“So I been taking your advice, Doc,” said Pete. “I been trying to listen to people instead of just interrupting them so I can put in my own two cents.”
“That’s great, Peter,” said Dr. Weinberg. “And how does that make you feel?”
“Can I be honest, Doc? I mean, can I really be honest?”
One thing about Pete Willingham, he was always honest, thought Dr. Weinberg. Delusional, but honest.
“Sure, Peter,” she said. “I would like you always to be honest, because if you’re not honest –”
“I know, I know, if I ain’t honest then I’ll never achieve self-actualization, am I right?”
“Yes, that’s right, Peter,” said Dr. Weinberg.
“So here’s the thing, Doc. I listen to these people. I mean, I want to butt in, that ain’t changed, but like you told me, I bite my tongue. And they go on, talking about whatever, and a funny thing happens, Doc, I find myself, drifting, drifting, off into the clouds, and I know they’re talking, but I ain’t hearing nothing. And then after a while this other person will say, ‘So, what do ya think, Pete?’ And I gotta blink and take a minute because I got no idea what they were talking about. That ever happen to you, Doc, sitting here all day listening to nuts like me?”
Dr. Weinberg paused before answering, and lighted another cigarette. She had just told Pete Willingham to be honest, so was it not also incumbent upon her to tell the truth?
“Yes, Peter,” she said, finally, “it happens to me.”
– Blanche Weinberg, Lady Psychiatrist, by “Hannah Pierce Sandler” (Horace P. Sternwall), a Corgi Books paperback original, 1958; “Dr. Blanche cured the souls of tortured people – but could she find the cure for the emptiness in her own heart?”