Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Worst

A friend and I got into a discussion the other day about what we'd be the worst at, jobwise. We have decided she'd be a terrible lawyer and I, the worst therapist ever. Not that I'm unsympathetic to people's problems or dismissive of therapy, I simply think I'd be really really bad at it. I have the wild idea that if someone's been in therapy for the whole of their memory, it's probably not working very well and you might want to try something like woodworking or maybe painting happy little trees. That guy always seemed pretty Zen to me. I'm not saying that therapy won't help people, I just think we're going a bit overboard giving everyone's every quirk or eccentricity a diagnosis and corresponding treatment. Think about the acronyms that are commonplace now that we all managed to grow up without. We have ADD, ADHD and OCD, we all pretty much know what these are, but a simple internet search for "psychological disorders" brings up a menu to rival that of the mother of all snooty restaurants. I have found "Conduct Disorder" (we used to call them bullies), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (rebels), Separation Anxiety Disorder (mama's boys), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (we used to call them grownups), Avoidant Personality Disorder (we called them shy), my personal favorite, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (supermodels, actors...Danny Bonaduce?) and a host of others to choose from. I read recently that internet addiction is now an actual disorder. Does this mean I get to send my internet bill to my insurance company? Sign me up for that one!
If we could channel the time and money spent on thinking up new disorders, I think we could cure damn near everything. I'm planning to apply for a goverment grant to think up new disorders to explain away all of our bad behaviors. How cool would that be? We'd never be held responsible for anything because there would be an officially recognized disorder we could trot out to get us out of our every misdeed.

Friday, May 1, 2009


No, we're not talking about cigarettes here. I refer to my youngest child, if he was a king of days gone by, he'd have been called King Charles The Candid. At the age of nine, Charlie is still as fresh and unedited as he was at three. Maybe this isn't entirely a bad thing, wouldn't it be nice if you always knew exactly where everyone stood?
Over Easter, my brother in law's nephew, a three year old, entertained us all with his unique take on the world. This is an age I love because they tell you their thoughts the moment they have them. Mark, or Moose as he is called by his nearest and dearest, is skilled at unfiltered thinking to the delight of people like my family. He recently made the unprompted announcement "We do not urinate in the living room!" Good to know and thank you for making us aware of that frequently overlooked bit of etiquiette.
Charlie has had a rocky school year this year, some of his own making and quite a bit not. This is his first year with a male teacher as the primary, one who is also the football coach. Charlie is still working on the idea of "what's said here, stays here when you leave here". I got a phone call from his teacher the other day and the teacher tells me "Charlie tells me you think I'm irresponsible." Hmm, how to proceed? My response was complete candor in the face of being busted. Gee, I'm sorry he repeated that, but as a matter of fact, I do. Thank God the school year is almost over, I don't know how much more honesty I can take.
I try to imagine what the world would be like without little white lies. Not just from me, but from everyone. If total and complete honesty was the norm. "Does this make me look fat?" Yes, it does. "Isn't he the greatest guy ever?" Um, no, he smells weird and keeps looking at your friends' boobs. "It's a new recipe, how do you like it?" Well, it tastes like day old fish and makes me want to throw up. Your answers don't end a friendship and your honest opinion is well and truly appreciated.
Politicians would be totally accountable for everything they say because everything they say is true...what a concept. Nothing would be said for simple political gain. This idea was explored in the Jim Carrey movie "Liar Liar", never saw it but heard enough.
I like the idea of being unfiltered. I think things would be a lot more interesting if we didn't have to pick our way through a conversational minefield. This would only work if none of us had feelings, of course.
Maybe I'll stick with being nice and being quiet if I can't be nice. As far as Charlie's teacher goes, consider me mute.