Image: Polly Becker
Dear Dr. Love,
By now you have gotten several letters from me and this will probably be the last. I don’t care that you never respond. In fact, I’m glad that you don’t, because if you did, a response would show a weakness in your professional ethics. In all my other letters, I have been trying to explain myself a little better because I always felt that maybe you liked Jerry more than you liked me. And what about human nature makes us all want to be the one liked the most? In those other letters I was still trying to convince you that I was the right one, but the truth is that now so much time has passed I just don’t give a shit. The right/wrong stalemate is what keeps people in your office for way too long. I thought I might settle things in my mind by writing you this final letter. And I will tell the truth—not that I haven’t told the truth in the past, I have, but let’s just say I also lied.
What has been consistent and honest in all my letters is how I don’t think your name works, and I still think you should change it. You might say it led you to do what you do, and you might mention other people with prophetic names like Judge Learned Hand, or someone I knew named Clay Potts, who makes mugs and stuff to sell by the highway, but I never liked the way your name feels like a bad joke to all those people who are struggling with their marriages. Maybe you should change it to Dr. Apathy, which they (the 1960s shrink set) said was the opposite of love—instead of hate—and I absolutely agree with this. In fact, I think if they ever remake The Night of the Hunter, which is one of my very favorite movies (or was until Jerry got religious), they might rethink the tattoos that the preacher has on his hands. Lord, Robert Mitchum was scary there using his hands to show the fight between love and hate, and him a cold-blooded killer hiding behind Scripture. But imagine a preacher (or a marriage counselor) with hands saying love and apathy. You love all those little games; you can put your hands behind your back and say, Pick.