My Good Friend Lenny

Holding On Tight – a Comedy Adventure novel

Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t do it, Lenny.

When you go to bed unhappy, Lenny, it’s pretty hard to quell those hollow feelings of fear or sadness, anger or self-doubt. I know. And you know it too, Lenny, that the darkness and depth of despair that you feel can cause extraordinary acts of selfishness and self-pity, at times… so don’t ever let it get that bad before you reach out for help, okay? Lenny, we’re here to help. Do you hear me?

We’ll give you additional medications if you need them, copius amounts if needed which will generally numb the pain. Don’t drink or drive while taking these medications, Lenny, and for heaven’s sake don’t operate heavy machinery. The depth of sadness that you, as a human being, have shown to experience cannot be underestimated. But fear not because you will continue on, soon to be happy one day, perhaps only realizing it when you decide to procreate just like I did, as a father, Lenny. A father to you. A father to a happier child.
One would be remiss to believe the darkness cannot be conveyed or explained at least to some extent to someone else, either — though it is an intensely personal kind of hell that we all do discover at some point in time, Lenny. We do know that Lenny. We know it’s hard. But we’re asking you to try. We’d like you to try and describe the pain, Lenny, to help numb it.. That’s all we’re asking you to do. Lenny. Tell me, because I need to understand you if you want me to help.

The depression, the deflated ego, the darkness, the depth of dissolution of your mind, the dignity that disappears, the deep dish dirty dancers… definitely, they must all stem from something, right? Stem cell research into one’s own mind. Poof. And then it manifests itself like a cancer of the mind, doesn’t it, Lenny? Yuk. Accelerating 0-100km/hr in under four seconds… now that’s something better to think about. Think happy thoughts, think Porsche 911 Turbo, Viper GTS, Nissan GT-R, Ferrari Cabriolet… There is a catalyst, a spark, or a spurt, then a cackle… perhaps a brain fart, a faux pas up there in your grayish regions and fluffy tubes of mostly mush. Lenny, let’s get serious now. There is a biological condition in your brain that starts a chain reaction, a physiological symptom within you, an entity who is alive. One moment you feel fine, maybe even happy, joyous, confident and proud, and then next moment something snaps in your mind, snaps you back to another world, one based on fear and longing, the agony of so many sleepless nights, the depths of despair, a cycle that repeats itself over and over again until you find yourself here in this mental institution for rehabilitation and in some respects, repair of your mind. You just need a little help.

Take five of these, Lenny, it will help you sleep for most of the next 24 hours.

Oh Lenny, it’s not as bad as it seems, is it? No it’s most definitely not, things could always be worse. It’s too easy to forget how good things really are: you have a loving wife, an amazing smart child, a nice roof over your head, at least when you’re not in the hospital, a stable job and a purist sports car. Perhaps you even have a tidy some of money in the bank just waiting to be spent. Love, laughter, liveliness, life couldn’t get much better at times, could it Lenny? It really couldn’t, except that you are woefully and incredibly depressed. And that’s why you’re here.

Things could get worse, couldn’t they? We could try the shock therapy again, the electric rehabilitation that you don’t enjoy.
“But…”
“I know what you’re saying, Lenny. You always wondered while growing up if you’d end up talking to a shrink one day. Didn’t you? You know what kind of shrink I mean. A psychologist. Or a psychiatrist. Or maybe both. A neurologist too. The nutty professor. All the doctors, the ones who try to figure out what’s wrong with you, Lenny. The doctors, the lawyers, the engineers and business executives that can’t figure out what makes you tick.”

One doctor uses cognitive therapy, and it works surprisingly well. The other uses powerful mind-altering drugs, which does the trick too. Together they are a force to be reckoned with as they try to figure you out, Lenny. You’re a complex individual.

It’s perfectly normal, yes perfectly fine. You’re perfectly normal, Lenny, yes I know you keep telling us that. Then why are you here, in the psycho ward of Mount Pleasant Hospital? You are in a mental care facility under 24 hour surveillance. Why are your arms tied behind your back, Lenny? Why is there a ball in your mouth strapped around your head to keep you from biting your tongue? They are important questions, Lenny, that I want you to think about as we talk through your increasingly concerning tendancies for violence – this is why we have you strapped down, to yourself, to the chair, which is bolted to the floor. We also have you hooked up to this little device over here, which runs off electricity and functions quite well when I turn up the dial, right over here…

Oh don’t worry, Lenny. I haven’t attached the electrodes to your head yet. I’m going to remove the ball from your mouth and give you one last chance to explain yourself and your actions before we take more drastic measures here. M’kay?

Yes Lenny, we are trying to help you.

We are also studying you to figure out what makes you tick.

If we ever figure it out, Lenny, we’ll be able to help you. You’ll be able to go, and leave this facility, leave the hospital, the secured premises, and enter a world quite unlike the one you know today, without padded walls, without Straightjacket Saturday (which is every day), without seeing straightjackets used on your friends Norma and Butch, without anyone having to use electric shock therapy on your brain anymore. We know how to fix you, Lenny. It’s just going to hurt a little bit along the way.

Now if you would just cooperate, we’ll get the answers we need and we’ll be on our way. Tell me again, Lenny, what is your mental state of mind? Where are you? Lenny, you’re not in Kansas anymore. You were swept up in a whirlwind one day from your mud hut home in Southern Burpland and… let’s admit it, Lenny. You’re nuts. We don’t know how you got here, and neither do you. We do however enjoy feeding you and how you make us laugh… we don’t enjoy giving you electric shock treatments… it’s a mixed bag,. I, for one, will never admit that to any other living soul, but I’ll admit it to you. I like my job. I like giving you electric shock treatments because I know it’s going to help you long-term.

Lenny, it’s all for the best. Now close your eyes, and let me put this thing on…

BUZZ BUZZ […the doctor’s phone rings…]

“Hello? Yes, hello. This is doctor Funtasio. Yes, yes I can. I think I can help you…”

The doctor goes on like this for several minutes, distracting himself. Lenny was able to quickly and easily slip away from the private unlocked room that Dr. Funtasio called his office and make it down the hallway to a janitor’s closet. He waited there for a minute or two as nurses passed, then slipped out past the nurse’s desk and made it to the outside without much of a hitch. After all, they were letting him go in a month anyway if he continued up with his good behavior.