My reaction (having discovered that he really wants me to accept him as a gazebo and isn't just spouting song lyrics like my other friend, the Walrus) is pretty much to realize that my friend is delusional. After all, he's plainly NOT a gazebo, despite some sincere attempts at dressing himself up in lattice-work.
I may conclude that his delusion, though odd and clearly not grounded in reality, is harmless and it gives him some pleasure. So I tell him, "You go, my man! Be the best gazebo you can be!" and I pretty much don't think much about him.
This doesn't mean that I share his delusion in any way, nor that I should be obligated to. My friend's mind is a little off. I plainly see that, having noted himself that he's not really a gazebo, he's discarded the possibility that his brain is faulty, and has concluded that every cell of his body is somehow wrong instead. He is sure that instead of one part being broken, it's his entire existence.
Now, I can't fix his mind for him. For one thing, there's a whole passel of people who would make such a thing both inconvenient and impractical. They quite vocally advocate that a man can be a gazebo, or a hatrack, or a snail if he so chooses.
It is at this point that I realize that insanity can actually be taught. This being the case, discretion must be exercised by those who would remain sane. So I smile and nod and introduce him as "my friend, the... uhm... gazebo."
It still doesn't make him a gazebo.
Delusions come in all varieties. We all have a few. So if you personally think that it is I who am deluded, then it's no skin off my nose so long as you treat me with the same civility and tolerance with which I treat you, despite the fact that you can't regulate my thoughts. I'm perfectly content to be your eccentric friend.
I'm now closer to my death than my birth, so I've had a long time to form my convictions. It's unlikely I could be swayed from them by emotional outbursts. If you take offense at my thoughts, I'll merely respond with my own disappointment at your inability to tolerate so much as another person's right to their own beliefs. If it's that important to you to feel as though your delusion is shared by those around you, just pretend that I'm treating you with respect because I actually believe you're a gazebo.
|My friend, the Walrus. Goo goo g'joob.|