The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

My Attorney, the Jungian
by Vincent Barry

My attorney wants to plead me “Not guilty by reason of mental illness.” 

“You’re a psychopath,” my attorney says, before reassuring my gasp, “Oh, not the violent, criminal kind,” and rattles off,  “Elizabeth Bathory, Jack the Ripper, . . ,” then adds with a laugh, “Oh, I could go on, but I’m sure to offend by leaving someone or other out.” 

The aforesaid gallery were, apparently, “pure” psychopaths. I, by contrast, am a run-of-the mill psychopath, “The kind—,” my attorney says illustratively, “that one’s spouse might call one in a divorce hearing.” 

“The hypothetical spouse,” my attorney elaborates, “doesn’t mean that the partner devours or makes soap of human flesh but only that they are incapable of showing any love or affection for anything but, say, golf.” 

“My therapist,” I return meekly, “says I’m neurotic.” 

“Uh-huh,” my attorney distractedly nods, “you could be that too— walk and chew gum?” Then, “You feel compelled to avoid sidewalk cracks, do you?— eat porridge every morning  precisely at 6 A.M.? Rhetorically, speaking.” 

We exchange head shakes.

“Were you so compelled,” my attorney continues, “certainly, some—what are called compensations— might be in order. . . . Say, ‘Try walking with your head up,’ or ‘Must you always eat porridge at 6 A.M?’ Harmless enough advice— to the neurotic. I mean what’s the worst that could happen? A stiff neck? . . . corn flakes at 6:15 A.M?  But to you, your average psychopath—dismantling the structures of the average psychopath? Whoa! We’re talking— nitroglycerin here.”
 “My therapist says,” I allow, “I have a compulsive attention to duty.”

“Yes,” my attorney nods, “but born with, you mean.”

“You mean like a birth defect?”

“Yes, yes, only in the brain— an empty place, so to speak, that you are trying to fill in—compulsively—in one way or another.” Then leaning in conspiratorially, “And the beauty of it: It’s incurable.”

“I’m an invalid,” I am thinking, and, as if reading my mind, my attorney say, “Exactly! All of us are. Before we learn to walk we’re born with-with an inner limp, so to say.”

“Which explains my compulsive attention to duty?”

“Let me ask you this,” my attorney says indulgently. “What did your therapist recommend?” 

Before I can answer, my attorney says, “Let me guess.” Then, like throwing darts at a board: “‘How about easing up a tad?’ ‘Ever try stretching your lunch hour now and then?’ ‘What about treating yourself to a ‘sick day’?” 

I’m amazed. “How did you know?”

“Well-intentioned advice,” my attorney says with a smug smile, “but misguided . . . So misguided that it explains, quicker than you can say Adolf GuggenbÜhl-Craig, why you sent your therapist a postcard from Bimini, where, and I quote from the aforementioned, ‘I am enjoying a well-earned vacation,’ with, wisely omitted, BTW, ‘the bank’s funds.’” 

I sheepishly nod. 

 “Why,” my attorney says with a sly, confident smile, “you did everything but sign: ‘Your Compensated Psychopath,’” and gushes, “After acquittal, malpractice!”