My new therapist, Billem Thrice, has already awakened an unconscious religious conflict in me. A quick check of my hands and arms for “whacking injuries” and a blow into the breathalizer began our first session. After expressing misgivings about why I was there, he assured me it was “a normal reaction to therapy.”
He explained that it’s quite natural to repress fears of exploring deeply into the psyche. I’ll say — I sometimes sleep for sixteen hours a ‘night’, and all my covers are on the floor when I wake up. Also, I’ll buy food one day, and the next day it’s gone, and I don’t remember eating it. Anyway, I told him something’s not adding up.
He reminded me that he wanted to send a positive report to the judge. “Have you been attending Al-Anon?” Hello! Would I rather spend ninety days in a big steel cage with fifty other human animals — most of them agitated, highly aggressive males of the same gender?
He asked if I subscribed to a higher power. I thought of my subscription to Dr. Drowze’s periodical, Safe Medicine in an Unsafe World. “Frankly, we’ve got you stabilized neurologically…” he looked concerned, “we just can’t seem to get you over the hump behaviorally.”
I told “Just Be” (that’s what he told me to call him) I did, indeed, hold to a higher power: The Lord God Almighty. “Which one?” he snapped, “Old Testament or New?” I blurted out, “New!”, though I really had no idea. “What denomination?” Denomination? I just said, “Methodist”, because my parents always said that’s what we were, but I’d never thought about it. “The United Methodist Church or The Free Methodist Church?”
As quickly as I answered, he pot-fired another question and just stared at me as if expecting an immediate response. ‘Free Methodist’ sounded reasonable, so I said that. “Accent on faith or works?” he whizzed; I thought ‘faith’ sounded pretty good, so I yelled “Faith!”.
He surreptitiously peeked at a stopwatch he held under his chair. “Let’s try that again…” he gazed quizzically at it. “Something’s not right.” Then, he shrugged, tossed the watch aside, and looked back at the file on his desk.
“Anywhoo…” he studied it intently, “Where were we? Uh… any vague spiritual desires?” I told him I had some but couldn’t really say what they were. “Wait …” he scanned the file. “Oh, okay.” he murmured to himself.
“Sleep tremens, nightmares, anything like that?” I thought about this real scary dream where I’m driving at night, and I’m all over the road, and headlights flash by as cars carom to avoid me. But, as I reflected, I think it was that time I went to Taco Bell and woke up in my driveway.
“Mostly my dreams are pleasant.” I said. The only ones I remember are the kind of half-waking ones I have during the day. He said my medication seemed to be doing its job. “So… what do you think is the problem?” Hello! If I could even find my wallet and keys half the time, two big problems would be solved, and I could begin to knock out the smaller ones.
I told him I was worried about my dog, Rusty, though. He seems to sleep all the time. He looked skeptical, “Oookay… tell me about your ”dog, Rusty (he wiggled his fingers) – who sleeps all the time.” I told him about yesterday, when we fell asleep in the back yard as I was feeding him, and we both just snoozed right out on the hard stone patio for three hours — in a cold rain. “Jeezum!” he exclaimed.
I didn’t tell him how I’d fumbled with my medication and accidentally dumped a whole capsule into Rusty’s food dish and was too tired to take it out. I seem to be doing that a lot for the last whatever… I hope he’s okay. “Look, forget the dog.” he said curtly and squinted at the file.
I noticed a Ladies’ Home Girdle tucked inside it. It was open to Ask Suzie, in the Therapist’s Corner. “How often do you date?” Date? I read on Face Twerp that I’d almost picked up the girl in the drive-through window at the Taco Bell not long ago, but other than that, I couldn’t remember the last date I had. I still think I could have gotten one with her — had I been conscious.
I was on the verge of nodding off and then realized where I was, “Huh?” His pen was hovering over the magazine impatiently. “I’ll mark, ‘not very many.’ Are you able to maintain a coherent consciousness through your waking hours?” I said I was pretty sure I did, as far as I knew.
He slapped the file shut and appeared pleased. “Well… looks like you’re good to go. I guess we’ll see you next week.” I pulled out a twenty, “Twenty for a half, right?” He tossed me a half-bottle for the deuce, and I stumbled into a big potted plant, rather clumsily placed, I thought, right next to my chair. But, when I looked again, it was like fifteen feet away. “Careful, buddy!” he laughed. I aimed myself at the door and ”stepped over logs” into the hallway. Where was that stairwell?