Watching Lynne Cheney get booted out of her House Congressional Republican leadership position for failing to worship the Former Guy got me thinking about Greek mythology. Lynne got her head chopped off because she refused to kiss the Former Guy’s nethermost region of his rather expansive anatomy. Either one of my Gentle Readers might rightly ask by what bizarre stretch of logic does the Former Guy fit into Greek mythology? No person could rationally compare the Former Guy to mythological characters. “Au contraire” as a snail-eating Frenchman might say. Recall Otter in “Animal House” who once said: “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.” And as Bluto almost replied: “I’m just the guy to do it.” Jules in the movie “Pulp Fiction” once said in a slightly different context, “Allow me to retort.”
So I shall retort.
The Former Guy has been diagnosed from afar as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This begs three questions: 1. Who was Narcissus? 2. What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? 3. If the diagnostic shoe fits, does the Former Guy wear it?
Let’s begin with Narcissus. Narky, as his buddies called him, was what was known back in the Grecian Formula days as a Pretty Boy. He was even prettier than the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Narky did not care about other people’s feelings as he was too superior to associate with people or even Gods.
One day Narky was out hunting in the deep forest when he was spotted by a lovely mountain nymph named Echo. Nymphs were beautiful young female spirits. Zeus would frequently make whoopee with nymphs except for Echo. Echo’s job was to keep Zeus’ wife Hera busy by talking to Hera while Zeus was out sporting with other nymphs. Eventually Hera found out Zeus was tom catting around. She blamed Echo for covering up for him. Hera laid a curse on Echo that caused Echo to only repeat what someone had said to her. This made Echo both a boring and irritating conversationalist.
It was love at first sight for Echo when she got a gander at Narky. Narky called out: “Who is there?” Unfortunately, Echo could only repeat what Narky said. Her limited conversational style irritated Narky mightily. He angrily rejected the lovesick Echo leaving her in the woods to pine away for him. Echo’s love sickness caused her body to fade away into the ether. Only her voice remained which could only repeat words yelled into a canyon. That is why echoes were named for poor Echo.
Things did not end much better for Narcissus. He left Echo to go sit by a pool of water to get a drink. When he looked into the pool he caught his first glimpse of his beautiful self. Apparently, mirrors had not yet been invented. Having never seen himself before, he fell immediately in love with his own reflection. Narky was pretty but he was not too bright. He thought there was a beautiful young man in the pool not realizing it was just his reflection. When Narky reached into the pool to touch his beloved self, the ripples made his reflection disappear. Narky was so smitten by his own image that he could not leave the pool. He sat there falling in love with himself while forgetting to eat. He withered away, dying by the pool admiring his own reflection. There may be a moral hidden somewhere in this story. See if you can find it. Psychiatrists have stolen the story for their own purposes.
Psychiatrists have a handy book of psychiatric disorders called the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” which they use to assign patients into neat little categories of mental woes. The nutshell description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is the patient is described as arrogant, self-centered, demanding and “often have high self-esteem and may believe they are superior or special compared to other people. However, they seem to need excessive praise and admiration, and they may react poorly to perceived criticism.”
The Shrinks will diagnose a patient with NPD if five of the following criteria are met: “A grandiose sense of self-importance; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty; belief that the patient is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high status individuals; a need for excessive admiration; a sense of entitlement; interpersonally exploitive behavior; a lack of empathy; envy of others or belief others are envious of him; or a demonstration of arrogant and haughty behavior.”
Gentle Reader, I leave it to you to decide if the Former Guy meets five of these delightful character traits to warrant a sidewalk diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One clue is that the Former Guy spent an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer dollars on his golf courses. Golf courses are known to have water hazards into which the Former Guy could have spent many hours staring lovingly at his own reflection. His cult followers mimic Echo by consistently repeating his false charges. Barry Goldwater once campaigned for President with the slogan “A Choice Not an Echo.” The Former Guy flipped Barry’s slogan to “An Echo not a Choice.” It was off with her head for Ms. Cheney who chose not to be an Echo.
Love is a many splendored thing.