Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pet Therapy

Abbe: I'm just really concerned about my Mr. Pookers. I've had him on kitty prozac for a while now. And he still seems so down.

Dr. Berkey: When did you first notice the behavior change?

Abbe: About three weeks ago. Mr. Pookers started withdrawing. Becoming moody. Losing interest in everyday activities. Just not acting like himself. This was also coinciding with my boyfriend Josh breaking up with me. So maybe I was neglecting Mr. Pookers when he needed me most. Perhaps I exacerbated his condition.

Dr. Berkey: Mmmkay. I'm going to play with him a little now. Aww, Mr. Pookers. It's okay. Yeah, you're a loved little kitty, aren't you? That's right. It's okay to coo. Coo coo coo choo. We love you, baby Pookers.

Mr. Pookers: Meoww!

Dr. Berkey: Meoww right back atcha! You know, Mr. Pookers actually seems quite lively for an indoor cat his age. I think he's coming out of whatever bout of the blues you think he was in.

Abbe: No, no. I feel like you're just not getting an accurate portrayal. He stays in my bed all day. He's overeating. Just seems totally checked out. Maybe he misses Josh. Josh was good with him.

Dr. Berkey: Hmm. Yeah. You know, my honest professional opinion, Mr. Pookers really seems fine. Not lethargic at all. Bright eyes. Very responsive. He's a highly verbal cat.

Abbe: He's depressed.

Dr. Berkey: I'm afraid I don't see things that way--

Abbe: He went on a date with this asshole he met at yoga last week. First guy he's fucked since Josh. He's been having vaginal dryness issues. I don't know if it's perimenopause or just related to the depression. But the sex was fucking awful and it hurt and he's so sad. He's fucking lost and down and thinking about leaving the law and trying to find himself. And fears he never will. Please help him. Please help Mr. Pookers! Help Mr. Pookers!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Product Testing

INT. PLYMOUTH VOYAGER ON THE WAY HOME FROM KINDERGARTEN - 23 YEARS AGO

Mom: I have a surprise! I thought I'd take you to the Mattel Factory in El Segundo.

Me: Hmm. I was kind of hoping you were going to say El Pollo Loco. Predictable, sure. Yet so satisfying. I know what I'm getting into there. Particularly enjoy those beans. And the fact that it's this guilty visceral pleasure I can tell makes you so happy too... it, it just makes me feel so... connected to you. But I do like toys. And you seem excited about taking me. So, okay, I'm intrigued here. What are we talking details-wise?

Mom: Well, they have a new special program where they invite kids to come over and play with toys to test them. You just tell the Mattel people what you think. And you get a free toy at the end!

Me: Hmm. I do like that I'd be getting a new toy. That's indisputably appealing. But that Mattel building is so tall. Imposing is the word. What floor are we talking? And then there's these Mattel inquisitors you mentioned. Are we thinking male or female? If male, beards could be a deal breaker. They're fundamentally scary objects -- beards. Maybe I could just tell YOU what I think about the toys. Oh, but then the Mattel people are the least of my problems. There's also the reality of interacting with these other tester children... will the other kids be taller than me? Perhaps overpoweringly brash? Lastly, and forgive me for being crass but, ultimately, you know, all toys are sort of free to me on a pretty basic level. Though I do see how you not paying and me getting a toy represents a sort of win-win for the family. Oh, fuck it. Life's short. Carpe Diem. FINE. Deep breath. Let's go to Mattel!

INT. MATTEL CORPORATION CONFERENCE ROOM - 73rd Floor - Later

Bearded Mattel Exec: And okay, kids! You just finished watching a not yet released commercial for our cool new Hot Wheels toy that CHANGES COLORS after you dunk it in water! Radical, huh? Now go ahead and grab your own car and put it in the bucket of water provided. Really play with it! And tell us what you think! But be honest!

Tall philistine child: Whoa! Mine turned green!

Tall biracial girl: Cowabunga! They really do change colors!

Tall kid in a fireman outfit: I want one! I want one!

Bearded Mattel Exec: And what do you think, young man...

Me: Oh, uhh, they seem to yeah, sort of a toy car and there is I guess kind of a limited color change there so...

Tall chorus: Speak up!

Bearded Mattel Exec: I think someone 's got marbles in their mouth!

Tall chorus: hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Bearded Mattel Exec: Sorry, go ahead...please continue...

Me: Yeah, just, again, thanks for the invitation here, very nice office park, like all you fun kids too, umm, yeah, I really was pretty jazzed about the car based on the commercial. The color change is so extreme in the ad! Red to blue. Instantly! Truly vivid hues! I mean that sense of transformation is really there. And I guess, sort of with the actual product, it takes really quite a bit of time to notice a difference. And I think time is critical here. Really of the essence. And I guess, there is sort of a color modification ultimately. But it's just the car seems to become only slightly lighter upon soaking up the water. Goes from like a deep royal blue to a mild but not even quite baby blue. And I guess maybe the fact that the commercial was so impressive made the actual toy -- which may have been perfectly adequate had I not been predisposed to think it was going to be extraordinary -- seem disappointing. It, this may sound like projection or something, but, honestly, playing with that real toy actually made me feel a little depressed.

Bearded Mattel Exec: Alrighty. Anyone else feel this way? Be honest, kids.

Tall biracial girl: No! That kid's just weird!

Tall kid in a fireman outfit: Yeah, he's dumb. It's the coolest car! Normal kids will love this toy!

Tall chorus: We love the toy! We love the toy! We love the toy!

Me (weakly giving in, though not without a deep sense of complicity and loss): We love the toy!

INT. PLYMOUTH VOYAGER - MATTEL PARKING LOT

Mom: So how was it?!

Me: It was good. Oh yeah. It was fun. Lots of toys. And kids. I got this, uhh, they gave me one of the Hot Wheels tester cars we played with as my free toy. It changes colors. Sort of.

Mom: Ready to go home?

Me: Sure.

Mom: Do you want to stop at El Pollo Loco first?

Me: More than anything.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peter the Sensitive Therapist

Peter the Sensitive Therapist: Do you think your reluctance to ask for a promotion is informed by your diagnosis?

Client: Oh, that's interesting. Hmmm... Yeah, I do. On some level, yes, I think that's absolutely the case.

PTST: It's actually quite common for people who've been diagnosed with serious illnesses to experience an acute loss of self-worth.

Client: No, I totally can see that in my own life. I guess I just feel so much fucking shame. Here I am, well-educated, above average social and cultural capital, I should be thinking about settling down, maybe getting a dog as a trial run for A CHILD, and instead I find myself reentering the dating market at 30 having to inform prospective partners that I am fucking HIV Positive!!! I could fucking die of AIDS! Why does this have to be real?! One normal drunken night and I'm stricken with the worst disease imaginable.

PTST: Well I don't think you need to say "worst."

Client: I guess it feels like the worst to--

PTST: I think if you asked people who've had loved ones die from something like cancer or certain other illnesses, they'd say that was pretty horrendous to deal with...

Client: Yeah, I guess this just feels like such a death sentence.

PTST: Pancreatic, especially. I've had clients with parents and significant others who've wasted away before their eyes due to pancreatic cancer, and they tell me it's incredibly painful.

Client: I'm sure. Yeah, I mean grave illnesses in general I guess are just so--

PTST: Cancer's horrific.