Voyd of Course

"It's like the Onion, only skinnier!" --Milton Swift "Still worth the price of the paper it's not printed on." --Felicia DuBois "The unspeakable, spoken." --Malin Wuptke "More interesting than computer solitaire, though perhaps not so effective a distraction from the void." --Harlan J. Rippington "Satire today, history tomorrow." --Steven Wallace

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Location: Santa Fe, NM, United States

In 1966, I wrote a fake newspaper article under the headline "JACK CASS SETS WORLD SHOWERING RECORD." Mr. Yohans, my 9th grade English teacher, liked it so well that he read it aloud--to much not-quite-suppressed giggling, at the sound of which, Mr Yohans said, "What? What? Did I miss something here?" I spent the rest of the afternoon in Principal Leon Duff's outer office. When Mr. Duff, who was a busy man, decided he didn't have time to see me, his secretary sent me back to the classroom, where I was greeted like McMurphy returning from solitary. Emboldened by my de facto exoneration, my friends began work on their own fake news stories. I remember a spate of Russian names in the stories, including "Ivan Kutchikokoff" and "Ivan Jerkinov." Needless to say, our newly suspicious teacher sent both of my friends to Mr. Duff's office, where they were not as bureaucratically blessed as I had been. They sat detention for a week. This I took as a lesson in subtlety--and in how to start a commotion and slip from the room before the law comes down.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Psychology in the News


Arlington, Virginia—Friends and relatives of the late James Spencer, who took his own life on his twenty-second birthday, now see his cry for help as a cry for help.

“He called us all and said he was depressed and felt like killing himself,” said his cousin Philip Spencer, spokesman for the family. “We should have recognized that as a sign.” Gary Stevens, long time friend and James Spencer’s bandmate in local punk rock band, The Anarchist Support Group, agreed. “Sometimes a cry for help can be a little thing, like someone refusing to eat or maybe you just see it in the way they carry themselves or whatever, but none of us was expecting it to come in the form of a cry for help.”

Psychologist Carrie Henson, who has been working with the family, echoed Stevens’ thoughts. “With a young man like James, who had a history of depression, we tend to watch for subtle changes in behavior—maybe he’s staying up all night , or drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes excessively, pacing. Maybe he’s not as meticulous about his grooming. All these subtle signs can indicate the onset of depression. Sometimes, though, as vigilant as we are, we miss something. James Spencer’s cry for help was just one of those missed signals.”

In the wake of James Spencer’s untimely death, the National Association of Psychologists has installed “cry for help” at number seven on its list of warning signs for young people with suicidal tendencies.


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