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Sunday, July 31, 2011


If you happen to be sort of lolling around at 10:00am, EST today-- think of me. I'll be at work, running a group on Goal Setting. I was thinking that maybe there should be a dash between "Goal" and "Setting," but it didn't look quite right, but I'm still unsure about it. And then I was thinking, should a person who isn't even sure if he should hyphenate "goal setting" be running a group on goal setting?

Probably not-- but there we are.

There's a lot of things that I probably shouldn't be doing, but I do them, either because they're my job, or because I feel compelled to do them, or because no one else seems to be doing them, or because we're out of toilet paper in the second floor bathroom, or because there's something in between my teeth, or because I love my wife, or because there's traffic or intense humidity or external expectations.

Or threat of imminent per/prosecution.

Goal setting might end up being a tricky thing for me to teach, even at a psych hospital, because my goals are murky at best, non-existent at worse. It's hard for me to articulate what my goals are, to be honest with you, and that's kind of a scary thing to confront about oneself. Obviously, one of my goals is to be a competent, nurturing, gentle, insightful father. One of the things I will be talking about in group will be about how a goal is like a puzzle, and the steps that one must take in order to achieve one's goal are the pieces to that puzzle, and it's a matter of seeing where and how those pieces fit together.

Does that sound a bit camp? Probably. It kind of sounds like it came out of a self-help book I should have read at some point but didn't because I was too busy listening to Amber Rubarth songs.

(Seriously-- she's good. And hot.)

I don't have very many long-range goals other than the whole father thing. Which, again, is scary. I'll be talking about short and long-range goals in group, too. I'm pretty good with short-range goals, I think, though, sometimes, it's hard to tell. When you work at an inpatient psych hospital, where some patients are delusional, psychotic, assaultive, aggressive, and/or unpredictable, my immediate, short-range, eight-hour goal is, in the words of Andy Breckman: don't get killed.

(Seriously-- he's good. And Jewish, but decidedly not hot.)

Obviously, my short-range goals at work are to be as useful to the patients as humanly possible, to lend a helping hand and an empathic ear, to proffer support and positive reinforcement, and redirection as required, but, mostly, I'm trying to go home in one piece. Because, if I can't do that, then I won't be able to come back and be of the same level of use the next day. And because me with traumatic brain injury would probably not be so pretty.

I suppose I have things that I want to accomplish before I die, and I guess that makes them goals.

I want to own (another) antique Volkswagen Beetle.

I want to be published (again).

I want to star in a drama, or a comedy-- something without music, something written by a noted playwright-- preferably Sam Shepard or Harold Pinter.

Oh, and I want to play Salieri in "Amadeus".

I want to grow a real motherfucker of a walrus mustache, like a real full, bushy, Mark Twain-style bastard, that sweeps all the way down to my jawline-- but I know I'll have to wait till I'm old to do it so people will take me seriously.

I want to shake hands with a Python. And there's only five left...

I want to play the highland bagpipes.

I want to perform a leading patter role in a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia with the Savoy Opera Company, even though they're basically a bunch of lushes with inflated egos.

I want to retire to the country with the woman I love, where the nearest neighbor will be so far away s/he won't be able to hear us having gross, creaky old people sex.

I want healthy, eccentric, affectionate, relatively stable children. (Two, please.)

Wish me luck as I spend the remainder of my days searching for the pieces to these puzzles. But not today. Today it's my job to help some other folks do the same for themselves.

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