Friday, July 25, 2008
Therapy is good. Therapy is in. The dirty old Yanks got it first but by sweet baby Jesus when the Yanks say jump coz it's good for you, we jump like a bean made in Mexico.
Just like you I want to go to a trim, mature, smartly dressed, sympathetic woman who has a hint of a middle European accent, and I want to lie down on her couch and I want to burst into tears. 'Help me,' I weep. 'I am small and feeble and thirty three and pink. Help me.'
She says nothing.
I let rip. I explode in her consulting room. I burst like an over-ripe pimple. Self pity and regret drip onto her off-white carpet. My shame and self loathing colour the walls a pale yellow.
She says nothing.
'For God's sake,' I scream, 'can't you see, it's all gone horribly wrong. Therapist, mother, Therapist-Mother, mend my aching soul, my fear, my crippled feelings, my dishonesty. Shake me. Let me step forth into tomorrow, resolute and honest. Let me tell those that tell me what to do not to tell me what to do. Let me tell the beautiful that they are indeed beautiful. Let me hug people and laugh and sing and assemble outdoor furniture and then put food on that outdoor furniture and then eat that food with friends that I will laugh and sing with. Then we shall sleep the sleep of the just and wake refreshed. Teach me to live Therapist-Mother, won't you teach me to live?'
Half an hour of this blubber and I feel just dandy. I bounce from the couch. I seize her cool hand. On an impulse I hug her, feeling the ridges of her straight spine. I slightly dislodge her spectacles. She gives me a warm understanding smile. But she says nothing.
At tthe desk outside sits a young woman with a stopwatch and a box of tissues. She presents the stopwatch. 'Thirty threee minutes today Mr House, at $7.50 is... lets call it $250.' Lets's call it $300,' I sing, handing her crisp new bills fresh from a friendly cash machine and snatch a tissue as you never know when you might need one. We part with a smile, her with the cash, me with the tissue, and a full heart and clear eyes.
It's called therapy. Anyone can do it. I've got a business plan. I'm going to start a therapy chain.
First I'm going to a party. I shall seek out the sad, the ones clutching a drink in both hands and taking an interest in the DVD collection. I shall sidle over, my sympathetic look worn like a badge, my eyebrows cocked in the correct position. I look like a labrador.
'Have we met?' asks the strange sad one, suddenly nervous. I maintain my silence, my enquiring, sympathetic labradorishness.
'It's just...' the sad one begins, 'it's just that i don't know anyone here, and I don't seem to be any good at mixing, you know?' And they're away. I stand. I lean. I listen. I nod. I shake and I listen.
Once the tears start, as they do, I press my business card into the damp hand, pat them on the head and say, 'just give my secretary a ring.'
From there it snowballs. The sad men and the sad women come and talk to me and feel better and pay me and tell their friends. And I keep their secrets.
Then I branch out. I make lifesized cardboard cut-outs of 'me' and place them in offices in Sydney, Los Angeles and London. Cardboard 'me's in offices in Bangalore and Miami. I charge by the minute. $8.95 a minute to emotionally strip off in front of the sympathetic labrador. The KFC of therapy. We'll all be happier.
I'll be so rich I'll need therapy. I'll go to myself.