“You missed last week’s session, Irv,” states my therapist. “And you don’t exactly look happy this week. What’s up?”

“It’s my writer,” I respond, reclining on the couch. “He’s still recovering from shell shock and I get the fall out.”

“What happened to him?”

“That’s what he’s trying to figure out,” I answer, staring up at the ceiling. “He lost the trust of his client and was told to leave his project. It happened really fast. Everything flipped in one day. But maybe it didn’t. Maybe he got what he wanted. That’s what he’s thinking.

“He wanted to be fired?”

“No. He never wants to be fired. He wants to please, like me. But there was serious drama happening around him and to him. The pressure was getting intense and I know he wanted THAT to end. So he’s thinking he got his wish.”

“You’re telling me he manipulated his client into firing him?”

“He wasn’t fired, at least not at first. He was taken out of his management position. But he was still having intense confrontations with his insubordinate employee. That hadn’t ended.”

“So what happened?”

I turn to my doc. “My writer’s loyal assistant and his wife told him to–”

“Stop. Your writer’s wife didn’t die of cancer?”

“What? Where’d you get that idea?”

“We’ve been dealing with your grieving, Irv. Your wife Dana passed a few months ago. Didn’t she?”

“Tragically yes. My guy thinks he’s a comedy writer but that wasn’t funny. At ALL!”

“The author killed off your wife?”

“Yep…leaving me to suffer. Some people think he’s a nice guy. WRONG!”

“Well I’m glad we clarified this.”

I continue. “At the right time he’s a laugh-a-second. And good to me. But he’s got his serious side and I end up taking on all that stuff. I’m waiting for the laughs to come back.”

“I suspect he’s not in a comedic frame-of-mind.”

“Heck no! He just got fired! Like I was saying, good advice came in: ‘Do nothing. Just watch what happens and lay low.’ He didn’t do that.”

“What did he do?”

“Why do you wanna know about HIM?”

“Because he affects you, Irv. And you both work out life’s details in this office.”

“I suppose…  Anyway, my guy went to one of his two top bosses, the friendly one, and explained what happened. He asked where his responsibilities ended. My author was a top manager and he was thinking manager-like. He still felt responsible to the project.”


“The friendly boss made some calls ‘cause nobody really knew what was supposed to happen, and the unfriendly boss thought my author was trying to rebuild some power, at least we think he thought that… Whatever it was, that ended my guy’s job on the project. Done! Game over.

“And no more coping with the insubordinate employee.”

“Yeah. That’s how it turned out.”

“So you think your writer put the Universe’s wheels in motion to get himself fired off an intolerable project?”

“I don’t think that. He thinks that. He believes that wishing for something really hard makes it happen, as long as you don’t think why it won’t happen.”

“So he wanted the pressure to end, but he didn’t think it would happen that way.”

“Exactly. That’s what my writer’s thinking now. He’s thinking he got himself let go because he didn’t want the drama. But he’s also thinking, maybe he should have taken the punches and pain. Maybe he should have been tougher.”

“Why? Why should he be tougher? Why should he stay in the ring?”

“Because winners do that.”

“Depends on what kind of winner you’re talking about.”

“Rich winners. Powerful winners.”

“Depends on the kind of wealth and power you’re talking about.”

“Peace and love is fine but it doesn’t pay the rent.”

“You think your writer wants more income?”

“I know he does. He works freelance. And like me, he wants more certainty. And he wants more confidence about all that too. Because when he lightens up about things he wants, he gets them. Always.”

My shrink clinks his ballpoint, ready for notes. “Explain that.”

I sit up. “Here’s an example.”

Doc drops his gaze to his note pad.

“My writer just bought himself some new top-of-the-line drums. And he set them up in his office but they’re so much louder than his old set that the neighbor mentioned the sound. So my author couldn’t play them unless the neighbor wasn’t home.”

Doc nods.

“So the wish was born: wouldn’t be great to play with a bunch of guys somewhere, with no pressure to perfectly perform, where no one cares if you make a mistake. He didn’t panic over the idea that he might NOT get it. He didn’t think, ‘I’ll never play again.’ He just thought about what he wanted.”

Doc nods again.

“A month later my drumming writer got a call from a guy he jammed with nine years ago and ended up playing some outrageous rock and roll last weekend. And guess what? He was the best player. He got two offers to play in other bands!”

“Quite a coincidence.”

My eyes lock on my shrink. “You’re not writing.”

“I don’t have to. I know where this is going. If one visualizes a rewarding outcome, with confidence, one gets it. We all have potential control.

“Except for me.”

“Which is why YOU’RE in therapy. But getting back to your writer, he needed the job to change and he got what he wanted.”

“He didn’t get what he wanted because he didn’t want the income to stop. And he’s thinking that maybe he didn’t use his mental tools the right way. Maybe with more confidence he could have kicked off a better future.”

“What would he have done it differently?”

“Maybe he should have had more confidence about the recording session when his hard drive crashed. Maybe if he hadn’t stressed out in front of the client, the client wouldn’t have lost confidence in him.”

“But that still wouldn’t have eliminated his confrontational employee.”

“Maybe if that employee had sensed more confidence, that employee would have backed down instead of fighting for control.”

“There are a lot of maybe’s there, Irv. And I think your writer is losing the big picture for the details.”

“That’s what I keep saying! Does he listen to ME? Nooooo!”


“He never takes me seriously! I’m just a character to stir around in the worry soup!”

“Irv, relax.”

“He’s making me come off like a total dorf! I don’t really talk this way!”

My shrink stands. “IRV, QUIET!”

Whoa! Now Doc’s mad at me. Happens every session. I would not write this scene this way.

“Listen to me, Irv”

“I’m listening,” I squeak.

“Your writer wants more confidence? YOU want more confidence? I’m going to tell you something about confidence.”

Here it comes.

“You can’t fake confidence. You GROW confidence.”

“You grow confidence?”

“You grow confidence by experiencing the downsides with all the pain and bruises. You grow confidence by pushing past your comfort zone. Then, the next time you approach your limits, if you don’t push past them again, you know what to do. You know how to feel. You’ve been there, done that. You’re confident because you’ve walked the walk, until you reach another cliff.”

“Another cliff?”

“That’s what life is about, Irv; jumping off cliffs into the unknown. Without the leaps and risks, there is no learning, no maturing, no evolution. And no confidence. You must fail to grow.”

“Didn’t Edison say something like that?”

“Edison said that he didn’t get discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded was another step forward.”

“Sounds right.”

“If your writer’s life’s purpose is to grow and experience the wealth of feelings and wisdom, he got exactly what he wanted, and needed, with just the amount of drama he could tolerate.”

“So I guess it’s true what they say, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’”

“That’s right, Irv.”

“I still wanna get back to comedy.”


This post was originally published on Curiosityquills.com.

Photo from Wayfaring Travel Guide




  1. Jerry's Cousin says:

    I was in PA for a visit and missed a session or two. Poor Irv is more confused than ever. I think his shrink has a life long patient here. At least, Irv has me confused. I believe comedy is difficult to write, so Irv needs to buckle down, relax and write comedy. There is comedy all around us. Life is a comedy, if you look at it in that frame of mind.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Dear JC,

      It took a while for Irv’s writer to recover from his fiasco on the job but he’s coming back, and so is his skewed way of looking at the world. Whether it’s funny or not…well, that’s up to you and others to decide.

      Hope you had a good time in PA.


  2. Steven says:

    They ARE loud drums! But I enjoyed the drummer.

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