Tag Archives: tar and feather

Little Big Man

28 Jul

Little Big Man

Megalomaniac

By L. Stewart Marsden

It sounds like a period of prehistory. Megalomaniac. Surely somewhere near the Jurassic Age. Thundering dinosaurs. Sharp-toothed carnivores. Crashing through the tropical undergrowth to come down on some innocent triceratops who stopped to munch on a tasty clump of ferns or moss.

Perhaps this will be called the Megalomaniac Age Administration, where the tendency looks to seep down from the top and infect nearly every layer of staff.

I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning
Very, very frightening me.

– Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

Was Alexander the Great a megalomaniac? How about Napoleon? Attila? Nero? Hitler? Stalin?

To some extent, I suppose you could say every great leader had the tendency. JFK, MLK, FDR, Patton, MacArthur, Sherman … Franklin, Washington?

How much of it is okay? What’s the dosage? A teaspoon every four hours? Where is the line between acceptable megalomania and that which is unacceptable and tragic?

And who came up with the idea? What entity thought, “Well, I think we need someone obsessed with him/herself and power so that change can be ramrodded down the throats of the common person?

Or, “The common people NEED a megalomaniac in order to attain a little perspective.

Who thinks that way? Probably the same mentality as when a father says to his child just before punishment, “This is going to hurt me more than you.”

You wonder what event in the lifetime of a megalomaniac triggered the condition? Parental abuse? Childhood bullies?

In those cases a person is a victim. It seems the abusers or bullies reflect megalomania more closely than someone who is victimized. Compensation, perhaps? Small stature? Small hands? Maybe a Stephen King-like event in the formative years?

One apparent result of megalomania: things end badly for that person and those close by. Family, friends, work associates don’t seem to fare well when the megalomaniac is toppled. I would use the word “peers,” but I don’t think a megalomaniac has any. That’s not so handy when it comes to facing a trial by jury of one’s peers if one is a megalomaniac. At least a trial is better than tar and feathering, regardless. Not that I would know.

That’s when the word “karma” inevitably comes into play.

Or so one hopes.