My friend Remy feels his life has gone poorly because people have “treated him unethically”; I used to study ethics and I have a fleeting interest in people who think there is a reason their lives have gone poorly — perhaps I can pick up a lesson, I think, for a while, until I don’t. “Who? How?” I asked Remy one night.
It was a long list but I can boil it down. Remy’s mother was a depressive (she had good reasons!) and he became a philanderer in pursuit of sad women. Sort of an inherently self-defeating project, showering these sad women with love, he’d make them happy for a while then lose interest and move on. His philandering wrecked his marriage and caused him to be regarded as a not-very-reliable character at his job. He sought psychotherapy. When the psychotherapist realized his problem was an erotic fixation on women who were depressed he fixed him up with a woman in a depressives group therapy group a colleague was running. It was a passionate affair that burned brightly and led to Remy marrying the woman, who took to her bed with depression, and imaginary symptoms, occasionally coming out like a bear from its cave into white hot anger — screaming at him so loud I heard out on the street, and hurried on, giving my lemon bars to somebody else.
Remy found out that the psychotherapist had with malice aforethought fixed him up with his horrible bride. “You’re not supposed to fix me up with depressive women! You’re supposed to fix me? You’re unethical!”
“What about her?” the therapist yelled back — this was on the fourth floor landing — the therapist’s apartment was in the West 80s — “Doesn’t she deserve to be happy? You’re a great guy and you’re turned on by depressives! Where’s she going to find somebody better than that?”
“You’re supposed to be my therapist! Not thinking about other people’s happiness!”
“That is completely wrong!” Dr. Rogowsky shouted and slammed the door.