Issue #104 / 27 June 2008 – 4 July 2008
Ask Dr. Faux
by J. Jean Johann Faux, Ph.D., Ed.D., F.I.D, D.L. D.D.
DEAR DR. FAUX: My mother is eighty-five and does not want to go into a nursing home, but I don’t see any other way to handle the situation. I have to do the shopping for her now and must also arrange for the cleaning of her home on a regular basis; she is so messy. Also, my mother likes to have what she calls her little parties. Guess who has to buy food for those parties and help her clean her house after all her friends visit? I have a life of my own and just don't have time to clean up after her. But more importantly I think entering a home would be best for her. What should I do? Sign Me: Not A Manager in New York
DEAR NOT A MANAGER: Old people just don't work well aesthetically, do they? They drag their limbs while others leap; and digestively they are bothersome. And there's something about looking at them, their faces, when there's a family connection. "Oh, my God! Will I look that way?" And its getting closer, for you, isn't it?
Where's my broom and dust pan? Isn't that what you mean? Why do people like you attempt to disguise their true intent by claiming a specious concern for others? You “want the best for her.” Dr. Faux would avoid you at all costs, lest you want the best for him.
Your mother has no significance in our society. The market says that the really profitable targets are between the age of eighteen and thirty-four. So let's just get rid of the rest, the market-ly insignificant. Keep them out of the malls. Their moribund presence puts the lie to immortality-by-consumption and is bad for business.
So, yes, by all means, to make life easier for you and as a service to the marketplace, put Mom in a nursing home before she has another one of her inconvenient little parties. Perhaps you could obtain a power of attorney, have her declared incompetent. That would take care of the messy business of her desires, what she wants for herself: the rank idiocy of her living in her own home; it's so messy. And after the legal work is handled you will have to transport her to the nursing home.
You’d really like the convenience of curbside pickup for Mom, wouldn’t you? Put messy Mom in a large container on the curb-—like a recycling bin or a storage pod, call it The Happy Crate, a service provided by The Home. The Home understands; there are others like you, other busy children, getting rid of aging parents, getting rid of clutter. Put them in a crate; leave them on the curb.
Ah, the tidy ones. Dr. Faux does not associate with neat people; they frighten him. They know what's right for everybody, how things should be arranged. Such arranging distracts them from the clutter in their own lives. Dr. Laura, Deepak Chopra, most shrinks. Neat, clean and combed. They smell good and wear tailored clothes, or habits like neat Mother Teresa. They keep a calendar with "things to do" and tell you about the lint on your coat. Dr. Faux worries for them, but he worries more about the control they have over the rest of us. He believes he knows what's going on in their heads. They have thoughts which won't arrange themselves, random no-nos and shameful things. They find themselves looking where they shouldn't, a tumescence follows, and they straighten your tie. They find themselves thinking about people who should die, and see a knife misaligned at a place setting and move it. There, much better. They think of doing the double nasty with Jesus and hit the streets of Calcutta with a dust pan, like Mother Teresa. Fussing with the poor can distract one.
Dr. Faux is approaching a certain age and worries that one day someone like you or Mother T will show up at his Airstream to check on his mental state. They'll see that his cats, Muffins and Tom-Tom, have the run of the trailer and make for disarray. They will see empty vodka bottles on the floor, all the dead Cossacks, and begin to ask clinical questions. "Who is the president?" "What year is this?" "Do you know your name?" And when Dr. Faux answers, "A thief," "They are all the same" and "Legion" they will cart him away without his dear cats.
Here is a quiz: Why does the world honor Mother Teresa? Answer: She took care of the litter. She shielded the world from having to think of the poor, the messy poor. She made the world think of her dwarfish, so-ugly-she-must-be-holy self instead. Mother T was the poor in the world's eye, a media surrogate, and she controlled the conversation about poor people so that her cronies and contributors (like Charles Keating and Haiti's Duvalier darlings) got both good PR and good Jesus. "I think the world is much helped by the suffering of the poor people." She said that, really. Her friends certainly were, and the ugly old bat herself certainly was: "Saint Teresa." And with her “No to abortion” and “No to birth control” she made sure that we would keep the poor coming. She had warehouses full, all over the world, stockpiled as living tickets to heaven for her and all her beautiful friends—who hung around her dwarfness just as they would a lucky hump.
Mother Teresa continues to haunt Dr. Faux. She comes to him in dreams wearing a negligée, a blue and white thing like her habit, saying, "Are you my Jesus? Wanna party? Can you do the funky chicken?" It's so horrible. She hovers in Dr. Faux's trailer, glowing, twirling, laughing, batting her tiny black eyes. And then she says to Dr. Faux, "Shove over, handsome" and dives toward Dr. Faux's bed and laughs, and in her gaping mouth can be seen all the world's poor, begging to be released. Dr. Faux screams and wakes up.
Dr. Faux has just depressed himself mightily. There are depressions and there are depressions with a religious motif. But there is also hope; it has a booze motif. Dr. Faux recently discovered a case of wonderful Chopin vodka he had hidden under his Airstream during a time of bounty, and he knows a beautiful, young, blonde woman named Bubbles who likes to party, and he thinks he might give her a call and have one. A little party, like your mother liked to have before you warehoused her. You did, didn't you?
And when Dr. Faux has had his party with his lusty Bubbles, please do not worry about cleaning up after him. You and your kind stay the hell away from Dr. Faux. He'll get to cleaning up his trailer one of these days. Or not. In the meantime, let's all open our prayer books to Rock and Roll.
Dr. J. Jean Johann Faux lives in an ancient Airstream with his cats, Muffins and Tom-Tom. He once had a lucrative psychotherapy practice in Beverly Hills until his rich, flaky clients tired of his recommending the palliative power of rational thinking and one-by-one left him for Marianne Williamson and Deep the Chop, Deepak Chopra.
“Ask Dr. Faux” was a regular feature of country Connections. This piece was originally published in the September/October 1997 issue and has been edited.
The image of the Airstream Trailer is from the Vintage Airstream website.