Wherein I am rogered by a cactus
. . . for two-and-one-half hours, no less. Youch. Here's the deal. My son still suffers from daily headaches. Propranolol and ibuprofen are helping some, but he's miserable a lot of the time. Someone (okay, it was me) had the bright idea of having him see a psychologist who specializes in headache. Karen and I hoped he might teach Jake some useful techniques for managing pain -- visualization exercises, meditation, etc. No success as of yet. Karen and I both think his headaches are organic, not psychological, but if you show a hammer a nail, don't expect a Hello Kitty purse. At some point, something was said by someone (me again) which made Jake a bit weepy. The psychologist felt this was Significant and asked him, "What are you thinking right now? What's on your mind?" After fifteen minutes of Jake's silence, I asked the doc, "Can any 9-year-old answer that question?" He had me tripping through Flashback City. When I was thirteen, a psychologist asked me that same thing. Thirteen. Four years older than Jake. I remember looking inside, trying to find an answer, and finding instead: (A) a wall of white static (B) a radio that wouldn't stop playing -- oh, back then, let me see, I wasn't particularly cool; I'll bet it was Yellow Brick Road -- something that passed for music. (C) sheer terror that all I could find inside me was (A) and (B) (By the way: this was in '74, well before Roger Waters did his rock opera schtick, so my wall was not a tired metaphor. ) Point -- points -- being: (A) I couldn't understand how Jake could answer a question like that, and (B) this line of questioning was making me squirm. See, I've gotten used to being empty inside. I realize it's a superficial sort of emptiness, and I'm okay with that. I mean, there has to be some degree of depth in there somewhere, otherwise where does the fiction come from? Or am I merely channeling someone who has an inner life? Jake couldn't answer the question any better than I could thirty years ago. It eventually emerged (the passive voice was created for situations like this) that he is upset by the way someone raises his voice too often (two guesses who), and Would Like It To Stop. Lest you think I'm a child-abusing ogre, I grew up in a household where the decibel level caused permanent noise-induced hearing loss after twenty minutes. Jake may hear a yell, but all I hear is a warm-up to a yell. Not even that. A yell isn't a yell unless the neighbors three doors down know your business. The pets should run and hide. Next day in school, people should stare at you and whisper. Aw, don't mind me. I'm simply adjusting to the idea that it's all my fault. And here I thought that our mothers were always to blame. D.