Mullberry Whine

poured out before bed

Good Conversations


Chocolate, by André Karwath

“Well now, aren’t you a sweetheart?  How kind you look, how kind!  Look here, I have a very expensive box of chocolates I’d like you to have, you just look so sweet, and I’m such a fair person, and they really are the best chocolates a girl could have.  You know, I just love it when people are so kind, I think everyone in the world deserves kindness, and I should know, I’m one of the kindest persons around, and I like to reward kindness, there was a miller moth in my closet today, a big dusty gray one, flew right out at me and into my face and- “

Mr. Smith in his bright pink button-down shirt and turquoise bolo tie motors on, spouting off thought after unconnected thought as we walk rather quickly together down the hall.  I’ve only just retrieved him from the waiting room, run-walked the short distance between there and the exam room, and I’ve learned Mr. Smith’s esteemed opinions on kindness, moths, afghans, and skinny dipping.  His mood elevated, sense of grandiosity awakened, his speech pressured, grandly showcasing flight of ideas, his pace quick to running, swinging fists full of shopping bags of new purchases he cannot afford, the elderly bipolar disordered gentleman is currently in fine manic form.  I hastily log onto the exam room computer, nodding, smiling, trying to get a word in edgewise.

” – back to school to get my PhD, I signed up today, I think I’m going to get a PhD in botany, won’t that be wonderful?  And it shouldn’t take me too long, I’m actually something of a genius, just incredibly smart, always at the very top of my class, all through my schooling days, you should have seen how the teachers used to swoon, and I’m really looking forward to the holidays, they’re my favorite time, especially Thanksgiving because I like to give thanks for all the things and skills and persons and – “

I keep nodding, keep beginning sentences doomed to wash away in his long flowing thoughts, keep trying just to catch his eye as he looks all about the room, gesticulating, shifting about in his chair, crossing and uncrossing his legs.

“- but my wife Annie always said I should have been a concert pianist, I really could play very well back in the day when I had more nimble fingers, boy could I play, and I can still play now, play better than nearly anyone I know, but back in the day, well – and Annie was such a fine singer, we were such a swell pair.  I really like rutabaga, a little salt, a little pepper, a little butter, and that’s ambrosia, Mullberry, ambrosia, and Annie used to wear a lovely red dress, a really lovely dress, about the color of your shirt and oh boy, –

“That sounds wonderful, I’ve always loved this hue.  Mr Smith, may I ask you what brought you here today?”

Mr. Smith blinks, pauses a moment, then grins and the stream of consciousness gushes forth anew.

“Well, I really just wanted to make a social call, to tell Dr. Jones about all of the wonderful things I’ve been up to, and I’d love to tell you too, I love to talk about my life and my accomplishments and all the things I’ve been through and to make new friends because friends are so important, you can never have enough and – here, eat a chocolate while you listen, good conversations are always best when had with good chocolate – I remember back in ’64 we were – “

I take the box of chocolates he jabs toward me, his hand waving to and fro as he launches into a discussion of a wind storm he survived, catching hold of the little square just before all the chocolates inside go flying about the room.  I set it carefully on the desk and stare at the smug assorted confections.  It’s going to be a long interview.


4 comments on “Good Conversations

  1. E.J.
    January 31, 2013

    Hah hah! I dealt with a couple Manics at the VA when I was doing my clinical portion for behavioral health training. It always broke my heart and sapped all my energy. Another fabulously written story – thanks for sharing.

    • mullberrywhine
      January 31, 2013

      Indeed, interviewing a florid manic is one of those situations where you want to laugh aloud and scream all at once. You need a good nap – and probably a chocolate – after all is said and done! And goodness knows, a VA manic is a very special manic…

  2. kindredspirit23
    January 31, 2013

    I taught students just like that…
    Keeps you attentive, I will say that.

    • mullberrywhine
      January 31, 2013

      And in a state of the surreal. Thought disorders are so very bizarre that even though I understand what I’m witnessing – and no matter how many times I witness it – I’m always blown away by the experience.

Keep it clean, keep it respectful, or keep away.

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Creative Commons License
Nothing under the table.
The views expressed on "Mullberry Whine" are NOT intended to diagnose or treat disease.
The med-ed related stories described here are based on real events. Details have been changed in accordance with HIPAA de-identification guidelines to protect confidentiality.
Mullberry Whine can be enjoyed daily; there is no unsafe quantity. Real wine, though, should be enjoyed in moderation. At-Risk Drinking for males under 65 is defined as >14 alcoholic beverages per week or >4/day, with >7 drinks a week or >3/day being the cut-off for females under 65 and for anyone, male or female, who has graced this planet for 65 years for more. Drink Mullberry Whine like there are no consequences. But drink alcohol responsibly. Your friends, your family, your health-care provider, and your liver - heck, ALL of the organs in your body - will thank you.
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