“What’s wrong with me, doctor?”
“Depression… of course… you have the accursed disease of depression”.
Should I add a couple of neurotic anxiety disorders into the mix? Hell, why not… it won’t do him any harm. At worst, his fear might trigger a relapse and he’ll be popping pills for the rest of his life. I’m perfectly alright with that. At least he “forks it over”, while the “spongers” zilch, not a bean. Wish I never got involved with their bloody insurance funds! Damn, I got carried away! I’ve spent five whole minutes with this loser. Way more than he deserves… Look at the way he looks at me…. Look… dimwit! As if I’m going to pronounce some profound oracle. Good grief, the weirdoes I see in here! Anyway. Time to put on an air of authority and shake him a little. Besides, I am a doctor!
That’s how Mr. Grabber, the psychiatrist, thought, with a faint smile hidden under his thick, double layered, moustache. His grizzled hair added an excessive dose of scientific competence to his suit and tie.
When he was an undergraduate of medicine, he met with a fleeting flash of empathy, when he saw him, Yiannis, his brother, then in his second year in Medical School, stand before the statue of Hippocrates, staggering from too much ouzo. He swelled up arrogantly and sternly declared:
“I’m going to cut off your nose!”
That was probably the only time someone was actually a doctor!
Psyches and bodies are no longer within my scope of interest.
And why bother? Better brain receptors, synapses, and a couple of active ingredients for our good ole customers, God provide! Mr. Grabber thought recurrently and slid his office drawer half open. Good! My prayer beads are already here. To bless the daily profits. Praised be the Lord! said a small voice inside him. He silently slid the drawer shut.
“Well, doctor?” said Thanos, his voice shaky. “Is there anything you’re not telling me? Do I have something serious?”
“I already told you, Mr. Thanos, you have depression with anxiety disorders, so you must take your pills. Careful, now! If you don’t follow your treatment to the letter, you will relapse!”
“I’ll do whatever you say, doctor! You know best!”
“Well then, let’s see…. The medication will start taking effect in two months, and in six months you’ll be back to your previous condition”.
“To where? Impossible. I don’t want to go back to the way I was. I want to change; I don’t want to be afraid to say “no” and set a boundary against the predators around me from time to time”.
“Come, now… sober up! You’re in a sanctuary of medical science here. Leave all that radical stuff for later. The imperative at this point is to become functional!”
“Which means? Function how?”
Christ, what a low IQ the guy has! I’ll show him for wasting my time with stupid questions. I’ll show him. I’ll raise the charge and he’ll lose all interest in asking questions on the spot.
Mr. Grabber went on to explain about functionality without once looking at him.
“Quite simply… Mr. Thanos, listen, you will go to work, you will come home, you will eat, you will sleep in-betweens and you will go to the toilet regularly. What else do you want?”
“Are you putting me on? I have to pop pills to live like a robot?”
“Now, that’s your illness talking and you’ve no idea what you’re saying!”
Ah, blessed pill! You plug his mouth hole and he stops busting everyone’s balls –both mine and his family’s. Thankfully! The golden calf worshipped in the desert gift-wrapped as a fetish. The golden calf laden with Egyptian gold rings. They constructed it on a pedestal. Of course people blame the constructor of doing evil in the name of good. And who constructs? Who cares? Blessed be the golden pill. You pop a pill before you open your mouth to say something that could get you into trouble. You’re about to argue? You pop a pill preventively and turn into a vegetable. Let the others argue. You’ll just watch from your wide and sunny pot, unable to make a “peep”. Just like the golden calf already suckling –always suckling since it’s made of gold. It will always return to its pedestal, to the cow that bore it. What an invention! An old idol has returned under a new name. It frees our hands and gilds our feet in pleasure trips offered by our kind-hearted sponsors, the pharmaceutical companies. God protect them!
“You’re still here?” Mr. Grabber asked in an aggressive tone. Thanos started to feel a weight on his chest and a tightening across the breast and a difficulty in breathing.
The doctor never even heard him. He was already smiling broadly to a female patient with a fur coat and a check-book.
So Thanos turned his slumped back. He turned his back to the doctor’s office and disappeared down the bustling walkway which greeted his footsteps without gnashing its slabs.
“This is the outer darkness. The anguish and the gnashing of teeth…”
The biblical text echoed in his ears like a whisper. One more step… one step… to muster up the courage to leave behind the medical hellhole, while his teeth gnashed from a surplus of anger that was slowly descending to his stomach like bile.
“I am bile!” something alien inside him hissed in his ear and the colour drained from his cheeks.
Σημ.: Η φωτό είναι του Σπύρου-Ίωνα Μαρκάτη