As the election season comes to a close, mental-health professionals around the country are preparing for an onslaught of disturbed citizens.
“It happens after every election,” said Dr. Aldeni Ensernos, the eminent Portuguese psychoanalyst and author of best-selling book Mass Psychosis in the Modern World: Sublimated Cathexis & the Subversion of the Ego Ideal.
“But let me tell you, it’s getting out of hand. It used to be that voters would feel a little depressed, what we in the profession, to use a technical term, call down in the dumps. But now, holy Toledo! People are lined up around the block at all hours of the day and night waiting to get into therapy. You think those gas lines are bad in New York after Hurricane Sandy? Well, folks are cutting into line, pushing, shoving, bitch slapping, spitting, hair pulling, ear pinching, sucker punching, giving wedgies—you name it. I know people are nuts, but what I see is proof in the pudding.”
Dr. Ensernos said he was currently preparing a probing article on post- election psychosis for Parade Magazine, but after some gentle prodding, he agreed to give us a preview of his electoral analysis. We sat down with him at his cramped office in a leafy Avenues neighborhood on Monday afternoon, the day before the election. He was just finishing lunch, and as he wiped a glop of mayonnaise from his chin (though a creamy trace still adhered to his neatly trimmed goatee), he apologized for the pervasive smell of tuna fish in the air.
Dr. Ensernos: I’d open the window, but all day long, my neighbor plays “Moon River” over and over. She says she’s in mourning for Andy Williams and claims to be a distant relative of the Osmonds.
Deep End: What’s happening out there? I had to fight my way through thousands of unhappy and unruly patients on the streets.
Dr. E.: Some of them have the usual psychological problems—phobias, fetishes, minor paranoia, et cetera—but the great majority are anticipating a profound loss of meaning. For months, or even years, folks have lived vicariously through the candidates, and they have projected their desires and fears on to the various men and women running for office. The election is better than any drama on TV, better than any sports event, better than any so-called “reality show.”
D.E.: Could you give me an example or two?
Dr. E.: Okey dokey, as you Americans like to say. Take the race between Mr. Matheson and Ms. Love, which happens to be my favorite reality show. Watching the two of them go at it is like watching some couple you know going through a bitter divorce. The husband, Mr. Matheson, says his estranged wife, Ms. Love, is the worst person in the world. And vice versa. Look at the polls: I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but the polls say women feel sorry for Ms. Love, because of all those nasty things he’s saying against her. Personally, I don’t think much of either one of them, and despite what they say, neither one will make a difference in Congress. They’re not up to snuff, and despite what they say, either one would be like tits on a tomcat, as my second cousin Feliciano used to say.
D.E.: What is your expert psychological analysis of the Hatch/Howell race?
Dr. E.: Well, this is a classic conflict between crabbed age and flaming youth, although Mr. Scott is no spring chicken, but compared to Uncle Orrin, he’s pre-pubescent. Both men are Mormons, but for him to win here in Utah it would be like a pimply sacrament-passing deacon dethroning the Prophet Monson, who, like Elder Orrin, has lost a step or two on the down-and-out route.
D.E.: Can you impart some of your great wisdom on the results of the presidential race?
Dr. E.: I would bet that President Obama will retain your White House. But this I can say with a surety: There will be more massive mass psychosis here in the Beehive State than usual if former bishop Romney loses. The faithful have been fasting and praying, and if he loses, it will be a blow to their faith. Maybe it’s because I’m a simple Portuguese psychiatrist, but I’ve never understood how the obviously honest and principled Latter-day Saints can believe in an unprincipled and obvious liar like Brother Romney.
D.E.: Ever heard of lying for the Lord?
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.