“I don’t know what to do, Doctor Sampson. He’s not normal. He’s always getting in trouble at school. I feel like I’m a teacher at Vinnie’s school I’m there so often,” says Vinnie’s mom to Reginald Sampson, Phd and certified child psychologist.
“What makes you think Vinnie’s not normal?” says Dr. Sampson leaning forward toward Vinnie’s mom.
“Where do you want me to begin? I didn’t do the things he does when I was eight years old, nor did his dad. Our parents would have grounded us for life. And, that’s the best case scenario,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“How many years ago were you eight-years-old?” asks Dr. Sampson.
“Really? You’re kidding, right?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Please call me, Reggie. Using my first name will help you relax,” says Dr. Sampson in a soft nondescript voice.
“I need strategies, Reggie. Vinnie’s a wonderful son. He’s polite. He’s intelligent. His school grades are excellent. He scores in the 99th percentile on the academic achievement tests. If I tell him to do something, he’ll eventually do it. I only need him to be like everyone else. Is that too much to ask?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“What more do you want? Most parents would beg to have a son like Vinnie. I think you need to embrace his difference and encourage his creativity. You and your husband are doing fine.”
“Yesterday, he told his dad and me he wants to be a private eye when he grows up. He’s going to have Rupert and Dexter help him,” says Vinnie’s mom waving her arms.
“Children change their minds every day. It’s nice that he has two close friends that want to private eyes with him,” says Dr. Sampson.
“Rupert is a stuffed grizzly bear and Dexter is an overweight beagle,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“That’s cute,” says Dr. Sampson.
“How much is this advice costing me?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
Doctor Sampson says, “I discount the first session. This session will only be seventy-five dollars. The rest of our sessions will be two-hundred each.”
“You’re kidding, right? I’ve only been here thirty minutes, if I pay thirty-five dollars for the half hour can we call it even?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“I think I’m beginning to understand Vinnie,” says Dr. Sampson.
Later that evening Vinnie’s mom sits on the sofa in the living room sipping on a glass of wine. Vinnie’s dad sits on the sofa holding his glass of wine.
“I won’t go back, Dear. He thinks I’m the problem. How can I be the problem? He says encourage Vinnie’s creativity. He says every parent wants a son like Vinnie. Look at me, stop staring at the TV. Right here where my fingers are pointing. These are called eyes. I think I have micro lines around my eyes. Is my right eye twitching? It feels like it’s twitching,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad is a lawyer. He’s trying to find his way through this conversation with Vinnie’s mom and he like a lab rat in a maze. He plays it safe, “I don’t see any micro lines. You look younger than the day we met. It’s your left eye that’s twitching, not your right eye.” Vinnie’s dad realizes he lost the case.
“He takes after you. He is just like you. I am not the problem, it is you,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad tries a bit of humor, “That’s why you love us. You like bad boys.” He starts laughing.
“Dear God, I can’t have an intelligent conversation with either one of you,” says Vinnie’s mom.
Vinnie’s dad is trying his best to dig his way out of the canyon he’s dug says, “Vinnie’s very quiet, what’s he doing?”
Vinnie’s mom glances toward the hallway toward Vinnie’s bedroom. She says, “His class is supposed to write a fiction story. He came home excited about it. The first paragraph is due on Monday. The story is to be done by Friday. He’ll have the weekend to work on it. He didn’t even ask to go to Joey’s house to play. He finished his regular home work then told me not to bother him. He said he was going to write the best story ever.”
“That seems harmless. It’s good to see so much enthusiasm in him. Maybe he’ll be the next Stephen King or Ernest Hemingway or J. K. Rowling,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“You wish,” says Vinnie’s mom. She adds, “You know his current career goal is to be a private eye. Why did you let him watch the Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart while he was in the kitchen playing on his iPad. I think Phillip Marlowe is his new hero. Before he went into his room, he turned to me and said, ‘Mom, my story is going to be totally true, I’m only changing a few things so it looks like fiction. It’s going to be a true detective story.”
“That’s why he asked me if he could binge old Bogart movies. What could go wrong?” asks Vinnie’s dad.
“Dear God,” says Vinnie’s mom.