Back in '64, right after I (barely) finished high school, there was a lot of hash in town. Town at that time being Rochester, NY. Dan Sadowski and I were over at this other guy's place who had the hash (he later got busted for armed robbery for breaking into a pharmacy). We were smoking the stuff off a bent-straight safety pin. Stick a little chunk on the end of the pin, light it, pass it around, hold it in, hold it in, then whooooooooosh. Oh man! Fuck! Some good shit alright. And the guy had a couple of ounces, we knew. Maybe a fuckin key. He could afford to get us higher than this! So we're like "Fill the pin, man. Fill the pin!" After a couple of rounds of this, I'm getting the full gestalt of Phil the Pin. He's a natty dresser, a made guy. Dangerous fuckin hair-trigger stoner, but he always has, he's always holding. You don't want to fuck with Phil. You know? You want to be on his good side. So he'll maybe give you a taste. And if you managed to wheedle some bread off that hot chick from Brighton, maybe even cop a dime.
Phil the Pin. We we're choking on our own ripped-high hilarity. "Phil the Pin, man! Phil the Pin!" And oh, ah jesus, make it stop, wiping away the tears...
In other words, the good old days of our youthful fleeting innocence. Who knew that soon enough, we'd be facing our True Selves through the unforgiving lens of pop psychology. Who knew that Phil the Pin was a real guy, and that while we'd been getting wasted on street drugs, he'd been getting... that's right: a Ph.D.!
So now he was Doctor Phil the Pin, but to those who saw him on Oprah (hail Eris!), he was just that simple-down-home-tell-it-like-it-is Dr. Phil.
Last night I finally managed to overcome my gag reflex and open his fucking book, Self Mutters. And as I suspected all along, there's some good shit in this thing. Some real rich shit that bears deep ponderin', pardner. Dr. Phil, though he would be far too modest to say, belongs to the Southern Yee-Hah School of Psychotherapy. And this shit works, you best believe it. Dr. Phil takes it step by step so even the StupidPerson can understand it. This is crucial to the purposes of the book, as StupidPeople slurped it right up to the #1 slot on the New York Times best seller list. It makes me wonder, if, as the song says, "God shed His grace on thee," whether God is also a StupidPerson. Or, if you go in for the Catholic version, three StupidPersons in One. This shit gets way deep, man.
But let me not digress further, as I hear many of you out there in BlogLand shouting "Phil the Pin! Phil the Pin!"
OK then, let's get started.
On page 52, Dr. Phil presents a simple test you can use to determine who your Real Self really is compared with your Bad Self -- the implication being that getting down with your Bad Self is... well, a Bad Idea. So he gives you a long list of personal qualities and says:
1. Circle all the words that you think describe the ideal person you want to be, the person you believe is the full potential of who you are and will ever be:
OK? Got your #2 Ticonderoga pencil all sharpened up and ready? Here's the whole fucking list:
pretty attractive beautiful cute nice-looking appealing cool sweet spiritual wise nice friendly faithful leader strong supportive moral ethical principled good honest decent warm loving tender warmhearted demonstrable [sic] caring kind affectionate cordial hospitable welcoming amiable cheerful passionate fiery enthusiastic zealous arrogant egocentric altruistic sympathetic humane selfless philanthropic smart dependent free gentle thoughtful domineering submissive autonomous creative compassionate self-sufficient private liberated conventional objective elegant clever stylish intelligent quick charming tidy neat thoughtful attentive careful watchful alert reliable inspired inventive resourceful ingenious productive exciting energetic lively vigorous bouncy active joyful blissful pleased ecstatic cheery sane rational sensible reasonable normal complete capable genuine inspiring proud approachable peaceful honest giving nurturing accomplished whole perfect undivided achiever great confident compassionate content humble unassuming happy satisfied comfortable at ease relaxed able knowledgeable skilled proficient expert adept rich wealthy affluent prosperous full gorgeous valuable abundant fruitful powerful deep productive prolific understanding dynamic useful helpful constructive beneficial positive functional worthwhile
Now before we move on to the test proper, a few observations are in order about the list itself. First off, "demonstrable"? Surely he meant to write "demonstrative." But why quibble over mere semantics? I'm sure he knows that we know what he meant to say.
Also, as Dr. Phil seems to have studied behavioral psychology (there are glaring hints of this in the book), which was roundly debunked about 40 years ago, he is probably unaware that his list constitutes a fine example of what the psychoanalytic tradition calls free association. It thus tells us a lot about Dr. Phil's own anxieties and insecurities. For instance, "thoughtful" is repeated immediately preceding "attentive," "careful," and "watchful" -- qualities clearly not "demonstrable" in this list. For instance, he duplicates three other words: compassionate, honest, and productive. This unconscious intensification of focus indicates that these are the specific issues Dr. Phil knows he needs to work on, but he apparently cannot admit this to himself or his readers. The repetition signals a tacit admission of guilt in these areas, as well as a self-secret confession.
But moving on...
2. Now circle the words below that describe how you actually are at present.
This is followed by the identical list given in #1. Now it's obvious that there's a trick to this. I mean, who wouldn't want to be "charming," "tidy," and "neat"?
Plus, some of these terms no one in their right mind would pick. So natch, those are the ones I picked. It says to be Completely Honest. Here's my list.
Now follow closely here, because this is important. I chose those words from the first list, then, without showing him my selections, asked RageBoy to pick from the second list. Why Dr. Phil the Pin, Ph.D., needed to print two identical lists on facing pages makes little sense unless he was just trying to pad out the chapter (Phil the Page?) But nevermind that. The point here is that RageBoy picked the exact same words I did! Even "bouncy," which sort of surprised me.
Even more surprising, as a result of our "Potential Score" exactly matching our "Actual Score," our "Congruency Score" was 100. Imagine that. Then we did the math. Yes, there's math, but there's also a table for StupidPersons who never got to long division on accounta Pappy needed help with the hogfarm.
As it turns out, we topped the charts with these picks of ours, ranking in the 90-100 percentile range (actually 100% bang on the nose). So here's our Official Dr. Phil the Pinhead Horoscope (p. 55):
Interpretation: If your score is 90 to 100 percent, you are operating in your full potential range most of the time, finding happiness and joy from within. You are fulfilling your mission as you see it and very likely have good mental health.
You read it here first , folks. Dr. Phil gives me and RageBoy a clean bill of health and indicates in no uncertain terms that we're pret-ty god-dam well integrated. So fuck you!
And remember: bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!