An old friend of mine from college just reminded me of a funny story. When I was a sophomore at Vassar College in upstate New York I did an internship at the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Clinic for the Criminally Insane. To gain credits in Philosophy for the internship, I proposed to write a paper analyzing the relationship between the patients and the psychologist using Hegel's Lord and Bondsman Theory. It was a fairly dangerous program if you consider two college students being in a locked ward with about 12 mentally insane people who had all committed some crime. In fact, I think we were the last students allowed to do the program. Mostly I would listen to their stories or play ping pong with them (picking up that fallen ball fairly quickly when I was playing with the guy who killed someone with a pencil...yes, it is possible. To kill someone with a pencil.) The patients were sweet and I did get more than one marriage proposal...(good for the ego although I had to remind myself it was from a guy who had killed both parents because a bunny had told him to do it).
I remember that the very first time I walked into the room, all the men started running, and I mean running towards me. Then the psychiatrist explained it was because of the open door behind me but I remained convinced it was my curly and unruly hair that had driven them 'wild' and wore it in a tight bun afterwards. Back at Vassar, I would tell my friends about my day. How I heard all about orchids from a patient who was referred to as 'the biter' because he had literally bitten chins off people. In fact, I had the uneasy sensation that he was staring at my chin the entire time I was there. Anyway, the last time we had to go to the Clinic, my fellow intern and I first drove to a convenience store to buy chips, drinks, and a cake so that we could throw a small goodbye party for all the patients. They were so happy. That was a day I'll never forget.
(Pictured above: the rare Pink Lady Slipper orchid)