The Freedman Archives

The following is a collection of letters written by Gary Freedman to his imagined friend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brain Gender


August 30, 2004

Hey, buddy. How did the last weekend in August find you? Did you find it? Yes, the penultimate weekend of the summer has come and gone. Just one more summer weekend left--Labor Day Weekend.

So what did you do this weekend--anything unconventional? Anything Conventional?

Last week was a homo sapien-free week for me. No human contact of any kind. No contact with any native Hebrew speakers. The Mad Monk took sick last Wednesday, so I had no psychotherapy session--if indeed I've ever had a psychotherapy session with Dr. Bash.

I did run into three CPKniks this past week. I saw Charles in the CVS on Saturday. I saw Velma (is that her name?), the Caribbean lady, last week on Connecticut Avenue, and I saw one of the Friends of CPK; she wasn't hawking Tee-shirts or other CPK memorabilia. By the way, buddy, did you ever think of mending fences with me with a CPK Tee-shirt? That would be a nice gesture, assuming you're capable of nice gestures.

But yes, I had no session with The Mad Monk. To tell you the truth, I feel the way Jay Leno must have felt on Saturday January 20, 2001. Remember that day? It was a Saturday. A cold, stormy, snowy, rainy Saturday. Inauguration Day. The end of the Clinton Administration and the beginning of the reign of George II. Jay Leno must have been relaxing at home thinking, "What the hell do I do for monologue material now? Without Bill Clinton, I'm sunk! Clinton jokes comprise three-quarters of my material." Yessiree, Bob. Clinton and his whole dysfunctional mishpachah provided an endless source of amusement. Unfortunately for the humorists of this world, George Bush comes from a good family. A wealthy family. Sure, he served as Governor of Texas, but that was an aberration in an otherwise nongubernatorial background. His father was President of the United States and his grandfather was a U.S. Senator. Texas governors are a different breed, anyhow. Yes, George Bush comes from good stock; would you want a president with less impeccable genetic credentials securing the homeland? For Jay Leno, the weekend of January 20, 2001--the end of the Clinton era--must have been a real downer.

Yes, I know the feeling well. Without Dr. Israella Yafa Bash, what is there to talk about? Nothing, really. This letter is going to be a brief one, buddy. Of necessity.

I did something Conventional this weekend. I was rummaging through the trash in my building, and I came across the August 25, 2004 issue of "JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association."

August 25, 2004 was Leonard Bernstein's birthday, by the way; the maestro would have been 86. You know, Chuck Ruff's mom, Margaret Carson was Lenny's press agent. I wonder if Jeffrey and Ellen know that? I wonder if they care?

Anyhow, the medical journal belonged to John Edwards. John D. Edwards, M.D. (apartment 243, 3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW)--not Senator John Edwards, Esq., the current Democratic candidate for the office of Vice-President of the United States.

What was I talking about? Ah, yes! The gene-pool venue. Page 981 of JAMA had an interesting review about a recently-published book concerning the issue of homosexuality, titled "Brain Gender," by Melissa Hines. If you recall, according to The Mad Monk, homosexuality is a result of a simple genetic abnormality: the fag gene.

Leonard Bernstein and another one of Margaret Carson's clients, Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, are both fag gene carriers. By the way, Margaret Carson seems to have had a lot of homosexual clients. You'd have thought her son, Chuck Ruff, would have been a little more sympathetic to homosexual imposters like myself. Strange world, isn't it? Chuck Ruff was convinced my ideational proclivities were associated with a risk of violence that rendered me unsuitable for employment. I shouldn't criticize Chuck Ruff. He's no longer here to defend himself. Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't want to offend Chuck's law partners, Jeffrey and Eric.

In any event, the book "Brain Gender" is way off base. It claims--astonishingly--that homosexuality is the product of a complex interaction between genetics and the developmental environment. Now that's just flat-out wrong. Everybody knows that homosexuality is genetic. People who come from good families--good genetic stock--never develop perverted proclivities. They don't have the genetic make-up (no pun intended) for it. "Genetic Makeup"--That's a new line from Helena Rubenstein, if you didn't know.

The book review opens: "Differences between men and women, boys and girls, and male and female animals have been classically described as 'gender differences' for socially determined factors and 'sex-differences' for biologically-based factors. After reading 'Brain Gender,' by Melissa Hines, one will recognize that these distinctions are essentially meaningless."

The review concludes: "This timely piece of work cuts through the well-described 'cognitive schemas' of many researchers and theorists in the fields of sex and gender differences and brings these areas of inquiry up to more modern realities: 'genes affect [gonadal] hormones that affect behavior,' and 'behavior [or experience] affects [gonadal] hormones that affect gene' expression and regulation. Thus, sex differences and gender differences are not two categories but are part of an interacting and bidirectional continuum--the essential lesson of this book."

Of course, I'm not supposed to be reading technical material. According to Dr. Bash, I don't have the capacity to understand technical material; I should confine my reading to romance novels and detective stories.

An explanation of homosexuality that comprehends environmental and genetic factors is all too complicated, don't you think, Brian? I'm sure Dr. Bash would say it's too complicated. The simple explanation is usually the correct explanation. I'm with Dr. Bash: "Homosexuality is genetic. Good families--good genetic stock--produce normal, heterosexual populations." George W. is a real man because his daddy is a real man; it's genetic. It's those good Republican genes.

For The Mad Monk, simplicity rules. For example, according to Dr. Bash, my social problems can be attributed, in their entirety, to my simple "fear of rejection." Fear of rejection. That explains everything. Any other explanation--any explanation that includes additional variables--is simply too complicated to be credible. Makes sense to me. Who can question The Mad Monk, anyhow?

I worked at Akin Gump for three-and-a-half years. Everything was going swimmingly. Then one day I decided to approach Earl Segal--throwing "fear of rejection" to the wind--and ask for a job promotion or a change in office assignment. It was at that point that I set in motion a chain of events that led to my job termination. Within a week, I was gone from the firm. Talk about a lack of income security! Chuck Ruff would later affirm that Akin Gump's senior managers had determined that I suffered from a serious mental illness that might be associated with a risk of violence. Yes, my "fear of rejection" explains that, doesn't it? Let's not get too complex in our explanations! Let's not introduce the notion that a phenomenon can be the product of a complex interplay of variables. That's just silly and a waste of time.

I've spent eight years now--EIGHT YEARS!--with the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health looking for a simple, economic explanation for my psychological difficulties. The propitiation of my psychic ills has yet eluded my therapists, but why waste time thinking about complexity when you can waste valuable time ignoring complexity in favor of emphasizing simplicity?

There is just so much false information and misinformation floating around out there. There is so much information out there in the real world that contradicts the unquestionable wisdom of The Mad Monk! Any information that contradicts The Mad Monk must be wrong. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Did you happen to catch the ABC-TV newsmagazine "20/20" last week? ABC-TV reporter Lynn Scher did a piece on Internet porn. The story delved into the world of male internet porn addicts. Lynn Scher interviewed one guy who spent five hours a day on the Internet, surfing porn sites all the while going on maneuvers with General Bonaparte. He had been happily married, but his wife divorced him. He had cut his "shore leave" with his wife down to twice a year. The guy came to prefer visual Internet stimulation--combined with military maneuvers "avec le General"--to getting it off with his wife. According to Lynn Scher the case is not all that unusual. Seems there are lots of guys out there who've shunned the real for the virtual. One guy said: "I don't let reality interfere with my fantasies."

That flies in the face of Dr. Bash's wisdom: "You are obsessed with Brian, Mr. Freedman, because you are socially isolated. You would give up your fantasies about Brian if you interacted with real people: made real friends. You rely on fantasy because your life is so empty." Why are there men out there who are shunning real women-actually giving up relationships--to spend time with visual images of women, that is, fantasies of women? I'm sure The Mad Monk can explain. She has an explanation for everything, and the great thing about Dr. Bash is--all her explanations don't need to be rational! After all, she's a District of Columbia employee.

I had an interesting experience yesterday, outside my local supermarket. I espied an attractive young lady carrying a bag of groceries. She was wearing a short skirt. She put the bag down to inspect the bag's contents. She leaned down, bending her knees, which were parallel to the ground. Her legs were spread. And yes, I secured a sight of the homeland. Covertly. Excitedly. It was a sight to behold. The world of ladies panties and what they conceal! Sin-sational!!

But, in the end, the way I see it--who needs sexual arousal with a real women? If the only thing you can say about another person is that she arouses you sexually, you really aren't saying much. Who needs sexual arousal with a real woman when there's so much more to life? Really--who needs real women at all? Give me a fantasy buddy and the Internet, and I can dispense with women. Real women.

I've got you, Brian, and that's all I need. It's just you and me, buddy.

That brings me to another one of The Mad Monk's unquestionable truths. A few weeks ago, I asked Dr. Bash if she had any other patients who had imaginary friends. She said: "No. That's usually something you only see in children. It's usually lonely children who create imaginary friends."

Funny thing. The other day I thought of something I hadn't thought of in a long time. It's quite remarkable, actually. In point of fact, my father had an imaginary friend. When I was a small boy, my father used to entertain me with tales about his exploits with "Slippery Jim," a character my father created in fantasy. "Slippery Jim," in my father's imaginary creation, worked together with my father at his place of employment. He was a teenager, I suppose. My father's alter ego. He used to get into all kinds of trouble, all kinds of mischief. My father talked about "Slippery Jim" all the time.

My father would use his fantasy relationship with "Slippery Jim" as a pedagogic device with me. He would teach me about the world and the perils of defying authority by reference to "Slippery Jim:" his misdeeds and his close calls with the authorities. "I told Slippery Jim not to do 'such and such,' -- he didn't listen -- and he got into a lot of trouble. You see, he didn't listen to me and he regretted it. Let that be a lesson to you, Gar."

I really believed there was a "Slippery Jim." My father used to arouse my jealousy. Yes, I was jealous of my father's relationship with "Slippery Jim," and my father used to play upon that jealousy.

The houseboat! What, you may ask, was the houseboat? It was a wonderful thing. My father used to talk about the houseboat he was going to get one day. It reminds me now of that line from Leonard Bernstein's musical "Candide," -- "We'll buy a yacht and live aboard it, sailing in luxury and stylish charm."

"We'll get a houseboat, Gar, and go sailing out on the ocean. Just you and me. We'll leave your mother and sister alone, here, at the house. It will be just you and me, buddy. We'll go sailing together and live out on the ocean on the houseboat. Just us men. We won't need any women. But you'll have to behave, Gar. If you don't -- if you don't listen to me -- I'll take Slippery Jim with me instead of you. It will be just me and Slippery Jim. But if you're a good kid, I'll take you with me, and it will be just you and me, buddy." I actually believed the whole tale of the houseboat and "Slippery Jim." Just like some kids who believe in Santa Claus.

Come to think of it, it was a lot like Santa Claus. "If you're a good boy, Santa Claus will come and bring you a lot of presents. But if you're not a good boy, he won't leave you anything." Parents and their bag of pedagogic tricks! For me and my father it was "If you're a good boy, I'll take you out on the houseboat with me -- it will be just you and me -- but if you misbehave, I'll take Slippery Jim, and I'll leave you behind."

Only lonely children create imaginary friends? Well, that's Dr. Bash's theory. And who am I to question The Mad Monk?

Oddly enough--or "oddly enough"-- my father used to employ another fantasy to try to keep me in line. I was not the most obedient of kids, as you can guess. Sometimes my father would go to the front door of our house. He'd ring the doorbell, and proceed to have a conversation with an imaginary police officer! Sound familiar, buddy? "Yes, Officer, there's a boy here; his name is Gary. Yes, he's been misbehaving. He won't listen to me. You want to talk to him? You want to arrest him? I'll go get him. What's that? You say if he behaves himself, you won't arrest him? He can stay here and not go to jail if he listens to his father? I'll tell him that, Officer. So, if he listens to me, behaves himself, and doesn't cause any trouble--he can stay here. You won't throw him in jail. I'll make sure I tell him."

Was I terrified! I really bought that crap.

Be that as it may.

It's just you and me, buddy. You're all I need. If you want to get together for Labor Day, you have my number. We--you, me, and Jerry (and The Old Buccaneer)--can celebrate the 30th anniversary of ERISA together if you want.

Do you know if Malcolm and Earl have talked to The Old Buccaneer recently? I guess my buddy Glenn Fine doesn't know The Old Buccaneer is Jeffrey Orchinik, Esq.--he practiced at the law firm in Philadelphia where I clerked (Sagot & Jennings). He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in psychology. Top that, Mr. Fine!!

It's been great, buddy. And remember--The Mad Monk rules. She is the mikvah of wisdom. She's never wrong. And how do we know that? Because she says so!

P.S. Parting message for Glickman. Listen, pal, if you have any dealings with Mel Gibson, be sure to stand your ground. Don't let that bugger charm you senseless with those pretty blue eyes of his.


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