That's the riddle the Mad Hatter posed to Alice during the Mad Tea Party, and never answered. It's one I've pondered for a long time too, and never come to a satisfactory answer, along with a few other riddles I've picked up along the way.
Poetry Friday: The challenge today is a poser--the word "Madness." I read it as having the British sense of the word, "crazy" or "crazed" rather than the Anglicized term meaning "anger." There's enough people in the b'sphere writing about being angry without me adding my meager two pence.
When I was a kid, I longed to be Mad. Capital "M" and all. I knew all about madness, knew the whys and wherefores of being 'mad as a hatter,' knew about the French lunatique and had a fair idea of asylum life from Messers. Poe and Price, Lee and Lorre. I wanted to be thought of as eccentric. I wanted to be Byronesque--"Mad, bad and dangerous to know." I wanted to be graciously mad, to go out in the summer heat along with the dogs and the Englishmen.
Little did I realise, then, that I was growing up in what Robt. Heinlein forsaw decades before and called "The Crazy Years," and being mad was a malady as common as the cold, and not nearly as obvious. We are all mad, and not in the good way, so that a little eccentricity here and there is far overshadowed by people blowing themselves up in markets, by children killing each other in the schools, and by so many day-to-day madnesses that it all blends into a sort of background scream, heard so often and so long that most of us just ignore it.
Yeah, not my most cheerful post ever, but it IS the full moon tonight. Perhaps I am a lunatique, after all.