“What exactly are you afraid of?” she asked with mostly hidden exasperation.
“They’ll turn me down for the study,” he said.
“But you don’t want to be in the study. Don’t you keep sending people copies of that great review of the books exposing the lucrative hoax of psycho-pharmacology?”
He nodded. “I do, and I believe, as the cited studies show, that the placebo is 84% as effective as the patent drugs they prescribe, to maximize ease and profits instead of the difficult probing for solutions to the person’s problems.”
“And you have already been taking a placebo for months, and noticing it makes you feel slightly better once you down it every day.”
“I have, yes,” he said.
“So what exactly is your fear?” she asked.
“I’m afraid I will not present as depressed enough to qualify for the medication study, and I’ll be stuck in this semi-depressive state forever,” he said.
“You realize how ridiculous that is, I trust? You are against the medications, but afraid you’re not depressed enough to qualify for the medications…” She looked at him and he shrugged, noncommittal. “I can tell you one thing– you are depressing enough to qualify me for the study.”
“What a mean thing to say to a depressed person,” he said.
“Well, gee,” she said, “I’m no psychiatrist or anything, but, scary as this will no doubt be to you, you seem to present just fine, making jokes, watching movies, following the news, showering every day, your weight staying the same– you could lose 15 pounds, you know, it wouldn’t hurt you– you’re not sleeping 3 hours a night, or ten. You’re just…. how do I put this gently?”
“This should be good,” he said.
But he never got to hear it, the phone rang and she leaped nimbly off the hook to talk to a friend for an hour as he tapped the screen of his iPad, spelling words against the clock, losing badly, and playing again, badly, then again.