July 2, 7:44 AM : Carl & The Human Broom
The ambiance of the office oscillates between clinical and cynical. A sad state either way. Wrapped in dead flesh colored walls covered in various motivational posters designed to inspire nine year olds rests the centerpiece of the room, an unearthly green plastic plant siting emblematically in a cheap rose colored pot. The anti-inspiration it inspires relays an ironic comfort to a highly un-ironic decorum. A soft inhuman buzzing descends from electrical current igniting bare four dollar bulbs. This luminescent, radiating a harsh glare, combined with morning sunlight seeping in through 80% closed blinds, makes Carl think of dissection, operation, general intrusion. What a skin cell must feel like beneath a microscope.
He thinks the only real difference between a one hundred dollar an hour shrink and a twenty dollar an hour shrink is the office. One simply substitutes the stupid soft multicolored posters of mountains and quotes for doctoral diplomas and faux Monet. Instead of plastic blinds there is teak and maple embossed shutters, polyplastic Ikea-ic lounges for ultra-deep leather armchairs, thousand dollar throw rugs for industrial style cubic carpeting. Because at one hundred dollars a pop it feels like you are on a date with a nice person. Whereas at twenty, well, your just being probed by a curious pervert.
Dr. Donald, or Dr. Duche-bag, a blunt moniker lovingly bestowed upon him by Pop, always wears a mustache. Not just any mustache. No. Rather a Frederik Nietzsche Austreo-Hungarian royalty fashion walrus tusk mustache. The lushness of this mustache, stash, clit tickler, cum catcher, serious nasal plumage, is to distract you from the frailty of his body. Which is consistent with the build of a awkward high-school center. Not yet fully comfortable in his frame. Twiggy is the word that suits him the best. A stick parading around as an intellectual.
To be perfectly honest, which Carl has been told is the main purpose of this exercise, if Dr. D ever asked Carl what his thoughts of the Dr. himself were he would, to be perfectly honest, have to say that the good doctor reminded him of a broom.
“That is interesting go on.”
The doctor would say. Which is an invitation for Carl to go off on some verbal tangent, something to amuse himself with, where he would outline the doctors office as a broom closet. A catacomb of pure structural irrelevance, it’s primary design designated for the temporary storage of receptacles designated for the temporary collection of temporary waste. How the doctors only purpose, as a human broom, is to act as the prime mover of temporary waste, the refuse and dirt of human society, from one temporary space to some other temporary space. Charged with collecting Carl’s own personal mental refuse, malfeasance, cerebral garbage, and neatly discarding of it quietly. After which, of course, he would return to his relative sphere of stasis until again called upon to become active intermediary of refuse dispersion…
Then, there would be a silence, because the doctor is a firm believer in the effectiveness of clinical silence.
“Whats scares you more than anything Carl?”
The Human Broom has this habit of looking off into nothing-ness when he asks questions. Probably in an attempt to seem as if he is thinking very seriously, very deliberately, about the questions he is asking. When really he just looks overly bored.
“I don’t think you understand my question.”
“No, I think I understand it.”
“You are scared of love?”
“Why is that?”
“Love… it’s not real. Like how the alphabet isn’t real and how God isn’t real. Yet somehow something that isn’t real can mean so much to so many people. This concept alone, of a belief in something so technically and inherently unbelievable inspires a great deal of concern. But it is the active promotion and reverence for this unrealistic concept which really causes me to ruin my shorts.”
There it is. The stoic pause. The clinical silence. Where Dr. Duche-bag, The Human Broom, Twiggy, would just stare at you for an indeterminate amount of time. Possibly forever. Until the session was up or the soft ringing of electricity moving through the overhead lightbulbs drove you to either, A. Murder or B. (more preferably) elucidate on whatever the previous though may have generated inside your own cognitive process. Expand, as the good doctor would say, or explore that. But, without saying it. He says it without saying it. Which is really a trick to make you say it to yourself, a sort of passive telepathy, the doctors use of clinical silence. The slight twinge of joy expressed by the effectiveness of this clinically passive telepath, the squinting of both eyes and the ever so faint appearance of a not so faint breach in professional protocol, always made Carl have to stifle a laugh.
When Carl would begin to expel his weekly stipend of quoted bullshit with the doctor he had the habit of saying “like” a lot. A trait, no doubt, he had picked up from Lola. Whom uses the word with such unadorned fluidity one would have to assume it composes at the very least one fifth of her common vernacular. When Carl first started to notice her use of this word, around the age of thirteen, and in effect his own use of this word he became consumed with how it had formally been introduced into the modern lexicon. In it’s most ancient of uses “like” was considered to relay a sort of relation between seemingly unrelated concepts. Coming from a pre-12th century Old-English origin “gelic“, when the earliest of verbal harmony originates classically in post-Latin speaking sections of the westernized world. Carl assumes that the word “like” generates itself organically in the hope of one concept trying to bond itself inorganically to another. An ionic fusion of language. It seemed that people of his generation used it almost as constantly as the word “the” or “so” or “fuck”. Like, was at once a transitional phrase and a self proclamation. Suiting so many needs with just one short word. It was, like, weird.
“…haven’t you ever noticed that love is the one thing that will make people crazy. No matter what else they are made of or where they are from it is what they love the most that drives them to desperation. It is the universal bond of instability.”
“And that scares you?”
“But don’t realize love is important. That it is helpful in some way.”
“I do. Same way the alphabet is important and God is important. They help you to find something that perhaps gives you comfort and allows you to commune with others. But when it gets put up on, like, a pedestal, well, things get out of hand.”
“So that is why you fear it?”
“Well, I guess it is about control.”
“Now were getting somewhere.”
Carl enjoys peppering his responses with hot words that give The Human Broom a psychiatric hard-on. Words like control and empathy, phrases like “from my perspective” or “I started to realize”. The best one of all is, for some strange reason, “I cried.” If Carl told the doctor at one point, possibly ever, as an infant perhaps, that he was brought to tears by something this would signify a breakthrough. Which is the broom’s favorite word. Breakthrough. Perhaps in air quotes. With the ou emphasized for effect. Indicating the something previously unexamined had been uncovered, or something emotionally debilitating had been surpassed.
“In the sense that, again like the alphabet and God, love doesn’t like really belong to you.”
“Love is like an idea, something you share with everyone and yet at the same time is still utterly personal. It is a concept that like holds you and never lets you go. Because once you got it there isn’t any getting rid of it. It’s like a disease in a way, but not with the context most people consider disease.”
“So you fear love because your afraid it will make you vulnerable?”
“No, I am not afraid it will make me vulnerable. Love is the act of active vulnerability. Let’s again take my example of God and the alphabet, just one more time then I’ll put it to bed.”
“Ok go on.”
“The reason that both God and the alphabet work is because they are totally vulnerable. Were they not vulnerable as a concept and a tool, they, by there very nature so totally encompassing and oppressive and self-sustaining and irreproachable, were they to exist without this inherent vulnerability, they would be utterly absurd and terrifying. But, luckily, I guess, they exist for the sake of the exhibitor and mean nothing to themselves. They are abused by the exhibitor, consumed and distributed by the exhibitor, present as a representation of the exhibitor. That is why we crucified Christ and that is why Poe crucified himself. That is symbology at its core. Because we can never own a concept. Which is why love makes people crazy. Because the only way to truly understand it is to just, like, submit. To allow the thing to wash over us. To sink or swim in it. That’s some terrifying shit.”
“That is profound.”
The doctor is writing this down now. He is speaking into his clipboard. He is shaking the stupid rubber plant on his off kilter table because when he writes he shakes his left foot which rests on the solitary unbalanced stand that supports the table, which makes the whole room seem off kilter. His attention is elsewhere. Trying to analyze this statement. He is wracking his brain trying to remember what Harlow said about socialized analogize concerning divination and sexuality. But all he can think about is the last girl he had sex with in his sophomore year physc class when he read Harlow. How he used to get half a hard-on watching her chew the end of her pen while the ancient professor droned on about the link between the sexual frustration of the ego and the spiritual frustration of the super-ego, and how button-up she always was, how she seemed like a down right ice queen, but always seemed to flirt with him in a subtle way. Like talking about how Harlow was a repressed sexual pervert and her explicit reference to her own sexuality and her own personal vagina. And how, one night after class, they had somehow ended up going out for drinks and how she got a little loose and took him back to her place and had these great tits with nipple rings. Big fat ones, the nipples and the rings. How she had him tie her up and how she left these massive bite and scratch marks all over his body. How surprising that seemed to him, the transformation from sweater vest and sensible shoes to minor bondage and sadism, and what the hell was her name. Unfortunately The Broom fails to see the irony in this. Thinking about Harlow, shaking the rubber plant, thinking about pierced nipples, writing down “Why we crucified Christ…Poe crucified himself.” All the while trying to induce a “breakthrough” from this obvious organic self-exposure.
“Well fuck a duck doc, maybe, but its too goddam much to think about.”
The Human Broom always let Carl know that his silence is not a use of clinical silence when he put his pen up in the air. He is not waiting for Carl to break under the invisible pressure of four dollar light bulbs. Instead he is collecting his thoughts. Trying to shake the pierced tits from his brain and return to the point. Holding his pen up in the air, as if he were some sort of idiotic conductor of some unseen orchestra. He would hold it up just above his head and look off into nothingness and then say something like…
“… I think perhaps you are misrepresenting yourself here.”
“In what way?”
“You have this concept of love, and of God, and apparently of the alphabet that is so well defined and carefully constructed and instead of trying to express this understanding you view it as a constraint.”
“… I don’t get your meaning.”
“Most people search for answers. You have your answers. You just don’t like what the answers are.”
“That isn’t real helpful.”
“But it is. You see instead of fearing you should be embracing. Or at least considering with less deviation.”
“I think you are misrepresenting yourself now.”
“In what way?”
Now it is Carl’s turn to get into The Broom’s broom closet. If such a pun would be acceptable. To a certain extent the only reason Carl tolerates therapy is for this activity and this activity alone. To throw curveballs at the doctor. Watch his cerebral gears a-grinding. See the little beads of clinically silent swear forum on his disfigured brow.
“The fact that I am sitting here and talking to you about this is more or less and indication of an inability to relate this understanding in any comprehensible way to anyone else who isn’t paid to sit and try to dissect what it is exactly I am trying to say. The fear that I feel is an innate aperture consistent with my concept of both divination, lexicography, and love which mottles and in most cases suffocates my ability to connect with …”
“Your doing it again.”
“… a substrate of my own personified extension… Sorry.”
“It’s alright. Just slow it down a little.”
Now Carl has him. Now the doctor is on the ropes. Now the fun would begin.
“You see. I feel that perhaps what this breakthrough, like, really means to me is that perhaps failure and pain and sacrifice are good things.”
“Expand on that Carl, I think your getting somewhere.”
“Perhaps, and this is only my point of view, but perhaps the world itself is in such dire straights because everyone is so self determining. No one cares about their fellow man. In this country specifically we are compelled to focus solely on ourselves, our own accomplishments, our own responsibilities. It is in the very lifeblood of the American citizen to maintain their own self and let everyone else handle their own. That is our definition freedom. It is our goddam representative reality. I think that perhaps, what this fear signifies, is that I am at odds with this ideology.”
The Broom is writing feverishly. This is it, he thinks, this is the final breakthrough. These are the unspoken words that have limited this person, this is the long lost concept that will unlock his feelings. Carl enjoys The Human Broom most at times like this. Because the fact of the matter is that his concern for his patient is genuine. Perhaps that is his fatal flaw as a phycologist. He views his patience as people he can reach, friends he can help, lives he can restore, enrich, un-fuck-up. Whereas the really good ones just look at you as a case. Something to dissect. A check that needed cashing. Truth be told in most phycological circles Carl’s “condition” could be “cured” with a few sedatives. Some meds that would tranquilized his outward hostility. Something that could take the edge off.
“I think Carl, that this is very important. Can you expand on this for me?”
“Oh sure, like look doc, like, the whole fucking world has its head so far up its own fucking ass that the idea that anything but shit was going into their mouths is, well, like, fucking impossible. No one really gives a shit about anyone else. We are encouraged to sure. Out of good manners, or piety, maybe even a good sense of downright human empathy. But the fact is we are still animals. Fact is we haven’t gotten so far away from Cromagna, hell fucking protoplasm, that our prime directive isn’t survive at all costs. Fuck the next woman, conquer the next man, alter history so that you may stand atop the food chain. The fact is that everyone knows this. Like, consider cellphones, everyone knows that little Chinese kids make them in basically, like, slavery work camps. But do you see anyone protesting Apple and Samsung. Fuck no. And like why the fuck is that. Is it because were stupid, well maybe, or is it because were heartless, yea maybe. And to be honest probably both of those things at least a little. But I think mostly, like, were just fucking conditioned to let the weak die and the strong survive. It’s not an animal imperative it’s a fucking cosmic imperative. Strong subatomic forces dominate weak subatomic forces. That’s just the way of the universe doc. And to be perfectly honest, which you have told me is the root cause for this type of talking, it used to make me angry. But at this point, with where I am at in my life. Most of the time it just makes me laugh, in the way that a drunk makes you laugh or poop on the sidewalk makes you laugh. Because instead of getting mad or sad I have come to terms with the fact that mankind is a stupid fucking, like, cosmic animal. And that’s all there is too it.”