Monday, August 12, 2019

The Bomb Within


The only abusive relationship with a man I’ve ever been in went on for seven years. I’m ashamed to admit that it is still going on.
It is with my shrink and I’m the abuser.
Ours is an unholy union, mine and creepily-indeterminate-of-accent and eerily resembling both a Nazi war criminal and Count Chocula, Dr. Hansmann’s. He needs me for the money my insurance company provides him each month for our abysmally ineffective appointments. These, I’m forced to go to in exchange for him providing me with Xanax.
I always used to think that I’d find a Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting-type therapist. He’d see beyond my Funny, Tough Girl Covering Up A Fucked-Up Childhood schtick and really, truly help me.
Instead, over the years, I’ve had shrinks I’m pretty sure either Photoshopped their degrees or got them through online extension courses.
I had one who fell asleep on me while I was recounting some gruesome childhood trauma or another. When she woke with a start a full minute later, I told her that I was sorry my sob story hadn’t been interesting enough to keep her awake, threw twenty bucks at her feet and said, “Here’s your co-pay.” That was our last session.
I had another one whose main assessment was that I use humor as a defense mechanism to keep people at arm’s length. This was, and is, an entirely astute observation about me. But when he announced a moratorium on jokes in our sessions, I knew that it was over for us. No jokes? That was like asking my mother to explain what a clitoris is. It just wasn’t going to happen.
“What about puns?” I’d asked.
There was the morbidly obese shrink I went to during my compulsory, college age eating disorder phase who lectured me about having a healthy relationship with food. As her folds spilled over the chair that was far too small for her girth, I’d stare at her thinking, Okay, I’m fucked up about eating but clearly, so are you. Just at the opposite end of the spectrum. I may not be able to eat over eight hundred calories a day without thinking that I’ll end up looking like Jabba the Hut but at least I don’t kid myself that I’m in any position to be counseling people on their issues with food.
There was the requisite creepy guy with the clich├ęd comb-over who asked me every one of the three sessions I went to if my sex life was normal and what did I like in bed. Even though I’d established within five minutes of our first session that sex at least was one area where I was completely healthy and had no hang ups.
All my other issues and this skeezy, walking advertisement for a sexual misconduct lawsuit is asking about this, I’d think. Really?
Count Chocula isn’t like any of those disasters. Make no mistake though. He’s a complete and total disaster as a shrink. He’s the victim of an abusive relationship with one of his patients, for Christ’s sake. Sure, he’s a terrible shrink. But I’m an even worse patient. Together, as a team, we have made zero progress over the past seven years.
He hates me. I know that he does. I’m certain of it and I don’t blame him at all.
Our sessions begin with me spending the first twenty minutes of the allotted hour complaining about my commute there from work.
“You know what I really like?” I began the other week. “When the guy right next to you on the subway starts clipping his nasty ass fingernails and the pieces end up on your lap and he doesn’t even notice. And then he takes his shoes off and his feet smell like beef and he starts in on his toenails. What is that? Why am I still here in New York? Why?”
He blinked a few times and then, as he has approximately two thousand, four hundred fifty times since we began our “therapeutic work” together said, “This makes you feel angry?”
“Of course, it does,” I exclaimed. “Listening to Beef Feet clip his nails is a nice way to follow up waiting for a train that never comes until you’ve watched at least one homeless person defecate and a rat run over to eat it like, ‘Shit: It’s What’s for Dinner.’ I shouldn’t see this stuff, man. No one should!”
He appeared to make himself nod.
Presumably, he was also forcing down his rising gorge, seeing as he’d visibly winced when I’d mentioned a rat dining on homeless man excrement.
“The subway is the major mode of transportation for well over eight-and-a-half million people,” I continued. “Any other city, people would be riotingHere, everyone just stands there like dumbasses on a hundred-degree subway platform that smells like fifty-year-old year homeless shit, decaying rat carcasses and rotting asbestos; thumbing away on their phones like lemmings. Like, why do we all just bend over and let the MTA ass rape us year after year? And the fares keep going up! What are they fixing, exactly? Not the PA system, that’s for sure. They could be telling you the train is making all local stops to Uzbekistan and no one would hear it. It’s completely useless.”
“This is difficult,” he agreed.
He paused.
“Has anything you have seen recently made you feel happy to be in New York City?” 
“Not really,” I replied. “That would mean going to anything even vaguely resembling a museum and you know what a tourist clusterfuck that is, in the summer. But you really do get to see some great stuff on the subway. I saw a lady reading a biography of Luther Vandross the other day. What would possibly possess someone to read that? Why? Where did she even find it?”
He gave me a blank stare.
“Anyway, I’m sad about Kindle because of that,” I continued. “I used to really like seeing what people were reading. I mean, the regular people and weirdos anyway. Most people on my train from Brooklyn are reading the same Booker Prize, ‘It’ shit I am and it’s boring. Who cares, right? I love when I see older ladies reading like, On The Wings Of Self-Esteem or romance novels like The Rancher’s Ultimatum. And they don’t give a fuck who sees it. Now, that is awesome.”
“Yes,” Count Chocula agreed. “It is sometimes interesting to observe other people.” Not you, however, awful fraulein. You make me regret the day I decided to get mein major in psychiatry back at Transylvania University.
“Hey,” I said. “Speaking of self-help books, remember when you tried to get me to read that one about anger management? What was it called again? The Bomb Within?’
I cackled as he stared at me impassively, hating me and the fateful decision to leave his small, idyllic hamlet in Transylvania just to hustle for money from insurance companies that would only pay for messes like myself to see sub-standard shrinks.
The Bomb Within,” I laughed. “That sounds like a health pamphlet about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Or what airport security says when one of my uncles tries to board a flight on 9/11 with their Yemeni passport.”
At this point, we were about thirty-five minutes into the session.
“The anger management book may have helped you,” he sighed. “Had you agreed to read it.”
“So anyway,” I said, ignoring him. “The bathroom you guys have here. You share it with ladies, right?”
He nodded, obviously dreading what was coming next.
“Okay, so today at work, I go to the ladies’ room. And I sit down and there’s pee on the seat. I usually use one of those paper toilet covers but I was in a rush. I mean, come on. You pee on the seat, have the common courtesy to mop it up. Am I right or wrong? What if you had to take a dump here and sat down and one of your lady co-shrinks had pissed all over the seat? It’s not just me! You’d be angry too.”
Slowly, he closed his eyes and rubbed at his temples.
When he opened them again, he surveyed me.
“Why are you wearing an eye patch?” he asked hesitantly.
A normal relationship would have compelled him to ask why his patient looked like Captain Morgan without the plumed hat and parrot on the shoulder when I’d first entered the room, forty minutes before. But, seeing as he’s in an abusive relationship, he knows better than to ask stupid questions; bitch, go make me a turkey pot pie.
“My eye doctor’s making me wear it for a few days,” I said dismissively. “I got an infection from this illegal kohl eyeliner I buy from the Arab grocery store. Supposedly, it has lead in it but nothing in Sephora gives you the kind of smoky eye this shit does."
“I see,” he said. “I hope it is better soon.” And I hope that you go blind from lead poisoning then fall onto the tracks of the fifty-year-old year homeless shit, decaying rat carcasses and rotting asbestos smelling subway. Gott in himmel knows, I no longer care about the pittance your insurance company pays me each month to listen to this scheisse.
“Anyway,” I remarked. “It’ll be off in time for my date this Friday.”
“That is good,” he said, smiling encouragingly.
“I’m not going to sleep with him though,” I said emphatically and apropos of nothing. “I mean it.”
His smile faded.
“I'm not going to get a bikini wax,” I informed him. “On purpose. That means no sex, for sure. I’m not some blonde-ass Becky. I’m a hairy Arab. You should have seen my arm hair before I got it lasered off. I looked like a fucking Yeti. I need to take care of the bikini wax situation every four weeks on the dot or we’re talking straight up wildebeest styles. That shit works like a chastity belt for me. I wouldn’t even let a guy fing...I mean, it’s just not going to happen is all I’m saying.”
He nodded stoically, no doubt cursing a destiny that had brought him from the arching, bat-filled skies of Transylvania to sit across from a sewer-mouthed chick wearing an eye patch, etching the indelible image of human shit-eating rats into his head, and insisting that her unwaxed cooch was going to prevent her from putting out too soon.
“Now,” he began. “When you say dating…”
“Listen, bitch,” I snapped impatiently. I call all of my friends, male and female; gay, straight, and everything in between, this. And when annoyed enough, Count Chocula, because of course I do. He is Rihanna to my Chris Brown; Tina to my Ike. “I don’t want to talk about that anymore. You don’t want me to start making stuff up again because I’m bored, do you?”
He shook his head and sighed.
“How are you handling your father’s death?” he said slowly. “Do you want to talk about his abandonment when you were a child? The alcoholism?”
“Mine or his?” I retorted. “I already quit drinking almost four years ago. Unlike him, I manned the fuck up and stopped. Cold turkey, too. He just went on and on and on with his boozing. End of story. So shut your yap hole about it already." 
“It is a painful legacy,” he offered. “One that you must…”
“No,” I said flatly.
“And your mother,” he began. “She is…”
“No,” I snapped.
“What do you want to talk about then?” he asked.
We had five minutes left.
I thought for a moment.
“Have I told you about the guy at work who went on a big fitness overhaul and won’t shut up about macronutrients in his diet and his training and muscle confusion?” I asked. “Meanwhile, any time you walk behind him, all that diet and training and muscle confusion makes him crop dust.”
He looked at me, blankly.
“You know,” I said. “Sporadically fart as you’re walking.”
“Yes,” he said more wearily than I’d ever heard him. “You have told me this.”









The Bomb Within

The only abusive relationship with a man I’ve ever been in went on for seven years. I’m ashamed to adm...