[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
I keep a public number; 714-969-9835. I was told long ago–by a man who was desired by no one, that I should make it easy for people to contact me. I have, and they have. I get death threats; drunk dials; propositions for free drugs or sex; long rambling messages about someone doing something to someone who shouldn't be accepting it, and, I get people that feel the need to correct or enlighten me. The other day I got a call from a therapist. This is not her real name.
"Jack, this is Dorothy Ann, could you please call me back?"
She left her number–I won't print it here. I blocked my digits and used my cellphone to return the call–I usually call back, not in a timely manner, I force people to accept the reality of having to wait for something, but I do reply–unless the caller is a bore, in that case I refuse to support their right to be boring. Dorothy answered the phone.
"Hi, this is Jack Grisham; I'm returning your call." There was a pause–a hesitant I-can't-believe-you-called-back-moment.
"Wonderful." She said. "I hope you don't find me rude, but I read your column in the Weekly and I was wondering if you might like to come in and talk to me–no charge of course."
"I'm sorry," I said, "are you offering me a session? Did I offend you in some way?
"Oh no." she said. "It's just that I read your column and I'm offering to well…maybe, help you?"
"I don't get it. Do you think I'm I'll?"
"Sweet-heart" she said, "your last column was about killing a homeless man, the one before that; picking up a prostitute. You've written about violence; rage; cross-dressing; sexual acting out, depression, suicide, and your latest; a mother that kills her newborn because she loves him and realizes that he doesn't want to be in this world. Would you like to come in?"
I wish she could've seen me smile.
"Dorothy," I said. "I write about disconnection, and my goal is to get my reader to see where others might be hurting. It worked, you called me. I have never been better. I'm happily married; I have a beautiful family; I try to be of service to others, and I live in a place of gratitude and contentment. I don't need your help, but I'd love your friendship." Another hesitant pause lay between us. I waited for her to speak.
"Wow," she said. "I didn't expect that, as a matter of fact, I didn't expect you to call back. Your offer of friendship sounds wonderful, and if there's ever anything I could do for you, will you please let me know."
"Thanks Dorothy, there is something you could do for me."
"I have a friend who is thinking about killing his neighbor and it's gotten to the point that he's masturbating to the thought of it. Could you give him a call?"