|Olivia de Havilland in the throes of TDS.|
The woman was another guest at a lovely neighborhood dinner party I attended. From a distance she looked quite normal -- just an average, middle-aged, gray-haired Maine lady. Dressed head to toe in L.L. Bean attire suitable for digging out a septic tank, she had a friendly air about her and so I introduced myself and struck up a conversation. In about three minutes she was deep into groaning and moaning about the horrors of Trump and how terrible things are. That got my old newspaper reporter juices flowing and, since the woman seemed not only willing but actually eager to spill her guts, I slipped into full-scale interview mode. "Exactly what bothers you the most about him?" I asked coyly, munching on a delicious stuffed-mushroom appetizer that just showed up.
"The man is pure evil," she answered, taking a swig of her Stella.
"Really? What makes you say that?"
"He is planning World War Three! That's what he wants, he said it himself, it was in the Washington Post! Didn't you hear about that? Also, everything he ever said about Hillary during the campaign, like calling her Crooked Hillary, was really about himself. It was all projection! Didn't you ever notice that?"
"No, I missed that," I said, somewhat incredulous. "Is all that what makes him evil?" I was now working on a cracker with some fabulous cheese, possibly the best brie I have ever tasted. (FYI it's called Le Delice de Bourgogne, an exclusive Trader Joe import from France, and it is seriously to die for. Get some immediately.)
"Think about it: Evil spelled backwards is L-I-V-E. And Devil spelled backwards is L-I-V-E-D. Don't you get it?"
"Not really," I said, considering a second cheese and cracker.
"Donald Trump lives his life backwards! And so does Steve Bannon, who is also pure evil!"
"Hmmm," I said, checking for the exits. "And just how do they live backwards?"
"They hear everything backwards and think everything backwards from the rest of us. They think good is bad and bad is good. Trump really believes all the shit he says. Bannon too. They have it all backwards. They are evil, and all the people who voted for them are evil. They are all living backwards!" At my urging she tried some of that cheese and agreed it was fabulous.
"I never thought of it that way," I said. I then pretended to have to go to the bathroom and excused myself, thinking, "So that must be what they mean by Trump Derangement Syndrome. The poor woman."