Michael Wolraich's picture

    Swing Voter Analysis

    I went to see my shrink today.

    "Doc," I said to him after I'd sprawled myself on the couch, "I'm thinking about breaking up with my guy Barry."

    "Is that so?" he replied. I like Doc. He's got this way of saying things without saying anything.

    "Yeah, I mean, we've been together for what four years now? I'm just not sure it's going anywhere. It's like a...a rut. I was depressed when we started. I'm still depressed."

    "You think he's making you depressed?"

    "Nah, it's not his fault. He's just not helping things, you know."

    "Do you think it will help if you break up?"

    "Maybe, who knows. I met this other guy, Mitt. He says he can make me happy, says that's his specialty, picking people up."

    "Does that excite you?"

    "Excite? Nah, excite is the wrong word. Mitt's not an 'exciting' guy, if you know what I mean."

    "So why do want to leave Barry for Mitt?"

    "I don't know. I guess I don't really. Mitt's kind of a blah, kind of a jerk. I don't really want to even be in the same room with him."


    "But my buddy is like..."

    "Who's your buddy?"

    "My buddy Press, I've talked about him before."

    "Yes, I recall."

    "So Press is like, look, you've been in this relationship for four years. You're still depressed. Any normal person would get out there and give this Mitt dude a try."

    "Why do you think he said that?"

    "I dunno. Press likes to hear himself talk. He thinks he's a good judge of people. Sometimes, I think he's full of shit."

    "So you don't agree with Press?"

    "But see it's not just Press. Mitt too. He's tells me that I'm being irrational. He thinks that I just need to get over Barry. He kind of hinted that I'm just stuck on him because he's a black guy."

    "Is that true?"

    "No! I mean, I like Barry as a person of course, and it's kinda cool that he's my first black guy, but so what? I think Mitt just doesn't get why anybody would like Barry more than him. He's got some kind of complex."


    "So anyway, I've got all these people telling me that I'm, you know, hung up on Barry. But it's not like I wouldn't dump him if someone better came along."

    "Who would you dump him for?"

    "Mitt's buddy is kinda cute, but I think he's not available."

    "But you would prefer him to Barry?"

    "I dunno, he's a little young for me. He kinda scares me too. He seems like the kind of guy who'll convince you to let him invest your savings but then blow it all on the market. Plus even though he's all smiley and chipper, I think he might be secretly evil."

    "I see. Let's get back to Barry. Have you spoken with him about your concerns?"

    "Barry doesn't like to talk about it. He hates Mitt! Says he's a sleaze."

    "What about your depression? Have you talked to him about that?"

    "Yeah, he's like well, I hear you, and I want to help, but there's nothing more I can do, and it's not really my fault."

    "Do you think it's his fault?"

    "I...I think...it's no one's fault...or maybe it's everyone's fault...I don't know...I just want to feel better already. I wish that Barry made me feel better, you know?"

    "What about Mitt?"

    "I dunno. Maybe if he ups his game, I'll consider him. But I doubt it."

    "I think our time is up. Shall we continue this next time?"

    "Yeah, okay. I'm kind of sick of it already, but I guess I have to make decision."

    And that was that. The thing about Doc is he never really tells you what to do, but sometimes it's good to talk to him just to sort out some of the bullshit, if you know that I mean.


    'I hope so. But that is another thing that makes me anxious. I have been expecting Gandalf for many days. He was to have come to Hobbiton at the latest two nights ago; but he has never appeared. Now I am wondering what can have happened. Should I wait for him?'

    ​Gildor was silent for a moment. 'I do not like this news,' he said at last. 'That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well. But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. The choice is yours: to go or wait.'

    ​'And it is also said,' answered Frodo: 'Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'

    ​'Is it indeed?' laughed Gildor. 'Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. But what would you? You have not told me all concerning yourself; and how then shall I choose better than you? But if you demand advice, I will for friendship's sake give it. I think you should now go at once, without delay; and if Gandalf does not come before you set out, then I also advise this: do not go alone. Take such friends as are trusty and willing. Now you should be grateful, for I do not give this counsel gladly.

    Thanks - it's been a long time since I read Tolkien, and though I remember him being a much more engaging and philosophic writer than say C.S. Lewis, it's nice to have a snippet in perspective.

    In some ways it's sad Tolkien never wrote a "serious" book, but on the other hand, no one reads serious books anymore. Perhaps someone could excerpt Lord of the Rings and Hobbit as a self-help book.

    P.S. "Bored of the Rings" seemed brilliant and launched National Lampoon, don't know if it stands up to time, as no one knows "Good Gulf" anymore.

    Holy cow.  I'm glad Tolkien chose not to write "serious" books.  I don't think he had it in him, being the imp he was.  His books delight and enchant and have lived long and prospered. 

    I love that I can still read "The Hobbit" as a child would, without the need to edit or critique, but for the pure joy of it.  (I loved the "Lord of the Ring" movies, too.  No shame there, either.)

    "To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful."

    I mean, Tolkien did write philological scholarship about Anglo-Saxon literature for a living. So I don't know that nothing he wrote was "serious."

    Yes, Doc, he did, but the works that were widely published and still hold were written, not for the serious scholar, but for folks like me.

    I mean like novels, Sun Also Rises, Moby Dick, Les Miserables, Anna Karenina....

    Seems like an odd complaint.  Every novel is different.  Tolkien wrote mythic epics.  What's not serious about that?

    I think leaving the above part out of the movie was a mistake though. It helps to tie what comes after together.

    Just my opinion.

    I guess you know that Peter Jackson has finished filming the Hobbit trilogy.  In the first one, due out in December, Bilbo meets Gollum and the backstory of the ring will be told. I can't wait to see it. 

    And now for something completely different (because you guys cornered the  whimsy market.)

    In Freud's heyday mothers were blamed for most of mankind's ills. Until around 1960 a Brit psychologist named Winnicott coined the useful phrase "the good enough mother".

    Romney's nomination week was a "good enough " convention. Didn't sew up the election for him but also didn't lose it. We can debate to what extent it was successful but certainly not a failure.

    Not a home run for sure but at least a single. Maybe even a "wall ball". Time will tell..

    Pretty smart guy, your Doc.  Clearly not a Republican since he seems to be pro-choice. 

    I would suggest you wait until you're in line at the polling place before you make up your mind.  If you're still undecided you can always flip a coin behind the curtain.  What have you got to lose?

    (No charge for this, by the way.)

    Flip a coin but remember to bring your bolt gun.

    You shouldn't leave Barry.  He has a good job.  Mitt's unemployed.

    So, Genghis. What does this post make you think about?

    How does this post make you feel? There, fixed it for you. Oh, it looks like our time is up. That'll be $200 please.

    Get on the damn plane, Ilsa!

    Why don't we try some role playing. Here , imagine that Barry is in this chair..


    Okay, fickle pickle, here ya go -



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