Jun 212013


“Of all things, hard work has become a virtue instead of the curse it was always advertised to be by our remote ancestors. Our children should be prepared to bring their children up so they won’t have to work as a neurotic necessity. The necessity to work is a neurotic symptom. It is a crutch. It is an attempt to make oneself feel valuable even though there is no particular need for one’s working.”

–discussion in a 1940s Psychiatry magazine

You make shoes for women, you clean people’s teeth, you teach driving (with your own brakes), you run a wedding chapel in Las Vegas, you sell houses, you pray with people, you clean corpses, you review ballet, you pick fruit (you are spiritual, oppressed), you invent products seen on TV, you manage a second-rate drugstore with dusty shampoo bottles, you answer phones at a prison, you clean hotel rooms (for cheap, nasty guests), you collect garbage on the beach, you tweet for a celebrity, you are a line cook, a prep cook, a rebellious chef, you sell herbs at a Farmers’ Market, you drive a bus, you translate, you dictate, you fight wars, you mix drinks (switching bars often), you recycle batteries, you take passport-sized photos, you sell socks at the airport, you repair refrigerators, you deliver babies in bath tubs, you write warranties, you hang rope-swings over rivers for people who like to take chances.

Image is/was “Hasty Entrenchment,’ gouache on paper, by Frederic Remington (1861-1909)

Jan 172013

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“Like the irate lady who appeared to Diane one night pulling a kiddy’s red express wagon trimmed with bells and filled with cats in fancy hats and dresses. Like the man in Brooklyn called the Mystic Barber who teleported himself to Mars and said he was dead and wore a copper band around his forehead with antennae on it to receive instructions from the Martians. Or the lady in the Bronx who trained herself to eat and sleep underwater, or the man who carried a rose and a noose around with him at all times, or the person who invented a noiseless soup spoon, or the man from New Jersey who’d collected string for twenty years, winding it into a ball that was now five feet in diameter, sitting monstrous and splendid in his living room.”

from Diane Arbus: A Biography by Patricia Bosworth



Let’s take the case of Krista L. She arrived at the institute demonstrating symptoms of acute hysteria. My colleagues and I have been able to identify at least three voices in her cruel inner choir. These tormenting voices accompany poor Krista L. through her days and nights.

First, the young lady is convinced that she simply is not good enough for anything or anyone. Even though this thought (and what it implies) terrifies her, she persists in thinking it, even repeating it to herself silently, almost nonstop from the moment she wakes up. Attached to this voice, yes, singing harmony at all times is a mistaken conclusion that she is lonely, lonely, lonely. Of course, our extensive interviews and meticulous field research have revealed that Krista L. is not only quite popular and well-loved by both family and friends, but she is also highly accomplished within her spheres of activity in the city of X.

Krista’s personal success is no doubt due to the constant companionship of a third voice, which simply chants, Do. She has confessed that when she can’t think of anything to actually do, she takes a photo and posts it to Facebook or Instagram. Her facebook notifications further defend her from the dark chorus.

We have no choice but to detain her at Laughter Ranch until further notice.