Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Group Therapy: February 10, 2004


What’s up, buddy? Anything new on the Western Front, anything—shall we say—remarkable?

Well, today, February 10, 2004—a date which will live on in the annals of history—I had my first meeting in group. It is in fact a group of two. But there are also two group leaders, Nicole and Debra—so it has somewhat of a group feel.

I’ve been sworn to secrecy. I’m not allowed to disclose anything about what we talk about in group, so—like Dan Ellsberg—I plan to share all the details. “Dr. Ellsberg, do you understand that nothing that you are privy to here at the Rand Corporation may be disclosed to third parties?” “Yes, I do.” With that said, let’s proceed.

There’s a middle-aged guy and a middle-aged lady. They’re not friend material, but they’re OK. In fact, you’re not allowed to interact socially with people in the group without disclosing the content of the interaction with the other group members. A tad odd. I didn’t know about that.

The group leaders are babes, by the way. If you’re attracted to females. They’re two young psychology interns from St. Elisabeths Hospital. At one point I asked them if they could have me committed. They assured me they couldn’t. I was actually a little disappointed. Free room and board is free room and board.

The group members—all two of them—seemed so vulnerable. It gave me a sense of some of my problems with people. Compared with them I seemed so self-assured, so arrogant, so audacious, so invulnerable.

The group leaders would keep complimenting agreeable behaviors: like sharing feelings, being candid, and so forth. They said I was courageous to enter group. From my perspective I was thinking: “Who needs so much re-assurance?” It suggested that people in group tend to be vulnerable people who need re-assurance.

I certainly don’t get any re-assurance from you, buddy. Do I look like I need it?

They were appalled by some of the things I said. Like the fact that I don’t work and collect disability (I didn’t tell them about the food stamps). I mentioned how I keep the funds flowing by doing quirky things, like getting the Secret Service involved in my antics. They thought it was morally reprehensible that I’m trying to beat the system. I said: “I feel like the system screwed me, so why shouldn’t I screw the system.” There was like this murmur of disapproval—even shock—when I spoke so forthrightly.

They were appalled by my letters to you, about which I gave them full details. “Do you know how this could affect you in the future? Why, if you’re saving these letters to “Brian” (I gave them the phoney name “Brian”—or is it simply the name of a phoney?) on the hard-drive, like you say, why you don’t know whose hands these letters, these disclosures, could get to. You don’t see how you’re sabotaging any chance of ever getting to be Brian’s friend.” Like I ever had a chance of being Brian’s friend.

Then I told them about my plan to contact the head of the library system, and ask that he grant you permission, Brian, to talk to me for 50 minutes each week in your office. That just freaked them out. Nicole said: “Do you realize what could happen to you, in terms of your library privileges? How your behavior could jeopardize your access to library facilities?”

At which point I said: “That’s why I’ve decided to hold off on that plan for now.” And one of the group members said, aghast: “For now? You mean you’re still considering that plan—to contact the head of the library system?” Yes, Brian, quite frankly I am.

Then I told them the sordid nature of my relationship with you. How I have this obsession with you. Nicole said: “What qualities does Brian have that you like?” I said “He’s reasonable. He’s a reasonable person. He’s not chatty. He was a history major. He’s a manly-man (yes, I actually used that exact phrase, like right out of the Irish Spring commercial “Guys like Brian; but women like him too.”).” I said: “He doesn’t fit the stereotype of a librarian. He’s not like a geeky bookworm. He’s a real manly-man. He’s into soccer and baseball.”

Then the conversation drifted to more reasonable ways of my approaching you, like getting into a conversation with you about common interests, and so forth. Of course, we don’t have any common interests. But I generally like people with whom I have nothing in common. I barely have anything in common with myself, remember?

Nicole said: “Is there anything that you would feel uncomfortable doing in front of the camera?” I said: “Sure. Taking a shit and changing my tampon.” No, that’s a little Big Brother 2 humor. I got my Nicoles confused.

I went into the private details of my sexual orientation. Like how I don’t like guys with facial hair. How I’m not at all attracted to clothed girls. Only naked girls. (It’s an unwanted consequence of beating off to Hustler magazine for too many years. I’m thinking of suing Larry Flynt.) Really, I don’t get these guys who go out and buy the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. For the same money, they can see the story behind the story, so to speak. Fortunately, the sex act is usually performed more or less in a state of undress. If I had to have sex with a clothed female, I could never get it up. I guess I’ll never be a congressman.

Group therapy is an interesting experience. It’s a lot more engaging than the individual therapy I do at GW.

Oh yea. Some of the things I say are just so foreign to these people. Like I told them about how I feel I have a patient/analyst relationship with you, Brian. And how important it is to me. And how I’ve learned things about myself, just thinking about the letters I write to you. They couldn’t process that at all. It was like: “Writing letters the way you do just isn’t going to make you any friends.” They stuck in the conventional world of conventional needs. I have a feeling they can make no sense of a person who is extremely torn between conflicting needs. The need for a friend; the need to learn about myself; the need to communicate to the world; the need to screw the bastards who screwed me; the need for freedom to express myself.

I’ll tell you another thing that freaked out one of the group members. When I said: “I like very few people. That’s why I feel I can’t make friends in normal ways.” One of the group members said: “How do you come to know whether you like someone?” She said that in an angry tone. Almost like “What right do you have to pick and choose friends based on your intuition.” Well, that’s the way I am, lady. How did I “know” my buddy Glenn Fine was special, based on no personal interaction? I can tell. It’s one of my powers.

I said about you: “Well, as far as Brian is concerned, I’ve kept him under surveillance for years now.” That got group leader Debra concerned: “Do you follow him home? Do you know his home telephone number? Do you telephone him at home?” No. I’m not a stalker. I’m an observer. I explained my “surveillance” of you is far less egregious than your surveillance of me, lo, these past 15 years. Where do you, Malcolm, and Earl get off watching my every move for 15 years? Who do I get to complain to about that, buddy?

I have a feeling of an underlying envy. It’s like: “Man, you’ve got so much going for you. You’re smart, you’re good-looking. I don’t have half of what you have. You should be doing something with your life.” I said: “Don’t forget, I’m psychotic.”

So, Nicole questioned that. She said: “I’m not trying to interfere with your benefits, but it may be that you don’t have a psychotic disorder (delusional disorder); maybe you have a paranoid personality disorder, which is not psychotic.” They’re trying to deny me my psychosis?

I’m going to continue in this group. It’s pretty interesting.

Check you out later, buddy. By the way: I’m not going out clubbing tonight. I’ll be home. Give me a call. You know the number is 362-7064.

P.S. Did you catch the WRC news last night (channel 4)? Wendy Rieger did this story on Philip Leadroot, the Secret Service agent I first got involved with in December 1994. Seems he’s started his own dot.com company, selling plant seeds. (Get it, LeadROOT). He’s donating the profits to the Republican party. I never guessed he was a Republican. I thought he was smarter than that.

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