Friday, December 17, 2010

Case Study #35

Dear Dr. Brian: “I have so often been asked (by straight boys predominantly) why it is that lesbians indulge in sex toys (for the enjoyment of penetration) when they have so obviously chosen to not include the opposite sex. I have a pat answer I reply with, but I was wondering if you’d even counseled anyone in this regard.

Best to you,
The Bexx

Dearest The,

“I truly appreciate your frankness, and I am nearly vibrating with joy at the fact that you have chosen me for your consultation. I greatly relish the opportunity to discuss in detail the situation you describe, but please allow me one moment while I gather my notes on the matter. Please hold.”

Dr. Brian calmly punches a button on his phone, then viciously jabs a button on another device, one that should open a line of communication directly with his assistant, Lanae, but this did not always prove to be the case. “Lanae!”

No immediate response, but there were subtle sounds of what might be a queen bee ingesting one of her slow-ass workers who had irritated her for the final time.

“Lanae, I know you’re there. I can hear what sounds like chewing. Are you eating again? You know I don’t care for you doing that when I need your assistance.”

Now the soundtrack changed to that of a loud, laborious gulp, followed by a belch that was far from delicate. “How was I supposed to know that you were going to call me right as I was biting into a pastry? It’s from Boudreaux’s Bakery. Chocolate cherry. I was overcome, okay?”

Dr. Brian sighed. “Of course you should have expected me to ring. You just sent me a very direct and graphic woman without any warning. We have discussed this. I was completely caught off guard, nearly spilling my carefully-prepared chicory coffee when she launched into some mess about vaginal penetration. I need to know if something like that is on the horizon.”

Lanae audibly sucked at her teeth, not willing to miss a single gram of sugared decadence. “I didn’t know that she was one of those. She didn’t seem like it to me. To be fair, I was already licking the wax paper I had unwrapped off my pastry, but I do believe I still would have caught a phrase like that. She must be one of those stealth lesbians that are all sweet until they get in the door.”

“So you knew she was a lesbian? You could have at least mentioned that to me. One has to be very careful these days about word-slippage. You didn’t ask her what lesbian issues she might have?”

Now Lanae sighed. “Dr. Brian, I’m not a lesbian. How would I even know what questions to ask? Is there a brochure? You’re the doctor.”

“There’s absolutely no reason to be snippy.”

Lanae, empowered by the violent amounts of sugar now racing through her bloodstream, begged to differ. “I’m not the one getting all heated and bothering people just as they are contemplating a cherry, something this girl hasn’t known intimately for forty years. Besides, I’m fairly certain you can handle this. After all, I’m not the one who was arrested for nudity and possible bestiality in Paris. Shall we talk about that?”

Dr. Brian did not have an immediate response at hand.

“Thought so. I believe I have won this round. Now, I’m going to try eating another pastry without interruption, and you can go determine how you can assist Miss Penetration. We have bills that need to be paid.”


Dr. Brian sighed once more, then punched at the hold button on his phone. “Miss Bexx?”

Now a third person was sighing, indicating general dissatisfaction for all. “Doctor, I don’t care for that ‘Miss’ title. It’s offensive on two levels, underscoring the fact that I remain unmarried and am therefore unworthy, which is crap, and further irritates me since lesbians cannot get married in most places. It’s belittling. I’m sure you understand.”

“What term or appellation would you prefer?”

“Well, I’m known as ‘Sheba’ in certain circles, for reasons that probably won’t interest you, and for a time I was known as ‘Ovaria’ when I stupidly joined that cult, and one of my exes came up with a few choice labels, post-breakup, that were supposed to be derogatory, but I actually found rather amusing and started using them as screen names. I go by many titles, Dr. Brian, but I suppose for today you can simply address me as ‘Goddess’. Unless you must refrain for spiritual or religious reasons.”

Dr. Brian responded immediately. “I shall be delighted to refer to you as a goddess.”

“Great. That pleases me. Perhaps I’ll pay the bill for your services after all. Now, let’s get back to my original question. This plane will be taking off shortly, and this political grand-standing can be tiresome at the wrong moments. This is one of them.”

Dr. Brian was mystified. “You’re at the airport? On a plane?”

“Lesbians are still allowed to fly, Dr. Brian. Except in certain backwoods countries, where folks fully expect God or Allah or Glenn Beck to smack the plane down if the muff divers get on board.”

Dr. Brian was now intrigued. “So the people around you can hear everything you’re saying?”

“They could hear me, until they all asked to be relocated after I started talking to you. Even the flight attendant won’t come near me, but eventually she won’t have a choice. I’m using her abandoned beverage cart to chill my vodka, and these people are going to get thirsty at some point. Now, once again, let’s get back to my original question.”

“Why is it that straight people are so mystified with lesbians who use lusty equipment to plunge, prod and find Jesus?”

Bexx guffawed. “Very good, Doctor. We’re approaching the same level. Carry on.”

“Well, this does remind me of a story-”

“I’m not interested in fairy tales. Some bitch loses a shoe and gets to marry a prince? Not in my book.”

“I think you’ll like this one. It’s served me well in the past.”

“I don’t know.” (Sudden sounds of a garbled public announcement being broadcast through the plane.) “Well, damn,” uttered Bexx.

“Flight delay?” asked Dr. Brian.

“Well, not really. Sort of. Apparently they have an issue with odd sounds coming from a set of luggage. Probably mine.”


“Yeah. Who else on this plane would have a set of designer Martina Navratilova luggage, with the tennis racket zipper pulls? It’s not like this plane is going to Palm Springs.” (More sighing.) “I hope I‘m not gonna get arrested again. I’ll have to call you back. Don’t go anywhere.”


Dr. Brian stabbed at the intercom again. “Lanae, do we still have that Merlot that Madonna sent us after the incident in Malawi?”

Lanae, not consuming anything at the moment, responded instantly. “One bottle or two?”

“Everything we’ve got.”

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series…

Friday, October 15, 2010

Case Study #34

Dear Dr. Brian,

What is pea salad?

Thank you,


Dearest Soara,

What a pleasant surprise it was to open my emails this morning and find one written by your fine and knowledgeable hand. It was a thrilling moment for me, more than compensating for the tasteless, stale bagel that my assistant, Lanae, apparently dug out of the trash and then slapped on a tray with my coffee. (I really don’t know why she actually believes that she can get away with such deception. My taste buds are far too finely-tuned to tolerate nefarious plots of a gastronomical nature.)

But back to my joy, which is where all things should eventually go. My eyes lit up when I noticed your submission in my inbox. My teeth shone brightly as I smiled with euphoria while clicking to open your missive. I asked Lanae, that miscreant tasked with providing me with bits of nourishment and failing miserably in her duties, to find something classical to play over the office sound system so that I could fully revel in the literary delights to be found in your correspondence.

Then my ancient computer stopped whirring and your words were displayed.

Are you serious with this? “What is pea salad?” How could someone of your stature even ask such a thing?

Now, if anyone of lesser mental capabilities had posed such a query, I would have politely explained a few things, fully aware that there are a few unfortunate souls out there, running about in the primordial ooze without any knowledge that this delicacy exists. Pea salad, when created in a professional and expert fashion, is one of the finer things in life, far more satisfying and fulfilling that 9 out of any 10 positions recommended in the Kama Sutra. I am no longer on speaking terms with certain prior acquaintances who failed to understand the importance of a well-made pea salad.

Of course, on the reverse side, it is possible to create a pea salad of such hellish awfulness that one taste of said wickedness can cause a person to snap irretrievably, thus spending the rest of their life in a state-run facility where the staff is never allowed to bring anything green into your padded room. It’s my understanding that until just recently, in some of the more far-flung British colonies, it was perfectly legal to stone a person to death for creating an unsavory pea salad. I can’t say that I entirely disagree with this edict. Some punishments truly do fit the crime.

But let’s shove all that aside, shall we? Because it’s quite clear to me that you don’t care one whit about pea salad minutiae. Despite my surprise that you would bow to doing such, you are actually exhibiting signs of literary avoidance, wherein you mask what you really wish to express in unrelated gibberish, and then you expect me to surmise what it is you are actually trying to convey. It’s almost as if we were married, speaking this language of bait and switch. Last I checked, however, we were not betrothed, despite having spent that very platonic vacation in the south of France where we made our own wine and sunbathed topless.

So let’s get at the heart of the matter. There is something troubling your psyche, but, for whatever reason, you are unable to actually type out your dilemma. This is mid-range avoidance behavior, and we should treat that eventually, but let’s deal with one neurological disaster at a time. If we fix all of you in one or two settings, then I don’t make as much money. We don’t want that, because it makes me cranky when I can’t buy whatever I want, and then everybody suffers. So I’m going to stretch out your treatments until at least the new hot tub is paid for. I’m sure you understand.

Now, as we both are fully recognized by several major intellectual societies, it doesn’t seem possible that you could live with yourself if you didn’t try to give me sly clues to your actual psychotic infarction, burying the hints in your otherwise benign query. Perhaps an anagram or two? Let’s look at this afresh.

“What is pea salad?”

Well, then, anagrams we apparently have. The first is obvious, with “pea” actually being “ape”. (That was almost too simple, since any psychotherapist worth his Mercedes will tell you that most people generalize things in a primate-based fashion.) And following the theorems of the very popular “shared memory” conception of evolution, everything always goes back to the apes. Unless you’re a Fundamentalist Christian. Those folks don’t want anything to do with apes and will change textbooks to ensure there is no association, despite group photos of their family reunions which clearly indicate that somebody in the not-so-distant past swung from a tree or two.

The next word, “salad”, stumped me a bit. I couldn’t rearrange the letters to my satisfaction, until Lanae wandered into my office, wearing a horrid poncho, complete with tassels, for some absurd reason. (Probably as vengeance, hoping to offend me after I snapped at her for serving bread products that had seen better days.) The ugly, dangling tassels triggered a buried experience of my own, and I remembered that I could speak ancient Tibetan. (Long story. Suffice it to say that there was a very extended layover at a small Himalayan airport, and I found a discarded pamphlet in an otherwise dull public restroom, with the leaflet advertising a special society that dressed as Yeti’s and drank locally-distilled vodka. It went from there.)

In any case, the ancient Tibetan word for “fear” is “lada”. Salad = “lada” + “s” = fears.

Soara, my dear, you have Ape Fears.

This is really not all that uncommon of an ailment, although we no longer have near as many cases as we did back in the day, before cable TV, when people just naturally assumed that apes could be found around every corner, along with witches, Communists and divorce lawyers. It was understandable that people at that time would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming about one or more of those creatures, irritating everyone else in the house who had the decency to be emotionally stable.

Now we know, of course, that there is little to fear. Outside of public zoos, strip clubs, and frat houses, your chance of wandering upon an actual ape is very minimal. For the most part, you should be fine, as long as you are wise about not making destination choices whilst under the influence of alcohol. Besides, the apes really don’t want anything to do with humans. They think we smell too clean and over-processed. But the apes are a very tolerant people, and are happy to leave the humans to themselves, with their cell phones and anxiety medication.

However, if it will help you sleep better, we should arrange for more intensive therapy, in case you do happen to find yourself in a strip club with fraternity brothers. It just so happens that the Fort Worth Zoo is hosting their annual Halloween “Boo at the Zoo” event, wherein youngsters run about and try to entice the bored creatures in their secure cages. I can arrange for some quality time in the Primate Hut interior, specifically with a gentle soul know as Vlad. You’ll be fine. But a word of caution: Please don’t compare Rush Limbaugh to a raging ape whilst in the Hut. They really don’t care for that.

Oh, and you’ll need to wear a costume to gain admission. Based on your deceptive email, you seem quite adept at disguises, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Please speak with Lanae at the front desk for ticket-procuring and bill-paying arrangements.

Enjoy your day,

Dr. Brian

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Case Study #33

Dear Dr. Brian,

I know you are very busy and are working with people who are much more disturbed than I am, but I was hoping you could find the time to help me with something I find troubling. My co-workers insist on calling me “Eeyore” all the time, and I don’t know why. I try not to let it bother me, but it does, and I cry a lot when they aren’t looking. I don’t like to cry because it makes me puffy. Please help.

Confused and sad,

Swisstine Chapel

Dripping Springs, TX

Dear Person, Place or Thing,

I must say that I myself am confused, not about your apparently painful nickname, we’ll get to that in a minute, but by the manner in which you closed your email. Are you living in an apparent place of worship, or is “Swisstine Chapel” your actual name? If you have indeed gone through life with such an architectural appellation, I suspect that you have always had identity issues and that your current co-workers are not entirely responsible for your hidden tears.

Nevertheless, I shall try to assist, despite my relative ignorance of your individual circumstances. Since you are a new patient, and the records indicate that you have only made one payment, I can only make a minimal diagnosis at this time. (Translation: I am not yet monetarily invested in your troubled psyche. Once the payments become regular, we will grow much closer and I may start to actually have measurable interest in your well-being.)

Since we’re on the financial angle, I should also point out that you made that first payment using a personal check. While this is indeed a perfectly legal transaction, I should mention that Lanae, my personal assistant and office manager, does not really care for personal checks. Such things require that she fill out deposit slips, and Lanae greatly abhors doing so. (Suffice it to say there was a past relationship with a banking employee that went terribly awry, and restraining orders became necessary.)

Lanae much prefers sliding a bit of plastic across a scanner and then handing it back to you, transaction complete, no running about with zippered bags of checks and then standing in line at those horrid financial institutions where they charge you outrageous fees for things like actually speaking to a teller or using a pen that is not your own. So if you have any intention of developing a healthy relationship with Lanae, I’d suggest you leave the checkbook at home, even if you find the Garfield-themed checks to be greatly amusing. After all, Lanae controls the donut supply, and that’s the real source of power in this establishment.

Back to your missive, where you have been branded, so to speak, with an animal-like moniker due to unexplained actions and/or crimes. Since I am not privy to what you may or may not have done to incite these people to an agitated level of name-calling, I can only make my diagnosis based on the name itself, “Eeyore”, and the visions that fill my complex head upon reading this word.

If memory serves, Eeyore was a character in those Winnie the Pooh books of childhood. I should caution you that I did make a valiant attempt as a child to usurp at least minimal pleasure from the series, as many of my acquaintances at the time were in rapturous swoons over the volumes. I forced myself to read them all, dissatisfied and disturbed the entire time, and once I finished the final chapter I tossed the entire lot into the incinerator, much to the chagrin of one of my sisters (I forget which, there were so many of them and they stupidly chose to dress alike) who had been waiting patiently her own turn with Winnie. I calmly explained to her that the exercise would be pointless, but she cried anyway and reported me to the parental authorities.

But I do believe I still retain the basic details concerning the adventures of Winnie and Eeyore and all the other whimsical characters that inhabited Hundred Canker Wood, or whatever they called that bit of forest where animals could talk and have over-inflated issues that could be resolved with simply saying things that rhymed. Perhaps I should briefly review my memories, searching for clues that may assist in my educated evaluation of why people may choose to taunt you in such a mystifying manner.

There was that Winnie creature, with his insatiable lust for fresh honey leading to predicaments of one nature or another, usually requiring intervention from others who had been less careless. I remember being very disturbed that, at least according to the illustrations, Winnie apparently had no need for pants or undergarments. He did have a shirt, but that was simply not enough coverage in my mind and the damage was done.

We had a tiger character, who was clearly manic-depressive, probably because his parents had been so disinterested in his birth that when it came time to select a name for their offspring, they simply took the name of their species, threw in an extra “g”, and called it good. Thus they created a monster who would do anything to garner attention in social situations, mistaking the applause as a misconstrued replacement for the love he never got as a child.

Of course, this Tigger animal had an annoying habit of bouncing about on his tail. I failed to see the slightest appeal in this ability, but scores of other children marveled at this means of transport and strove to duplicate the action. Needless to say, emergency room visits were soon necessary, with howling youngsters bent over examining tables whilst anxious parents and increasingly-disgruntled doctors milled about the exposed tender buttocks, stitching up the damage and offering rewards of ice cream if the little urchin would just stop screaming.

There was the pint-sized character, a smidge of an animal that went by the name of Figlet or Wiglet, some such. I don’t recall his particular skill set, other than the ability to wear a striped shirt all the time. I have a vague memory that Giblet was getting lost all the time, or perhaps facing life-threatening situations that were the direct result of his clothing choices and his tiny stature. (Although the same could probably be said of Paula Abdul, I’m sure.)

And the human boy, what was his name? Christopher Robin? Did the illustrator really intend for him to look like a young drag queen? At least they bothered to cover his nether region with clothing, but was it necessary that they do so with what looked like training pants? The little buckled shoes, the clutching of pretty balloons, the incessant need to lead parades of singing animals all over the forest paths. This boy was just not destined for a heterosexual lifestyle.

There were other animals, to be sure, but I just glanced at the clock and realized that it’s almost time for my monthly wax-and-rip at Keiko’s House of Slickness. Therefore, let’s move right along to your specific character, that of Eeyore. As expected, most people who view this donkey for the first time are alarmed by the fact that his tail has been nailed on to his hindquarters. It doesn’t seem possible that this could have been a pleasurable experience.

However, I’m assuming that this bit of business does not apply to your particular situation, Swisstine. I’m surmising that you do not have any appendages that have been nailed back on, or you would have mentioned this in your submission. Because if you DID have broken body parts that have been repurposed, then surely you would have the wherewithal to figure out the “Eeyore” angle, even if you do work for a mega-corporation that strives to numb its employees with repetitive, menial tasks that slowly drain your life force down to a dried husk of nothingness.

Of course, it’s possible that you may have really large ears, but one would think the go-to Disney character for that condition would be Dumbo. I’m also going to assume that you don’t wear pink bows in your tail, since pink is not your color and you most likely don’t have a tail. Now, there is the possibility that you shamble when you walk, moving lethargically and waiting for devastation and destruction to befall you.


In fact, I believe I’ve finally hit the mark here, despite my basic unconcern and general disdain for spending any quality time with a patient until their fees have paid for at least one piece of furniture in my tastefully-appointed abode. It’s not your physical structure, per se, that has resulted in workplace heathens taunting you with derogatory slurs. It is actually, I’m afraid, your demeanor and attitude that the world is a dark place and there will never be light in your life again.

Despite the highly-probable statistic that your global assessment is spot on, you really can’t let this affect your daily functioning. Your co-workers have not yet reached the point where they simply assume that anything that happens in their lives is a sure sign of the apocalypse. They don’t need to watch as your sour expressions turn your face into a mask of despair and angst, or to come back from break and find you writhing on the floor because one page of your job aid has a smudge on it and now you have to print the whole damn thing all over again.

With all due respect, Swisstine, you really need to relax. Try not to spend your time looking for the one tiny thread of something that might possibly go wrong, and then raising that thread high and wailing for redemption and savior. Yes, the world might end tomorrow. Let’s worry about it then, shall we?

If all else fails, somewhere in the office I have a gross of bull tranquilizers left over from our ill-advised attempt to provide group counseling to some agitated cattle at the Forth Worth Stockyards demanding that bowls of green M&M’s be placed in each stall. I’m sure Lanae, who has a special fondness for beastly creatures, knows where the shots are located and can provide them to you. For a small fee, of course.

And if you happen to run into that Christopher Robin in the future, tell him to butch it up, will you? Thanks.

Best of luck,

Dr. Brian

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Case Study #32

Dear fervent followers of this online repository for the treatment of the twisted and needy,

I must once again convey my utter dismay at what would seem to be my lack of interest in keeping you breathlessly updated with the goings on at our fine medical establishment. It appears that it has been over a month since my last submission, which would normally send any reader into a tizzy requiring medicinal assistance, but in my defense I must posit a few delimiting factors.

Firstly, as many of you are aware and have kindly sent sympathy cards concerning, there is still this tawdry mess surrounding my ongoing legal situation in Paris. Things there have become entirely complicated, especially since the goat has chosen to go with a new legal team, headed by the illustrious but slightly vicious Lisa Wines who will stop at nothing to ensure her clients receive daily treats of the gourmet variety, lots of grass to run about on, and healthy retirement funds. We are working with Miss Wines, and shall keep you posted, gag orders permitting.

Secondly, I have been stewing over a patient submission that has caused me some alarm, mainly in the fretting about how to properly respond. You see, as most of my patients realize, when I respond to the critical needs of my acolytes, I generally heap generous amounts of lightness and folly on my words, thereby allowing the bitterness of my actual advice to be less unpleasant. However, I occasionally receive emails wherein it’s not clear if the sender is “in on the game”, so to speak. This latest missive falls into that category.

As you can see by the sad tale presented below, this person has been suffering miserably, encountering maltreatment, disregard, and, worst of all, non-validation. It is quite daunting. Only toward the end is there a bit of fun, but by then my tears were many. How, exactly, does one respond to this without causing further harm and the lessening of kinship among the family of man? Quite a quandary.

So I kept pushing the email aside, procrastinating with practiced ease, until my faithful assistant, Lanae, grew tired of having to dust around the neglected printout whilst she tidied my office nightly. Snatching up the paper, she thrust it into my startled face, and proffered her ultimatum: “Answer this, NOW, or I will never bring sushi into this office again!”

I trembled in fear, and then booted up my netbook.

Herewith, the original submission:


Dr. Brian,

I feel a little strange writing to you about a problem that is actually
true and I'm not trying to be funny. But I could see where it might seem
funny to other people. Here goes:

I retired from the Postal Service about 8 months ago, after working there for 24 1/2 years. During that time I got a work related injury which causes the post office to treat you worse and try to make you quit or wish you were dead. But no matter what they did to me or where they sent me, I'd always end up back up with the position and the supervisor I'd begun with (who by the way always seemed to hate me but I'm not sure why.) This was not my choice by the way.

Well, to get to the point--when it came time to retire I was working two different positions at two different post offices (1/2 day at each place) and one of the places was the position with the supervisor who didn't like me. On my last day with the good old U.S.P.S., neither place gave me a retirement party. Even the stupid little plaque everybody has given to them by the postmaster on their last day--my evil supervisor MAILED to me, instead of having the postmaster give it to me. They had a big party for another lady that retired on the same day, but didn't include me in on it. Some people signed a card and one lady bought me a little gift. That was it. I was pissed but I tried to put it behind me because well I didn't have to go back there any more and that was worth it. Right?

Well recently I've started having bad dreams about the whole thing. Weird things happen in these dreams. Last night the evil supervisor finds out I'm upset about the lack of a retirement party, and buys everyone at the workplace Happy Meals and says this is my party. I tried to eat the hamburger in the dream but it made me feel sick and I couldn't finish it. I left feeling just as bad about the whole thing as I ever had.

What do you suggest I do to get over this? It's not the party 'per se' I'm mad about, it's the obvious slap in the face...

Hatin' the P.O.


And thusly, my response, because the thought of never receiving hand-carried sushi again is something that I just can’t live with:

Dear Hatin’,

Well, now. After careful analysis, I feel I must get right to the point. It seems that the reason you have endured such outrageous behavior on the part of your former co-workers and management staff is simply this: You are actually the last surviving member of the royal family of Crustalina, a tiny but immensely wealthy nation where there is lots of sunshine and everyone keeps their yards very tidy.

Due to a murky political situation that took place many years ago, you were sent to live in obscurity until those responsible for the murkiness could be located and deported, making the streets safe once again. For your own safety, you were not informed of your illustrious lineage. However, word eventually got out, as it always does, resulting in the abusive and neglectful actions on the part of your fellow postal people: They were simply insanely jealous of the fact that you would one day get to wear diamond-drenched crowns and participate in festive pageants where people get to toss fruit about.

Now, I’m sure you are tempted to look askance at my interpretation of your plight, which is quite understandable, so let me show you in greater detail how I came to this conclusion. We shall closely examine your own words, and I will then translate.

after working there for 24 1/2 years”

This time frame, believe it or not, is an exact duration referred to in your exile papers from long ago. It seems that you must toil this length of time in an atrocious working environment, so that you can better understand the plight of the common people. This was one of the demands of the “murky people”. (They also fought to have your diet consist solely of papayas, but this requirement was tossed aside as simply preposterous and boring.)

I got a work related injury which causes the post office to treat you worse and try to make you quit or wish you were dead.”

This was another conditional demand from the murky people. How could you, as supreme ruler of the entire land, understand the proper way to build charitable hospitals if you had never lived in one, however briefly, and had to consume tasteless, institutional pudding while people prodded you with things? Ergo, the physical trauma and endless hours of boredom while various body parts were urged to recover.

This was not my choice by the way.”

Of course it wasn’t, this much is clear. The murky people are just mean and demanding. There’s no getting around it.

neither place gave me a retirement party.”

How could they even begin to dream of coming up with an adequate celebration, knowing that you would soon be in your palace, where even a simple event like afternoon tea would greatly outshine any festivities your close-minded heathen co-workers could plan? So instead, they all went bowling, where you have to shove your feet in shoes where so many other feet have been, making you uncomfortable with this unsanitary thought regardless of the beer intake.

Even the stupid little plaque.”

It IS a stupid little plaque. You have statues in your honor back in Crustalina. A measly wooden board pales in comparison.

one lady bought me a little gift”

This person is actually in the employ of the government you will soon rule, having been sent into exile with you to keep an eye on things. The gift was a subtle acknowledgement of your royalty. Be sure to reward this person with land and livestock when you return home.

Weird things happen in these dreams.”

This is why I have a thriving medical practice. If people didn’t have odd nocturnal visitations, half my clients would be well-adjusted and not sending me monthly checks.

I tried to eat the hamburger in the dream but it made me feel sick”

It’s because the people of Crustalina are vegetarians. (Okay, there’s some seafood consumed from time to time, as such things can’t be avoided when you live in an island nation, but all the travel brochures say “meatless”, so we’ll go with that.)

the obvious slap in the face”

Trouble yourself notly about the slappage. All of your travails are about to become pointless, as there will soon be a knock on the door, and a royal page will present you with a proclamation that all stipulations of your exile have been met, and the people of Crustalina are lining the streets, awaiting your glorious return.

Until then, comfort yourself with this: Once back on the throne, with all the resources of the land at your disposal, you can then exact revenge on those who chose to act unkindly in your past. After all, with a quarter century spent in the postal service, I’m sure you can deliver just the right package to settle the score…


Dr. Brian

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Case Study #31

Dear Dr. Brian,

If people from Boston are called Bostonians, and those from San Francisco are called San Franciscans, what are the ones from Dallas called? Dallasinians?

Your friend,


Dear Larua,

No, that is not a typo with your name. I must confess that it was originally so, but after carefully analyzing your submission, I feel that a minimal adjustment in the spelling of your name could prove beneficial. It is now a distinctive name, it will advance you slightly in those irritating lists where people are alphabetized, and it’s more fun to type. (Try it on your keyboard.) Therefore, as your physician, I am advising that you change your name immediately. I’ll have Lanae send the legal forms shortly.

Now, to more firmly address your query, it is important that we minutely analyze each element of your email. Even a small alteration in grammar, spelling or wording can change things in an astonishing manner. (To continue my previous thread, an online posting about someone named “Laura” could prove somewhat entertaining, while a posting with a free spirit named “Larua” becomes an instant bookmark, with its tantalizing possible details about tropical islands, or rock groups with fervent groupies, the kind who enjoy flinging their undergarments during concerts and living in communes where everyone helps make real butter.)

So, I must keep an open mind concerning the manner in which I can assist you. An initial observation would be that you have a geographical fixation of some kind. (This is a very real malady, with people over-using Google Earth , especially that “zoom in” feature, resulting in nightmares where troubled souls envision themselves slamming into the planet, suffering uncomfortable body realignments as country and city names whiz by them in a terrifying blur.)

Sadly, because EarthSlamPhobia was mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey show, it has become very popular of late, and some trendy physicians are quick to misdiagnose patients who are actually suffering from something that has not been publicized on talk shows that will be ending in 2011. In a related trend, there is a misperception among the populace that the cure for EarthSlamPhobia is an Intervention.

I’m sure you’ve heard of these ghastly things, where friends and family trick you into attending a dinner party or an outing to the zoo, and then they all gang up on you, demanding that you stop doing something that they don’t care for. These things never work, not only because you instantly hate them for their pushiness and subterfuge, but because your friends and family are not trained specialists. If they were, they would be appearing on TV, not sitting on your couch and bellowing self-help quotes from some odd website they found when Facebook was down and they were bored.

And really, all these platitudes along the lines of “We love you and we are here for you.” What is THAT? Seriously. If they are there for you, then they should have been around when you first mistakenly assumed that Percocet was an antihistamine, discovered that taking the cute little pills made things pretty and you no longer cared about troublesome facets of your life like relatives who intervene, and then began selling household appliances to insure that you kept not caring.

Anyway, I do believe I can eliminate the possibility of you having a geographical neuroses, simply by reviewing the cities you mentioned in your submission. You have listed both coasts, as well as a city smack in the middle of the country. This means you do not discriminate, which is a fine thing in itself, but also eliminates you from qualifying for any of the Mapsco family of maladies. People who suffer from such tend to focus on specific regions, like southern towns where folks speak with too many vowels or Colorado resorts where caretakers snap in the winter and get abusive with axes.

No, your particular diagnosis lies elsewhere. Yet still, my extensive training in the world of the mind and the many ways in which the brain can twist off into surprising roads of discovery leads me to believe that there is something behind the names of the cities you selected. Let’s go there, even if it proves fruitless, and I end up charging you for another session. (Somebody has to pay for the new linoleum in the remodeled break room in our suite of offices.) To wit, your cities:

Boston. Have you ever been there? It’s quite surprising. My first exposure to one of our founding cities occurred in the month of July. Such a time of year is excruciating in the place where I currently live, a little burgh by the name of Dallas. The word “steamy” does not even approach reality, with sweat getting into crevices you never knew you had. Things melt, and tempers flare. (You NEVER want to question the roadway decisions of your fellow citizens. This can result in rude gestures and the use of concealed handguns.)

But I never imagined that Boston could have the same July climate. It’s so far north, I just assumed that the igloos did not melt. Yet indeed they do, with a vengeance that is startling. I was quite amazed to learn that the fresh seafood in the fish market would grill itself as you stood there and perused the options.

And this thing with the pennies on the graves in that one cemetery. I tried to read the historical marker that explained the copper abundance, but I couldn’t keep the sweat out of my eyes long enough to learn the tale. Complicating all this was the horde of belligerent tourists who did not appreciate my non-movement and blindness. They were hurling pennies like The Rapture was around the corner.

But around that corner was the Parker House Hotel, where they make those rolls that apparently cause certain people to change their entire way of life so that they can consume these things on a regular basis. I failed to see what the fuss was all about, mainly because said hotel was very pricey and I couldn’t even afford the appetizers, let alone an entrée featuring the famous bread. Northerners apparently make more money than Southerners. Didn’t we end that pesky war? Poor Scarlet, she rolled around in that turnip field, getting mud on her couture and vowing never to be hungry again, but I’m assuming she wasn’t clutching a menu from the Parker House Hotel.

Finally, did they ever end that mess with the Big Dig? The massive roadwork project where they were building an underground tunnel to China or some such? I understand the need to garner support for the usage of tax-payer dollars. But really, the billboards and the campaign buttons? It’s a road, not the Stairway to Heaven. Especially if you’re just a visitor trying to find the North Church without getting re-routed to Detroit. And it’s a little unsettling to realize that the earth is being moved under my feet.

Speaking of, let’s move on to San Francisco, where I understand that you’ve spent some time whilst trying to keep your sanity and a firm grip on the things that are really important. Therefore, I really shouldn’t pontificate too much and risk corrective commentary, other than to share a formative experience I had whilst a youngster still finding my way.

In the mid-70’s, my mother and her best friend dragged their four collective offspring to this city by the bay. I was much too young to fully comprehend all that we saw, but I do recall seeing men holding hands, and homegrown newspapers seeking rights for people who just wanted to love as they wished. I was in awe, feeling tiny tendrils of validation for my burgeoning awareness of who I might be, but still scared. The rest of the country did not share this vision, or so it seemed to my naïve young mind. Soon I would be back in a land of closed minds and pain. But briefly, I yearned. Hope springs eternal.

Okay, I do recall a few other things. The hills, of course, because how could you miss THOSE? The trolley cars, which are enjoyable until someone’s posterior is shoved in your face while they are pointing out Coit Tower. Or some stranger requests that you take photos of them and their unruly brood as the Gap-clad little hellions swing on poles and wave. I don’t WANT to take pictures of other people. If I did, I would have gone to a different school, training to be a clerk at the DMV or perhaps a processing agent at the police station.

Oh, and the exquisite chocolate from that Italian-sounding place, and all of that business with the Wharf. The rows of houses, with the character of another time, standing proudly after so many years, despite the Starbucks on the corner and everyone muttering into little handheld things of metal and glass. And the people. The wild mix of people.

And finally, we have Dallas on your short list of proper names for residents. There are many ways I could go with my commentary on the local inhabitants. But really, this should be saved for another time. The nexus is you, and how I can assist. Despite my rhetoric, despite my fun with snarkiness and twisted interpretations, there are times when all this falls by the wayside, and you get real.

Searching for an answer that actually means something, I did let a bit of the whimsy back in. The first letter of your three cities is B-S-D. But I’m going to assume that you put a challenge in there, and that I should reverse the order. D-S-B. I only know of your personal situation peripherally, limited detail, but I hope this helps with your journey. DSB = Don’t Stop Believing. Don’t. In whatever your belief and hopes may be.

Best of luck, Laura, spelled correctly, and there really won’t be any paperwork in the mail about the name change. Unless my assistant Lanae has been especially productive, though I seriously doubt that she has. I’ve been waiting for her to change the paper in the copy machine since 1987.

As for the rest of you fine folks, who are used to sarcasm until the end, it’s not going to happen this time. A rare moment of heart, and some time to reflect. Think of the people you love. Tell them that. Again and again. And then maybe one more time. Then go take a walk, somewhere quiet where you can prioritize and breathe. Well, maybe skip the walking bit for now, considering the heat out there and the potential for sweaty crevices. But keep the breathing. And the realization of what’s really important…

Peace In,

Dr. Brian

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Case Study #30

Dear Dr. Brian,

How does one begin the “excessive nose hair” conversation with one’s new boyfriend?




Dear Perp,

First, I’d like to extend to you my deepest sympathies, for even though you may still be in the exciting throes of the first tender days of newfound love, the relationship is clearly over.

No amount of counseling or careful review of women’s magazines can overcome the atrocity of a partner who does not trim adequately. Eventually, you will not be able to leave the house, and the mere sight of him can cause histrionic screaming. Save yourself the time and effort, and make preparations to move on.

Perhaps you may find this assessment to be a bit harsh, overly reactionary and such, possibly even flippant and callous about the level of affection you have for your partner. Sadly, love does not overcome all, despite the many Hallmark movies that vainly try to prove otherwise. And love certainly does not, in the end, overcome a man who could put your eye out during a passionate embrace.

Yes, poor woman, this is not only a matter of unattractive and mortifying nasal protuberances. It is also a matter of personal safety. You could be severely injured at any time, despite the resourcefulness of precautionary measures you may take. You can only persevere for so long. At some point you will have to remove the protective body gear, and your delicate skin will be at tremendous risk.

In theory, of course, if your love for this man is deep enough, the two of you could agree to a romantic arrangement that is devoid of any physical intimacy. You could care for one another from afar, as it were. Perhaps you can reside in opposite ends of the house, with a glass wall firmly separating you from Edward Scissornose. For some playful excitement, you can pretend that one of you has been incarcerated for an unmentionable crime, and proceed to express your physical lust by pawing at one another through the impersonal glass.

I must caution you, though, that this glass must be at least 6 inches thick. Those hairs are incredibly sharp, and can cut through almost all natural and manmade materials, especially the wiry hairs that twist and turn for no apparent reason. You must remain vigilant at all times.

And really, would this be any way to live, having to avoid one another at all costs? This type of distance is usually reserved for the later years in a relationship, where you have grown to hate the sight of each other, both of you reduced to using the children and your credit cards to inflict emotional wounds on each other.

You owe it to yourself to fully enjoy the traditional first years of a partnership, when you actually enjoy being around your supposed soul mate before you finally learn everything there is to know about him, and realize he has very few redeeming qualities and that you were clearly blind in the days of wine and roses.

Now, having rattled on about all that, I suppose it’s only fair that I mention one alternate scenario which should be considered. After all, I do have some personal experience to add to this unfortunate mix. Normally, I refrain from sharing intimate details of my own life, unless required to do so by law or enabled by the over-imbibing of alcoholic spirits.

You see, I am also the victim of misbehaving and stealthy nose hairs. There is a degree of shame with this pronouncement, but I can sense that you are very troubled by your current dilemma. (One sign of your pain is the sentence you scrawled on the back of this letter, in Rustic Kumquat nail polish, which reads “I have dreams of porcupines and darkness.”)

However, despite my own body rebelling against me by producing hairs where hairs shouldn’t be, I am one of the 3% of people with this condition who has actually tried to do something about it. (The remaining 97% do nothing and don’t seem to care. Such behavior also explains other troubling human conditions, like politicians getting elected despite obvious mental issues, and medical practitioners who charge $600 to take your blood pressure.)

But my journey to personal body-hair salvation has been long, and the battle never ends. (In my youth and preliminary professional days, I did not have this problem. Then again, we never have physical problems when we are young. Everyone is beautiful and flexible, lulling us into a false sense of invincibility, a sense that is shattered as we age and things start to malfunction. This is why everyone over 40 is bitter.)

I have tried an endless number of hygiene products and devices through the years. And I have done so with fierce determination. I have shaved and plucked and scoured, trying various chemical concoctions and applying poultices, pillaging the Internet for any mechanical contraption that might offer even minimal release from my private hell.

Alas, I am always disappointed. I can get my nasal canals polished to a shine, devoid of any hint of growth. Two hours later, a hair will spring out of nowhere, stabbing downward with an audible click of spite and meanness. And this will usually happen in an awkward social situation, such as a dinner party, the least beneficial time for a sudden hair appearance, because I don’t have any of my tools with me and therefore any reparative actions are compromised.

I usually end up huddled in someone’s half-bath, surrounded by hideous wallpaper and those annoying hand towels that you can’t really use, yanking at the elusive demon hair in a frenzy of search and destroy. This, of course, is not a pleasant action, and I must lie to my colleagues and explain that my screams were the result of passing a kidney stone. On a social scale, it’s better to have crystallized objects in your digestive system rather than confess to having a nose with its own landscaping.

Anyway, my dear Perv, it is imperative that we determine the mental attitude of your man toward his nose hairs. Has he, like me, struggled in shame to deal with this overwhelming situation, all to little avail despite his good intentions? If so, you must work to save your love, assuming that everything else about him is acceptable and hygienic. If he has no idea what you’re talking about, your love is doomed.

So sit your man down, join him on the couch if it’s safe to do so without risking bodily harm, and gently but firmly ask him. What’s up with the nose hair? If he bursts into tears, and then shows you his “special drawer” in the bathroom, full of implements and creams, then your relationship has a chance. Be supportive and suggest therapy. Perhaps Oprah can do a special before she ends her show and goes off to purchase the 4% of the world that she doesn’t already own.

If your mate refuses to admit there’s a problem, or, even worse, acknowledges the nose hairs and thinks there’s nothing wrong with them, possibly even having given them their own names, then you know what you have to do. Begin taking the necessary legal steps to ensure that you never have to see this person again. (Speaking of legalities, it is my professional duty to advise you of a possible third reaction: He may pick up a salad fork and lunge at you, screaming something about disappointments and poor choices. If that happens, you have an entirely different situation on your hands.)

Let me know how it goes. Lanae at the reception desk has my cell phone number in case things get overly dramatic and intense. Of course, I probably won’t answer it until your check for this session has cleared the bank…


Dr. Brian

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Case Study #29

Continued from previous post:

Mike Rowe’s face paled considerably in the moonlight washing the patio, which was a difficult thing to discern in the darkness, but I was able to spot it. (Apparently Mother was right about those carrots after all.) He turned to his producer. “Could you step back inside and let me speak to these gentlemen privately?”

Producer: “But Mike, we need to finish this segment. The crew is already on overtime.”

Mike: “Go back in the house. Send the people home if that makes you happy. This is going to take a while.” (Oh?)

The producer stood there a bit longer, glaring at everyone with intense dislike, his eyes telling a tragic tale indicative of years of painful suffering, a miserable existence where people simply did not take his urgency seriously. But we didn’t care. Once he realized this, he and his irritating headset marched back into the house.

Henri and I turned back to Mike, giving him our full and devoted attention. However, he was not quite ready to share. “I don’t know if I can do this without proper lighting.”

Just then, a gypsy woman sporting faded but still colorful attire modestly danced our way from the nearby courtyard, hoisting a clever torch she had fashioned out of an old crutch and a discarded phone book. She gently lit several candles that had been strategically placed in the vicinity, creating a wonderful ambiance, then she waltzed away into the night, warbling a wisp of a forgotten opera. This is France, these things happen.

Mike nervously cleared his throat. “Well, gentlemen, I suppose I have a confession to make.”

Henri stirred beside me. “A confession? Well, then, we simply must have wine.”

A hand suddenly appeared at the kitchen window, thrusting out a bottle. Henri leapt to his feet and graciously accepted the offering, which was quickly followed by wine glasses, some bread, and an artfully-arranged tray of cheese. Then the window was discreetly lowered and the kitchen light extinguished. Well, then. At least someone around here knew how to be a gracious host.

We arranged our treasures on the patio table, made ourselves comfortable in the available roomy and sturdy chairs, and settled in for a winsome tale of livestock and circumstance. Somewhere down the street, a string quartet softly played, perfectly accompanying Mike’s saga, which went like this:

Two days before my surprising arrest for nudity and lewdity, Mike and his crew arrived in Paris for the first of their “Dirty French Jobs” assignments. Not being familiar with the city, there was an error in judgment that resulted in the crew taking rooms at a less than savory hostel, located just a few blocks from Henri’s abode and where we now sat. This in itself is not that unusual. First-time travelers to Paris often find themselves on the unfortunate side of the decision-making process. Just ask Marie Antoinette.

In any case, the crew, finding themselves stacked like cordwood, six to a room, soon grew to hate the sight of one another. There was an altercation involving bathroom privacy, and Mike, knowing that he would need his crew for the shoot in the morning, realized he could not kill them, and therefore decided to venture out, find a nearby bistro, and drink anything the wait staff placed before him.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Rowe, the dominoes of fate were now being placed in position.

Whilst swilling a concoction that supposedly included the once-again-legal ingredient of absinthe, Mike chanced to innocently glance to his right, and spied a comely French woman sitting alone at a table. She appeared to be somewhat blue, possibly on the verge of tears, and quite despondent over making her dinner selection from the detailed menu.

Emboldened by excessive drink, Mike tossed his linen napkin aside and approached her table. “Might I suggest something pleasing?”

The woman, startled at first, glanced up at Mike and then smiled, her tears instantly drying. “But of course. You appear to be a man who knows things. I like men like that.” Then she giggled seductively, which is often all it takes to own a man’s heart, and thus began a whirlwind infatuation. Mike quickly snatched the remainder of his escargots, and slid into the opposite chair at the woman’s table.

As the evening progressed, Mike and the woman, whose named proved to be Vivienne, enchanted one another with amusing anecdotes and flirtatious gazing at one another. By dessert, love was rearing its tender head.

Sadly, the hour grew late, and the lovers had to part. (Vivienne was giving her doctoral thesis in the morning, and simply could not be late.) As they were breathing heavily on the sidewalk outside the bistro, they promised to meet again in two nights. (Mike had an unavoidable segment shoot the next evening, wherein he would be scraping barnacles off of fly boats.) In a frenzied moment of passion, Mike had an inspiration. “Can I bring you a little something for our next rendezvous?”

Vivienne did not hesitate. “I’d like a goat.”

“I’m sorry, my love?”

“A goat. But not just any goat, mon chere. I require a goat, white as pure snow, but with four brown paws. It is something I have dreamed of since my childhood days in the Loire Valley. It would mean the world to me. Now, my love, I must run.” And then she was gone, vanishing into the sultry night.

Mike stood there a moment, perplexed. What an absurd request. But he was smitten, and therefore determined to find the exact goat that would send his new love into rapturous spasms of gratitude, even if it took him the next 48 hours to do so.

But Mike did not have 48 hours. He had a very busy schedule, with segments to film, meetings with boring people who approved budgets, and a photo shoot for an ad campaign wherein he would frolic around at sanitation landfills outside the city and throw sludge at the camera. So he was forced to call upon an innocent intern who could devote her time to finding the perfect goat.

This poor intern. Imagine the horrific experiences she must have gone through, tasked with finding a goat in the City of Lights whilst everyone else gets to wear couture and read poetry in cafes. It must have been grueling, the wretched thing. But find a goat she finally did, with just a few hours before the lovers were scheduled to meet.

Once she had obtained the animal, the intern rushed to the set where Mike and the crew were filming. Upon her arrival, Mike was overjoyed, climbing out of a manhole to embrace the young staffer. After heaping copious praise on the blushing woman, Mike tied the goat’s leash to the crew’s van and returned to the sewers. The jubilant staffer, convinced of an impending raise, raced off to the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore and immediately purchased something useless but fancy at Givenchy.

Sadly, now that the sacred goat had been wrangled, no one thought to make sure that it remained so. While the crew was busy capturing Mike’s exploits with a drain pipe, a short man by the name of Jacques de Bouvier snuck up to the unattended van, untied the goat, and scampered around the corner. The goat, happy to be away from the sewage, did not protest.

(“Jacques is my client!” gushed Henri beside me. Mike glared at him. Let me tell the story, you insipid little man. Henri shushed and refilled his wine glass.)

Jacques then proceeded to the villa of his therapist, and made his customary payment of livestock, never mentioning to Henri that his funds were tainted. Of course, Jacques didn’t really have a chance to mention it, because Henri was not there, trapped as he was in the south of France, his car having ruptured an axle after being run off the road by boisterous Americans. Jacques simply retrieved the key under the third rock from the sundial, shoved the goat in the front door, and walked away. Done.

(This, dear reader, is where yours truly entered the picture, arriving a few minutes later for my session with the Cucumber Lady, and the tragic mishaps that followed.)

Meanwhile, back on the set, Mike has lumbered out of the sewer for the final time, and various people are rushing about, dismantling equipment and storing things in the van. Since so many careless people are not paying attention, it takes some time for the goat abduction to be discovered. Finally, Mike, putting his shirt back on after once again having taken it off for no apparent reason, realizes that things are amiss.

“Where is the goat?”

No one responded, as none of them were in love and thereby did not understand the significance of the smelly goat. Instead, they continued attending to their various duties and pondering what delicious meal they might encounter that evening. Besides, Mike was always asking philosophical questions that didn’t necessarily require an answer.

Frustrated, and assuming that the goat had simply escaped and had not been forcibly taken, Mike thundered out of the little square, racing in the direction he determined the goat would take if achieving sudden freedom. (Mike had once done a segment on a goat farm, and knew that the unimaginative creatures always ran in a southwesterly direction and would always veer left when given road-choice options.)

Luckily enough, short men named Jacques often adhere to this same flight pattern when bringing payments to their therapists. Within minutes, Mike was approaching Henri’s apartment, and soon found himself at the front door through which the goat and been unceremoniously shoved a few hours ago. The door was now locked (Mike did not know about the key under the third rock), but by placing his desperate ear against the portal, he could hear the sounds of bleating accompanied by running water. Mike raced around the building to the patio, found the back entrance to be locked as well, and pondered his next move.

Then he spied the open kitchen window.

Briskly stepping up to such, Mike peered in, and discovered the goat standing in the kitchen, contemplating a cucumber on the counter. Startled, and not in the mood for further travel, the goat snatched the cucumber and tottered into another room. Frantic, Mike tried to climb through the window in pursuit, but his muscled bulk could not quite slip through.

Then he spied the can of Crisco, and inspiration dawned anew.

Quickly ripping off his shirt (which he probably would have done anyway, given any opportunity), Mike then seized the can and began slathering his torso in the hopes of improving his window-access chances.

Just then, the sounds of running water ceased, and Mike spotted a naked, freshly-showered man stepping out of the bathroom and wrapping himself in a towel. In a slight panic (things might be misperceived, given the circumstances) Mike dropped the can of Crisco and hurried across the courtyard, taking shelter behind a dumpster that reeked of garlic and faded memories. He waited for the showered man to become interested in some activity that would take him out of the apartment, or at least away from the window.

Much to Mike’s surprise, the back door suddenly flew open, and the brazen man with his skimpy towel stepped out and rescued the fallen container of cooking grease. Two seconds later, the goat, the cucumber lodged in his tiny teeth, thundered out the back door as well, completely unconcerned about the Crisco, but certainly interested in something on the other side of the courtyard. The man and his towel let loose with a cry of disdain, and then quickly raced after the Billy.

Realizing that his chances of goat recovery were dwindling, Mike joined in the impromptu parade.

The precocious animal darted toward an open door off the courtyard, with the man a few hooves behind him. There was a brief tussle, wherein the man acquired the cucumber but not the misbehaving creature, and the goat raced through the door. Just before the man entered the building as well, Mike reached out to stop him, hoping to plead his case about how desperately he needed the goat, but his efforts failed. Instead, Mike found himself clutching a consolation prize in the form of a damp towel.

Five seconds later, Mike was startled to hear the sounds of children screaming and a harridan woman alerting authorities. Mike wisely decided that perhaps he would retrieve the goat at another time, despite his desperate desire to please his love, and he slipped away from the scene in search of a calming beverage and an alternate plan.

Mike finished the last sip of his wine, his tale complete, and then regarded Henri and I with doleful eyes. “And that, gentlemen, is my tragic tale of love and livestock in the city of passion.”

Crickets chirped.

Then I regained my composure. “So it seems, Mr. Rowe, that, in essence, due to your torrid romance with a woman you hardly know, I now find myself in this legal predicament. I am facing criminal charges because you got drunk and fell in love with a woman, promising her a goat.”

Mike smiled wanly. “What can I say? Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.”

Case Study #28

Continued from previous post:

I took a small sip of wine and then focused once again on the drunken man across the table. “Henri, though our friendship has been long and strong, I must say that I am quite displeased with you at the moment. Why did you not tell me previously that Mike Rowe is currently scouring the floors of your dwelling?”

He eyed me with suspicion. “Mon ami, first of all, perhaps you have not noticed my excessive intake of alcohol. This is presenting some focus issues, as well as causing me to lose my French accent at times even though I am a native. Secondly, I was completely unaware of your need to visit with Mr. Rowe until roughly two minutes ago. Prior to that, we were speaking only of the goat. Perhaps you should just relax and join me in the drunkenness. It certainly reduces the stress level, and it makes things pretty.”

I calmly aligned my untouched silverware before proceeding. “Henri, I must apologize for my forwardness and possibly accusatory tone. And I must admit, inebriation does have its call and charm at the moment. However, it is extremely critical that I speak with Mr. Rowe at once, and we must proceed to your apartment post haste. Please do the finger-snapping thing you do so well, and arrange for the check.”

Three minutes later we were on the sidewalk outside the café.

I raised my hand in preparation for hailing a taxi, but was quickly rebuffed by Henri. “We do not need such things. The taxis are for Americans. Everyone else walks.”

“But I AM American. And it’s been a very tiresome day.”

He scoffed. “Sitting in a courtroom? That’s tiring? Come, it’s just a short distance, we’ll be there in no time.” And off he went, briskly marching down the road and easily weaving his way around after-dinner Parisian couples, who were probably reciting poetry to one another in advance of a philosophical discussion concerning tangerines.

I sighed and waddled after him, silently cursing healthy Europeans and their unseemly disdain for lethargic means of transportation. Within minutes, I could barely catch my breath, my legs trembling and my vision hazy. Henri, of course, was never in danger of even breaking a sweat, and actually had the gall to jog in place at the stoplights.

Luckily, we were only a handful of blocks from Henri’s residence, so my struggles were only temporary. A few labored breaths later we turned the corner and entered the narrow street I knew so well from our college days. (Although I must admit that being so near the scene of my purported lascivious crimes did keep my heart rate slightly escalated, as I glanced about for more children with pointing fingers.)

Henri stopped to caution me at his door. “Don’t make a fool of yourself, Dr. Brian. Let me speak with him initially. You don’t want to embarrass yourself unnecessarily.”

I bit my tongue, refraining from reminding him that I had already appeared nude in national publications, clutching a can of Crisco. There was little shame left to heave upon me.

Henri opened his door.

It appeared that there were several hundred people in his apartment, rushing about madly, fiddling with lighting and pawing at electronic equipment. It was quite fascinating, really, and at another moment in time I might have been content to gawk and giggle. However, we had a fully defined mission at hand, and it was imperative that we complete it. Henri served the initial volley.

“Mes amis!” he shouted, jovially. “I am very sorry to be intruding, but I have a friend who must speak with Monsieur Rowe as soon as it is possible. I trust this will not be an inconvenience?”

All activity ceased in the room, and various sets of eyes turned in our direction, most of them clearly expressing that not only was this inconvenient, it was thoroughly unappreciated. In fact, if there had been available weaponry, I dare say there would also have been bloodshed. Things were not going quite according to plan.

A short, bookish fellow broke away from the angry mob and approached us, lugging a clipboard and sporting one of those ridiculous headsets that Madonna is always wearing, even when she bathes. Despite the fury in his eyes, he forced the semblance of a welcoming smile, as if we were the best of companions. I immediately pegged him as a producer of some kind.

“Greetings, gentlemen,” he proffered. “Mr. Rowe would love to speak with you, but he is extremely occupied at the moment. Perhaps another time?” Just then, there was the startling sound of a toilet flushing, followed quickly by the bathroom door being wrested open, and Mike Rowe walked into the living room.

Much to my amazement, he took one look at me, released a startled yelp, raced to the back of the apartment, through the kitchen, and out the back door, giving it a good slam as he hastily exited.

The producer took off his headset. “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.” Then he thundered out the back door as well.

Henri turned to me. “Is there ANYWHERE you can go that you don’t frighten people? It must be terribly difficult for you.”

“Henri, I haven’t the faintest idea what that was all about. I’ve never met the man in my life, so an opportunity to offend him has not arisen. Let’s go see what the fuss is about.” I started marching toward the kitchen.

Henri hesitated. “Dr. Brian, I’m not sure if it’s our place to do so. He seemed quite distraught, and you may only exacerbate the matter.”

I sighed. “Henri, this is YOUR apartment. You have every right to determine why people would want to flee from it.”

He finally joined me, and it turned out that we didn’t have to go far. The kitchen window was wide open, and we were suddenly privy to the conversation on the back patio. (Why does Henri insist on keeping that damn window open? Things fall out of it, and I get arrested. Will he ever learn?) We leaned toward the window, our inquisitive minds yearning for information, but being careful to remain in the shadows. Sort of like those people at the Watergate Hotel.

Producer: “We need to finish the shoot. We’re almost done.”

Mike: “I’m not going back in there. I’m not talking to him.”

Producer: “Who IS he?” (Sound of pages being flipped.) “He’s not on the call sheet.”

Mike: “He’s… it’s not important, but I’m not talking to him. Go do your thing, and make him leave.”

Producer, apparently pausing to reflect, then: “Is there something you need to tell me?”

Mike: “Of course not. I’m just not in the mood for fans right now.”

Producer: “Well, you never ran away from that OTHER fan you have. The only time I’ve seen you run was…. Oh God, have you done something illegal again?”


Producer: “Mike?”

Mike: “Maybe.”

Producer: “Ah, hell. Mike, we’re already over budget, we don’t need any more expenses. Is this something we can fix without writing a check?”

Mike was silent for quite some time, then: “There may have been a misunderstanding with my goat. I was just trying to get him back after he was kidnapped. No pun intended.”

Suddenly, the puzzle pieces began falling into place, and images flashed through my mind. The open kitchen window on another day, the empty spot on the window sill where something had previously been, and a close-up of Mike’s enormously-large hands on his TV show, hands that could easily have made the deep finger tracks that I briefly spotted in a certain can of shortening.

I threw open the back door and confronted him.

“YOU tried to steal the Crisco!”


Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Case Study #27

Continued from previous post:

Henri clarified. “Mr. Rowe does not have YOUR goat, Dr. Brian. He has HIS goat. He had the papers.” He paused. “But why, dear friend of crazy youthful days, is there such interest in the goat? I am not understanding. This goat is not your friend.”

Just then, the bailiff began performing some scurrying activity off to the right, hovering about the entrance to the judge’s chamber. It was time for this insipid show to continue. “Henri, I must let you go. Can we meet for dinner to further discuss this situation.”

“Dinner? Will they let you out for such?”

I sighed. “Henri, I am no longer IN jail. I was released on my own recognizance, which, quite frankly, came as something of a surprise to me. If my sterling reputation is all it takes to get me out, then why bother with the arrest in the first place? In any case, I can do whatever I want. Except leave the city or approach small children, and who would want to do either? Dinner, Henri?”

“The usual place?”

“Perfect. Abientot.”

I slid the phone back to my lawyer, Olivier, who snatched it up and then made a small entry on the expense report he always has open before him. Petty little man, always about the money and who has how much of it. But I needed him for now.

“All Rise.”

We dutifully stood, as the squat and moody judge woman entered the room and regally made her way to the throne of her tiny kingdom. I’ve never understood this business with the standing as legal officials arrive. It reeks of superficiality. If we really had any respect for her interpretation and application of law, we wouldn’t be doing things that would have us presented to her in the first place.

After a few moments of Her Highness perusing all corners of the room to ensure that even babies and the senile infirm where basking in her glory, she waved a dismissive hand and took her seat. Whilst the room did likewise, she then proceeded to spend an inordinate amount of time shifting around royal implements lying about her desk. Finally satisfied, she cleared her throat.

“Before we continue, I would like to address our timeline for the completion of this trial. While I understand that the popular press is making a tremendous amount of money on these proceedings due to the salacious nature of the charges…”

(She glanced at the long row of windows on the left side of the room, where photographers were pressed against the glass, snapping photos of her irritated face which they could then use for belittlement purposes on the evening newscast.)

“…We must also keep in mind that expediency is a just and wonderful thing. That being the case, and along with the fact that the cheese festival in Rocamadour is set to begin in two days, I trust that we can have both a verdict and a sentence by tomorrow afternoon. Ring the bell, bailiff person, and let’s get started.”

What? How could this be? The prosecution was still in the midst of its long-winded and illogical presentation, showing no signs of slowing or any grasp of the truth. Even if they could manage to cease with their bilious puppet show by the end of the day, how could we possibly present a viable defense in a few short hours tomorrow morning?

I turned to Olivier. “How can she do this? Is this legal in any way?”

He sighed. “It’s the cheese festival, mon ami. These things happen.” Then he made another tick on his spreadsheet. Apparently, I was now being charged by the question and not the hour. He was truly an irritating man of suspect worth.

“But, Olivier, are we READY? Can you do this?”

He sighed again, which was quickly becoming his most loathsome habit, about to surge ahead of “his tie smells like garlic”. He fingered his storyboards once again, and then turned to me. “You must trust me, Dr. Brian. Because trust is all we have. We have not much of anything else. They are very strong with the evidence. It is tres difficult to win when there are photos of your manhood where it does not belong. But I will try.”

“But I didn’t DO anything, the entire situation was completely circumstantial, there were many factors well beyond my control or counsel, and really, how harmful is it that enlightened children in a progressive daycare facility were briefly exposed to the male anatomy?”

He sighed a third time, sending me closer to the edge. “Dr. Brian, we really should not rely on the defense strategies utilized by the Vatican. However, it IS true that the children are the heart of the matter. Let us see what the wee ones say, yes?”

On cue, the Prosecution began calling upon the little terror tykes to take the witness stand.

And of course, each of them looked amazingly cherubic, as if they had just dropped down from the artfully-painted domed ceiling of the courtroom, gracing us with their angelic presence, causing the entire jury to coo and smile. They all had the same story, recounting an innocent day wherein they simply wanted to learn about world peace and play Chutes and Ladders. Then the tranquility was shattered by the sudden appearance of an evil man, accompanied by horned-animals and Crisco. They have cried every night since.

As each of the urchins left the stand, they were presented lollipops from the lead prosecutor, the judge, the bailiff, and Mia Farrow, who always flies places where foreign children are in need.

Olivier leaned over to me and whispered. “You are right, Dr. Brian. We must find the goat immediately.”

Later that evening, I rushed to meet Henri at our favorite restaurant, a tiny venue that serves exquisite mushrooms. He was already there, perched at our usual table and well into the process of wine-swilling. I tried not to let his inebriation irk me, for we really didn’t have time for lectures and hateful accusations. Besides, being a fellow mental physician, listening to disturbed people talk of inane things all day, I can understand the attraction of alcohol.

Upon seeing my distinguished figure marching in his direction, Henri’s face lit up. He bellowed something unintelligible and tried to stand. This resulted in the spillage of a water glass, a basket of breadsticks tumbling to their tiny deaths, and an obvious non-Parisian who clearly did not understand the hierarchy in this establishment, muttering about rudeness to her androgynous table partner.

“It’s okay, Henri,” I said soothingly, as I removed my raincoat and placed it on a nearby chair, making sure one of the sleeves slapped the ignorant patron in the back of the head. “I don’t need you vertical. I just need you to tell me where the goat can be found.”

He looked at me with blood-shot eyes, a speck of dried souffle clinging to his chin. “J’ai dit que-”

I held up my hand. “In English, Henri. I’m too traumatized to translate. The children want my soul.”

His eyes came into focus a bit more. “Perhaps I should have the coffee, then.” He snapped in the general direction of the waiter, and within two seconds there was a steaming demi-tasse of thick liquid expertly placed before him. (This is why we loved the place: quick service, glorious food, and a general lack of idiots. The harridan at the neighboring table must have slipped through during a slight breach of security.)

Henri began adding the first of 12 sugar cubes to his beverage. “As I explained, the goat is now in the possession of Mr. Rowe. He knocked on my door shortly after your arrest, presenting me with official ownership papers and waving a leash.”

“But why, Henri? Why would Mike Rowe own a French goat?”

My companion stirred the cup before him. “This I do not know. It is possible that he explained this to me while retrieving the goat, but I was somewhat distracted by the camera crew.”

“Camera crew? He was FILMING?”

Henri nodded, then downed half the coffee in a startling move. “Yes, I believe he plans to use the footage somehow, although I am not certain. He is in our country, producing another episode. He seems to think the Americans will be titillated by the concept of “dirty French jobs”. I am not certain what this means, but his crew snickered and one of the camera people ran into a wall whilst laughing. Americans are clumsy, are they not?” He downed the rest of the cup and signaled for more.

“Henri, do you know where I can find Mr. Rowe? Was there contact information on his ownership papers? Did he give you a card? Did the goat leave a forwarding address?”

Henri accepted his second cup from the efficient waiter, smiling warmly and possibly flirting. The he turned his attention back to me. “I can do better than that. I know exactly where Michel is.”

My heart leapt. “Please tell me, Henri, it is critical.”

“He is at mon apartement, filming a segment for his TV show.”

I was taken aback. “What possible dirty job could he find THERE?”

Henri smiled. “Have you ever tried to get goat crap off of hardwood floors? Mon dieu, it‘s overwhelming.”


Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Case Study #26

Dear Dr. Brian:

Mike Rowe (that guy on the truck commercials and on “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel) somehow reminds me of you. Are you guys related?

Curious in Kendrick

Dear Curious,

What an astonishingly interesting query, although I daresay I shouldn’t be surprised, based on our previous correspondence, wherein you’ve proven quite insightful. As I’ve noted in the past, you have an amazing ability to toss aside most of the overwhelming chuff on the Internet, focus on the few things of actual discourse value, and then demand detailed explanations that will satisfy you both scholastically and emotionally.

And yes, I do indeed have a relationship with Mr. Rowe, albeit our association is not one you could deem traditional, and is certainly not based on us sharing relatives who may have procreated in the distant past. And although we were quite close at one time, we have since drifted, and we no longer communicate with any regularity. We have different interests. In addition, there are certain legal restraints which may have led to the dissolution of our once-tight bond.

You see, Mr. Rowe was a critical witness in the lengthy Parisian trial wherein I was accused of certain crimes involving nudity, cooking ingredients, and livestock. (For the more important details of this clearly politically-motivated misuse of power, you can read my original account by clicking Here.) Of course, Dearest Curious, I’m sure that YOU personally will not need to utilize this link. I’m only including it for the newer patients who have not yet surmised how essential it is that every comma I type be emblazoned in their memories.

In any case, Mr. Rowe’s involvement came about thusly:

We were in the first few days of the trial, the bit where it’s still boring while humorless people go over all of the tedious matters. My lawyer, Olivier de Quelque-Chose-Francais, was fiddling with his storyboards, mapping out the spacing of dramatic moments in his upcoming oral presentations. Suddenly, just as I was finishing an exquisite pomegranate tart, I had an inspiration.

I turned to my lawyer. “Olivier, we MUST find the goat.”

He paused in his shuffling, removed his spectacles, folded them, placed them to the side, and adjusted both of his shirt sleeves so that exactly one-quarter inch of material was displayed at the end of his jacket. Then he turned to me. “What is this with the goat?”

I sighed. “The GOAT, Olivier. The one I was chasing? It is imperative that we find it. I feel it would make an excellent character witness.”

He made a small noise signifying that perhaps he should have gone to medical school after all. “We talk of a goat, Dr. Brian, an animal that does not speak. How will it witness for your character?”

“It won’t have to SPEAK. It just has to BE. Once the jury sees what a vicious, filthy little animal it is, they surely can’t blame me for wanting to get it off the streets and away from the children.”

Olivier put his spectacles back on, apparently no longer interested in my proposal. “You led the goat TO the children, are you forgetting this?”

I snorted in frustration. “I most certainly did nothing of the kind. I was trying to CATCH the goat, not prompt it to invade the nursery school. Really, Olivier, how much am I paying you anyway?”

I suddenly had his full attention again. Subtle financial threats can be quite useful at times. “Very well. We will find the goat.”

At the next recess, when cell phone usage was once again temporarily allowed, Olivier whipped out his designer unit and began making calls. The ensuing conversations mostly consisted of him saying “oui” an irritating number of times, interspersed with bursts of that rapid-fire French where you can’t catch a word of it. Eventually, he snapped the phone shut a final time.

“The goat is no longer in the correctional facility.”

This startles me. “They goat was in JAIL? Why on earth would they do that?”

“It’s France, mon ami. These things happen.”

Perplexed, I try to learn more. “Then where is the goat now?”

“I do not know, Dr. Brian. I am not intimate with the goat. Perhaps it is with its owner?”

Ah. That would be my friend Henri, he of the Cucumber Lady whose vegetable gift led to my current misery. I must speak with him immediately. “May I borrow your phone, Olivier?”

He appeared to take offense at this request. “Have you not one of your own? It is my understanding that Americans are born with them.”

Very amusing. “There was a recent incident involving a nice Merlot and some exuberance. Please speak of it no further. Your phone, Olivier?”

He slid it toward me with measured exasperation. “I will charge you double for the minutes.”

“I expect nothing less.” I punched in Henri’s number.


“Henri, my friend! How are things?”

“Ah, the good doctor is calling. Have they convicted you yet?” Then he cackled in a boisterous way that indicated there had been copious beverages at lunch.

“You’re such a clever fellow, Henri. Have any of your clients paid you with actual money lately?”

The laughter stopped, followed by the sounds of a wine bottle being re-corked and some brie being re-covered. “I am deserving of that. You know that I would do anything in this world for you.”

“Music to my ears, as I have a favor to ask. Can you loan me the goat?”

“That I cannot do.”

These French people, they turn on you in an instant. First they have a king, then they don’t, then they have a king again. It’s preposterous. “Really, Henri? Why would that be, pray tell?”

“There was a misunderstanding, and the goat has been reclaimed.” A pause. “It seems my client did not own the goat he gave to me.”

“So your client used a stolen goat to pay for services rendered. The shame, Henri. The utter shame.”

He sighed. “I die the little death when I think of it.”

“How unfortunate, Henri, very troubling. Now, I’m sure you need time to heal, but I must press a bit further. Where is the goat now?”

“He is with his rightful owner, the American who does the dirty jobs.”

I am completely mystified. Who could this person be? “Henri, I don’t understand. Are you drinking the wine again?”

“Non, mon ami. The man on the American TV show. He travels and does dirty things. Michel… something.”

I am stunned. “Mike Rowe has my goat?”

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Case Study #25

Dearest acolytes, you must brace yourself for this next session. I knew something was terribly wrong when I received an email with the subject heading of “Will Anyone Please Help Us Locate William Shatner ‘The Negotiator’?”. The overuse of upper case letters alone was cause for alarm. Little did I know how violently things would slide downhill after that. Proceed with caution.

Dear Dr. Brian,

As your prestigious profession has endowed you a premiere connoisseur-aficionado of travels all over the world such as Morocco, Ireland, Verona, Italy, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Australia to name a few.., we come to you for advice. My wonderful wife and I have discussed our budget for travel vacations this year, some by ourselves and with our favorite group of friends. We usually book our travels online with Expedia or such. However lately we been hearing increasing horror stories to NEVER book vacations online because of abysmal customer service, inept reps, ridiculous change fees to name a few that can set to make a trip to paradise a living hell. We are seriously going back to the good old fashion way of booking vacation through a travel agent. The bottom line is cost and to be frank with you Dr. Brian although it may cost a few dollars more using a travel agent, we can rest assured to receive the customer service we deserve. My wife and I really appreciate your valued input and recommendation with selection of a preferred travel agent.

Its time to get back to basics with 4 P's - an affordable package, great pricing, promotions however they may come and an enjoyable place to vacation. It used to be a supplier's market but now it's a consumers market and if airlines want to play their sardine-packing luggage charging game and hotels want to hold out for higher prices telling customers they are limited on rooms due to renovations, they can kiss our grits!


Champagne taste on a Natural Light travel budget

And Dr. Brian responds:

Dear Champagne,

I must admit that your email presented a number of firsts in my illustrious career as the mental shepherd for the confused flocks of the world. To begin with, your submission is most assuredly the longest I have ever received. Typically, individuals on the verge of a psychotic break are incapable of sustaining consistent thought patterns for any length of time.

Then we have this business with you making a misguided attempt to simulate my methods of written communication. While there are certain times when imitation is truly a sincere form of flattery, there are also times when such an act is simply madness. I would certainly welcome one of my esteemed colleagues attempting to approach my deservedly-praised manner of expressionism, throwing in some witty wordplay in a thesis here and there. I do not appreciate such pathetic travesties from a patient. You would have known this if you had attended one of my seminars.

And finally, I must confess that reading your email actually had me fearing for my life before I finished the correspondence. Are you seriously walking the streets without any type of restraining authorities in your company? That fact alone is proof that this country is in dire danger of immediate collapse. There should be warning bulletins posted in all available media. With a picture of you, and your supposed Natural Light budget.

But since I am, indeed, a professional, I will persevere with offering you at least a minimal diagnosis, despite the fact that Lanae, my faithful assistant, is currently racing about the room and nailing wooden planks to the windows. (Where she finds the strength to be so energetic, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that her entire diet consists of honey buns and sugar-based colas. She will be asleep within the hour.)

Anyway, as mentioned, I will proceed with your assessment, even though this is somewhat beneath someone of my stature. To the professional eye, your email submission is a classic example of your particular psychosis. The signs are everywhere in your rambling ode of neurotica. Even a freshly-minted, wet-behind-the-ears graduate of the Sarah Palin School of Ungodly Psychotic Conditions could diagnose you with ease, if they weren’t so distracted by recent Congressional action that actually requires them to pay back their student loan after all.

You, Mr. Champagne, are most assuredly suffering from Pornographic Performance Denial, or PPD. Oh, don’t gasp and look around the room like that. I know your identity. It was clear to me even before I scrolled down the page and discovered your startling inclusion of certain stills that I certainly can’t be placing around the office next to the “Highlights” magazines that I’ve had for the last thirty years.

You have a shockingly sordid past, that of a massively popular adult film star who mysteriously vanished at the peak of his fame. If memory serves, your career started in some South American country, where copulation is still considered a natural act, as opposed to the United States where sexual relations are surprisingly governed by disillusioned politicians and radio talk show hosts who are addicted to prescription drugs.

Keeping this tidbit of identity information in mind, your email takes on an entirely different light. Let us review your ramblings in this new perspective.

You do not want to actually visit “Morocco, Ireland, Verona”, et cetera, with the intention of participating in the local culture. Instead, these are actually the names of past acquaintances that you met while frolicking, unclothed, on questionable beds while cameras rolled. As we all know, porn artisans do not use their actual names. Perhaps this is done so that the stars can one day return home for Christmas with minimal shame. Who knows? But it does explain why we end up with pseudonyms in the opening credits along the lines of “Vulvina Delight” and “Rod Canyon”.

Then we have your usage of the phrase “my wonderful wife”. Interesting. No one in the real world actually says this. That phrase is reserved for trite soap opera dialogue, gay men who are still in the closet, and straight husbands who have done something terribly wrong and are trying to patch things up. I’m going to assume (though this is risky) that you fall into the final category.

So what, exactly, have you done wrong that has led to the current discord in your marital relationship? Perhaps your wife is not aware of your previous career? This seems unlikely. At one point you had 3 million fans on Facebook. And after reviewing your, shall we say, “qualifications” in the files attached to the email, it’s difficult to believe your wife could actually think THAT thing had never been utilized in a business venture prior to her arrival on the scene.

So I was momentarily baffled whilst reading your email. Then I got to the bit where you are babbling about not wanting to “book your travel” online, instead opting for a physical travel agent located in a strip-mall building where you could actually park and go inside like people used to shop in the old days.

This means your wife DOESN’T know about your agile past, and you want to keep her away from the Internet. What kind of recluse nun did you marry? (And how is it that you didn’t burst into flames upon entering the sacred convent wherein she was ensconced, clutching beads whilst laying prostate on the dirty, ancient flooring? Or is it only the priests who do that? I forget. I‘m a bit rusty when it comes to the baffling rules of organized religion.)

Then we get to the part of your email where you babble about the “4 P’s”, then proceed to mention phrases where “P” is not the predominant indicator. Once again, you’re making up lies in a pathetic attempt to diffuse the situation. It’s not going to work.

You must tell your wife immediately that you have been engaged in strenuous games of slap and tickle with an eye-opening number of nubile women sporting fake names that suggest carnality. And all of this has been recorded for posterity. She needs to hear about your past from YOU, and not from some vindictive neighbor while she is thumping on melons at the local supermarket.

Speak openly to your wife, Sage Thunderbolt. Spill all.

And then immediately pick up the phone and make an appointment with my assistant Lanae.

Still stunned by that file you attached,

Dr. Brian

Monday, February 8, 2010

Case Study #24

Dear Dr. Brian,

Does the chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?



And Dr. Brian Responds:

Dear Worried Hazel,

Don’t play games with me.

Although you might think that you’re being sly with this innocently-phrased question, you’re not. I’ve seen this feeble ploy thousands of times during my illustrious career spent patching up the damaged minds of countless souls who have strayed across the borders of reality.

And as is usually the case 99% of the time when people choose to use euphemisms in their pleas for assistance, this is really about sex. And, more specific to your case, the lack of sex. In other words, you’re not getting any, and you want to know why.

I just asked Lanae, my trusted assistant, to step into my office, at which point I made the international hand motion for “just got another email from a disillusioned nut job lying about sex, please get on the Internet and find out the real story”. Lanae motioned back with the international symbol for “why are you waving your hand like that, what does that mean?”. I sighed, handed her your email for review, recognition dawned on her face, and she scurried away to do the needful.

So while Lanae proceeds to violate your privacy in a number of electronic ways, I will offer you some preliminary advice based on your deceptive email and my own personal past experience with misguided sheep who wander into my pasture on a daily basis.

Firstly, you really need to change your name, or at least convince your friends and relatives to give you a more alluring nickname of some kind. I may be mistaken, but I don’t believe any newborn child has been given the name “Hazel” since the Truman Administration. This makes you sound very old. With very few startling exceptions, no one wants to have sex with someone whose “Use By Date” expired while “Leave It To Beaver” was still playing in prime time.

Secondly, I strongly suggest that you change your email address. “Desperateandlonely” is not a good user name, especially when coupled with the fact your account is with “”. I’m sure the folks at Yahoo are very nice people, but the company name brings to mind visions of inbred farmers at a square dance. Granted, there’s the slim possibility that you would LIKE people to associate you with friendless and needy people bobbing for apples while livestock is being auctioned nearby, but I seriously doubt it.

Ah, Lanae has just returned with a detailed profile of your life, which she was able to obtain by simply typing your name into Goggle and hitting “enter”. (Technology is amazing, yes?) Let’s see what we have. Hmm. I see. Oh? That’s intriguing. Really? Yes, I fully expected THAT bit. Uh huh. Okay, then.

Now, the very first thing you need to do is hang up the phone. I can confirm that you spend at least 14 hours of any given day talking on the phone or texting someone with your phone. Not only is this annoying to anyone around you, it’s also completely unhealthy. How did you get to this point? I am starting an intervention right now.

You don’t need to talk on the phone while you’re cleaning your house. That’s just ludicrous. How can you possibly expect for things to be “clean” if you’re only using one hand? And of course, texting usually requires the use of two hands. If both of your hands are frantically occupied in a frenzy of meaningless texting, you are NOT getting any house-cleaning done, and are therefore lying to yourself once again. The madness must end.

And for God’s sake, stop SLEEPING with your phone, clutching the device near your ear. Some things can just wait until morning. You cannot possibly be getting restful sleep if you keep jerking yourself awake every three minutes to ensure you didn’t miss an update from one of your friends that they did, indeed, have a successful bowel movement.

If you really desire some physical intimacy with a willing partner, you will need to put all of the electronics aside, even the one that you affectionately refer to as “Mr. Happy”. Especially THAT one. It may come as a surprise to you, but it is not mentally healthy to be having extended late-night conversations with something that has to be recharged on a regular basis.

Next step, stop going out drinking and carousing with that female buddy of yours that claims to be your friend. She is not. She is miserably unhappy in her own personal life, and therefore she is determined that no one in a five-mile radius should be happy, either. She is sucking the life out of you with her manipulative and vengeful ways.

You should not trust this woman. At all.

She may claim to have your best interests at heart, but these are just miserable lies. She is, in fact, doing everything she can to scuttle even the slightest possibility of you making a love connection with anyone on the planet.

Now, I’m sure you’re a wee bit skeptical about me speaking so disparagingly of someone you consider to be a best friend, and I fully expected such a reaction. Therefore, I am attaching a video file that my assistant found on “”. This is surveillance footage of you and your bestie having drinks at O’Malley’s last Friday. (Why someone chose to record this, I haven’t the faintest idea, but we really don’t need to dwell on that, do we?)

Since you clearly haven’t been paying attention throughout your supposed friendship with this Lola person, I am going to point out certain time stamps where you should carefully review the captured activities.


Here we have you and Lola just arriving for the night of drinking. As you review the seating options, your friend is working her way around the tables, apparently greeting a surprising number and assortment of friends. You are slightly jealous that she is so popular, but you let it go.

In reality, Lola doesn’t know these people at all. Instead, she is making sure that all possibly-unattached males in the room are aware that your name is “Hazel”. Lola is using crafty psychology, fully aware that associating your face with an unattractive appellation will create a subconscious tendency to avoid social contact with you.

Now, some of these men are already so drunk that they could care less if your name was “Shrimp Salad” or “Pancreas”. You still have an outside chance with them. But several of the men immediately turn the other direction to avoid eye contact. And one particular gentleman, the one in the red shirt, will instantly have flashbacks of the mean-spirited grandmother who used to beat him with a blackberry branch. Notice how he then turns to the brawny stranger on his right and strikes up a desperate, fear-fueled conversation. Interestingly enough, they immediately fell in love and will be married in six months in Vancouver.

You simply walked into the bar and yet you’ve managed to turn another one gay. Poor girl.


As you finally take your seats, notice how Lola graciously offers you the better-placed chair so that you can survey the room with more ease. You think this is very kind of her. In reality, she has surreptitiously loosened strategic screws in the chair so that it will slowly come apart over the next several hours, eventually shifting dramatically to one side.

What this means, sadly, is that as you consume more beverages, you will not notice that your substantial breasts are no longer on an even keel. In fact, the degree of variance will become so distinct that you will take on a frightening asymmetrical look that will prove quite disconcerting to any lusty males who glance your direction. No one wants to sleep with someone who could have posed for Picasso.


Deceptive Lola is now happily prodding you toward one specific entry on the appetizer menu, speaking rapturously of the divine taste of the item. Again, you think she’s just helping you out. Rather, she has carefully researched the ingredients required for such a dish, and is fully aware that two of the main components will internally combine in such a way that you will develop a gas bubble the size of the Hindenburg.

She has also secretly snatched the GasX medication out of your purse while you were otherwise concerned with the consumption of an alcoholic shot bearing the curious title of “Pink Creamy Snapper”.


As the evening progresses, more beverages are consumed, and your hazy focus is not as crisp as it should be, what with the constant texts to your phone (“Cleaning the lint out of the dryer! Yay!”) and your growing physical discomfort, Lola becomes bolder. She knows you’re no longer paying attention, and she is swatting away the few men who have managed to get through her carefully-laid obstacles.

(If you turn up the volume, you can actually hear some of the outrageous phrases she whispers to these men. “I’m her probation officer.”, “She’s clinically insane. Would you like to see the papers?”, and “She’s had crabs so many times she might as well open a Red Lobster.”)

Of course, if any of these men are actually interested in LOLA, her game plan is completely different. In these instances, she jerks the man into the seat beside her and immediately shoves her tongue down his startled throat.


Despite all of Lola’s insidious efforts, one man finally breaks through and actually gets your full attention. He’s very cute, has a great smile, and just wanted to say hey. He politely reaches his hand across the table. You, beaming, and unaware that a line of drunken drool has just dripped off your chin, raise your own hand to meet him halfway.

Lola, watching all of this with a totally fake smile showing gritted teeth, nudges your chair leg with just a tiny little tap.

The chair collapses and you are plummeting to the earth. In your panic, you grab hold of the tablecloth, and manage to pull down a rain of plates, condiments, and beer bottles, creating a racket that stops traffic on the nearby Interstate. As the clatter finally levels off and the bottles quit rolling, the roiling gas bubble finally makes its debut, entering from both sides of the stage at once, if you will, and echoing about the room.

The man slowly withdraws his hand, glances at Lola (who glances back with a long-suffering “this happens ALL the time” expression), turns on his heel, marches away, and you never see him again.

Lola then helps you to your feet, wiping away the tears and the Teriyaki sauce in your hair. She helps you gather your things, waits slyly while YOU pay the entire check out of pure shame and embarrassment, and then escorts you to the door. Mission accomplished.

Poor, sad, in-denial Hazel. Please speak with Lanae about arranging your next appointment.

In Anticipation,

Dr. Brian