Something to Think About

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. ~ Carl Jung


The psychologist, Carl Jung, points out that we learn about the essential good things of life by their absence. How often have you and I heard, or said, “If I only knew?” Or, “It feels so good, to feel so good again?”

What lessons has life taught you about its essential good things when they were missing from your life?

I’ve learned many lessons. Among them, never lose a moment to share my love is at the top of my list.

Trust Fund Baby – 3 A Satire

Chapter 3 ~ What’s Work?
I said, “Father, I don’t know how to work. What’s work?”
Father said, “Honestly, Son. I don’t know. Neither one of us have ever worked. Believe me, Mother and I have thought about it. It’s a vexing problem, that’s for sure. We didn’t want to ask Nicole or Oscar or Victor about work because that would make them think they were smarter than us. I asked Pettibone and he said it had something to do with exertion. He even said some people have told him it is about exerting oneself for a purpose or a cause. Son, we are filthy rich capitalists. For us, work is an abstraction. It’s only a word and nothing to cause you worry. Sure, you’ll have to leave home and go to an office and pretend your working.”
I interrupted, “Will I have a secretary?”
“Of course, Son. She’ll do your work for you.”
I had a flicker of hope. I said, “If the secretary is beautiful, can we have sex and call it work?”
“Martin,” came the voice of the avenging angel across from Father. “Is sex all you think about?”
Mother may be reading my mind. I do think about sex often. Make that, quite often. I read in a men’s magazine it was normal for the male species. If I’m not thinking about sex, I’m thinking about where to go eating or drinking. I turned my head slightly toward Mother and said, “Not all the time, Mother. But it takes up my thoughts about 80 percent of the time.”
“Father,” Mothers said. “Do you think Martin needs hormone therapy?”
“It’s only a stage, Mother. Do you think sending him to a brothel in Las Vegas for a week will help?”
I interjected, “Can I leave this afternoon?”
Father answered immediately, and it burst my balloon. He said, “No, Son. You have to go to work. Now listen to our plan. We created a job based on your education and experience where you won’t have to work. All you have to do is show up each day, tell your secretary what to do, and meet with a few people each day. All you’ll have to do is pretend you’re a psychologist. You’ll have all the props. Certainly you can do that, don’t you think?”
I looked at Father and said, “You mean I’m going to be a head doctor, a shrink?” I asked.
“Now, Martin, watch your language. Mother and I want to know what you thought of using the name Sanderstein instead of Sanderstuff?”
“It sounds Jewish. You’ll be able to charge more and the people will think you’re brilliant.”
“No,” I said. “It will be too hard to spell. It’s a tough learning curve. Don’t make this more difficult than it has to be.”
“Martin makes a good point, Father,” said Mother. “Can we hurry this along, I’m having my Evian bath and Caviar facial this morning.”
“Sorry, Mother. I’ll hurry it along.” Then Father addressed me, “Working as a psychologist ties perfectly into the dissertation Mother wrote for you.”
I turned to Mother, “What was the subject of my dissertation?”
Mother beamed with pride and said, “Using Love Therapy as a Counseling Technique.”
“I love my dissertation. Will I be a sex psychologist?”
“No, Son, your dissertation had nothing to do with sex or the erotic form of love. It focused on the altruistic notions of love.”

I felt a depression beginning to build in me. When this happens I either eat, drink, or have meaningless, nameless sex. My only choice at the moment was eating. I finished the remainder of my Danish and drew my forefinger on the bits of strawberry and frosting on my plate. When the tip of my forefinger was loaded with sugary substances, I put it in my mouth and licked it off with my tongue.
Mother suppressed a dry heave, “Martin, that is so low class. If you want another Danish, I’ll have Victor get you one.”
I suppressed the temptation to lick my plate, turned toward Father and said, “Dad, I mean Father.” I like to throw dad in there every now and then to cause Father a bit of acid reflux. “It sounds like work to me. I’d prefer other four letter words.”
“Martin!” shrieked the wicked witch of the West.
She surprised me. I didn’t know she knew any other four letter words. I better keep a closer eye on Oscar.
Father raised a hand signaling Mother, he was taking the lead, “I’ve already had an agency hire a secretary from a minority class. This will show the world that the Sanderstuffs do not have a biased bone in their body.”
“Is she hot?” I asked.
“Martin,” shrieked Mother. I wonder if she had problems being potty trained as a child. It was not a good time to raise the topic. I noticed she was beginning to develop an eye twitch. I wonder what is causing the reaction.
“Father? Father?” I said as I raised both hands up over my head my palms toward Father, he was tossing some serious stuff my way and I needed to understand it.
“What is it, Son? Mother and I don’t have all morning. Mother has her day at the spa and I’m playing golf with Senator Pratt. He’ll hit me up for the usual donation. I’ll pledge the usual donation after he renews his vows to vote for the rich every time there is conflict between the rich and poor.”
“I really don’t know anything about being a psychologist. I know how to mix drinks. I know how to play golf. I know how to play tennis. I know how to dance,” I said thinking of all the things I could do well.
“Son, be serious for a moment. Mother and I thought you will make an excellent psychologist. It’s a lot like being a bartender. Attorney Pettibone filled out all the papers. He paid off the appropriate approving agencies, and best of all you are set you up in an office in the swanky Loomis Building with a view of the ocean. All you’ll have to do is sit and listen to people having problems and give them some advice. You don’t have to study. Think of it as sitting at a bar with one of your friends.”
“This qualifies as work, Father?” I asked.
“I cleared it all with Pettibone. One other slight problem, but Pettibone will clear it up, nothing to worry about. You’ll just have to sign a few papers, no work involved.”
Father said this as if he were knocking a flake of dust off his silk cuffs. Alarms sounded in my brain. I asked, “What exactly is Petty balloon clearing up?”
“Son, it’s Pettibone. I know your fondness of playing with his name, but Mother is present. It’s nothing. Want to know how the stock market is doing?”
There was only one way to deal with Father. I said, “If you don’t tell me, I’m going to tell Mother what Helen and I did on Saturday.”
“Harold. Just tell him. For God’s sake it’s not all that important. He’ll find out sooner or later. He may as well start getting used to it,” Mother said with icicles laced on each word.”
“Okay, okay, Mother. Be careful of your blood pressure. I can see the red blotches beginning to appear on your neck,” said Father.
I watched Mother and Father and wondered if they’d have makeup sex. Nah. It won’t even come to mind. I said, “Will both of you act grown up and stop squabbling.” I like acting the grown up in the room every once in a while. Not too often, though. “What is it? You’re not trying to slip a power of attorney passed me. That’s it, isn’t it. You want to send me to a clinic for six months. No way I’m signing anything.”
“Son,” said Father. “It is nothing so drastic. We’re only changing your first name from Martin to Artin. Before you say anything, let me explain. In Internet searches for psychologists the results will be reported alphabetically. Martin will be stuck in the middle with all the run of mill psychologists. Mother and I want you to stand out from the crowd. It’s what a Sanderstuff does.”
“Artin? Artin? What’s an Artin? I don’t want to be an Artin,” I said almost pathetically. I need a life. I really need a life. I know they’ll win, they always do. My backbone … what backbone. I have a hard time standing up to my image in the mirror. Why don’t they just change my middle name to Samual from Milgram and my initials will be ASS, Artin Samuel Sanderstuff. I said what I always say in these situations, “Whatever, but will I still have my BMW and allowance, right?”
“Of course, Son. That’s the old spirit. Grandmother Houston is probably looking down on your from her gorgeous palace and estate in Heaven with her servants gathered around her feet and smiling.”
I thought for a second, Grandmother Houston is looking up at me from the hottest furnace in hell. I hope hell has reserved seating for Mother and Father.
Father continued, “Just show up to work for five years. Think of your experience as doing hard time like they say on the television. When you’re finished with serving your sentence, Mother and I promise to set you up in your own estate with a cast of lower class people to cater to your every need. You may even want to write a book on how to survive work.”
“It’ll be tough, Father. Do you think I can do it?” I asked.
“Son, you’re a Sanderstuff. You can do anything.”

Maslow on Peak Experience

Have you ever had a peak experience? It was a moment when it all came together for you, where you didn’t think about you were doing, and everything flowed in perfect harmony. Or, have you ever found yourself in a place where you felt one with nature and everything you were experiencing at the moment? These experiences are possible for each of us. One of my doctoral students did her research for her dissertation teaching teachers how to create peak teaching experiences; she was successful in doing so. In this short YouTube video fame psychologist, Abraham Maslow discusses peak experiences. Enjoy.

What Takes Your Attention?

What we seek, we usually find. Psychologists tell us where we place our attention becomes our reality. If you and I could focus our attention on our dreams and block out as many distractions as possible, we have a chance of catching our dream. The power of attention is within us. We have to decide what is important in our lives and measure it against the distractions. Are we giving our distractions power over our dreams? Perhaps it is time to take control of our attention. Enjoy the following entertaining YouTube video on attention.

You Can’t Keep Your Feelings Bottled

“Why are we here, La Flor? I’m only going along with this to keep you happy. A happy character is a contented character.”

“If our relationship is going to work, Ray. We need counseling.”

“What relationship?”

“Why are men afraid of relationship counseling? Don’t be afraid of letting it go, Ray.”

“Letting what go?”

“Your feelings. You can’t keep them bottled inside.”

“BTW, men are not afraid of relationship counseling. It’s just, just that it conflicts with ESPN, the Comedy Channel, fantasy football, and wondering what’s for dinner. Besides, I’m not afraid of counseling. I just don’t need it because there is no relationship between the two of us.”

“There is the problem.”

“What problem?”

“You’re in denial.”

“About what?”

“Our relationship.”

“What relationship?”

We’re going in circles, Ray. Can we change the subject?

“Okay, what is the name of the psychologist? Is it a male or female? Why didn’t I get a voice in the matter?”

“He is very famous. He comes highly recommended. I thought having a male psychologist would make you feel more comfortable.”

“Who recommended this psychologist?”

“My mystery writer girlfriend. She used him in one of her mysteries to break a cold case,” said La Flor paying more attention to her emery board than to me.

“La Flor, let me see if I have this straight. I’m going to counseling with a fictitious character I created because she thinks she and I have a relationship problem?”


“I’m not finished. Your good friend, who writes a mystery writers blog, whom I’m never met, recommended a psychologist she uses in her blog to solve cold cases.”


“I have more. I believe the mystery writer is the alt ego of a real person and is a created character like you.”

“You’re on fire, Ray.”

“What am I, a real person, doing going to counseling with a fictitious psychologist suggested by a fictitious blog writer and character I created over relationship problems?”

“He can help, Ray. He’s a very, very famous psychiatrist.”

“And, whom might he be?”

“Dr. Joe Brothers. He’s Joyce Brothers twin brother. He married Dr. Phil’s sister. Sounds strange, right.”

“I’m having a difficult time following you, La Flor. Are you sure about your facts?”

“You’re confusing Dr. Joe Brothers with Sigmund Fraud. Check that, Dr. Phil. That’s it, you’re confusing Dr. Brothers with Dr. Phil.”

“You did say Sigmund Fraud, not Freud? Does Joe have a mustache?”

“Yes, Sigmund Fraud was the famous one, the other one stole all his ideas. As for Dr. Joe, he did have a mustache, just like Dr. Phil, but he went to an alt ego dermatologist from Dr. Oz’s blog and had it lasered off. The dermatologist worked the laser like LeBron James works a basketball.”

“He must be good.”

“The best in the blogosphere. Be quiet, here he comes.”

Dr. Joe Brothers ignored me and walked over to La Flor. She rose to greet him. They hug. He said, “La Flor, how delicious to see you again.” Kiss, kiss on each cheek.

I said, “La Flor, is this the Dr. Joe Brothers you were telling me about?”

Brothers looked at me without turning his head, nice trick the way he moved his eyes so the one blue iris and one green iris rested in the corners of his eyes. From the way he kept his face toward La Flor, I was sure he had a crush on her. He mumbled something about my nose and ears I didn’t catch. He should talk, he’s got at least three-quarters of an inch on me if we’re measuring noses. He took La Flor by the hand and ushered her into his office, I trailed behind.

Brothers had an iPad he pretended to type notes on. I know he pretended because Siri kept saying “Please change your settings if you want to access this site.”

He turned the iPad over and said to me, “May I call you Way?”

He attempted to sound like he was from some European country. But you can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy.

“My name is Ray, not Way.”

“Are you making fun of my wisp?”

I turned to La Flor and said, “Why are we here? This isn’t real. He’s not real. He’s a character like you.”

“Way,” Dr. Brothers said, “Have you considered that we are weal and you are not weal?”

“What do you mean by weal?” I said, irritated.

“It’s this way, Way. What’s weal is weal.”

If I didn’t think he was real, what was I doing here? Had I lost my grip on reality? It’s all La Flor’s doing.

He turned to La Flor and said, “Ways denial is wery deep.

“I’m going to rewrite the whole thing,” I said.

He turned to La Flor, “Darling, I thought you said it was your blog?”

“Matter of time, but don’t call me darling, one man has my heart.”

“Is it Way?”

“No, it’s Jack Reacher.”

“I thought we left that two blogs ago,” I said

“A girl can dream can’t she right? Can’t she?”

Every now and then our relationships hit a bump in the road. Small bumps may seem like mountains. When both parties have the courage to step back and acknowledge their relationship is worth the effort to save it; it is the first step to smoothing out the bump, growing closer, and becoming stronger as a couple. It takes two, it always takes two to make it work. When both express their feelings in an open, honest and non-threatening way, breakthroughs happen.