I dreamt about Andy Warhol again: soup cans everywhere. Schneiderman says I'm his only patient with post-modernist dreams. I say, you're a lunatic, and how about you just up my dosage of Wellbutrin and we call it a day. Why does he get to sit there and listen to my story when even I'm sick of hearing it, and then I have to pay him a 125 bucks an hour? He should be paying me to give him my "personal history."
This is just the evaluation stage, so he can get the big picture, he says, and then we'll start fixing all the ugly parts. But I shouldn't have to pay for that -- I already know the big picture. Let me tell him what it is:
I am incurable. I am permanently myself, for better or worse.
I started seeing Schneiderman at the suggestion of my buddy Baumgartner, and virtually all of my other friends, after I found myself in the private back room of a topless joint on Market St. in San Francisco, paying a pretty young woman named Destiny $140 to engage in what I would describe later as three-dimensional, virtual pornography: It felt the same as jerking off to a photo on the net, except the photo moved around in space and talked, and I could actually touch it and feel real skin.
Most of my friends thought I was much stupider for telling Marcy about it than for actually doing what I did. Most, not all. I tried not to tell the ones who would feel differently about it. I should have known that I was in danger of rocking the marital boat that same morning when I walked into a conference room for the buffet breakfast, big round tables like at a bar-mitzvah, and found a beautiful young woman sitting alone at a table -- with, I learn, earnest and legitimate plans to change the world for the better -- and due to the particular angle of the way the tops of her breasts are visible and the way they disappear down her dress, I am suddenly filled with such a raw surge of pure sexual desire that I actually overhear a voice in my head declare, quite matter-of-factly, "Of course I would sacrifice my marriage to touch those breasts, absolutely I would."
"You've read one too many Philip Roth novels," my buddy Baumgartner tells me. "You've picked a sleazy old Jewish guy as a role model. No wonder you're lusting after young girls for dear life while married to the most miraculously wonderful and beautiful woman on God's earth. How do you put those two things together?"
Baumgartner was no monkey. He paid his dues, only they called it alimony. He got out after 16 years when he found out that his wife had been seeing her art teacher since their second week of marriage. So Baumgartner was nobody's fool.
"My wife played your role in our marriage," he told me.
"What do you mean? I never dated my art teacher-- I've been completely faithful."
"But you wanted to. You're just not as courageous as my wife. You're a coward."
Baumgartner was pissing me off, so I stopped hanging out with him. But not before he turned me on to Schneiderman: "He's not your usual therapist. It's short-term. He'll act normal the first three sessions to get what's going on, and then he figures out your song, and you're done."
Passion and Violence
A Song of Ascents:
The News from San Francisco
Bush the Exception
Samuel Hayim Brody
The Wrong Half
Margaret Mackenzie Schwartz
God Had a Controlling Interest
Josh hosts a party
Our 450 Back Pages
Zeek in Print
Winter 2003-2004 issue now on sale!
News & Events
From previous issues:
Primal Scream Judaism
Josh Tells a Bedtime Story
Faces of Death