For me the hour was late. 9:00 p.m. is when I usually pass into the arms of Morpheus. I get up at 4:40 a.m.
Someone knocked at my door. I live in a big city and, therefore, with Indy’s cutbacks on safety, I was apprehensive. I saw a short man, oddly dressed in the fashion of the early Twentieth Century. He looked familiar. In one hand he held an umbrella. In the other hand he held an unlit cigar. He rapped again at the door, with the handle (now I saw) of the umbrella. I asked him what he wanted. He muttered several phrases in German. Given his style of dress, his neat appearance complete with trimmed beard, and his insistent attitude, I invited him into my house.
He was impatient and tapped his umbrella against the frame of the door. Again he uttered phrases highly reminiscent of the sayings of Sergeant Schultz of “Hogan’s Heroes.” There were wisps of cloud about him.
Hand extended, I introduced myself. He replied—as if I should know—he was Doctor Sigmund Freud.
“Don’t you mean Sigmund Frood?” I asked, with an attempt at humor, and offered hm a chair.
He went to English. “Ever since that movie I have had to deal with mispronunciation of my name.” He seemed disgusted.
“To what do I owe the honor of this visit?” I asked.
“I monitor goings-on in newspapers, and other media. I saw an item on a blog today, ‘Ogden on Politics’ carried a column from some daily newspaper that criticized the Gay Pride Festival parade and the Mayor of your city for acting as Grand Marshal. Their concern for children was valid.” I pointed out Ogden only had reprinted the Heck column with a few observations before and after. “Ogden does that quite a bit,” Freud agreed, “but he gets away with it—and has more unique views on his website than you have on yours.”
I was perplexed. “You died, right?” He nodded, again impatiently. “You exist in an afterlife?”
“The concept is vague in Jewish texts. Emphasis is on the life one leads on Earth.”
“So there is no heaven, exactly? There is no hell?”
“I am not sure. I only know I am in Cleveland, it would appear.” He added, “And after every Browns’ season—and the Clippers beating Lebron...” He shook his head as his voice faded. He looked up at me, then glanced to the side. “You have a humidor? By chance may I smoke one of your cigars?”
“I would prefer that you didn’t. I want to return to bed. If you smoke a cigar I would insist on smoking one, too. I smoke a Churchill and that’s a good 90 minutes to smoke.”
“May I at least have one to smell?”
The request might sound disgusting, but this was the Father of Psychoanalysis and I said “sure.” I pulled a cigar of one of my less favorite brands out and set it on the table next to him. He thanked me, picked up the cigar, and sniffed at it, rather obscenely, before he placed it between his lips.
“Let’s return to why you have decided to visit me,” I suggested.
“The sexual degeneracy as described by Ogden and this Mr. Heck was shocking. The Mayor passed ‘nearly naked men’ who ‘performed pelvic thrusts and simulated sex acts.’And also there were men ‘in dog collars and leather G-strings.’ I knew Catholic priests were sick, but never did I anticipate they would sexually express themselves publicly.” I explained the term “dog collar” was not a euphemism for the starched white collar worn by priests but, well, dog collars. “Oh?” He pondered this bit. “Oh! Mein gott in Himmel!”
“A great many of your writings,” I pointed out, “were about sexuality and repressed sexual expression. And I remember one artist wrote a line in a song that paraphrased you: ‘A thing’s a phallic symbol if it’s longer than it’s wide.’”
“Please spare me that! I’ve had to deal with that for years. ‘Artist’? That was Melanie! She didn’t even perform at the real Woodstock but Woodstock II!”
“You writings suggest phallic implications to many things,” I said and indicated the cigar stuck between his dead lips.
“A cigar is only a cigar!” he insisted testily. “I also can be quoted as saying that!” He returned to the subject of the Ogden blog and the column by Mr. Heck. “What was described here was awful! Men dressed as women or not dressed at all! And the pelvic thrusts!”
“Have you ever watched an NFL game?”
“Unfortunately,” he said. “That’s difficult to avoid in Cleveland.” He shook his head.
“Women—cheerleaders on the sidelines—are scantily-clad. Pelvic thrusts have been performed in pre-game and half-timer shows a great many times at NFL games. Sex—in the form of near-naked women—is used to sell almost anything in commercial advertising.”
“I know,” he said. “Bill Hicks made that point rather clearly. But the drive for women is natural as part of our inner beings.”
”How about the drive of women for women?” I asked, as an extension of his premise.
He nodded, and smiled dreamily. “I have written several essays, since my death, on the subject of women with women. The concept is quite—interesting.”
“What about men with men?” I asked.
Freud was brought back to the moment. “That is sick! The only thing one man should put into another is a bullet!”
“You stole that line from Bill Maher!” I said accusingly. He grunted. “Face it—open expressions of sexuality are commonplace in the 21st Century. American society approves of near-nudity—of women—at the Oscars and the Grammys and whatever other awards are out there. Women are objectified. Yet when in the Pride festival people express themselves, and the expression is by males, females, transexuals...”
“Transexuals are interesting,” he conceded. “I wrote that men and women possess the same hormones, but in different proportions.”
“The concern expressed for children,” I continued,”is interesting. You saw this on the internet. Have you surfed much on the internet?” He avoided eye contact with me. “I daresay children see more on the internet in less tasteful contexts than they might have seen in the Pride parade downtown.”
He pulled out a pocket watch. He stood up. “I really must go.”
“You make no sense. Besides, the Cubs are playing the Cleveland Indians.”
“That game’s over. The Cubs won 17-0.”
Freud shook his head. “Matters will really be ugly in Cleveland. The game, though, is not my concern.”
“What is your concern?”
“They have, in Cleveland, what are called ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ and I want to watch some of the women, er, perform there.”
“You mean you[‘re going to a strip club.”
He shrugged and headed toward the door. “Call it what you will.” He held up his cigar. “And a cigar is just a cigar!”
With that last statement he was gone, wisps following him out the door.