So, in the interest of Joe’s interpersonal relations, I’m sending him to a psychologist today.
Joe arrives on time, fills out the paperwork, and the psychologist invites him into his office. All’s well until the psychologist asks Joe to lie down on the couch and Joe says, “Thanks, I’d rather stand.”
“Okay,” the psychologist says, and he asks Joe to tell him about his fears and his loves.
Joe says, “Death and pierogi.”
The psychologist asks, “Can you explain that in more detail?”
“Nope,” says Joe.
They go back and forth like this for a half hour until the psychologist says, “I have the feeling that you’re not very comfortable opening up, are you?”
“Nope,” says Joe.
“Let’s try an experiment,” the psychologist says. “I’ll leave you here alone with a pen and a piece of paper. I want you to write a poem about your fears and loves.”
Joe raises his eyebrows and says, “A poem?”
“Yes,” says the psychologist. “A sonnet, an ode, an epic, whatever you want.”
“I’ve never written a poem,” says Joe.
The psychologist smiles, says, “Here’s your chance,” and leaves Joe alone with his thoughts and the pen and paper.
Fifteen minutes later, the psychologist returns and finds Joe standing exactly where he left him, the pen and paper still in his hands. “Did you come up with anything?” he asks.
Joe hands him the paper, and the psychologist reads:
“My Fears and Loves”
And clerks who try too hard to please –
Dick Cheney, George Bush,
Manatees, small dogs, rats, and mice and
I’m scared of my kidneys, too, but why
I can’t explain. I could defy
Anxiety with Lexapro
Or Xanax or Celexa, though
A glass of whiskey does the trick
– But too much whiskey makes me sick –
And so, to treat my phobias,
I think of women in lacy bras,
’Cause I love women in lacy bras –
And leather boots! They give me pause,
They calm my mind, they make me glad,
And I forget the fears I’ve had.
The psychologists considers Joe’s poem. He stares at Joe awhile. He reads the poem again. Then he sighs and says, “This has gotten me thinking, Joe. Maybe there’s some value to uncommunicative repression.”