When I was just out of high school I had decided that the best career track for me would be aviation maintenance, so I enrolled in Wichita Area Technical College’s Aviation Maintenance Technician program.
During my second year an ex-Navy sailor joined our class. He was in his mid forties, skinny, average height, with long, stringy blonde hair. We all found him slightly odd at first, but over the course of the year he seemed to get stranger and stranger. He had chosen a seat near the front of the class so we rarely saw his expressions during lectures, but sometimes he would, well, kind of flip out. For example, one day, during some math exercises, he apparently had some sort of disagreement with the figures his calculator was giving him. Rather than take a break, he got angry, yelled out, and broke his calculator in half, buttons flying all over the classroom. When the instructor asked what the problem was he simply stated “It was giving me wrong answers.”
Other times, during breaks, or idle time in class, he would lean back in his chair, close his eyes, and sing in a normal speaking voice a song called “All My Dead Friends”. None of us knew if it was a real song, and to be honest, none of us really wanted to know. He also often had conversations with the coffee machine, the gist of which depended on how well the machine had made the coffee that day. Having conversations around him was always risky too. If you said something he either liked or disliked, his response was usually the same, he would suddenly whip around, hair flying, stare at you intently, sometimes giving you chills, and then explain his feelings on the subject. Sometimes he would just sit down at our lunch table and start telling stories from his Navy days regardless of the conversation taking place. He especially liked telling us about his times in the Philippines (“I once at a live giant beetle because it landed on my shoulder in a bar. The guy who owned it as a pet was pissed!”).
Eventually he flunked out of the program. For the rest of the year we were sure that, one day, he would back with an arsenal to take his revenge. We also found out, much later, that he had been diagnosed with 4th stage syphilis shortly after leaving the school. So, while we did eventually have a reason behind his apparent madness, he was certainly the most bizarre person I’ve met yet.