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Psyche 1001 Case Study #61

Copyright 1986 by Bruce Jaeger. All rights reserved.   Published in Bluegrass Unlimited, July 1987

(Note to Musical Psychology students: This is yet another case from the voluminous notebooks of Dr. Sigurd Freudson, the well-known Iron Range Psychiatrist. The patients, a male and a female (both rather bedraggled appearing), were escorted rather forcibly into the Doctor's office by two large, meanlooking men wearing tee shirts silkscreened "Festival Security.")

Dr. Freudson (as the two patients are hustled in). "Well, well! This is quite a commotion! You guards should be ashamed of yourselves! Two burly fellows bullying a woman and a rather anemic looking man! What is the meaning of all this?"

Guard 1: "We caught these people playing spoons at the Mesabi Mountain Bluegrass Festival!"

Doctor: "Well, that's not so bad now, is it? Oh, 1 know they're not, well, traditional, of course, but they ARE acoustic! They weren't playing electric spoons, were they?" (Chuckles to self.) "Now, Bill Monroe may not have spoons in his band, but bluegrass music does have quite a few of its roots in jug band music, so a ragtime spoon number in a set is nothing to get so upset about!"

Guard 2: "No, you misunderstand, Doctor. They were all sitting in the audience, playing their danged spoons while the bands was playing!"

Doctor: "What! Throw the book at them! Get them out of my office! Drown 'em in Lake Superior! Make 'em drive over 55 in Wisconsin! Make 'em live in Texas in the summer! Make 'em live here in the winter! Punish them somehow!"

Male Spoonist: "Hey! You can't do that! We gotta God-given right to play spoons!"

Female Spoonist: "Yeah! There's no law against it! I demand that you order these goons to let us go! What kind of a so-called "Doctor" are you, anyway?"

Doctor. (Reflecting) "She's right, I'm afraid you guards might as well go. I'll be handling things from here on. " (Guards leave.) "Well, what have you two got to say for yourselves?"

Female Spoonist: "You're still treating us like criminals!"

Male Spoonist: "Yeah! We were just having a good time, enjoying the music!"

Doctor. "How about the people around you? Weren't they enjoying the music, too?"

Female Spoonist: "Of course they were! There were some great bands!"

Male Spoonist: "Yeah! That's why we got to jammin' with them with our spoons! Yee-hah!" (Pulls out spoons and starts beating them against his thigh.)

Doctor: "Please! Please!" (The racket stops.) "Didn't it ever occur to you that the other people in the audience might not like to listen to the bands and your spoons at the same time?"

Female Spoonist: "I don't see why not. We kept perfect rhythm!"

Male Spoonist: "Yeah, I thought our playing made them sound even better, you know?"

Doctor. "Wouldn't it bother YOU, if you were eating expensive steaks in a fancy restaurant, and somebody came up and sat down next to you and started eating a sardine pizza with blueberry syrup?

Female Spoonist: "Yuck! But I don't see..."

Doctor: "Wouldn't it bother you, if you were making love at midnight on a beautiful moonlit Acapulco beach, and someone came up next to you and started watching Wheel of Fortune reruns on a loud portable TV?"

Male Spoonist: "I don't get. . :'

Doctor. "Wouldn't it bother you, if you were fishing at 6:00 am. on a peaceful morning at a great fishing lake, and you could see in the crystal-clear water that a gigantic largemouth bass was just about to take your bait, and then some jerk of a waterskier screams by at 50 miles per hour, and the bass turns around and takes off for Canada?"

Male Spoonist: "I'd kill 'em! But...

Doctor: "Wouldn't it bother you, if you were sitting in a cozy theater watching a great mystery movie, and a pair of louts who'd seen it before sit down behind you, and proceed to tell each other what's going to happen next, and who the villain is, and how the ending comes out?"

Female Spoonist "Why, that would ruin it!"

Doctor. "And wouldn't it bother you, if you waited all year for a special concert and, just as the band was really starting to sound good, some creep next to you in the audience next started playing along on his harmonica?"

Male Spoonist: "Darn right! I'd take that thing from him and. . ."

Female Spoonist: "I'd call for Security, and I'd . . . Oh! Dear!"

Male Spoonist: "Ummm." (His ears turn red, and he stares at his shoes.)

Doctor: "I believe I can see little light bulbs start to shine."

Female Spoonist: "Have we really been that obnoxious?"

Male Spoonist: "I'm afraid so. It was that comparison with the harmonica that finally got to me!"

Female Spoonist: "That hurt! But I guess it helped me to see the point."

Doctor: "I’m sorry about that, but sometimes harsh measures are called for."

Female Spoonist: "Thank you, Doctor!"

Male Spoonist: "Yeah, thanks! From now on, we'll do our spooning in the privacy of our own home!"


Doctor's Note: I may have to bring that man back in for more therapy. Seriously, the old "what-if" comparison method sometimes works when reason, logic and persuasion fail. Now if we could only prosecute the pushers who SELL the spoons...


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