“It was my job. It was in the bag.” I couldn’t believe I was sitting in yet, another shrink’s office, explaining this. There are people in this world with real problems. Mine hardly qualify.
“That’s a slight exaggeration, don’t you think?” Dr. Melbourne had this annoying habit of clicking his pen constantly. Click, click. Click, click.
It made me crazy, which then led me to wonder if he did that on purpose – to drive all of his patient’s crazy so they would keep coming back.
“You were only offered conditional employment and passing the psych exam was part of that conditional employment offer.”
“Do you have any idea what I went through to get that job?”
“Enlighten me.” Click, click. Click, click.
“I had to fill out a 30 page back investigation form. I had to disclose every strange and unusual place I had sex, list every traffic ticket, and ask three neighbors for their names and contact information so that the sheriff’s department could interview them to find out if I threw crazy parties. My favorite part was listing every time I ever tapped a car in a parking lot or accidentally opened my car door into someone else’s. I never realized how much I sucked at driving until I had to fill that information out. Three pages! Three pages of dings and bumps.”
“It’s all standard procedure.” Click, click. Click, click.
“Then, as if all of that wasn’t bad enough, some little old man conducting a polygraph, asked me if I’ve ever had sex with or thought about having sex with a cow. A COW!”
“Your frustrations are understandable but none of this really explains why it is you feel Dr. Palmer stole your job from you. He was only doing his job.”
“He denied me the job because he didn’t like me.”
Dr. Melbourne flipped through some papers located in a file folder on his desk. “That’s not what it says here. It says here that he denied you because you were argumentative, defensive and sarcastic.”
“Well, there is that….”I sighed. “I still could have done the job.”
“What did you say when he told you that you were argumentative, defensive and sarcastic.”
Oh here we go. Dr. Melbourne is going to love this. “I said, ‘So when do I start?’ He didn’t find that as amusing as I did.”
Dr. Melbourne actually chuckled. I didn’t know he knew how to do that. He’s always so serious and analytical. Probably a real kill-joy at parties. He took a sip of water and then flipped through the papers on his desk again before continuing. “Let’s talk about the book you’re writing.”
I shrugged. “What about it?”
“Doesn’t your main character undergo a similar job loss. She’s rejected for employment at a Sheriff’s department for being argumentative, defensive and sarcastic.”
I nodded. “So?”
“You made the psychologist who rejected her out to be the villain.”
“Yup.” Damn straight, I did.
“In fact, you made him a sexually aggressive male who used his position as an evaluator of psychological character to coerce women into engaging in sexually explicit behavior with him in exchange for him passing them on their psychological evaluations.” He looked up at me. “Did I leave anything out?” Click, click. Click, click.
“You forgot the part about how I described him as having long, greasy nose hairs and halitosis.”
“Ah! Yes. But tell me, how does painting Dr. Palmer — a man who was only doing his job — out to be the villain, solve anything?”
“It doesn’t. And — at the risk of sounding defensive — he’s right. I am all those things. But I still think he denied me the job because he just didn’t like me.”
“Is painting him the villain going to make him give you the job?”
“So why did you do it?”
“He wasn’t nice to me. He didn’t give me the job I was very capable of performing. So, I made him the villain in my story. There are far worse ways in life to handle rejection. At least mine was constructive.”
“Well, there is that.” Click, click. Click, click.