HUMOR: Psych 101

The election of Donald Trump had been very good for Dr. Zinski. Still, it didn’t feel quite right. None of these new patients were technically sick. Only unhappy.

Help me, Doctor. Help me, they cried, these sons and daughters of wealth and privilege. They couldn’t understand it. For eight years they gloried in Obama, a good man, a man who cared. Never mind nothing happened, and the poor actually got poorer. They felt good. And isn’t that what really mattered?

While all these patients blubbered away on his couch Dr. Zinski found himself disturbed by very unprofessional impulses. He wanted to reach over and slap them.

His intercom buzzed. “Your next patient is ready.”

“Send him in, Douglas.”

A smallish, balding man walked in, wearing designer jeans and expensive loafers. Although approaching middle age, his face lacked any of the effects of stress or worry. More of the same, sighed the doctor.

“Name?” he asked.

“Charles Hathaway.”


He paused. “Investor,” Charles said.

Of course. Third one today. After he settled onto the couch Dr. Zinski asked Charles Hathaway what had brought him to his office. Well, he said. He heard the doctor treated Democrats who were depressed over the election of Donald Trump. Quite right, replied the doctor.

“And what do you do for them?” asked Charles.

“I help them,” said Dr. Zinsky. “We here at the Zinsky Clinic employ what is known as Compensatory Reflex, or the replacement of unpleasant thinking with positive thoughts. You can expect immediate relief. After ten or twelve sessions, of course.”

Could the doctor give an example?

“Yes. Take Hillary Clinton. She served in the Democratic national psyche in the exact role Obama did, and should have won. But she didn’t, due to lies about her email spread by Russian oligarchs. Understanding this fact restores the patient’s ethical center, if you will, allowing them to be happy once more.”

“But didn’t Hillary admit she deleted data?” Charles asked.

“Well, yes. But our system stresses the positive.”

“And didn’t her campaign, working with the DNC, secretly undermine Bernie Sanders, the most principled candidate in a generation?”

“Yes but…”

“And didn’t moral apathy play a huge role in failing to motivate the base? And hasn’t finger-pointing and insults replaced cogent discussion? And won’t the Democrats have to endure multiple humiliations as Trump berates the press, stacks the Supreme Court, slashes taxes, deports foreigners, insults allies, builds hotels, plays golf, waves the flag, kisses babies, holds rallies, all while embarrassing and confounding his enemies for the next four years and, if history has anything to do with it, another four years after that? Isn’t that all true?”

Charles grinned like an eight-year old at his own birthday party.

“Say,” said Dr. Zinski. “You don’t seem depressed at all.”

“Why would I be? I just wanted to see how depressed Democrats are, now that Trump’s president. I’m a Republican!”

The doctor slapped him. Pure Compensatory Reflex.


Richard Donnelly

Richard Donnelly lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Classic flyover land. Which makes us feel just a little... superior. Mr. Donnelly's first book is 'The Melancholy MBA,' published by Brick Road Poetry Press in Columbus, Georgia.