|Luke, you have my sympathies (whether you like it or not).|
I've had a lot of experience with Fuzz Balls. ... note: That sentence doesn't sound right. ... Anyway, I've had a lot of experience with toxic, draining 'value-parasites.' I used to work at a health food store. Folks dug me. My co-worker called me a nutrition Rock-Star (because of my 'fan club'). It got to be so bad that some of the outliers 'fired' their doctors and worked with me, solely, as their ad-hoc health care professional (that's illegal, by the way).
But these outliers don't hold a candle to the truly-deranged who had signed up for a monthly or even weekly innoculation of Ed in their lives. I had this one gal who would call the store and ask for me. She'd start out talking nutrition (that was the bait and the bite). She'd move the conversation to something else ... anything else on her mind (then I'd struggle on the line). And, when she noticed that I was communicating to her that I was needed at the store for health issues, she'd bring it back to nutrition (that was the reel-in). This cycle would repeat. Like a skillful fisherman, she played me like that. She'd also come in and do it, too.
It got so bad that my manager told her to limit her visits to 45 minutes (she wasn't allowed to be in the store more than that). This just increased the phone calls. I handled the situation with her poorly, and I started to learn about the toxic, draining 'value-parasite'.
The next TD'VP' was a fellow who reminded me of Mel Gibson in the movie, Conspiracy Theory. He'd talk your ear all the way off. After a visit by him at our store, my coworkers and I joked that the U.S. should use him as a secret weapon. We had just invaded Afghanistan. If we just dropped him from a plane into the country and waited a few days ... we could march right in there with earplugs, isolate him in a sound-proof booth, and all the Afghani's would be dead on the ground, bleeding from the ears.
One day he called to talk at me. He would do that, you know -- talk at you, not with you. It was slow in the store and I was steeped into one of my books, and I heard the dreadful ring of the phone. It was Talk-meister, himself. Realizing that these folks have "boundary" issues, and that those who are truly evil only listen to one language -- force -- I interrupted him with a statement that could be characterized as being more than merely assertive:
"I'm reading my books and my books are more important to me than you are."
There was silence on the other end of the line. The kind of silence that coincides with someone picking themselves up off of the floor after you had pulled the rug out from under them -- or the kind of silence necessary for the mental gymnastics of re-interpretting something in an unjust manner so that it sits with your psyche and doesn't produce the cognitive dissonance that a literal translation would. Unfortunately, he was performing the latter feat, as evidenced by his initial studder and subsequent acceleration of diversionary talk!
At least it felt good to see him for what he is and to treat him (even if failingly) accordingly.
p.s. oh, and this really, really resonated with me, too (Amen, Brother!):
But I have noticed that scientists can sometimes be the most painfully compartmentalized irrationalists imaginable.