Call it a job hazard, but I'm not so good with the line between creative and crazy anymore.
For example, over the course of ONE conversation I had today, a delusional patient told me:
- He's the son of Jehovah. In this family scheme, Aretha Franklin is his 9th cousin and sister to the "Grand Virgin Mary," as in the Virgin Mary's mother.
- George W. Bush and Roger Clinton (yes, Roger, that would be the brother of Bill Clinton. I HAVE NO IDEA.) were present when the patient was born, and the whole event was televised...though if you do the math, Georgie and Roger were merely toddlers themselves.
- Right now he is possessed by a dinosaur.
So how do I deal with this? Well, there's certainly no point in trying to convince him these things aren't true. It doesn't work. So, I take everything he says at face value and we address the emotions stirred up by these thoughts. Because seriously, wouldn't YOU be terrified if you believed you were possessed by a dinosaur? By the way, if the answer isn't yes, then we need to talk. Anyway, you can see where I'd start to have trouble drawing the line.
And last night it was kind of important that I do. I was up until 3am agonizing over this written teaching task I have to complete before I'll be granted another interview. The very first question was a creative writing exercise: finish the story (300 words max), "I was standing in a long line when..." Of course the wise choice was to save this most ambiguous, and therefore most difficult, task until last. Even as it got later and later, and I kept getting distracted by videos of drunk people making toast, and half a can of mixed nuts was sitting in my stomach like a salty brick.
So I wrote it. And was so tired it was all I could do to say a prayer and hit "send." Then I woke up this morning in a cold panic. WHAT DID I WRITE?? Well, lucky you…it's Friday night and I've decided that sitting here and writing this post is the best use of my valuable social capital. CLEARLY I ONLY MAKE GOOD DECISIONS. And I'm in the mood to share. So here it is:
I was waiting in a long line when...
...I first heard the barking. Or what I thought was barking. I looked up expecting to see a couple of dogs tearing through the courtyard, but instead saw four terrified baboons coming straight towards where we were all queued to get into the museum. If I’d had the time in the moment I might have asked how baboons got here, and whether “barking” was the best term for the sound they were making, and I may have even foolishly worried about giving up my place in line, since I had, after all been standing here for over an hour. But no, I only had time for pure panic and maybe a tiny bit of chagrin that I had not one shred of information in my brain that would help me deal with rogue baboons. So, I did what anyone does in these situations: I started running and screaming. Everyone from the line was headed for the main doors of the museum, since that was closest to us. By some miracle, we all made it inside, and we counted zero baboons among us. The museum workers were stunned at this turn of events, and everyone had their cell phones out trying to make calls and get information about where these crazed primates could have possible come from. Call me single-minded, but once I knew I was safe and nothing else was going to be happening that required my attention, I used this moment of chaos and confusion to slip into the museum to see what I’d come for, because frankly not even wild monkeys could stop me. And that’s the story of how a pack of runaway baboons got me ten beautiful minutes alone with Botticelli's "Birth of Venus.” For free.
My mind is a magical place. I swear I had no idea where I was going with this at all. And I love being able to see exactly where I stopped caring, and where I realized that I'd run out of words and needed to just wrap it up so I could go to bed already.
Wild monkeys couldn't force them to give me this job. Ha. But, Japan is the country that gave us this:
So I think I'll be okay.
Hey, if anyone else wants to take the 300 word challenge, submit it in the comments. YOU don't have a job on the line! DO IT!