Editor’s note: The term “flying saucer” was coined in 1947 by local media when Yelm aviator Kenneth Arnold announced that he had just seen seven disk-shaped craft flying near Mount Rainier.
This story is dedicated to Mr. Arnold and his fellow denizens of the skies, and to all who love a good story.
What To Say When Your Therapist Tells You You’re Her Craziest Patient
I have always believed in UFO’s, even as a little kid. In fact, I have always thought it odd that others don’t.
My fellow true believers and I have a few theories that we place a lot of stock in, and the main one is that, not only are extraterrestrials real, they’ve been here for a long time. Secondly, we believe there are plenty of alien races crusing around, including one species that looks exactly like us – so much so that the only way to tell them apart from regular human beings is to touch them and see if they are clammy-cold. If they are, they’re aliens.
They’re clammy-cold because of a third theory: their bodies have evolved out of emotionality. They are so advanced they no longer have the DNA to carry emotional expression, which is why they’re here on earth, namely to study us and our emotions.
Well, one night as I was lying in bed unable to sleep for an unknown reason, the thought struck me: if I was an extraterrestrial and wanted to study emotions but didn’t want anyone to touch me so that they could find out I was a clammy-cold alien, then the best job to have would be a psychoanalyst. I knew that psychotherapists and patients never touch because my analyst had never touched me in 800 sessions over 10 years in order to keep out emotional entanglements – not even a handshake!
Then it hit: OH, MY GOD, WHAT IF MY THERAPIST IS AN ALIEN? I wrestled with this dilemma but there was simply no way out – either my therapist was an extraterrestrial or not, there was no in-between. And if she wasn’t an alien, was everything I believed just total ca-ca? No UFO’s, no extra terrestrials, no governmental cover-ups – that God Help Me, the “X-Files” is just a TV show?
Now, if my therapist was an alien and found out that I knew what she was up to, then what would she do? Beam herself up to her mothership and leave me to face my life all alone? Or beam us both up and conduct advanced studies of emotions, such as stress tolerance? Yikes!
The next day I had an appointment with my therapist. As I entered her office I didn’t know what to say, and once seated upon her plush leather analytical couch I was unable to speak. After thirty dollars worth of therapeutic silence, my therapist decided to jump start our session.
“Having trouble getting going today, Bruce?”
“So, what’s up?”
Well, there it is – do I tell her or not? I decided to leap into the abyss.
“Ah, I think you might be an alien.”
“Oh, I thought you knew I was Jewish.”
“JEWISH?” For a moment I was stunned, but then, inexplicably I laughed. “Yeah, I know you’re Jewish, but I mean an extraterrestrial-type-alien. Not a Mexican-fruit-picker-kind-of-alien.”
After a few gulps and a clearing of her throat, she then asked with an uncharacteristic quiver in her voice, “Let, me get this straight, Bruce. You think I’m from outer space, that I not really from Earth?”
When she said it like that, it did sound a bit crazy, but this was no moment to debate semantics.
“Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m saying.”
“Oh, no…. Oh, no…,” she moaned.
My therapist slumped deeply into her chair.
“That is the craziest thing I have ever heard in my entire life,” she croaked out, and I was scared that she might start crying.
But then, I became euphoric.
The Craziest Thing? I just said the Craziest Thing? Whoopee! That makes me the Craziest Patient. Yeah!!!
My competitive nature was having an adrenal Fourth of July because I worked in the same VA psychiatric hospital as my therapist and I knew her patients. They were all fresh from combat and totally intense. I’m crazier than they are, wow. I loved it. I felt like I had just been elected to the Psychiatric Hall of Fame. I felt special, and it felt good.
My therapist, on the other hand, looked like hell.
Oh, my God. I’ve got to rescue her, I thought. Sometimes in analysis you just have to suck in your gut and save your therapist, and this was one of those times. So, I started talking about my mother, Catholic school, and my latest bouts of sexual impotency. By the end of my session my therapist was back to her old self, and as I left her office I patted myself on the shoulder, saying, “Boy, I did a good job in there today.”
As for my therapist, I never mentioned UFO’s again. Six months later, I terminated treatment because I was moving out-of-state. At the end of my last session we commenced our monthly “paying the bill” ritual.
As she had done every month for almost ten years, she opened her notebook and pulled out her invoice. Unfolding it, she pinched one corner between her thumb and pointer finger and stretched across the room to pass it to me. I in turn, grabbed the corner nearest to me and our bodies came into our apogee of closeness – perhaps three inches apart. After writing the amount on my check, I took one corner of it and reached back toward her. She took the corner nearest her and I released my fingers. Payment complete, I stood up and walked to the door.
However, as I began to pass through the doorway my therapist called out, “Bruce, wait.”
I stopped and turned around. She had her right hand stretched in my direction, offering to shake mine.
“I just want to say, ‘Good-luck.'”
I stepped back into her office and shook her hand.
It was the clammiest, coldest hand I have ever touched.
© 2011 Bruce A. Smith
All Rights Reserved