While I am thinking about psychiatrists I have known I will tell you about Seymour who I admire very much. I start seeing him right after I am kicked out of Goucher, that summer. His office is in Manhattan on Park Avenue, very posh, but he offers a sharp discount to needy patients through a benevolent organization that I apply to. I have an ulterior motive, I don’t go see him just because I was told I have penis envy, actually I want a prescription for amphetamines. Doctors give speed out pretty freely back then, awareness of its addictive quality not fully understood, you just have to say you want to lose weight. Of course you can get speed on the black market but it’s much easier at the pharmacy.
Even after I get my pills I kept going to Seymour like clockwork because I like him, he is kindly and he thinks I am smart, his second smartest patient he tells me. His first smartest is an elderly lady so I don’t feel jealous, I figure I will be the smartest when I get a little older.
I complain to Seymour about the constraints in my life, how mean and boring my parents are, how unspeakably banal my everyday existence, and in response he quotes Thoreau to me, a little too heartfelt I think at the time and still think, like he is really talking to himself, he recites “most men live lives of quiet desperation” and looks at me sadly. Perhaps Seymour is thinking about his home in Scarsdale and the long commute home and his wife and his lawnmower, I don’t know, just that he dies a few years later and I never get old enough to be his smartest patient.