Transcript of 20th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, June 5, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: I've had an epiphany.
Dr. Balis: You have?
Ms. Lough: I've read a book, a great book that's changed my life. Do you know how sometimes a book can speak to you, can touch you, and change the way you think and the way you perceive the world?
Dr. Balis: Yes, reading can be quite inspirational. What's this book?
Ms. Lough: "The Dilbert Future."
Dr. Balis: Dilbert? Do you mean the comic strip?
Ms. Lough: Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. I always loved Dilbert because it was so unrelentingly cynical, but "The Dilbert Future" is a very positive and life-affirming book. It's more than just a collection of comic strips. It has given me a new outlook. I think I may have found my idealism and sense of purpose.
Dr. Balis: I see. What exactly did you read that made you arrive at this conclusion?
Ms. Lough: Well, I can't remember the exact phrase or passage that turned my head around. There is a chapter which describes how daily affirmations can effect positive change.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: I didn't think I'd find that new-age hogwash in a Dilbert book, but the way it was described, it actually made sense. He also describes all the variables that make things which work in theory fail in practice--like how the fluttering of a butterfly's wings can effect global weather conditions. Reading "The Dilbert Future" and seeing the movie "Bulworth" made me realize that each person can make a difference, because each person is a variable.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: I've been giving this a lot of thought. It's been very liberating.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: I've also been having sexual fantasies about Scott Adams, which is disturbing to say the least. I wonder if he puts subliminal messages in his cartoons?
Dr. Balis: I wouldn't put it past him. What do you plan to do with your newfound idealism?
Ms. Lough: I don't know. I wish I had volunteered for Dennis Peron's campaign.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you didn't, for obvious reasons. Have you thought about perhaps volunteering for another political campaign?
Ms. Lough: Volunteer? Do you mean standing around in front of bus stops and supermarkets and nagging people to sign petitions? I can't see myself doing that. But I'd like to keep that Republican fat cat Dan Lundgren out of office.
Dr. Balis: There's other work you could do for the Democratic party. You could give them a call, they might be able to find something for you more in line with your interests.
Ms. Lough: Do you know what would finish Lundgren once and for all? An embarrassing scandal. If he was caught in a hotel room wearing his wife's undies and being sodomized by a transvestite prostitute, or a rabid Saint Bernard, he'd be finished in politics for sure.
Dr. Balis: That's an appealing fantasy, but you might have better results focusing on something more concrete and practical.
Ms. Lough: You're taking all the fun out it, Doctor. I don't want to stuff envelopes; I'd rather be involved in an underground conspiracy.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad that you've located your youthful idealism. I just think it would be better to focus on realistic goals.
Ms. Lough: To have a goal? I don't think I can deal with that right now. I'd rather just float aimlessly, like I've been doing for so long.
Dr. Balis: Give it some thought, Sharon. Has Charlotte moved her things out yet?
Ms. Lough: No, she hasn't. In fact, she bought new furniture and moved the old stuff here. Rob and I are now the proud curators of the Charlotte Young Museum. I'll take you on a guided tour sometime.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. What does Rob have to say about this?
Ms. Lough: He just sighs and pretends to ignore it. It's getting hard to ignore; the living room is full of furniture and boxes stacked up to the ceiling. The cat's happy, though--he has something to climb on. How is Portia, by the way?
Dr. Balis: She's fine, thank you. Does Charlotte expect you to store her things indefinitely?
Ms. Lough: Who knows what she wants? She's turning into a real ditz--she's emotional and scatterbrained, and she can't seem to remember anything. She claims she forgot she was supposed to come by last week. Then she suddenly decided she needed new furniture and bought $7,000 worth of stuff. She charged it to her credit card. I guess she's in one of those Martha Stewart-inspired redecorating frenzies. Have you ever looked at that magazine?
Dr. Balis: "Martha Stewart Living?" I've seen it on the newsstand a few times.
Ms. Lough: Charlotte collects them. She has issues going back for years, since the magazine was first published. In all the photos, they feature these sparsely furnished, pastel colored rooms, very elegant and uncluttered. That's false advertising. Those photographers should take pictures of my room and all of Charlotte's failed experiments: half-painted walls, unfinished homemade curtains hanging by a few safety pins, and all the arts and crafts projects shredded by the cat. While they're at it, they should include close-ups of all the empty paint cans, stencils, molding, dried flowers, and other unused remodeling junk spilling out of the closets. That's what really happens when you try to be Martha Stewart and you don't have a lot of free time, a full staff of servants, plus a mansion in South Hampton. I wonder how many perfectly nice, modest homes are turned into these garish, overdone monstrosities because of that pompous bitch every year?
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How are you and Rob getting along?
Ms. Lough: Okay, I guess. He's the poster boy for emotional constipation, you know. He'll complain and issue ultimatums, but in the end, he always gives in.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: Godzilla's real name is Mae, by the way.
Dr. Balis: How did you find out?
Ms. Lough: I went to see that movie--her namesake--with her. I looked up her name in the company roster before we went; I didn't want to call her Godzilla to her face. It was a pretty silly movie. I'm surprised she could fit into a movie theater seat. She ate an entire giant tub of buttered popcorn by herself. I was aghast.
Dr. Balis: Do you have many women friends?
Ms. Lough: No, funny that you should ask that, though. I read an article on female genital mutilation which described how older women perform the ritual on prepubescent girls. The women who perform the mutilation have had the same thing done to themselves. Women perpetuate cruelty to other women, not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally.
Dr. Balis: I'm not sure I see the connection.
Ms. Lough: The same thing happens in social situations. Did you see the movie "Heathers?" Women are horrible to each other, even to their so-called friends. All my friendships with women have been problematic. We start off being pleasant and supportive, and within a few months, we find ourselves snarling at each other. Look what happened with me and Charlotte. She was my friend, sort of. She gave me a place to stay, humiliated me by taking me to a leather bar. Then I fucked her husband, and she ran over my foot. I'm sure Godzilla and I will come to a bad end, too.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Last week, when a former classmate of yours sent you e-mail, you immediately suspected her of malice. Did she mistreat you in high school?
Ms. Lough: Well, no, she was one of the few kids who would talk to me. But I don't trust her motives, too. Maybe she and Godzilla are in on a conspiracy.
Dr. Balis: That's a bit paranoid.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I'm not important enough to conspire about.
Dr. Balis: Have you had more positive experiences with men in terms of friendship? Tony, for instance. You seem to be on good terms with him.
Ms. Lough: Men are simpler because they just want to fuck your orifices. Women want to fuck with your head. I don't know what was Tony's game. He didn't try to fuck me, if that's what you mean.
Dr. Balis: But you and Tony spent some time together. You must have enjoyed each other's company.
Ms. Lough: I'm beginning to think Tony only associated with me to make his little fag friend jealous. That's quite common in the gay community. I've been in that scenario before with both gay men and lesbians.
Dr. Balis: Do you mean a situation in which someone takes an interest in you for the sole purpose of making their partner jealous?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, it's all a big head fuck. You should know that. You're the king of head-fucking. You're a shrink, for Christ's sake. Maybe you could give me some insight into this. You should hold seminars in a hotel ballroom or something.
Dr. Balis: You seem to have a quite well-developed concept of this "head fucking" game, as you call it. I don't think you need any help from me.
Ms. Lough: I need to know how to play it.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Lough: Because "up front and straightforward" gets you nowhere. And I'd like to get back at some of the people who have played games with me. That's pretty adolescent, I'll admit. I have a lot of revenge fantasies. I walk around seething all day. I'm always angry. Being disabled only makes it worse. Maybe this is the reason why disabled activists are so cranky.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How much longer is that cast going to be on?
Ms. Lough: Another month, at least. It was a pretty serious injury. It hurts like hell, too. I hate not being able to walk. It's so frustrating.
Dr. Balis: I can imagine.
Ms. Lough: I'm tired, Doctor. Can I go now? I've vented enough angst for one day.
Dr. Balis: All right. Take care, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Thanks.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next Friday.
Ms. Lough: Umm.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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