Friday, May 31, 2013


Critics are crazy over it.
All you book-lovers will be happy to hear that the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has just hit the market. Every nutty action known to Man is listed, along with -- and this is important -- those covered by insurance. So anybody trying to scam the system has to shell out 140 bucks ($123.49 on Amazon) to find out which symptoms to fake.

The cool thing now is you no longer have to go to the trouble of pretending you're infested with parasites (Ekbom's syndrome), appearing to have involuntary repetitive body movements (tardive dyskinesia) or displaying a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking (histrionic personality disorder, which fortunately comes to me quite naturally). 

Forget about insurance -- I'm not
sure a forklift could pick this up.
Nope, one of the new mental disorders is caffeine withdrawal. And you thought you were just grumpy! Now when you blow up at your boss, instead of getting fired you can put it down to a diagnosed case of julius recessus (that's Latin, so it sounds more medical). If this is covered by Cigna, then it appears that all you need is a doctor's prescription for a lifetime of free Trenta Cafe Verona at Starbucks. Those disgusting-looking Raspberry Swirl Pound Cakes, however, will not be picked up by your carrier. Of course, you easily avoid withdrawal in the first place by not quitting coffee in the first place.

Other new mental illnesses include hoarding and extreme temper tantrums. My mother had an excellent cure for my hoarding habit. She simply threw out my collections of Three Stooges trading cards, Mad magazines and those little Untouchables comic books that were handed out free at the shoe store. (Florsheim and gangsters -- they just go together.) As for tantrums, well, she just threatened to "throttle" me. These treatments are all pretty easy to figure out, but by doing so, we deprive both the psychiatric industry and reality-show producers of new, money-making clients. 

My wife and daughter would say I suffer from yet another of the new diagnoses, binge eating. Not only do I eat everything on my plate, I scarf down whatever they leave on theirs, often whether they're finished or not. If you've tried my many wonderful meals, however, you would know that's not crazy, it's perfectly understandable. Last December we hosted an exchange student from Japan who was so taken by the hamburger I made for her, she took a picture of it. I'm sure I ate what was left. I hope she was finished.

Warning to all future fathers:
this is the kind to buy.

Since these quacks are scrounging the bottom of the barrel when it comes to mental problems, I'd like to throw in a couple more for the DSM's sixth edition. Just from what I've witnessed, my first choice would be Pre-Natal Hysteria. My wife had the usual cravings while pregnant, but God help me if I didn't fulfill her dietary wishes to the last calorie. I'm thinking of the time I brought home milk chocolate Dove Bars instead of dark chocolate as she requested. You've heard that old saw about hell's fury and a woman scorned? Try a pregnant woman scorned of her cocoa solids. Let me tell you, I never made that mistake again. I like living too much.

Wouldn't you just love to see her
get flattened by a dump truck?

Then there's iPhonia. That's a condition unique to idiots who walk the crowded streets of New York with their heads down, reading the texts on their smartphones, oblivious to those around them. It's a curious mixture of angst (stemming from the fear of waiting 10 seconds to read their vital communiques), ego (not acknowledging that their are over 1,600,000 other people on this island) and stupidity (reasons self-evident). They're like blind drivers going the wrong way against traffic -- everyone around them has to compensate for the dolts causing all the trouble. And if the sidewalk's so crowded that  you wind up bumping into them, it's Pre-Natal Hysteria times 10. Because, you know, it's your fault for not making way for them.

And this is just the beginning. After all, we live in world that includes blood-thirsty terrorists, power-mad dictators and two TV series devoted to celebrity high-diving. Hell, I live in a city where, as of this week, 19% of the population would elect Anthony Weiner as its Mayor. Earth is one big mental disorder. The only logical reaction is to start smoking marijuana. But if The Man takes away your stash, you're going to suffer marijuana withdrawal -- which is one of the new mental disorders in DSM. 

As for the concept of "Mayor Weiner" -- that's a disorder in itself.


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