Chapter 1: “Blame It on Mom”
(c) 2004 KAP
It was Mom’s fault. Now wait. As soon as I say something about it being Mom’s fault, all of your General Psych Freudian bits and pieces of a college education will kick in, and you’ll lean back, put your finger alongside your nose, and murmur “Hmmmm” somewhere deep in your throat.
My first experience with Freud (at least my first conscious experience, as he would be quick to point out) was in a Victorian Literature class at the University of Montana. We were reading Jane Eyre. In it there is a scene where Jane is locked inside of a bedroom decorated with heavy red drapes and bedclothes. Jane has an epiphany while there (or an anxiety attack, as she’s just been beaten up by the resident spoiled brat and locked in a room who’s last occupant had been the stone dead proprietor of the house). My English instructor seemed to think it was some kind of cosmic orgasm. After all, the symptoms were there: hyperventilation, a rushing sensation, and a climax of such proportions that she passes out. (That last one falls into the ultimate male fantasy category. I’ve never had a woman pass out on me. Fall asleep, yes; pass out, no.) We’ll just have to speculate about whether Jane has vaginal contractions before her eyes flutter, she moans, and a warm, pulsing darkness takes her.
A more sensible person (Sherlock Holmes, surely) would have noted that Jane had just had a good knock to the head and that she harbored a great deal of uncertainty concerning her immediate future. But pitting logic against libido (especially where English instructors of the 1970s are concerned) is like sending a gerbil up against a polar bear.
Things I know about Freud: he moved to Vienna the same year that Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, he was four years old when Gustav Fechner founded the science of psychology, he made his only trip to the United States in 1909 to deliver an address at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and anti-Semitism in Vienna was one of the factors that forced him to begin practicing medicine, seeing patients with nervous disorders, and thinking about boinking as the twin-injected, overhead cam, dual-carb 386 power plant in the Funny Car of human behavior.