June 24, 2011 by David Gillaspie
THE DOCTOR IN THE HOT HOUSE
Stay in the heat long enough and it’s your ‘get out of jail’ card.
You can say anything.
At least that’s what it seemed the young man was hoping for when he started cataloguing developmental problems.
“Where I work, we got a lot of Downs and autism,” he said.
Another man in the sauna looked up from his catatonic meditation.
“Do you work in a group home?” he asked.
“No, a movie theater.”
“Regal. Their parents drive them up and drop them off and pick them up after their shift,” the young man said.
“I don’t know what they do, but it makes my job harder.”
“What do you do in the movie theater?”
“Take tickets. It’s not as easy as it seems, either. Then to have these guys running around makes it even harder.”
“Are there a lot of Downs and autism working there?”
“How do you tell the difference between one and the other?”
“Oh, I can tell, all right. After a while it’s easy. I can tell the difference between one disability and another.”
The meditating man perked up more.
“Yeah, really. Why?”
“Maybe you can tell me my problem?”
“I’ll give it a shot.”
“Before that, I have to ask you a question. You say the theater hires a lot of developmentally disabled?”
“That’s right. A lot.”
“How did you get in? Did you check the box? Did you fake a disability?”
“I didn’t, but I could have. I know it well enough.”
“But you didn’t, right? Okay, what about me? If you had to make the call, which area would I fall into?”
“Well, you seem giddy.”
“Giddy? Like a little girl with her first bike giddy?”
“More like borderline manic-depressive. Do you have big mood swings? Are you way up and way low?” he asked.
“No, I wouldn’t say that.”
“Are you on any medications?”
“No antidepressants? No uppers? No downers?”
“It seems you need to talk to everyone,” he said, looking around for confirmation.
“It’s just that I’ve seen so many people who aren’t aware of the condition their condition is in.”
“That’s my guess. I need to cool off. I’ll be back,” he said, leaving the door to swing before jumping in the pool with no shower.
The meditating man spoke in general, “This is the sort of thing counselors tell kids’ parents before sending them to the drug store with a handful of prescriptions. Then they wonder why their kid is distant. This is the sort of half-baked crap that sends kids down the tubes when it comes from a ‘professional.’ Lucky here we’ve got a guy who armchairs it.”
The guy with the observations came back into the sauna. The meditator stood to leave.
“Don’t talk about me when I’m gone,” he said.
“Is that something you worry about often?”
“It is now.” He winked toward others in the sauna.