SchadenFreude

Interesting. And how does that make you feel?
I used to date a psychologist. Possibly. It’s also possible that she was just hanging around with me for research purposes and I’ll end up being referred to as “Subject K” when she finally publishes her Big Book o’ Weirdos (working title).

Most people believe psychology involves sitting in a chair saying, “Tell me about your mother” and performing the occasional Jedi Mind Trick. While that viewpoint isn’t entirely wrong (because The Force does indeed give one power over weak minds), it ignores some of the more harrowing realities of the job.

A specific thing your typical shrinker of heads has to deal with is the fact that they are never off-duty. Even when they pack up for the day and go home, they still have to process all the batshit they’ve been exposed to during their sessions. To add to this, there are the frantic after-hours phone calls from clients with boundary issues (which is often a telling clue as to why they are in therapy in the first place).

One such phone call that derailed a quiet Saturday afternoon was from a panicking parent who was worried that some or other imaginary crisis might befall her hapless child. When I asked Obi-Juanita why she didn’t tell the caller that she wasn’t available after hours, she patiently explained that the shock would be too great. Or as she put it: “You can’t say that to mothers. You may as well tell them, ‘Sorry, I can’t talk right now – I’m having anal sex with a dog’“.

I’m beginning to understand why Freud needed all that cocaine.

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Relationships that pass in the night

My head hurts
If you pick up any glossy magazine that caters to the thirty-something middle-class heterosexual female demographic, you’re almost guaranteed to find an opinion piece on relationships. In fact, if you ever manage to find an issue that doesn’t have a relationship-themed article, you should tell the dentist’s receptionist that someone has been tearing pages out of their magazines.

The vaguely confusing message that emerges from these publications is that men are worthless, filthy things that you should nevertheless manipulate into marrying you. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but this seems severely counter-intuitive. Why would anyone would want to do a thing like that? After all, if you’re dating an “unhygienic, adolescent-minded ne’er-do-well who exists only to gratify himself and make you miserable” [citation needed], surely you’d want to get away from him and not make the arrangement permanent in the eyes of the Law and Facebook?

It turns out that writers of relationship articles (and now that I think about it, my ex-wife) fervently believe that we unhygienic adolescent-minded ne’er-do-wells can be cured of our wayward ways. All it requires is for us to just grow up and stop being selfish. In other words, get married, have kids and buy a lawnmower. Of course, it rather begs the question – what’s in it for us?

Is it reasonable to expect us just do it and like it? Does the world really need more baybeez to secure the survival of the species? When you compare the fun factor of a lawnmower against that of a game console, how often does the lawnmower win? If you guessed “no”, “no” and “never”, give yourself a gold star.

Then again, this may offer some insight as to how the dowry custom came into being. If you’re going to do something you would normally avoid, it’s generally less painful if you get paid.

I can hardly wait for the phantom pregnancy!

Next - symptomless gangrene!

Over the past three years, one of my friends has suffered from a series of mysterious ailments with no obvious symptoms.

It all started when he became convinced that he’d been poisoned by his ex-wife. The alleged poisoning somehow mutated into glandular fever, which in turn gave way to meningitis (actually, that one was almost believable, because there definitely seems to be something wrong with his brain). I kind of lost track after his bout of imaginary meningitis, but in his most recent health crisis, he was certain that he had cancer. Or tuberculosis. Possibly both.

If I sound unsympathetic, it’s probably because I am. I didn’t start off this way, but his maladies have all, without exception, turned out to be the medical equivalent of swamp gas or the planet Venus.

I believe he has a rare condition called fullofshititus, which causes an overwhelming desire to have endless blood tests done, “just to be sure”. He’s managed to combine hypochondria and self-mutilation into a strangely logical, but nonetheless insane package.

The local emo kids think he is a god.