Writing :: Humor/Entertainment
The Wisdom of Dr. Jeffrey Gladstone- page 4
G: You know, Harry, if I photograph a drop of milk striking a surface,
you would look at it and comment "that is a drop of milk striking
a surface," perhaps shrugging your shoulders as if to indicated
non-verbally "Who cares?" But if I enlarge that photograph
many times, there will come a point in the enlargement process when the
milk drop is no longer clearly visible as a milk drop. That is the edge
of ambiguity. Then your perceptions are free to bounce, because they
are liberated from the bonds of the milk drop experience. You might see
wild and beautiful white shapes; they might become clouds as you continue
to stare; or swans sweeping gracefully across the sky. So you can open
your perceptions by spilling milk – you don’t have to cry
over spilt milk any longer. But Harry, you cannot use just anything:
you know the Mobil Oil commercial in which Brooke Shields’ skin
is enlarged 1000 times and ends up looking like a filthy carburetor?
The point is that anything enlarged 1000 times can look like a carburetor.
Human skin is too emotionally loaded to serves as a focus for this experiment.
You will only see skin or carburetors and perhaps some filth. Nothing
in between. Do not use double chins either.
S: I’ll have to try that.
G: You will find it quite provocative, Harry. By the way, I understand
that you do a significant portion of the vacuuming in your home?
S: That’s true. It’s not my favorite job, but I do it a
G: Would you like me to tell you how you might make it more meaningful
and less of a burden on your psyche?
S: I would be interested in hearing about it.
G: You must find new dimensions of awareness within the task. First
of all, forget about vacuuming. Let’s take sweeping, an activity
which is even more inherently boring and ungratifying. What you must
do is reorient your perceptions. Look at the broom handle and move closer
until the grain of the wood begins to entrance you. You are now on the
edge of ambiguity. Spend two minutes at the edge. Then as you sweep shift
your attention from the motion of the broom to the way your feet contact
the floor. Vary the pressure you exert on the broom so that the bristles
are resting lightly on the floor and commence to dance with it, a la
Fred Astaire. Bend your knees. Point your toes. Roll your neck. Being
to sing wildly. Feel the line of movement from your arms on the broom
handle down through the bristles onto the floor. If you become inexplicably
depressed doing all this, open all the windows and poke your head out,
and then announce in a bold and stentorian tone, "I love life and
I want to live." You must control yourself however. You might find
yourself trying to sweep everywhere you go. But this is not something
that one can do on the Jersey coast. I knew two crazed sweepers who attempted
to cleanse the shore of sand. They were institutionalized and diagnosed
as suffering from terminal gout.
S: I think that some of your suggestions will be difficult to implement.
G: Harry, don’t be a drag. I will have to prod you gently with
a fork, leaving imprints on your midriff. Just joking, of course.
S: Is that an example of your controversial brand of psychotherapy that
I’ve been reading about lately?
G: Yes, Harry, I specialize in a rare form of psychotherapy. It is called
DISRUPTIVE THERAPY. I try to say jarring things to a client at a propitious
moment so that he or she will suddenly see a different world-view.
S: Can you give us an example of the way in which you might do that?
G: Of course. Supposed I have a client who comes into my office and
says, "Dr. Jeffrey, I feel so miserable today and I don’t
know why." So I say, "It is because you a total sleazebag." They
are shocked. I wait 3 seconds and then say "Just joking" and
slap my thigh and laugh uproariously. You would be amazed at the results.
S: So they know you’re just kidding them, but for a moment, they
take you seriously.
G: Yes, and that is where the therapeutic growth comes. It is the combination
of the worst fear being confirmed (Oh my God, I knew I was a sleazeball)
and the absurdity of thinking that way (he’s laughing: of course
I’m not a sleaze, I am a wonderful and fully actualized, self-motivated,
responsible, conscientious, dependable, certifiable, and centered human
being; I am cured and will now be able to save the world as I have always
wanted to). But I make sure that my clients are unarmed when they enter
the office. On occasion, disruptive therapy makes them want to reach
out and shoot someone.
S: So you accentuate to clients’ worst fears and then make it
G: Yes, Harry, I am convinced that this brings up their vulnerability
and allows a small window for change through which I pass quickly, unannounced,
foiling their defensive home security system for the soul. I must disarm
the alarm mechanism, if you follow my metaphor.
S: Dr. Jeffrey, I’m having a hard time following you. But let’s
talk to some listeners and see if they have any questions for you about
disruptive psychotherapy or if they want you to help them over the phone.
G: Sounds good to me Harry. Shoot. Just joking!
C: Dr. Jeffrey, I have a problem. I keep worrying that people are looking
at me in a funny way.
G: They are. You have ring around the collar. Just joking!
C: Thank you Dr. Jeffrey. I am totally cured!
G: Not so fast, young man. You have one other item to contend with.
How is your sex life, if I may ask?
C: Why, it’s fine…I think.
G: It will end tomorrow. Just joking! Got you that time, right?
C: That did give me a bit of a start. OK. Thank you, Dr. Jeffrey.
S: I can see that you have to be very careful in doing disruptive therapy.
G: Yes Harry, I always do it barefoot. I feel connected to the ground
when I have no shoes on. In fact, I also vacuum best and wash dishes
with great intensity when I am barefoot. I also swim well barefoot.
S: Let’s get back to the calls. Hello, you’re next on WRKO.
C: Hi Dr. Jeffrey?!?
G: Is this Chris on the phone? Chris from New Zealand?
C: No, my name is Bob.
G: Oh, for a second there, I thought I recognized your voice. Bob, go
C: I’m really nervous about asking out this girl: she’s
real popular and I’m afraid she won’t like me. Can you tell
me something I can do so I won’t be so uptight around her?
G: Bob, the problem is your breath. Also, tell me: what deodorant have
you been using lately? Just joking. Bob, just joking. Actually, you secretly
crave being treated like dirt. Just joking!!
C: Oh, OK, Oh, I see. Thanks a lot. (hangs up)
G: You see, Harry, Bob is confused right now. But that is good. He will
have his insight later on in the day, perhaps while drinking a cup of
S: Speaking of which, I would like you to share with us some of your
profound nutritional insights you spoke of earlier.
G: You are perhaps referring to the science of Acufeeding, which I invented.
I will be happy to give you my famous food sensitivity diet. I call it
FOUR DAYS TO SANE EATING THROUGH ACUFEEDING. It goes like this: on the
first day, you must ingest massive quantities of hearts of palm au vinaigrette,
accompanied by steamed kidneys, lima beans, and diced apricots. For snacks,
canned kidney beans and Spam are recommended. Drink two quarts of rennet
custard a day, but do not let it cool. On the second day, you can only
inhale odors of certain steamed foods: for example, make a pot of Postum
and sniff it, leaving your nose _" from the rim of the cup. On the
third day, you might be consumed with erotic thoughts. You must then
go back to the combination of Spam and rennet custard of the first day;
you are permitted to eat Sara Lee chocolate cake, provided that you sprinkle
tartar sauce and horseradish on it. Finally, it will help to do Geezel
Mediation: lie in a fetal position and repeat silently to yourself "Geezel,
Geezel, Geezel." This will take care of some of the erotic overload.
S: I’ve heard that many of your ideas have been nurtured by first
your father and then your wife. Would you care to comment on that?
G: Yes Harry, I will be happy to share all this. My father is a very
compelling man. People used to call him Father Gladstone, even though
he is not a priest – that is because he is the quintessential father
figure. He doles out advice and insight wherever he goes. He smokes a
small cigar and is constantly flicking it, so you must be careful that
you do not catch on fire if you are in his presence. He was always saying "Jeffrey
boy" to me when I was young – and even now, he calls me "Jeffrey
boy" rather than Dr. Jeffrey. He gave me important advice, such
as "Jeffrey boy, not to overdo" when he thought I was getting
too intense; and he would exclaim, "Jeffery boy, do it complete" when
he felt my attention lagging. And when I came up with a new idea, he
would always praise me: "Very creative, Jeffrey boy."
Sometimes I call my wife Mrs. G. And I also refer to her as "the
little woman". People told me that this was chauvinistic. But I
reply, after all, she is only 4 feet 11 inches tall, so she is a little
woman. And anyway, I say it with affection. I pose the following question:
is chauvinism in the words on in the spirit? Sometimes, Mrs. G. accuses
me of making chauvinistic remarks when I say things like "women
are more sensitive than men." She says that it is too stereotypical
a statement. So I respond with "Women are brutish, insensitive,
loutish human beings." But she doesn’t like that either. Then
of course, I say, "Just joking."
Mrs. G. is small of stature, but she has enormous lungs. The significance
of that is that her occupation is the lead tuba player for the Philadelphia
Philharmonic. There is no such orchestra? It is just forming. The conductor
is Seiko Omega.
My wife’s brother is strange. He is a waiter at a French restaurant.
Whenever he brings you something, he says "Excuse me" to get
your attention; then he says "Thank you." He always starts
with "excuse me" and ends with "thank you." Last
week, we ate there and I tried an experiment: I complimented him on something
and he said, "Thank you." Once he said that, he became self-conscious
and said, "Excuse me"; of course then he had to say "Thank
you" again. Now he was all confused and went back and forth between "Excuse
me" and "Thank you" until I rapped him sharply on the
left temple with a bread stick and snapped him out of it.
S: Perhaps you should have used disruptive psychotherapy on him?
G: That might have been equally effective.
S: I heard also that you might want to run for president.
G: I would like to do this, Harry. But before I explain my candidacy,
I would like to ask you to ponder the following question: what keeps
us from rolling out of bed each night? You see Harry, I believe that
we are always a little bit worried about this, so that we tense up slightly
in our sleep to keep in the bed. We are unaware of this tension, but
it is robbing us of the depth of the sleep we truly need. So my platform
is platform beds! I will design a special bed which will send out electrical
messages to the skin in your arms and legs whenever you get too close
to the edge. That way, you won’t have to engage in subconscious
worry any longer. Harry, with me as President, people will be able to
finally get that special rest they have always needed. No longer will
people fall out of bed and have to cover up that black eye by pretending
they foolishly walked into a door.
S: Well, you certainly have my vote, Dr. Jeffrey.
G: Thank you, Harry. Good to be here.
S: Good to have you here.
G: Good to be here.
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