Dr. Bloomfield considers himself quite intelligent and perceptive but I suspect he finds my long list of childhood traumas boring. He feels I’m not interesting enough for a case history in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Which means he’s much less empathetic than he thinks he is.
Look at him. His shirt is drum-taut against his pregnant woman’s belly. The buttons would pop off if he sneezed. His tie is rumpled, as is his blue Oxford shirt with the button-down collar. I think his sloppiness is an affectation meant to disguise his self loathing. A pretense, as if he’s saying, I really don’t care how I look, I’ve got too many other more important things on my mind. I’ll bet in the morning he has trouble looking in the mirror at his flushed, sweaty, jowly face.
He doesn’t see the utter hypocrisy in setting himself up as a healer when he’s apparently done absolutely nothing about his own chronic eating disorder. It’s like a counselor at a rehab showing up for work drunk or high on drugs.
Nevertheless I’m supposed to trust this guy.
It occurs to me that I am something he isn’t, and what’s more I can do something he’d very much like to, but can’t.
I’m an ectomorph. I’m six feet tall, weigh between 148 and 150 pounds. Virtually no body fat. I’ve maintained this weight for the past 10, 20 years.
With military discipline I impose upon myself a Spartan diet. Each day at noon—without exception—I have one banana, a half cup of milk, and a tablespoon of honey. Never more than that. For dinner on Wednesdays I eat pasta and tomato sauce, with one slice of Sicilian garlic bread. On Fridays I serve myself modest portions of either chicken or beef, and baked or mashed potatoes, and small portions of vegetables. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays it’s either a bowl of salad or cereal. Again, no exceptions. And no snacks between meals. Ever.
I run six miles each day, summer and winter, rain or shine.
And what does Dr. Bloomfield eat? A lot, obviously, with great abandon. And does he run? Absolutely not.
Look how he steeples his pudgy fingers when I’m talking. It’s a display of arrogance and contempt. Like that array of framed diplomas on the wall behind him. He’s saying to me, see? I’m smarter and better educated than YOU are, and here’s all the proof you’ll ever need.
But wait. Maybe I’m being too harsh on the guy.
What if he’s got a genetic or a hormone problem, or a thyroid condition, or whatever? He might have gone on multiple diets all his life and not one of them has ever worked, and yet he’s still on one now, and doggedly continues despite the utter futility of the effort.
Well, then, that’s something we have in common. Determination, persistence, endurance. Discipline. Stick to it, no matter what. Dr. Bloomfield didn’t get through medical school and a couple years of psychiatric residence by being a weak sister, right? So why shouldn’t he display all those diplomas? I would, if they were mine.
Okay, okay, I take all that nasty stuff back. He’s all right. So let’s get right down to business.
“My father never wanted me to die, doc. He just wished I’d never been born.”
“So tell me, John. How does that make you feel?”