Wednesday, November 17, 2004

R.D. Laing and the Voodoo Doll

There are so many bizarre stories about the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing. They say one reason he was so good with patients is that he came from such an unhinged family background, that he was more than a little cracked himself.

One of my favorite stories is about how rumors leaked back to Laing that his mother had made a voodoo doll of him, and was sticking pins in it. Laing didn't know quite how to deal with this news, but one day while he was visiting his mother he decided to delicately broach the topic. He said he knew it sounded ridiculous, but someone had said she made a voodoo doll of him and was sticking pins in it.

Whereupon Laing's mother looked up from her cup of tea, and said with great indignance, "Ronald, there are certain things we do not discuss."

In other words, yeah, she had a voodoo doll of him and was sticking pins in it all right, but that's not the sort of subject we bring up in polite company...


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