Sticks and Stones

Let me tell you, real life is stranger than fiction. In all of my years in the workforce, I’ve been fascinated by the fact that there were a lot of people in serious need of “help” out there. There is a saying that truly applies to people I’ve worked with – “birds of a feather flock together.” Employee “assistance” programs are designed to allow employees to get a little help for free, as it were. Considering what psychoanalysts charge these days, it’s nothing to sneeze at. I’m proud to say that I’ve undergone my fair share of therapy sessions. Without them, I would have had to turn in my “Native New Yorker” membership card. Let’s fact it; when it comes to sheer numbers, there are more analysts on the Upper West Side of New York City than anywhere else in the world. It is something that truly sets New York apart – that, and the grand opening of Fairway.

Not that leaving the city changed the picture in any way. I operated under the delusion (and I possess many) that things would “calm down” when I moved to the country. Of course, my definition of “country” consisted of the presence of at least 5 trees per square mile. At any rate, nothing could have been further from the truth. Here I was, moving to a town with a total population of 8,000, give or take (which I believe encompassed the dog population, as well). I quickly learned that, alas, there are no geographical boundaries separating those who are in need of “help” from those who don’t. In short, you’ll find nut-jobs everywhere. If this doesn’t come as a surprise, then you’re a lot smarter than I was when I arrived here.

By now, I’ve amassed a humongous amount of hard evidence to support this claim. Trust me when I say that there are more neuroses, phobias, and syndromes than you would have ever imagined. Many will never be listed in the DSM-IV (TR), the therapist’s bible. If what you suffer from doesn’t appear in the bible, then you’re merely “eccentric.” This is often used to describe the rich and famous, but people who live in cardboard boxes and who can play the cello like a concert master might fit right in, too. Remember, “nut-case” is not listed in the DSM.

I didn’t start out wanting to help others. I started out normally enough, after all. Teething at 6 months, walking by the time I was 10 months, my first birthday part, etc. I was a cute, chubby, happy baby. Of course, it didn’t last long. I later learned (to my amazement) that I was a pretty good student, which led my parents to conclude that I would be a brain surgeon. Alas, this was not to be, so they settled for a science nerd. And boy, did I work on it. I’d volunteer to work in the high school biology lab, dissecting whatever I could get my little paws on, and putting it under the microscope. But somehow, my heart wasn’t in it. What clinched it for me was the earthworm dissection. I mean, come on! It’s an earthworm, for God’s sake! What did they expect to find in there? By the time we got to dissecting Kermit, I was out of there. I went off to college to major in biochemistry (rocket science being taken), and I proceeded to piss off my professors with my inane questions. It was enough to make me break into hives.

A word about graduate school. I found it fascinating that so many girls were enrolled in Social Work school, which mainly served to help them find a suitable husband from the Business School across the street. In fact, it would have seriously boosted the school’s enrollment if they had combined graduate school with a dating service. Why not charge students for something that they already engaged in for FREE? It made no sense to me. Students would have paid serious money for a minor in Dating, with courses like “Men are from Harvard, Women are from Yale”, “The Art and Science of Coitus”, and “Eyelid Batting 101.” The University Chapel would have had more work than they could handle. I don’t know why the Dean viewed my suggestion with such disdain. When I think back on it all, it’s a wonder that I survived school at all.

Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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