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  • An Inability to Control Objects Around Me
  • Britt Leach (bio)

April 9, 2013

Dear Britt Leach, I have in my possession a small heirloom/artifact that I found some 30 years ago. A US Army dog tag that I believe belonged to your father James E. Leach, Jr. … I found the tag in Queensland, Australia where I live and found it by freakish chance at that, as it had been lost for 30 years already when I found it. Hoping to hear from you soon. … Regards, Chris Sayers

I was thinking about being seventy-five years old and feeling alone these days and of how much I talk to myself during the day these days and of troublesome anger and of a certain heightened energy and I even thought (I can’t believe this) of a possible need for a shrink and then I began thinking of how that has gone for me in the past and of how many shrinks I’ve seen during my lifetime. And of course I remembered the shrink I saw for three years, but then I came up with two more shrinks, seen during one-time visits where I only sat weeping. Acute rather than chronic madness. No classic therapy offered in [End Page 5] those offices, no formal therapist-patient exchange that I can remember. Weeping in a shrink’s office. Two-bit catharsis with no long-term positive effect, if such ever exists with shrinks; and I’m not sure that it does.

The first shrink was an army psychiatrist on Okinawa around 1962 while I was serving my country. I’m not sure why I ended up in his office, but I must have been weeping while there because I remember his pushing a box of Kleenex toward me and saying, “You seem to be depressed.” I remember that, but that’s all I remember.

I’m sorry that I am unable to remember the precipitating event. The event that caused the depression and a trip to the army shrink. And I think of that as an early failure in this ersatz narrative. But it was many years ago, and I’m attempting to be honest about all this, whatever all this turns out to be, and to not fabricate events. Please accept my apologies. As I attempt to recount all the shrinks I’ve seen during my life, including those seen only short-term. While trying to decide if I should consult one now.

Everything I just said was completely unsatisfactory, but I haven’t learned anything from that failure and will now continue and attempt another shrink-based story. This will be the second shrink story in what will be a total of three shrink stories, one of which will be extensive, my therapy having lasted for a total of three years with that long-term shrink.

In this second of three stories, I am living in Los Angeles, having made my way to Los Angeles in order to become an actor. After my discharge from the army. And I was living with my wife and two children now in a part of Los Angeles called Mar Vista. And for some reason I found myself in a shrink’s office at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA, a charity visit I’m sure because I certainly couldn’t have afforded any UCLA shrink.

I will offer a conjecture at this point as to why I was depressed and weeping in a shrink’s office at UCLA. I would like to say that it was because my loyal and long-suffering wife and I were divorcing, and that I was upset because we were divorcing. I wish I could say that. But I think that—and this shames me—it was because my lover and [End Page 6] I were also breaking up at the same time. I remember being unfaithful to my wife with a young actress so the visit to the shrink’s office might have been love-related without having anything to do with my loyal and long-suffering wife and our divorce. Anyway, I remember the UCLA shrink saying the same thing that the army shrink had...