Literati! Oh how I would love to be a psychiatrist. The easiest job in the world, because after listening to each set of distressing problems, the prescription is always the same: Three months on the beach in Tahiti surrounded by members of you favorite gender! Let’s see what therapist Judge Katz prescribes, in this his second entry into our contest. (Still about a half a dozen entries still to post, if I ever get off the couch.)
by Judge Katz
After jotting down a few words on my notepad, I spoke again. I didn’t want to; it was already painful. “Tell me about your wife. You mention her quite a bit.”
Mr. Nester’s eyes lit up, gushing at the chance to talk about his life partner. “She’s just perfect in every sense of the word. Terrific, superb, amazing—all of them.” It was embarrassing, even to me, a therapist, to see a grown man talk about his wife like she was a damned demigoddess. Pursing my lips, I wrote down,
Unhealthily glorified spouse; suggests unresolved abandonment complex.
“How long had you been married?” I asked after thinking of a few questions.
“Thirty years. Our anniversary is next month.” The poor dope smiled like he didn’t have a care in the world.
“How did you meet?” In asking that question, I had already prepared myself for the painfully saccharine story that would surely follow.
“Well, we met in high school, though she never even looked at me. How could she? I was gross!” Mr. Nester laughed; in twenty-something years of psychoanalyzing the most bizarre and unstable individuals, this was perhaps the most childishly self-deprecating thing I had ever heard. “She dated the captain of the football team, the lead in the school play—Miriam could’ve had anyone she wanted but she picked me.”
By this point, I was almost invested in how anyone could feel anything but immediate and everlasting revolt for this sap. Out of the office, I would’ve said something to crush this guy. Instead, I said something that only seemed harmless:
“Why do you think she did? Pick you, I mean.”
“Three words: hard work.” Three words? —“I knew she’d have to fall for me one day if a kept at it. So, every week I asked her to get a milkshake with me. Most times, she said “no”. One day, in our senior year, she finally said yes. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was—and am! I felt—and feel—like I won the lottery!”
I underlined the words ‘unhealthily glorified’.
“Er, Mr. Nester, did you have any issues in yours marriage?” I asked cautiously.
“Not a gosh darn problem if I do say so myself. In fact, we hadn’t had a single fight since we got together! Why? Do you need a few tips, pal?”
That crossed a line. You can be overly happy to yourself, you can say marriage is easy, but when you try to give advice to your therapist—to hell with his parole officer.
“Mr. Nester, your wife died thirteen years ago.” I wanted to see the light in his eyes sputter and burn out.
“Ain’t it swell!”
For a moment, I was speechless. After a few seconds, I found a small grin. “Yes, Mr. Nester, it is.”
Thank God he was crazy. No sane person is that happy. After twenty-something years of this lunacy, I’ve had four divorces: not too bad, right?