Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Uncle Hoist and Aunt Eedee

Yesterday, I posted my '80s college psychology work, the Ladder and Scaffold of Self Images, which, just to answer a few who quickly wrote in, is indeed something I came up with myself. I did not copy it from the works of Freud or Jung. And to the guy who loudly proclaimed he saw it in a psychology textbook, that's true; I licensed it to the publishers of that particular edition. 50 bucks.

Sheesh! You think everything has to be derivative? A student can't be Super Brain and just come up with something on his own? I've been coming up with good stuff all my life. I was in the school library doing research on the history of my town's name in first grade. I knew how to spell "encyclopedia" in fifth grade, and totally grasped the distinction between "form" and "from." Along with memorizing the capitals and presidents.

But it's OK if you want to be suspicious. I know myself, and I don't copy! An old psychological saw comes to mind, something like this: If you're quick to accuse others, you've confessed your own guilt. So I'll let you think about that for a while. By the way, there's a similar blues song, "Before you 'cuse me, take a look at yo'self." I hope I got the dialect right...

It's funny, though, how we do that. We always think it's some guy faraway in Zurich or Berlin who has to be responsible for all the brainy stuff in the world. Because everyone knows that some kid on your block or anonymous guy on the internet -- a local guy with a blog -- can't know anything! Heavens forfend! That any of us may have gone to college, as I actually did. And you can't go to all the parties I went to and not learn something.

You might be interested to know, though, I come from interesting stock, where anything's possible... Meaning, I had a redheaded uncle. On that, I don't know if there's a psychological postulate, but there should be. Redheaded men go through so much, they either prosper beyond your wildest imagination or they die. Which I didn't know when I was a kid. I thought Uncle Hoist was just another hayseed uncle. And he cultivated that image, for reasons of his own, but when he revealed himself he was an entirely different guy.

Only a few people knew how smart Hoist was. Of course one of those was Aunt Eedee, who, it turns out, served as his "right hand man" for many years in his lab work and studies. It's funny, though, to the outside world Hoist was just a "good old boy," but like I said, when he revealed himself, it was a whole different thing! The man was a genius. I don't know if he applied for the certificate, but he could've.

Anyway, here's the tie-in with my "Ladder and Scaffold" chart. I had just come home from college, and I had the original copy of it with the big fat shiny "A." We were at Hoist and Eedee's for a barbecue. And Hoist (as the hayseed) was sitting there with no shirt, proud with his bright red hair and completely white hairless chest. He calls me over and goes, "You did this, boy?" He has it in his left hand and softly taps it with the back of his right. The old hayseed then turns it upside down, like he's trying to make heads or tails of it, since it does look a bit complicated. I can see he's challenged by the advanced vocabulary, deep concepts, and impressiveness of the big fat shiny "A." I said, hoping not to condescend, "That's an A, Hoist, the best grade you can get." He looked confused, but apparently reached some level of understanding as to what I was attempting to enunciate.

Anyway, Hoist takes a piece of tape -- This is a redheaded man! -- and sticks the chart right in the center of the keg, putting it on good display for the family. "Wee doggies!" he ejaculates, "This deserves a big celebration!" Eedee comes out with an apple pie and bowl of her patented chop suey, which I loved, and I knew I'd hit the big time.

Later, then, Hoist is nowhere to be found. And Eedee comes over and whispers that he wants to see me in the garage. I get there and he's taken the chart off the keg and had it laminated. I'm aghast, as it turns out Hoist isn't just a good old boy, but something else! We get in a narrow elevator, a small chamber in the corner, and descend to an underground lab, 50 feet down, under the garage, and massive like the Batcave, where Hoist has been busy doing experiments and running studies on human consciousness (and other consciousness, as much as he has time for -- dogs, cats, horses, etc.) In fact, it turned out he's the guy who painstakingly quantified the horrific psychological effects of Lawn Darts on insects.

Suddenly, he tells me that my Self Images chart -- after 40 years of agonizing twists and turns and theories he's worked on -- finally clarified everything for him, being "the one perfect road map" as to how things are! Isn't that amazing! Then he goes, "To think you had all this lying dormant in your mind all those years -- while playing basketball in my driveway -- and I, your faithful redheaded uncle, never recognized it! I'll need time to process this, my worst failure..." I felt badly, but knew he'd bounce back, like redheaded men generally do, and very soon he was his jolly self. Although serious, too, as the serious scientist he turned out to be.

I toured the lab and was amazed at the facility, his investment, and work. This was in the '80s, Hoist is now gone. At that time he had just concluded a five-year project in child psychology. If truth be told, Hoist deserves most of the credit for the drop in serious drug addiction stats among children under 5 in the '90s. And going with that, perhaps even more important, Hoist and Eedee worked with an endless procession of dogs in the testing of invisible fence technology, meaning those kids could finally play in the neighborhood without fear and needing to resort to drugs.

No comments: