originally published August 10, 2012

Doc Marty here. I’m going to help you understand your emotions, connect with your feelings, spread the spicy mustard of understanding onto the rye bread of your heart, plunking upon it the pastrami of self-acceptance and allowing its greasy self-assurance to coat the inside of your soul.

Let’s have a look at Subject A. We’ll call him Maurice. Maurice is suffering from what we in the hard science of unaccredited psychology call ‘limerence.’ Limerence is a state of mind that you can’t control. Does this mean that Maurice is crazy? Let’s investigate.

Maurice has a thing for Guadalupe. More than just a ‘thing’, Maurice is nuts for her. We don’t like to use the term ‘nuts’ (unless we professionals are talking amongst ourselves, of course), but I think you can see what I’m getting at. Maurice wants to marry Guadalupe. He wants to have her children – and I’m not mis-using that phrase; he seriously wants to grow her child’s fetus inside of him, like that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

What’s worse, Maurice is overwhelmed by a physically aching need to have his feelings reciprocated. The fact that Guadalupe does not return his affection (she has cats, she’s happy with her cats thank you very much) is agonizing for Maurice. He suffers from headaches, heart palpitations, pupil dilation, and occasional loss of consciousness.

In short, it’s no surprise that Guadalupe wants nothing to do with this guy. He isn’t dangerous, but the guy needs to gain some perspective. I prescribed a strict regimen of prostitution in hopes that his penis will slap some sense into his brain, and maybe encourage the limerence to settle down a little.

Some couples just need a little help. Maybe they’re having trouble communicating, sometimes they’re just young and looking to see if it will all work out. This is why we came up with the ENRICH test.

ENRICH is a questionnaire that a couple fills out, and which will tell me with 100% accuracy whether or not they’ll stick together until death. Most psychologists would probably wuss out and tell you that this 125-question quiz is a guideline, an insight. That’s not my style.

Dr. David Olson from the University of Minnesota developed this questionnaire, and with it he claims he can predict divorce with 85 percent accuracy. My studies have taken Dr. Olson’s research a step further. I can tell a couple if they’ll be together into their 80s. I can inform a man when it’s clear that his wife will one day slice off his wiener over a dispute involving TV’s Jon Cryer.

Using ENRICH, I can identify when a couple will break up over money disputes. I can proudly tell a woman that her husband will probably leave her for another man, even what that man’s profession might be. One couple who took the questionnaire clearly demonstrated that their only hope of staying together depended on them starting a family band and touring the Midwest. Last I heard, the Skuembaum Family Klezmer Revue was headlining at a fairground in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Still together. Still in love. This shit is science, people.

This is Georg. Georg is wildly attracted to a ludicrous amount of women. Georg’s problem is propinquity. Propinquity refers to the attraction one person feels for another, mainly due to a physical or psychological proximity to that person.

Propinquity is Georg’s downfall.

He lives down the hall from a hairdresser named Svetlana. He has told me that he feels it’s destiny that they moved into the same building. Georg also told me it was fate that a brunette named Yolanda started using the same laundromat last month. Georg’s shifts at the Kaweefo Diner tend to sync up with those of a waitress named Laquisha. As soon as that started happening, Georg became tremendously attracted to Laquisha, once bringing me a composite image of what their baby would look like.

The quirky twist on Georg’s situation is his childhood friend, Hilda. Georg and Hilda grew up on the same street in the northern part of the eastern district in southwestern New Hampshire. Their houses were three apart; Georg tells me that he and Hilda used to fashion hats together out of mud and leaves, then place the hats on neighborhood pets for a laugh.

Georg and Hilda still live in the same neighborhood as one another, yet Georg feels no sexual attraction toward Hilda. This is known as the Westermarck Effect. They grew up like siblings, a part of one another’s lives since as far back as Georg can remember, yet despite the fact that Hilda is quite gorgeous (Georg showed me a picture once; in my professional opinion I’d totally tap that), Georg feels nothing. This is a guy who waits by his front door for the female mail carrier to come by because he feels they were meant to have torrid sex together involving a bathtub filled with brown sugar.

I advised Georg that the Westermarck Effect can also explain how two siblings who had been separated at birth could meet later in life and find they have a tremendous sexual attraction to one another. This excited Georg for some reason, and he left my office muttering something about calling his mother.

Shoshanna suffers from a condition known as hypergamy. This is a condition of evolutionary biology in which a woman tends to seek out a mate who belongs to a higher socioeconomic status than herself. The daughter of circusfolk, Shoshanna fell for a ticket-taker at a local movie theatre in Dayton, Ohio. She dated him for about a week before taking up with the assistant manager.

That relationship lasted less than a month before Shoshanna started dating the assistant manager of a larger multiplex. I know, not a big leap, but hypergamy occurs in degrees. She then moved on to the manager of a Gap, then the district manager of Orange Julius beverages. Within a year Shoshanna was dating an investment banker, then a bank manager, then the guy who won the World Monopoly Championship a few years ago. I know, this last one is questionable, but psychologically it fits the pattern.

Shoshanna moved on to date a B-list indie rock star, a state senator, then even hooked up with the president of San Guelaria (which isn’t actually a real place, but some smooth-talking busboy snagged a fantastic night with that lie). Last I heard, Shoshanna was single, writing love letters to Batman, c/o Gotham City.

So who among all these people is crazy? Unfortunately, that’s not something we  like to say about anyone. As a professional, I know the answer though (spoiler: all of them. Except perhaps Jon Cryer). Such is the benefit of a pretend college education.

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