July 31, 2004

Scene from My Psychoanalyst's Secret Club

"His writing is reverting to "politicus-restrictus", with an overburden of "terroristias-admonishmus." You recall how we dealt with his fixation on Howard Dean by having those friends of yours from the "Internet Police" show up on his doorstep?" (Dr. W smiles and nods) "Well, that worked for a while, and he looked like he was enjoying a wide range of subjects even more, in fact talking about getting back to his book. But, now..."

Place: A small, private men's club in Laguna Beach, California. Situated behind the Zinc Cafe, it is accessible only by a secret door, and only with the correct password. In the true spirit of men's club's, the inside is discreetly lit, the walls lined with books, overstuffed chairs and hunting trophies abound, and smoking is of course allowed. The only nod to the present is that the menu leans towards sushi.

Sitting in a chair is world famous and long rumored dead psychologist and science fiction author Dr. Sven Grepenstein. Dr. Grepenstein faded from public view in the mid 1990's when he independently decoded the signals from the SETI project, and discovered that ADD was a universally normal condition. Realizing that the rising occurrence of ADD in children was really nature's cruel joke of evolution, he faked his own death, and now lives off his savings and the tutoring a few aspiring psychologists.

As Dr. Grepenstein smokes his pipe, his latest protege, young Dr. W., arrives and walks over to his chair.

Dr. G. : "Ahhh! Young Dr. W.! How are ve doing today? Please, sit down. Sit down." A server appears at their table with Dr. W.'s usual drink, a Cadillac martini.

Dr. G. : "So, young Dr. W., how do your studies go?"

Dr. W.: "Oh, Dr G.". Long sigh. "I sometimes wonder if I have chosen the right field. Making progress is so slow sometimes."

Dr. G. : Nods, "Yess, yess. The science of stealth psychology is so new and unproven, setbacks are wery common. But ve must not become discouraged. Tell me your troubles."

Dr. W.: Sips his drink. Looks thoughtfully at the head of a wildebeest. Finally, he begins. "Dr. W, it's of course my promising patient, Mr. VDL." He has proven so difficult a case."

Dr. G: Nodding, "Yesss, Yesss. Mr. V. A very interesting case. The writer who

has lost the joy of fiction, no?"

Dr. W: nods emphatically. "Oh, yes!.". Pauses, gazing into his drink. "He's had another setback. Several, in fact."

Dr. G: "Ahhh. Tell me more..."

Dr. W: "Well, it started like this. As you recall, through your excellent contacts Dr. G" (Dr. G. smiles and nods) "we arranged a bit of situation therapy for Mr. V, the trip on the boat."

Dr. G: "Ahhh, yess. Of course, I had hoped for a better setting than a rusty converted freighter filled with pear-shaped beings, bankrupt of purpose in life, but I had high hopes. I actually thought Mr. V. would see the crew and promoters as aliens, and the patrons as hapless cows...I wanted to get something better, week as Zaddam's jailkeeper perhaps, but I couldn't arrange it at ze time... but, go on".

Dr. W. :"Yes, I also. He made a valiant effort at it, but never stopped recognizing it as some sort of subtle imprisonment, and regressed to his cabin for the entire voyage. He only came out at the last day."

Dr. G: "Ohhh..." (shakes his head sadly), "Go on"

Dr. W. "Upon his return, I was very hopeful. He published a cathartic screed on his web page about the trip, which was quite humorous. I felt like we had a small breakthrough."

Dr. G: (leans forward) "Yess, yess? and then?"

Dr. W: (sighs deeply, takes another sip of his drink) "Well, then he took ill. And in the depths of his illness, he went back to where everybody knows his name and he owns his own words, to The We.. ,er, to The Bad Place .

Dr. G: (raises his eyebrows) "The Bad Place? Again? I thought he vas past that."

Dr. W: (shakes his head remorsefully)

Dr. G: (shakes his head) "The Bad Place. The place where all writers lose the urge to write. Any good in them, and talent, is slowly sapped away every time they visit." (makes a fist and shakes it) "I tell you, every time I think of that place, and that gelatinous mass of putrid protoplasm ...."

Dr. W: ( pats Dr. G's hand ) "Now, now, Dr., don't excite yourself."

Dr. G: "Yess, young Dr. W, you are right. If ve are going to be successful, ve must train people to survive even in The Bad Place. I am fine now. Go on."

Dr. W: "Well, he visited once, and unleashed a profound, but singular dose of " (pauses for a moment) "disjointus angerious postus" (Dr. G nods). "It was only one incident, and even though he says he never went there again, and never would, you could tell he was having a follow on symptom of "followup postus imaginus." He EVEN spoke about "massus-scribblus."

Dr. G. "Mmmmmm.". Pauses, and stares at the head of rhinoceros for a moment. "But, this could be an isolated event. How did ve do after the therapy? Did ve follow up?"

Dr. W: (shakes his head) "That's just it! He didn't. Somehow the dreadfulness of the voyage and The Bad Place set him back years! He saw no opportunity in the therapy at all, despite being literally inundated with comic, or at least cynical, potential. My god, if you had gotten him the week with Saddam, he would have come back complaining about the food!"

Dr. G: "Mmmm. You're right, Young Dr. W. this is very serious".

Dr. W: "But, there's more...."

Dr. G: (raises his voluminous eyebrows) "More? How could there be more?"

Dr. W: "Well, of course Dr. G, you're familiar with Patient Zero, aren't you?"

Dr. G.: (eyes open wider) "Patient Zero? You mean, of course, Patient Whiner ..., er, Patient W.? The one who has reduced writing to meaningless and annoying tirades about his boogers? Zee one who makes black holes blush at his inward reflections? ZAT Patient W?"

Dr. W: "Yes. I am afraid so."

Dr. G.: "What about him? What has it to do with our patient? He wasn't on zee boat was he?"

Dr. W.: "Goodness no. But, but" (pauses, looks down in embarrassment) "Mr. V. is starting to, well, ever so slightly, well, write like Patient W....."

Dr. G: "What?"

Dr. W. "It wasn't a big event. It was just a sentence really. It was in response to another writing..."

Dr. G: "And what was it?"

Dr. W: "He said" (pauses, swallows), ""Fish. Barrel. Bang". It was so clearly of the genre of Patient W.'s "Bing" catchphrase that I was immediately alarmed.

Dr. G: Nods. "As well you should be. Has he posted about any of his bodily excretions?"

Dr. W: (shakes his head) "No, but there have been, well, other signs"

Dr. G: "What other signs?"

Dr. W: "His writing is reverting to "politicus-restrictus", with an overburden of "terroristas-admonishmus." You recall how we dealt with his fixation on Howard Dean by having those friends of yours from the "Internet Police" show up on his doorstep?" (Dr. W smiles and nods)

"Well, that worked for a while, and he looked like he was enjoying a wide range of subjects even more, in fact talking about getting back to his book. But, now..." (shakes his head sadly)

Dr. G: (pats Dr. W's knee) "Yess, yess, young Dr. W. I know it is discouraging sometimes. But ve cannot go forward every day. Don't forget, Mr. V. was in The Bad Place for years and years, almost before you were born. That leaves an enormous empty spot in the writers' psyche, which they can only fill with vile dissent, bile, blather, spew and filth. The Bad Place, as you know, enlarges the glands in the writer's brain that produce such things."

(Dr. G. gets up, and takes a large book from the shelves. He puts it on Dr. W's lap and turns to a large full color plate. On it is a picture of a gland, with long tentacles covered with large pustulant suckers, most resembling people's faces)

"There is the gland as it is after only a few years in The Bad Place. Only through years of therapy can we shrink it to it's correct size, where it is used only for filling out income tax returns and other documents."

Dr. W: (Looks at the plate, grimaces, and finishes his drink) "But, Dr. G, what an enormous job it is!"

Dr. G. "Yess, yess it is, Young Dr. W, but you have chosen a very difficult subject. I am confident you will succeed. Mr. V. had a life in a good town, a wonderful wife, and a young boy to remind him of the joys of youth" ( Dr. G. glances at the server, who is replenishing Dr. W's drink). "I think...." (pauses for contemplation) "I think that Mr. V. will recognize his dilemma soon, and set himself anew to re-discover the joy of writing, as a creative outlet rather than an outlet for the enlarged gland."

Dr. W: (Sighs in relief) "So, you don't think all is lost"

Dr. G. "No, no, young Dr. W. I think there is still hope. Be patient with your patient."

Dr. W: "Thank you Dr. G, thank you!"

Dr. G: "Now, let us speak no more of this today. Did you catch the latest episode of the stealth documentary The 4400 last night? I am disappointed they failed to include my role negotiating their return. Let me tell you...."

Posted by Vanderleun at July 31, 2004 10:42 AM
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