Q. Where would you like to be?
A. I’m not sure.
Q. How can you become sure?
A. By thinking it through completely.
Q. By thinking what through completely?
A. All the factors of getting my show produced, maybe getting my job back, and all that.
Q. How does getting your show produced relate to getting your job back?
A. Darn it! This is why I wish I had a therapist.
Q. What do you mean?
A. You ask me all these questions. What I need are strong, solid suggestions.
Q. If you found a therapist other than me, would they offer you strong, solid suggestions?
A. Hm . . . come to think of it, most of them only ask me questions. Okay you win.
Q. Now once again: what is the relationship between the production of the musical and your job?
A. The job’s a musical job. A theatre company needed a singing teacher, a piano teacher, and a musical director. They hired me to do all three, but I had to leave early in the middle of the third show–for health reasons. The idea is that I’m supposed to become healthy again and come back when I am.
The musical is–well, a musical. After I did a decent job on the first show, they approached me with an offer to produce my musical.
Q. How did that feel?
A. You already know. I’d been working on this musical since 2009. The production of this musical has been a life’s dream. I was overjoyed. Words failed me. I walked alone in nearby Nature for an hour, with tears in my eyes, and silently thanked the Lord.
Q. Then what happened?
A. Well, I had the health issue, and I had to leave the job, on very short notice.
Q. Does that mean they won’t produce the musical?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Why don’t you know?
A. They won’t tell me.
Q. Why not?
A. They don’t say.
Q. Why do you think that is?
A. Probably because they themselves do not know. Since I left for health reasons, how can they know when I will be healthy again? Or even if I will be healthy again?
Q. But do you have to be in good health for them to produce your musical?
A. Of course not! I could be dead and they could still produce the musical!
Q. Then what’s the problem?
A. The problem–as I see it–is that they don’t want to do the show unless I am also there on hand. I would need not only to be the musical director of my own show, but of most of the other shows as well.
Q. And they won’t let you do that?
A. Not if they don’t think I’m well.
Q. Do you want to do that?
A. I don’t know. If I return to a job that made me unwell, and nothing is different, it could make me sick again.
Q. Wait — did the job make you unwell?
A. I just said that, didn’t I?
Q. Put it this way: did any of the details of the job make you unwell?
A. No. I can’t say that the job details were in any way toxic. This is work that I generally enjoy.
Q. Did any of the people on the job make you unwell?
A. I think so, yes. There were a couple guys whose personalities were challenging,
Q. Did they say inside their hearts: “Let’s make Andy sick?”
A. What are you driving at?
Q. What is your favorite chapter in the Gospel of Mark?
A. Well, that certainly came from left field! I would say probably Mark Seven. It’s the one I most often quote.
Q. What did Jesus say in Mark Seven?
A. Um . .. well, for one thing, he said: “There is nothing entering into the man from outside him that can defile him. It is that which comes out of the man that has power to defile him.”
Q. So did these two guys outside you have the power to make you sick?
A. You’re not saying I’m the one who made myself sick, are you?
Q. Let’s put it this way: whose responsibility is your health?
Q. Not your own?
A. Well I can participate in it. I run, I don’t smoke tobacco cigarettes, I don’t hang out in bars. But God has the final say in such matters. He holds the keys to sickness and health, and to life and death.
Q. Did God make you sick?
A. Yes. The sudden sickness was not my doing.
Q. Are you healthy now?
A. I certainly think so.
Q. You don’t know?
A. How can I know? I can tell you I feel good. I can tell you my vital signs are good. But this is not about physical health. It’s about mental health. How can I possibly gauge the health of my own mind?
Q. If you can’t, who can?
Q. How so?
A. Society is the entity that judges whether people are sane or insane. I could avoid human beings for the rest of my days, sit here and score my music and write my columns, and no one would be the wiser. But if I tell another human being I have a mental health disorder, they will then begin to look for signs of it–whether they know anything about it or not. They will no longer see me as sane, whether I am sane or not. In this manner, I become insane–in their eyes. The people of this society have become the judges of the crazy. In my own mind, I am always eminently sane.
Q. In other words, your recent employers are going to be the ones to assess your sanity?
A. Yup. I have no plans to deny it. But since I cannot be trusted to gauge the health of my own mind, it’s their call.
Q. Then where to we go from here?
A. We keep up our dialogue until this matter has been thought through completely.
Q. Same time next Tuesday?
A. You’re not putting me on a yearlong waiting list or refusing to pay my copays, are you? See you Tuesday.
The Questioner is silent.
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