Setting: Group therapy room in Dr. Little Red Hen’s office
Characters: Dr. Little Red Hen, The Giving Tree, Rainbow Fish
Dr. Hen: Welcome to group therapy. You know the privacy rules. You know that outbursts are prohibited. You know that my therapy is designed to effect change. Any questions? Good. Bugaaawwwk! Let’s start with introductions. Rainbow Fish, you go first.
Rainbow Fish: Well, umm, errrr.
Dr. Hen: Just introduce yourself you little weenie! Tell everybody here why you’re here and why you look like crap.
Rainbow Fish: Carp?
DH: No, crap!
RF: Well, my name is Rainbow Fish, and the other fishies made me share my scales with them so I would be happy.
Giving Tree: Oh! That is so good of you!
DH: Zip it, Tree, the fish is an idiot.
Giving Tree: Oh my, did I offend, I’m sooo soooory.
DH: Okay, okay. Now tell them what happened to cause you to be so miserable and look like crap.
GT: Carp! Tell him he looks like carp. That’s not as unkind.
DH: No whining.
RF: I pulled out my scales and gave them to my homely friends. The other fishies told me I would be happy if I gave all my good things to them. But I’m miserable. I hate life and I look uh….uhhhh….
DH: Ugly! You look ugly Rainbow Fish. We only do reality here. We don’t pretend that good is bad and bad is good, and ugly is pretty and pretty is ugly. You were bullied by a bunch jealous, unattractive, losers on the reef and they lied to you!
RF: Yes, I know. They lied to me. But I didn’t want to be selfish.
DH: What? Are you kidding? You are sick, depressed and half-dead because you believed that you could pick apart your own body and give it away! Is it selfish to want to keep the very thing that keeps you alive?
GT: But, Dr. Hen, I feel the same way as Rainbow Fish, you know. I wanted a little boy to love me, so I cut off my branches for him.
DH: Yeah, and you’re an idiot too.
GT: You…you just hurt my feelings.
DH: EXCUUUUSE ME? I hurt your feelings? Seriously? Bugaaawwwk! All I did was point out that you were stupid for cutting off your limbs to please some impudent little puke. You should have had me around to hurt your stupid feelings while you were still a tree. You cut off your branches. You sacrificed yourself to a rotten little turd who didn’t give a crap about you and now you’re saying I hurt your feelings?
RF: You never gave Giving Tree a chance to introduce herself.
DH: Fine, Giving Tree, shoot.
GT: I don’t approve of your violent rhetoric.
DH: Bugaaaaawk! Bukkk, bukk, bugaaaawk! There’s your violent rhetoric you twit! Now introduce yourself and tell us why you are nothing more than a sawed-off stump of an apple tree.
GT: Well, my name is Giving Tree, and I really loved this little boy and I wanted to make him happy, so I gave him my apples, my branches, and my trunk.
DH: Did you make the little boy happy.
GT: Well, no.
DH: Did you ever think about re-naming yourself “Door Mat Tree,” or “Pathetic Enabler Tree?” Oh, how about this, “I Thought He Would Change Because I Loved Him Tree.”
RF: Stop it! You’re being cruel. She did what she did so his feelings wouldn’t get hurt.
DH: So, she gave away all her apples, cut off her own limbs, severed herself at the roots because she was afraid of hurting the feelings of the creepy kid? Think about what you’re saying Rainbow Fish.
RF: I gave away my scales so I could be happy.
DH: Yeah, and now you’re in therapy with me. How’s that giving-away-your-scales thing working for you? Anxiety check. Okay, Rainbow Fish, how’s the anxiety on a scale from one to ten?
DH: Good. We’re on the right track. Pathetic Enabler Tree, how about you? On a scale from one to ten?
GT: I don’t want to say it.
DH: Why not?
GT: You…you might not like me.
DH: Are you kidding? Tell me your anxiety level before I bring in a stump grinder.
DH: Liar, liar, forest fire.
GT: Aaaaauuuuuuggghh! All right. I am in Hell! Okay, this is Hell. My anxiety is a sixty-seven right now! Oooohhh, waaaaaaa.
DH: Good, you’re making progress. So, relax for a minute, breathe deeply, and release your stupidity. Suicide check. Does anyone present feel like they want to harm themselves or do harm to another person?
GT: Ohhh, I could never do harm to someone.
DH: Sure, Giving Tree. Hacking off your own limbs doesn’t count as violence. Uh huh. You need a lot of work. Rainbow Fish, how about you?
RF: Well, sometimes…sometimes, I want to say something mean to the fishies on the reef that bother me about my beautiful scales.
DH: Is that all?
RF: Ummmmm, sometimes….errr…I want to fight back.
DH: Rainbow Fish, that is a GOOD thing! That’s not harming someone, that’s not suicidal, that is self-preservation! Yes! You know what? I want to go to that reef, take a big ol’ fishing pole, catch all those little Collectivist bullies, and have a big frickin’ fish fry. How about that? Bugaaaaaaaawwwk! Okay, no suicidal thoughts? Good.
GT: Dr. Hen, are you giving us homework for next week? I really want to make you happy with my work.
DH: No homework for you Giving Tree. You cut off your limbs, remember. But do one thing. If the creepy little kid comes around demanding that you give him something, say “BITE ME!”
GT: Ummmm…that would be mean.
DH: Say it Tree, say “BITE ME!” as loud as you can or I get out the root killer.
GT: Uh, okay, bite me.
DH: Say it louder! “BITE ME YOU FREAKING LITTLE ENTITLED PIECE OF MAGGOTY FLOTSAM!”
GT: Ohhh, Ohh, I just can’t do it. The boy means everything to me. It would be wrong to turn away his requests.
DH: Note to self, refer Giving Tree to Dr. Paul Bunyan. Okay, Fish. I want you to think about something this week so I’m going to tell you my story. When I was a cute little chick I had a lot of hopes and dreams. The other animals in the barnyard were important to me and so I tried to include them in those hopes and dreams. You know I love to bugaaawwwk! I mean bake. My dream was to have an endless supply of flour to bake beautiful bread and cakes and cookies. To make the flour, I needed wheat. To have the wheat I needed a wheat field. To have a wheat field I needed to plow the field, plant the wheat, and harvest it. So, I invited the other barnyard animals one by one to help me clear the field, plant the wheat, harvest the wheat, grind the flour at the mill, and make my very first loaf of bread. But they each refused. Every chance I gave them to be part of my hopes and dreams, they refused. In the end I made my own bread. And you know what they did, don’t you? They wanted what I had without having to work for it.
RF: Just like my scales.
DH: Yeah kid, just like your scales. And so I ate my bread all by myself. It was delicious! The other animals kept coming around, banging on the door of my house. They called me “stingy.”
RF: And “selfish?”
DH: Yup, you understand don’t you. You’re a good little fishy. Take care of yourself. Grow some new scales and tell those other fishes that they are your scales and you’re keeping them. Tell them that if they want something good for themselves, that they have to make it themselves. Any questions.
RF: Thank you Dr. Hen.
DH: Okay guys, next week we will welcome some new members to our group. According to my notes they are homeless Muppets who just immigrated from Pakistan. Until then, BUGAAAAWWWK!
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, FROM MY KEYBOARD TO YOUR ENDORPHIN RECEPTORS!
By Marjorie Haun 2/12/14