Earlier this week, Rachel Shukert blogged about Mad Men, Lenny Bruce style and her status as a Zionist secret agent. Her new memoir, Everything Is Going To Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour, is now available.
Hello crazy people! It’s the dog days of summer. The heat level alone in your apartment would be enough to induce panic, if the strange rash on your shin that won’t go away wasn’t already worrying you and all your friends had mysteriously disappeared to their “beach houses” and not invited you, making your feel paranoid and exacerbating your attachment disorder. And do you know where your therapist is?
No!! She’s disappeared like the children of Hamelin, and you have no idea where she might be, apart from that strange guilty murmur of something that sounded like “Manhasset” when you were clinging to her hand at your last session.
How can they do this to us? It’s not like they’re people, exactly. Why should they get a break from you? You don’t get a break from you! And what the hell are you supposed to do for the next three weeks?
Well, you’re in luck, because I’m here with my Top Ten Tips to Cope with Great Manhattan Shrink Exodus of 2010. And I’m not even going to bill you.
1. Take 12-hour showers. In these over-stimulated times, the humble shower stall is the closest thing we have to an isolation tank. There’s a reason they are used to calm unruly prison inmates. Nobody can bother you in the shower, unless they are there to murder you, à la Psycho. But that doesn’t happen very often.
2. Call your mother. Is your maternal figure of the “What, you forgot you had a mother” variety? Make her eat those words. She’ll always take your calls, and she has to listen to whatever narishkeit you’ve got to dish out — it’s part of the non-verbal contract she signed when she allowed herself to be inseminated with you. Don’t have a mother? Cultivate relationships with your father/literary agent/spouse/cat, and failing any of those–
3. Call my mother. Outside of New York City, therapists stick around through the month of August. My mother, Dr. Aveva Shukert Ph.D, of Omaha, Nebraska, stands ready to take your calls and your insurance information.
4. Retail Therapy. It even has the word “therapy” built in. Sure, the pleasure is short lived and you sometimes throw up when you see your credit card statement lurking in the mailbox and maybe even leave it there for a few days before you can bring yourself to open it, but a few hours in the soothing womb of Bergdorf Goodman does the mind and the soul good. (When I go to Bergdorf’s, I like to pretend it’s my house, and all the other people there are my servants. My shrink and I have not yet discussed this.)
5. Track down your shrink and his family. Show up at their vacation house with your goldfishhanging around your neck in a Mason jar of water and refuse to leave until you have driven your shrink crazy and you become the shrink.
6. Drink. Heavily. And reconvene with a whole new set of issues!
7. Find a therapy “buddy.” Got another friend in desperate straits and needing their 50 minutes on the couch? Take turns playing “shrink and patient” and put all the therapy language you’ve expensively acquired over the past 15 years to good use. It’s sort of like playing “school,” except with pharmaceuticals and abandonment issues (so it’s more like “college.”)
8. Go on vacation your own damn self. It’s shocking, and it may seem impossible. But you can do it. Baby steps.
9. Convert to Christianity. I’ve heard they don’t need therapy unless really bad things happen to them. Maybe it’s a rumor, but it may be worth a shot.
10. No matter what anybody says, don’t publish your new book in August when your shrink is away. That is just truly insane.
BONUS TIP: Make use of storefront psychics and palm readers. Yes, they are probably charlatans. But they also tell you a lot of things you already know about yourself, and even with the pricey combo package of healing crystals, zodiac charts, and having your wallet stolen, they still probably cost less than one session on Park Avenue.
Rachel Shukert has been blogging for MyJewishLearning and the Jewish Book Council. Read her new memoir, Everything Is Going To Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour.