They (Heinlein)…

An inmate is telling his psychiatrist that the whole world is in a conspiracy to make him do things he doesn’t want to do. The latter is drawing him out, trying to get at the basis of the persecution complex from which the inmate is obviously suffering.

Everyone is plotting against him, and they always have. When he was a kid, the other children dropped their games when he came around, and stood off by themselves, whispering and looking at him. When he entered a room where adults were talking, they stopped until he had left-

The psychiatrist laughs: Well, there’s nothing very unusual about that. Oh, but that isn’t all, says the nut. When I entered college they wouldn’t let me study the things I wanted to. They made me study the things that- But you had to be equipped for a job, says the psychiatrist.

No, i didn’t, insists the lunatic. When I got out, I got a job, and it didn’t make sense, and they made me stay there against my will. They? Who are they, anyhow? Well, my wife and my employer and all the Others. Maybe you were in on it, too.

I see, says the psychiatrist. But how do you mean-the job didn’t make sense? Why it just didn’t. I slept all night so that I could be rested enough to go to work in the morning, and I got up and ate breakfast so that I’d have strength enough to get through until noon,

and at noon I ate so that I’d have strength enough to get through the afternoon, and I went home at night and ate and slept again so that I could go to work the next morning, and the money I made was just enough to keep me strong and rested so that I could work

The psychiatrist throws up his hands: But those things are true of any job. No, no, says the patient. No, they’re not. There is work that does make sense. I know there is, if I could just find it. They are keeping me from it. They keep putting things in my path.

Making me see things that aren’t real. Trying to make me do something I don’t want to do. The psychiatrist gets up and walks out. Then comes the final scene: The man’s wife, his employer, his college teachers, and a host of other demons-yes, demons-are in conclave.

There is a plot. He’s getting on to us, says the wife. I think he’s going to run away again. What’ll we do this time? Let him go, says the psychiatrist. We’ll get him back. We always get ’em back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *