Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Case Study #20

This just popped into my email account:

Dear Dr. Brian,

Please help me find out why I'm obsessive about watching the movie "Home of our Own". I know that they get their home in the end. That the mother learns a lesson about child abuse. That they will not be happy with their Christmas presents..blah,blah,blah. But if I'm surfing the guide and see the title pop up I feel I must go through this journey. Please help me!!!



P.S. If you can solve this problem, maybe we can work on the "Wizard of Oz" next.

And Dr. Brian responds:

Dearest Cheryl,

I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

Okay, perhaps that was a bit aggressive. You’ll have to excuse me. There’s a tremendous amount of activity going on here in the office, what with my assistant, Lanae, insisting on showing me these pictures of her family. I don’t care one whit about her family, and I certainly don’t need to see amateur photos of them eating barbeque. You would think she would understand that after all these years.

On top of THAT bit of dreadful business, my most recent session involved one of my clients who refuses to realize that he will need to remain on calming medication, non-stop, for the rest of his entire life. I fail to see why this is such a difficult thing for him to grasp. And in this day and age, where so much of the populace is just noisy and rude, why would anyone not RELISH the thought of eternal neuro-blockers? I consider such an option on a daily basis. Especially when I see Lanae headed this way with coffee and a photo album.

Anyway, we had to physically restrain the non-believer, which is never a good thing, no matter how much the patient may actually deserve it. First, everyone involved gets a bit sweaty, which is far from professional. Second, something made of glass always gets broken during the scuffle. And finally, there’s that pesky question on the insurance claim, “Did you have to immobilize the patient at any time?”

Why is that question even on there? How could this possibly factor into the processing of the claim? Are they looking for a reason to pay less than the indicated fee? Surely not. If anything, the fee should be increased when restraint is involved. After all, subduing the patient requires that I get out of my chair, where I had been resting comfortably, and that Lanae must quit playing Sudoku and bring me the tranquilizer gun. It’s an outrage that they would even question my medical procedures, don’t you agree?

Oh my. I seem to have made this correspondence completely about my own issues. My apologies. I will now attempt to address the concerns you surfaced above, even if it bores me slightly. However, I will still have to charge you for my time from the start of composing this email. If I have any uncharged time during my day, then my accountant becomes quarrelsome and people have to be let go. I’m sure you understand.

So, let’s see what we have here. You are obsessed with this movie, some film with the generic and vapid title of “Home of Our Own.” Interesting. Now, not having seen this film, my diagnosis will of course be somewhat on the fly, but this has never troubled me before, so I’m sure that I can find something deeply wrong with you. Really, it’s all a matter of paying attention to detail and then connecting the psychotic dots.

As I’m sure you must at least subconsciously realize, and were therefore driven to submit this email, one should never do anything to an extreme, even things that bring you pleasure of some kind. If you do indeed watch this movie every time it appears in your guide, then we will have to consider this unhealthy behavior, especially if the movie is as sappy and contrived as the title indicates.

So there we have one budding issue: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD as some of the hip, young doctors like to say. I don’t care for the hip, young doctors who say this. It’s laziness. If you can’t say the entire prognosis in the way it was intended, and must use abbreviations all the time, then why are you a doctor?

A true physician must have the ability to pronounce all words in their medical entirety. Doing so slightly terrifies the patient and causes them to take things seriously, which means they will make all efforts to pay their therapy bills on time to ensure further treatment. Using acronyms makes things sound simple and fun, like a game of some kind, and the patients will neglect their financial responsibilities and instead spend their money on trivial things like food and electricity.

Next you have scribbled the line “I know that they get their home in the end.” You are assuming that I have seen the movie, when I have not. I have no idea who “they” might be. It could be juvenile delinquents or pod people. Who knows? Your statement is a classic example of extreme narcissism and self-involvement.

You think that just because you have seen this movie and value its contents in some way, that the rest of the world has done the same. The world has not. The global population is not aware that someone else got their home in the end and, more importantly, they wouldn’t care even if they knew. They are busy getting their own homes. Assuming that they live in a place where there are, indeed, homes.

Now, there are many varieties and strains of egomania running about the planet, so I would need a bit more detail in order to fine-tune your particular breed of self-involvement. However, since I would prefer to get you in-session as soon as possible so that I can charge you more, I will take an educated stab at identifying your special slice of the self-centered pie

Your egoism appears to be based on entertainment programs of questionable artistic value, and you are so invested in these pointless characters whining about things they don‘t have that you are unable to stop talking about them. Therefore, I am leaning toward classifying you as also suffering from Self-Involved Pathetic People Yearning and Causing Unending Prattle (or SIPPY CUP, for you youngsters out there).

Continuing on with your description of this slumber-inducing feature presentation, you state that “the mother learns a lesson about child abuse,” yet you do not indicate what this lesson might be or how it is applied. Was the mother’s lesson good or bad? Did she dispense with further acts of child abuse, or did she instead perfect them? I really must know more before I can competently assess this angle.

Finally, we get to the bit about “they will not be happy with their Christmas presents”. Really, Cheryl, I don’t have to even see your trashy film in order to take this one on. This yuletide neurotica is one that has practically decimated our country, leading to a generation of spoiled brats running amok, learning rap songs and avoiding responsibility.

You see, budding patient, children should be thankful for whatever they find under the Christmas tree, as long as felonious acts were not required in order to produce said gifts. If the child is not happy with the contents of his beribboned packages, then it is squarely the parents’ fault, pure and simple, because they obviously didn’t raise their offspring in a practical and worthy manner.

Back in the day, children who had never heard of rap songs were quite thrilled to receive a stick with a little face paint and call it “dolly”. In our current society, some hideous youngsters are not satisfied unless they are the recipient of at least 50 packages, most of which contain devices requiring electrical current and/or make obnoxious noises that would drive any decent person to the brink of harsh acts against mankind.

Again, the parents are to blame. They did not do their job. It’s quite simple. I’ve grown weary of the endless line of anxious parents who tromp into my office, dragging along little hellions with an attitude, and asking what they should do with the demon miniature image of themselves.

The first bit of advice that pops to mind is already outdated and useless. They should have come to see me years ago, before their little game of slap-and-tickle at the drive-in spun out of control and resulted in Damien’s first satanic cries nine months later. I could have done a quick analysis, realized they were not fit to procreate, and forewarned them against continuing their respective family lines.

Then I tell the quivering parents that I can certainly recommend a good child psychologist, but that I will personally not be able to accept the case. In my practice, I only counsel adults who are already deeply involved with their mental illnesses and I generally know what to expect. It’s too tiresome dealing with youngsters who have not yet decided upon their preferred neurotic states. Then I bid the parents a warm farewell and wish them luck.

Of course, two seconds later I’m on the phone with Lanae, ensuring that she captures the demon child’s name, because I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in about 12 years.

Well then, Cheryl. It appears that we can wrap up your assessment for now. I will be working out a treatment plan and speaking with you again in a few days. Until then, please refrain from watching this movie ever again. It’s truly causing you some very serious issues.

And the same advisement applies to “The Wizard of Oz”. I trust you’ll understand when I say that repeated viewings of THAT film could cause a severe psychotic break that can never be resolved. Just say no. The flying monkeys alone are responsible for 10% of my patient roster….

Good day,

Dr. Brian

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