И еще один невероятно трогательный, хотя и мрачный фрагмент — о пользе мнолетнего психоанализа (и ее отсутствии):

I was still knocking out one-liners with David O. Alber to furnish gags for the tabloids. If I could be a writer for Bob Hope, that would do it. But living in the future I would be a playwright and oddly not like George S. Kaufman, my idol from days past, but like Eugene O’Neill or Tennessee Williams. Of course right now I was failing out of summer school and I was called before a panel of deans. A panel of deans is not like an exaltation of larks. It’s more like a bevy of ghouls. It’s a humorless quartet who are there to tell you you’re out. I listened politely as they indicted me on several counts from being a no-show to failing everything. They asked me my goal in life. I said, to forge in the smithy of my soul the unmated conscience of my race and see if it could be mass-produced in plastic. They looked at one another and suggested I see a psychiatrist. I said I worked professionally and got along well with everyone and why would I need a psychiatrist? They explained that I was in the world of show business where everybody’s crazy. I didn’t think a shrink was the worst idea, since despite all my creative interests and promising start as a comedy writer along with all of the love I was shown growing up, I still experienced some moderate feelings of anxiety—like when you’re buried alive. I was not happy; I was gloomy, fearful, angry, and don’t ask me why. Maybe it was in my bloodstream or maybe it was a mental state that set in where I realized the Fred Astaire movies were not documentaries.

I started seeing a highly recommended psychiatrist named Peter Blos once a week shortly after my expulsion, and although he was a terrific guy, it didn’t do me much good. He eventually suggested I see a psychoanalyst four times a week, where I lay on a couch and was encouraged to say everything that came to mind, including describing my dreams. I did that for eight years and cleverly managed to avoid any progress. I finally outlasted him and he came in one day waving a white flag. I saw three more shrinks in my life. First was a very fine man named Lou Linn, whom I saw twice a week in a face-to-face situation. He was quite brilliant, but I easily outfoxed him and remained safely uncured. Then I saw a very bright lady for maybe fifteen years. That was more therapeutic and helped me over some of life’s tribulations, but no real changes for the better in my personality occurred. Finally a highly recommended doctor who has tried face-to-face therapy with me, couch psychoanalysis for a period, and back to face-to-face therapy, and I’m still able to fend off any meaningful progress.

So I’ve had many years of treatment and my conclusion is, yes, it has helped me, but not as much as I’d hoped and not in the way I’d imagined. I made zero progress on the deep issues; fears and conflicts and weaknesses I had at seventeen and twenty, I still have. The few areas where the problems are not so embedded, where one needs a little help, a push, maybe I got some relief. (I can go to a Turkish bath without having to buy out the room.) For me the value was having a person to be around to share my suffering with; hitting with the pro in tennis. Also for me a big plus was the delusion I was helping myself. In the blackest times it’s nice to feel you’re not just lying dormant, a passive slug being pelted by the irrational lunacy of the universe, or even by tsuris of your own making. It’s important to believe you’re doing something about it. The world and the people in it may have their boots on your throat, stomping the very life out of you, but you’re going to change all of that, you’re taking heroic action. You’re free-associating. You’re remembering those dreams. Maybe writing them down. At least once a week you’re going to discuss this with a trained expert, and together you will understand the awful emotions causing you to be sad, frightened, raging, despairing, and suicidal. The fact that solving these problems is illusory and you will always remain the same tormented wretch, unable to ask the baker for sehnecken because the word embarrasses you, doesn’t matter. The illusion you’re doing something to help yourself helps you. You somehow feel a little better, a little less despondent. You pin your hopes on a Godot who never comes, but the thought he might show up with answers helps you get through the enveloping nightmare. Like religion, where the illusion gets one through. And being in the arts, I envy those people who derive solace from the belief that the work they created will live on and be much discussed and somehow, like the Catholic with his afterlife, so the artist’s «legacy» will make him immortal. The catch here is that all the people discussing the legacy and how great the artist’s work is are alive and are ordering pastrami, and the artist is somewhere in an urn or underground in Queens. All the people standing over Shakespeare’s grave and singing his praises means a big goose egg to the Bard, and a day will come—a far-off day, but be sure it definitely is coming—when all Shakespeare’s plays, for all their brilliant plots and hoity-toity iambic pentameter, and every dot of Seurat’s will be gone along with each atom in the universe. In fact, the universe will be gone and there will be no place to have your hat blocked. After all, we are an accident of physics. And an awkward accident at that. Not the product of intelligent design but, if anything, the work of a crass bungler.

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