Friday, January 10, 2014
The Superhero's Analyst
In this post, composed while hosting youngest grandchild yesterday, the subject of the superheroic psyche is examined. After some disjointed discussion with a three-year-old who insisted upon being addressed as Iceman, my notes became somewhat complicated, causing me to assume the dual role of analyst and analysand in this vignette. I admit to some uncertainty about the format but that's never stopped me before.
Therapist: Please, sit anywhere you like. You understand, Geo., because we specialize in treatment of superheroes, everything said in this office is strictly confidential.
Geo.: I'm counting on it.
Ther.: Good. Now, since I don't recognize you, I assume you are in your secret identity. If I'm to do my job, I must insist on full disclosure.
Geo.: Ok, let me just get up and turn my back on you.
Ther.: Oh my gosh! You're Ditch Man! Scourge of unsightly strife everywhere! What could you possibly need help with?
Geo.: You are doubtless familiar with my secret origin?
Ther.: From comic books but I'd rather hear you tell it.
Geo.: Well, some time ago...
Ther.: In a galaxy far away...
Geo.: No, no, out front of my house. I was trimming along the roadside fence when a contentious couple distracted me with their mutual abuses and I fell in the ditch. They stopped arguing and chorused, "That poor man fell in a ditch!", then dashed to lift me out together. Argument evaporated and I ran away. It was then I realized every event in the universe, even petty quarrels, is affected, however faintly or obliquely by every other event.
Ther.: You mean...?
Geo.: Yes! If I could stop an argument, might I not also stop a crime, a riot, a war, an apocalypse by the same method? So I did. I'd see wrongdoings of all magnitudes, fall into a ditch and all differences dissolved as I was lifted out and ran away.
Ther.: Then what brings you here, a super-arch-enemy?
Geo.: Huh? No. Yeah, I guess so. I got old. Age is my arch-enemy. I can't run away faster than the jogging, healthy-eating, exercise-gym-going, people I have to rescue these days. They're a new breed of distress. If they catch up, my cover is blown.
Ther.: You mean people only see Ditch-Man's back, while he's in the ditch or running away?
Geo.: Yes! My front is my secret identity and it always worked as well as Clark Kent's glasses. Sure, sometimes people come up behind me and want Ditch-Man's autograph but I turn around and they excuse themselves. It works now but I'm in my mid-60s and soon, instead of pausing and reconciling in nicotinic meditation, the people I rescue will chase me with sheer stupid dog-like instinct and discover who I really am! I'm struggling with the idea of retirement.
Ther.: Can't you compensate by flitting away on some super device, something fleet that would ah ditch them?
Geo.: You don't understand. There's pavement and development everywhere. Old guy falls in a gutter, no ditch, who cares? People only help you out of ditches, not gutters. Fewer and fewer ditches. I'm a relic.
Ther.: What do you think would be a positive solution?
Geo.: Just what I have done, train a replacement. I been working with a kid named Iceman.
Geo.: No, Iceman's his given name. He's three. His super power is like this: People can be really grumpy and have quarrels and wars and apocalypses and say the most awful things but he can toddle up and say,"You can't do that around me; I'm cute as a button!" I've been coaching him on that line.
Ther.: So how's that going?
Geo.: Slowly. He needs even more snacks and naps than I do, but I'll keep at it. I'll be as strong as I need to be. We're making progress.
Ther.: Well, Geo., I think we made some progress here too, but our hour is up and we can continue next session. If you'll just turn around and let yourself out... OH MY GOSH it's Ditch Man! Where's my client? Where's Geo.?