May 27, 2007
MHNN (New York)- What does freedom really mean? Every year, that question gets asked on Memorial Day, as we consider and remember those who have taken up arms in the defense of this nation and the ideals she stands for.
The editors of MHNN asked the world renowned experts on psycho-therapy, psychopathology, psychopathy and the permanent representatives to the US mission at United Nations Convention of Psychotropic Substances, that very question. Dr Pat Santy and Shrinkwrapped, Neo-neocon and ourselves responded to the MHNN queries.
Neo-neocon, is well known American patient advocate, respected technology guru and proponent of classical dance therapy (a opposed to the more free form variety. Classical Dance Therapy was originated in Berlin by Ms Eva Braun).
SC&A, the founders and directors of The Institute are world leaders in ATT (Assault Therapy Technologies) as well as ADC (Application of Direct Current, commonly referred to as Buzz Therapy).
MHNN: Dr Sanity, what does Memorial Day mean to you?
PMS: This is the one day a year I know that the organic lawn care people won’t be coming by. While I never know when they will come by, I do know that they won’t be coming by today or tomorrow.
MHNN: What does that have to do with Memorial Day?
PMS: Everything! The pretend politically correct owners and employees need the day off. For every Memorial Day Parade there are counter demonstrations and they need to be attended by the organic lawn care people. After the short demonstrations, they go home and solemnly inculcate their loved ones with the idea that America is a horrible and militaristic nation, obsessed with mindlessness, like having nice lawns.
After the tofu BBQ there are games of Name That Freedom Fighter and Which American Imperialist Am I? Everybody wants to be Joe Stalin. One year, I was invited to one such BBQ. In keeping with the ‘oppression’ theme, I brought up the subjects of women in abayas, misogyny, FGM, the stoning of women and all kinds of ways women were treated poorly. I really wanted to be a part of the group, you know.
I was told I really knew how to ruin a party. Didn’t I know there was nothing more demeaning and evil to women than America? Didn’t I know that George Bush had set up concentration camps for women?
There is a lot more to the politics of the organic lawn care people than meets the eye. I retreated back to my Carnival Of The Insanities for a grasp on reality.
MHNN: Shrinkwrapped, you have a successful private practice in the northeast, and you are well respected by your colleagues. You have even refused the fellowship to the SC&A Institute, preferring to remain instead in a more conservative educational and therapeutic setting. What does Memorial Day mean to you?
Shrink: Firstly, let me say that my refusal to work at the SC&A Institute to do with my lack of experience with electricity. Some things are best left to the experts. I have been working with cattle prods at home and hope to one day soon master the tool that has influenced so many.
In any event, Memorial Day in a day for contemplation and thoughtfulness. I was talking to a fourteen year psychoanalysis patient who came up with a remarkable insight about Memorial Day. As we leave the sphere of paper plates and our mother’s influence, we are no longer satisfied with our hot dogs and hamburgers dressed the way our mother’s thought they ought to be dressed. We reach a stage in life where we can dress our own hot dogs and hamburgers any way we like, with the condiments and ingredients in any proportion we see fit. Isn’t that a sign of adulthood and taking responsibility?
My patient noted that with the addition of each condiment and ingredient, he mentally role played a kind of transactional analysis, discussing his choices with his now deceased mother. She of course, would answer back in a disapproving way, but my patient stood his ground and would not apologize for using the more expensive deli mustard instead of yellow mustard. I was proud of my patient. I’m hoping he’ll have a similar kind of breakthrough when he goes to the grocery story. When faced with having to select between single and double ply, he usually freezes up.
When caught like a dear in the headlights, I have my patients pull out a puppet that resembles me and I talk them through their crises. Why the puppet? What’s the lesson? Puppets are better than pagers. Do you have any idea how many whack jobs I have to deal with? If it weren’t for Carnival Of The Insanities, I think I’d go nuts. Well, that and the drug companies.
On this day, my patients can put whatever the hell they want on their dogs, burgers and cupcakes. I don’t care. Remind me to tell you about the patient that had no self control. Without tooting my horn too much, let’s just say that after a decade of analysis, he became the model for the TV character ‘Monk.’ Carnival Of The Insanities is a therapeutic tool that has no equal. Besides, I tape all my sessions and usually surf the net when patients are unloading. I like the spontaneous laughter the Carnival elicits- and that upsets my patients to no end. SC&A are right about how good that is for the therapist.
MHNN: Neo-neocon, what does Memorial Day mean to you?
Neo: Travel. I always like to travel on Memorial Day. I bring along my laptop so I’m never too far from the net.
I like showing up late, getting handed all this food and then asking for the one thing I know they have run out of, or something I know they won’t have. Last year, I went to a Memorial Day picnic in California. I asked where the knishes and Cel Ray were. All they had to offer was some kind of crappy California style pizza with cheese, chicken, chipotle and cilantro. Why does everything in California have to have cilantro? Who the hell wants a cheesecake with cilantro?
Anyway, Memorial Day also means freedom to me. I like to dance. Did you know I used to dance ballet? Not like John Kerry was in Vietnam- I really used to dance ballet. I miss those days. There is something special about the ballet.
(At this point in the interview, Neo stood up and did basic steps and pirouettes worthy of Dame Margot Fontayne).
Memorial Day also means that family therapists are free to select the therapy they think will work best. In my experience there is nothing better than having clients put on dancing shoes and tights and step on the numbered stenciled feet on the floor as a metaphor for the steps they must take to make to make their lives in a way I find most meaningful.
I wish everybody could go through life stepping on numbered, stenciled feet. That’s what I like about Carnival Of The Insanities. Every week, always good. Kind of like a fresh tutu, bright lights and polished hardwood floors, every week.
NOTE: SC&A were unavailable for the interview. They had a Memorial Day commitment with the power company executives and told us were asking moronic questions.