For days he steals all sorts of things; eventually his hotel room is completely full. The client has him arrested.

22:30: 'I have wandered past the exploded remains of an antique beauty salon…' Joe describes the grotesque detritus.

23:00: 'I have passed the smoldering remains of a dry cleaners…' Joe describes.

23:20: 'I have passed a cat-scan machine lasciviously opened revealing a welter of wiring…' Joe describes

23:40: 'Yesterday I saw the Martha Graham corps de ballet dressed as American migrant workers…'

23:50: 'and ambulance attendants who appeared to be aiding victims were smothering them under pillows snapping the tubes from intravenous bottles tying knots in oxygen lines…'

24:10: 'and I saw judges and long robes, court clerks in uniform and policemen standing in long patient lines waiting to be paid by fashionably-dressed men who reached into shopping bags filled with wads of money bound with rubber bands.'

24:30: Joe sees Christ facing a bizarre firing squad.

25:00: Having seen all these things, Joe has become 'a black hole of misery', his tears so copious they irrigate desert farms, float ships…

26:20: Joe tells all the things he lies about, petty and great.

28:00: Joe explains why liars are better than the truthful.

29:30: 'You can love and hate, can maim and save, can squander and squirrel away, can destroy and build…' - a number of opposites.

30:30: 'There is no path in which there is no return, no path from which there can be no retreat…' - things that can be reversed.

32:20: Joe, as state's prosecutor, delivers a diatribe to the jury of what's wrong with Joe Frank, his crimes against the women.

36:00: He reads a deposition from a young student. Though he didn't touch her, she felt his desire.

38:40: Joe, a private investigator, investigates dermatologists for malpractice. He expands his practice to other specialties, gets many unnecessary procedures, suffers from unnecessary injuries, becomes an opioid addict. Wanting the big money, he angles for brain surgery.

46:00: 'I'm sorry, I'm too tense, I drank too much, I've been thinking about the office, I'm tired, I'm distracted, I'm upset.': Joe explains why he's unhappy.

47:10: Joe tells all the wrong things he's doing: 'I'm lighting the wrong ends of my cigarettes; I'm using erasers to fill in the forms at work; I mailed the telephone to Sharper Image and expected to receive my credit card in return.'

47:40: Joe lists all the things he needs, for example, 'I need whalebone stays in the corset of my life's forgotten days.'

48:20: A series of odd things: dropped briefcase, running a stop sign, his orthodontist's odd treatment, trying to give his liver to someone who doesn't need one.

48:50: Joe hates circus clowns, 'brown paper bags wrapped in string', house painters, jazz musicians, people who see through him - for absurd reasons.

49:30: Joe finds his diary proofread, objects.

49:50: 'Last night, as the teacups rattled on the saucers, as the walls undulated, as the fish tank overflowed, and the fissures in the carpet opened, I thought of Richardson's casual sarcasm concerning my recent face lift, of Spitz's disparaging remarks about my finger rolls, of Lipstein's rude reference to my daughter, and swore an oath of vengeance.'

50:10: 'You know, lately I've been reading abridgments of Guy de Maupassant stories along with the Torah-like endless scroll of my hospital chart the seismic record of my digestive and pulmonary actions, my bile excretions, stool fecundity, sperm count, cell regeneration, skin loss, dilation of the duodenum, volatility of my blood.'

'Last night I dreamt an endless toilet paper-like roll of dollar bills flowed from my pocket, the core itself fragrant, edible, and highly nourishing.'

50:50: 'You left me in a parachute harness, moth-eaten and threadbare, in a restaurant…', then in a waiting room, then in a lawyer's office.

51:40: 'Don't ever go through my sock drawer again…' a poem.

52:00: Last night Joe dreamt he carried a paper bag with the heads of 4 people in it, then thinks a number of odd things.

52:50: Joe protests that he's not crazy, disparages the people who have opinions of him because of his shows. He talks about what's crazy and what isn't, cites examples.

Legacy Synopsis

Ode to a one night stand. A woman who dates veterans from successively earlier wars. The problems with peace. Joe is a private investigator - he's hired by a man whose wife he is seeing and he is hired to shoplift from a store. Social breakdown: exploded hair salons, dry cleaners, and cat-scan machines, a ballet company dressed as migrant workers, ambulance workers clandestinely killing people, judges and cops standing in line to be paid, Christ being executed by a futuristic gang members. Tears being harvested for industry. Lying about everything. Joe accuses himself of being a misogynist. Having unnecessary operations in order to sue for medical malpractice. Mad ramblings: dentures, money and toilet paper, "and if you'd only accept my transplant, then you'd have two livers", "I hate circus clowns because they're indifferent to national emergencies", people are talking about me, a man India takes a vow of silence, preferring the company of mutes and children, etc.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Recorded by Jerry Summers, Ariana Morgenstern, and Theo Mondle. Sound design by Jerry Summers. It was created in collaboration with David Rapkin. Special thanks to Sheila Bjornlie."


  1. This is distributed as an excerpt, Ode To War