A VHS copy of Clue was played on repeat through his childhood. He was certain that the most dangerous job in the world was being a singing telegram. When he told this to his psychiatrist, the bespectacled doctor laughed. Not an overt laugh, nothing like three drinks and a live comedy show, but an unavoidable snort.
“Dude,” Noam said, it was the nearest he had ever come to an actual display of emotion in these sessions.
“My apologies, that was unprofessional at best,” Doctor Cruz said, collecting himself.
“I agree with you there,” Noam said, “highly unprofessional. Laughing at my childhood fear? Not cool.”
“Let’s work on that,” Doctor Cruz suggested, trying to steer away from a ‘place of anger’ his books had always warned him about.
“Work on what? Your guffaw?”
“Let’s work on conquering their fear,” the doctor explained.
“You think I’m afraid of being a singing telegram? That’s a pretty easily controlled fear. ‘Don’t be a singing telegram.’ Problem. Solved,” Noam had no idea what the doctor was saying.
“I am concerned that your perception of real danger may be skewed and you have not corrected that. There’s potential harm in anything. Baking bread can go awry, but there’s a profession built around that. Some part of you may believe that knocking on strangers’ doors and delivery news will result a silhouetted figure shooting you. The world is not that grim and you need to go find that out for yourself. Go be a singing telegram,” Doctor Cruz explained.
Noam blinked a few times, processing the doctor’s words. “Are you just saying things to sound smart and cover up for laughing at a Clue reference?”
“That is something I will sort out on my own,” Dr. Cruz said. “Now go sing to your neighbor.”
Noam followed the good doctor’s suggestion and returned a week later for his regular session.
“What happened to your leg?!” Doctor Cruz skipped his usual ‘hello’ as he opened the door.
“I sang to my neighbor and fell off the porch,” Noam explained as he hobbled into the office, a crutch underneath each arm.
“That’s terrible,” Doctor Cruz watched his patient make way to the couch.
“I fell into a rose bush,” Noam continued.
“That explains the scratches,” Cruz noted.
“You want to talk about how ‘let us in’, ‘let us out’ made me afraid of locked rooms? No telling what sort of doorknob injury I may deal with this week.” Noam took his seat on the couch and waited for the Doctor.