Freud in America (Story by R.C. Peris)

It really was inconvenient not to have public restrooms on every corner. What were Americans thinking? They invite me to give a talk about psychoanalysis and then give me water that causes diarrhea. Why was American water so toxic? I walked the streets with a tour guide in tow but all I wanted was a toilet.

I gave my speech, in German, about psychoanalysis at Clark University. I had refused water the entire day so my bowels were calm. There were many questions and I felt too weary to answer them all. Then they invite me to another meeting. An outdoor meeting. The weather was humid and I tugged, constantly, at my collared shirt. Meanwhile, the doctors and academics grilled meat on a barbeque. How uncouth. How primitive. I was invited to advance mental health and not sit outside with flies buzzing and meat grilling. They asked so many questions.

“Freud, why this?”

“Freud, why that?”

I was quite thirsty but couldn’t drink the water so I drank Bourbon and smoked a cigar while sweat coursed down my back. Very pretty women spoke to me. I usually avoided women. Their gaping holes. Women got pregnant. I wanted no more to do with children. I’ve been abstinent for quite a while.

“Freud,” asked one woman in a blouse with ruffles, “why are we the way we are? What does it mean to be human?”

I stared at her bosom and thought of sucking each nipple and then I felt a rumbling in my bowels. Did I accidentally consume water when I brushed my teeth?

“Sex,” I said. “We are the way we are because of sex. Would you be so kind as to point me to the nearest restroom?”

I had studied crayfish. The nervous system of crayfish. Animals regulate their bodies. I knew this to be true and there are many things our bodies require. Like toilets. I rushed to the toilet. I didn’t think of sex. Not once. Maybe I was a little wrong. Maybe we are the way we are because our bodies are complex and not everything leads to sex. It might just be one component of many. But I couldn’t repeal what I said now. As I sat on the toilet, I knew I had to press on with my theories. Yes. Everything is about sex. My bowels rumbled and exploded. Alright, well this isn’t very sexy. This is my body, a complex organism, responding to the environment. But sex I theorized and sex it was. I left the restroom and told myself I was never coming back to America. Never again. What an awful people. And terrible water. Water so potent I had to rethink my own theory.


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