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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inner Voices & ELIJAH

It’s been awhile since any inner voices, have spoken. Perhaps, I best explain. As Doctor of Psychiatry of my own Sanitarium, Glen View, for the hopelessly helpless. I have exorcised many individuals of their inner torments. I reach a mutual agreement with the misfit voices and allowed them the use of my cranium. I find them delightfully entertaining. (I hear you out there laughing at me, we must find humor wherever we can right)! They make me feel at home when, I’m not working. They give me warmth, I’m never alone.

 As a young boy I possessed many inner voices, one day Grammy said to me “Who you talking to you crazy rascal” I made the mistake of being honest and she took me to see a Psychiatrist at a frightening place. It didn’t take long for me to realize the only way to make Grammy and the old crazy looking bearded fat man happy was to tell them all my voices was gone that they had cured me! So, even though I still had the voices they were happy.

That was my encounter into Psychiatry. Viola many years later I bought that old fat kook out and now own the Sanitarium. Appropriately renamed Glen View, instead of Fraudian Sanitarium, here in the Heartland, nestled beautifully among the fields of corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay.  I have helped many people with my simple methods, including many rich and famous who come to me after lack of success elsewhere.  I let them misfits find a home in my head and they love it. In my head they have developed their own little community and help me negotiate new potential residents. Yikes! You should hear them singing happy birthday to me, it would blow your ears off!

This was a rare and most unusual satisfying opportunity for me. These castaways, castoffs, misfits, sheesh, whatever you wish to call them have an encyclopedia of knowledge, I could never learn in a lifetime. You see, Grammy taking me to see old Doc. Fraudian was the best thing that ever happened to me. Grammy thought I was wacko, but it was some of my inner friends that help me through Medical School, for without their intelligence, old country boy Glen Bob would never made it out of the corn fields of the Midwest. They were, and still are my best friends. Most people couldn’t live with the inner voices that are people that once lived and didn’t get reincarnated properly finding themselves trapped without a body. I on the other hand am the recipient of several of these wayward travelers and accept them without hesitation. Well after my visitation to old Doc Fraudian and putting my imagination and their inner wisdom together “we” come up with a plan, and we along with new arrivals are making the best of the situation. The most important thing in life is playing the hand, we’re dealt. I happen to receive joker cards/voices and use them!!!           

I would like to tell you of one of my most interesting individuals. This man made a living as an Elvis Impersonator. He was quite good, playing all the upscale spots and Las Vegas, secondary venues. Billed himself as the closest thing to Elvis, I caught his act many years ago while attending a convention in the Smokey Mountains. It was a working vacation, many of my colleagues were there and this Elvis impersonator was packing a 3,000 seat theater every night. I grew up in the Elvis era and all of the Doctors were given tickets from the hotel, all attended, some grudgingly. This Elvis was rather unusual in that he didn’t wear the fancy costumes or try to imitate Elvis. He let his voice do that for him, and he had the voice down. In between songs he told stories, joked and appeared extremely knowledgeable about Elvis, which was a good idea, about half way through the show I was impressed. The whole persona was beautifully packaged and the crowd was extremely moved. If one could imagine Elvis 20 years later in life, the show became eerily chilling a dejavu encounter. All Psychiatrist were laughing at the thought of going to see such a money driven fan based myth of the King, reduced to childhood remembrances of what they had seen in the movies and all the other hoopla surrounding Elvis during their lifetime, Elvis wouldn’t die, his fans wouldn’t allow it. Just so happens this man/entertainer/impersonator/? Invited all people from our hotel backstage, every single one of the medical trained Doctors of Psychiatry became childlike at that invite. We were given a firsthand glimpse of this man, who’s demeanor didn’t change, during our rather un-Doctor like fascination with this man. He was very courteous, either an act, or was he real? When I say backstage, this was exactly what it was. The curtains had been closed and the baby grand piano was there with about 100 chairs setting around it. He changed clothes and sat down at the piano. He said “thanks for coming backstage, this is how I relax after a show”. He broke into the most beautiful spiritual hymns sending shivers down my spine. I look around, everyone was in awe. To those of us growing up with the amazing songs that were sung every Sunday with a choir, this was beyond that, here was one man singing his heart out, playing only the piano. The emotional content goes a-thousand times higher than the most amazing church hymns I have ever experienced. This was truly how this entertainer relaxed. How long he sang hymns was lost in something greater than anything we had ever encountered! E. walked around and shook all our hands, we were speechless. I gave him my card, why I don’t know!

The rest of the convention was talk of the E. impersonator. He had overwhelmed the smartest men in Psychiatry. They were openly touched and left as thinking they had seen the greatest magician ever. This was the best concealed secret of reincarnation, or was it? I never forgot that feeling!

One day about 5 years later an old rusty pickup truck pulls into my driveway here at Glen View. I have the main office overlooking the front door and saw him step out. Cold chills ran the length of my back as I ran down like a school kid to the lobby. The receptionist was dumbfounded, so I said “Eve I’ll take it from here”. Now mind you I have had more than my share of rich, famous unusual people, but this man was the crème, da, la crème at Glen View. Everyone knew this was not E. but try convincing someone that just saw a ghost, they didn’t see one.

I invited him  up to my office and asked “what brings you here”?

E.  “Replied, I have been doing what I do for a living for so many years I no longer know who I am. I found your card the other day and remembered when we meet, so I drove up here”.

I said “I’m glad you’re here but what exactly do you want from me”?

E. (?) answers “I need a place to get away from what I do for a living and talk, about anything, and everything that comes up, many strange flashes, visions, thoughts, dreams have overtaken me and I need you to help me, please. For some unexplainable reason this seems like the right place”.  

I agree and ask “what is your real name”?

E.  answered, “Elijah Andrew Prescott”

So that was the beginning of my soon to become special friend, we have accommodations here at Glen View for the demanding and the simple, he chose simple. I always tell my patients to wander around the grounds and feel free to do whatever they want for a couple days, so my staff can observe before I begin my sessions. Elijah was a very charming individual. He had all the ladies talking about him. Elijah talks to everyone from the groundskeeper to my staff, wearing jeans and a Tee shirt, nothing sat him apart from a gentleman in his sixties.

Three days later I clear all my afternoon appointments and invite Elijah to my office.

I begin our conversation, “I see you have been getting acquainted with my staff, what do you think of them Elijah”?

Elijah answers, “fine people all of them, good honest hardworking people”.

I say, “everyone likes you, they find you charming and down home”.

Elijah answers, “thank you, thank you very much. I feel comfortable here, in ways that I haven’t felt for a long time. These people are real, they make me feel normal, whatever; normal is? I have been doing what I do for so long. I no longer know what real is! The entertainer I perform feels as though it’s me. I have become that person, I portray on stage. My management people love it. To them it sells my act. It no longer feels like an act, I can no longer separate the two. I need to know who, I once was. I am two individuals, when I’m away from the spotlight I enjoy the simple things in life. I wish to get on that John Deere mower and mow all day, I want to cook my own meals, drive my pick up all day here in the countryside. But when I see a piano or a guitar something from deep in my soul comes from out of nowhere, I must play and sing!  My past seems to have disappeared, only glimpses, dreams, visions remain. I have a three month vacation, can you help me Doctor”.

I respond, “I’ll help you, stay away from that urge to sing and play, in the meantime you have the total run of my humble place, if you want to mow the lawn, do so. If you want to cook, by all means do so. I will clear it with my staff. If that urge becomes too much to sing, let me know immediately. I will find out as much about your past history and have people already working on that so until then have fun, I insist, and I’m the Doctor, my friend”.

 This man’s soul has touched me twice, once while he entertained us during the convention. Now his sincerity, his honesty has done it once again. I must get to the bottom. I find it sad that someone can lose himself into another persona, yet he obviously brings much pleasure to others. I had a hunch about when he must sing again. It turned out correct.

 Saturday evening Elijah called and asked me “do you go to Church”?

I reply “yes”. That was that, he wished to attend with me. When we arrived with my family I told the Minister I had someone that would thrill the congregation with his voice and this would be an extremely rare and blessed opportunity. He consents. After the sermon the normal ending was the choir, only this time the Minister said, there is a man here to give us a rare treat, please come forward Elijah. Elijah looked at me and I shook my head yes. The roof rose toward heaven on that 100 year old Church. The swaying of the choir and the congregation shook the foundation for over an hour. This man was doing what he was meant to do, no matter who he is. He possesses a rare and great gift to give to all. He must sing and entertain. He didn’t need a record contract, he was the show. His voice and a piano was all that was needed to bring people to their feet in joy, be it hymns or the King’s work. He’s doing what he must do and anything else is irrelevant. I had friends drive my family home and took Elijah to the Hospital. He insisted on fixing the Sunday evening meal for my family and asked for a favor.

He wished to play a special tribute here at the Hospital for all the staff and patients after dinner. Every one of the staff made it with their family. The auditorium was packed for this special show one man and a piano. These caretakers of Glen View knew this man was someone special and they weren’t about to miss it.

Elijah walks in looking larger than life in jeans and a purple shirt. Something about that shirt drew gasps, with oversized collar. He begins by saying “I had lost my way, time spent here with wonderful people in the heart of the Heartland, has mended my soul I was lost, but now I’m free. Free to be me! Elijah sang and the word spread. Families called friends and Glen View was bursting at the seams. How long he played was in-material. Elijah wouldn’t stop, many pitchers of water was given to him. His purple shirt was wringing wet. I walked over to him many times and said “perhaps it’s time to stop”, to no avail something controlled him. Absolutely no one left. This was to be his last and final performance and he somehow knew! His last strength, his last breath was to be spent on the music. Then silence after hours of the most amazing music that one man a piano could produce, the silence became deafening with the oohs, aahs, and then tears. No one moved, I view a white see through Elijah walk over to me and looked me squarely in the eyes, with a big smile. He walked through me and left me with something special. I alone am the recipient of what he was, to be cherished. I alone understood and that was why we once met to end this way at this time.



  1. You never cease to amaze me Glen! You write some of the goofiest stuff I've ever read........ and then you post an excellent piece like this!


    p.s. Are you sure you don't have some split personality going on in there? Just kidding..

  2. Well written, my friend. And I didn't even like Elvis...