Walker Percy Wednesday 117


“Tom, would you like to hear my own private theory of the nature of man?”
The nature of man. I can’t stand theories about the nature of man. I’d rather listen to Robin Leach and watch Barnaby Jones.
“Well, actually I think we’d better track down Lucy—”
But he’s got going on his theory of the nature of man. It has something to do with science and sexuality, how the highest achievements of man, Mozart’s music, Einstein’s theory, derive from sexual energy, and so on. “Didn’t old Dr. Freud say it?” he says triumphantly, stopping me and swinging around to face me.


Van Dorn grabs me and pulls me playfully close—in men’s style of talking at the approach of women and before they come within earshot. “Just suppose, Tom, we could combine the high sexuality of the Don and Einstein without the frivolity of the Don or the repressed Jewish sexuality of Einstein—who needs heavy sodium?”


Long ago I discovered that the best way to get in touch with withdrawn patients is to ask their help. It is even better if you actually need their help. They can tell. They may be dumb but they are not stupid.