Addition to “The Dream of the Intruding Doctor”
I think about a biographical incident from Sunday May 18, 1969. I was 15 years old. My sister and brother-in-law got married the previous Sunday, on May 11. On the night of their wedding, they flew to Miami Beach, Florida for their honeymoon. A week later, on the 18th, when they returned, my parents and I picked them up at the airport. They returned to my parents’ house. My uncle Louie and his wife Reggie were there. My mother happened to have a bottle of champagne. We drank a glass of champagne. My sister and brother-in-law had purchased a gift for me, a men’s jewelry box. In retrospect, the jewelry box reminds me of the theme of the three caskets from Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice. In that play the fair and wise Portia is bound at her father’s bidding to take as her husband only that one of her suitors who chooses the right casket from among the three before him. The three caskets are of gold, silver and lead: the right casket is the one that contains her portrait. Two suitors have already departed unsuccessful: they have chosen gold and silver. Bassanio, the third decides in favor of lead; thereby he wins the bride, whose affection was already his before the trial of fortune. The suitor’s choice in The Merchant of Venice parallels my dream in that my parents appear to have chosen Dr. P— over me. It’s as if my parents were thinking, “Now that we have Dr. P—, we don’t need Gary anymore.” In some sense I was the loser in a competition, which suggests an Oedipal theme. (Incidentally, note the curious parallel to my earlier anecdote: “My mother used to tell a story about my first day of kindergarten. She walked me to school, and when we arrived at the threshold of the schoolyard, I turned to her and said (at age 4½): ‘Go home, mommy, I don’t need you anymore!” Attainment of the idealized object, whether Dr. P— in the dream or school in childhood, obviated the need for the devalued object, namely, me in the dream or my mother in childhood.)
Eat your heart out, Dr. Freud!
(I am obsessed with intellectual stuff and I am obsessed with Dr. P–. I had a lot of problems in school (and with Dr. P–), suggesting to me powerful conflicts in these areas.
In the school year 1968-1969 (10th grade, when my sister got married) I flunked geometry. In summer school I got top grades and the teacher said to me, “I have no idea how you could have flunked this subject.”)