This morning I awoke feeling very peaceful. Knowing that I was out of sync with the times, I drove down to Portland to check in with my psychologist friend, Addler. Because I hadn’t seen him for 40 years I wasn’t surprised to learn that he was semi-retired and had moved into a primitive cabin half way up the south side of Moxie Mountain.

Before noon, I discovered that the cabin was only accessible by a small steep path, and hired two sherpas from Caratunk to carry me up to the door.

The “GO AWAY” cocoa mat on the step told me I was at the right place and, presuming upon a long-time friendship, I knocked and stepped in. Addler pushed aside his coyote quiche, stood up and squinted in my direction. Knowing that I might have changed just a little bit in 40 years, I said, “It’s humble. I come seeking truth and light.”

Cheered by my psychobabble, he picked up his cell phone that scans credit cards, threw himself on his couch and uttered half a dozen primal screams. Only one thing had changed in 40 years. He was obviously glad to see me.

“You’ve gone back to nature,” I said with admiration. “Thoreau would be proud of you.”

“Not really,” Addler replied. “I have things here that would be the envy of my old neighbors down in the Old Port. Just last week I put down thick, lush, red shag carpet in my bathroom. I like it so much I’m thinking about running it right up to the house.”


I told him I wasn’t really there for old Maine humor routines. “This morning I woke feeling very peaceful but was troubled with the thought, ‘How do you know if it is truly peace versus numbness that you’re feeling?’”

My friend raised himself up on one elbow and said: “To begin with, you would do well to abandon your archaic speech. You can no longer say, I ‘woke’ as it now has political connotations. ‘I woke’ also brings to mind the degenerate Swedish movie, ‘I, A Woman.’ I moved up here to get away from that kind of thing. I ‘roused out’ would be one of many politically correct circumlocutions.”

“Let’s get back to me,” I said. “I have two sherpas outside the door and since they discovered Uber their meter is always running. Am I normal if I’m happy all the time?”

Punching the keys on his cell phone, Addler said: “According to Google, your question is not an original one, but has puzzled philosophers for years. Here’s an ‘Are You Happy Or Sad? quiz.’ I can tell you from experience that if you roused out feeling good this morning, if you are really sincere, you can drop the façade, connect to your authentic self and glow with true grim joy.”

“It would be nice to know the truth,” I said.

Addler lit his second cigar of the morning and peered at me through the smoke: “What is truth? In authoritarian societies, the function of the ministry of truth is to publish lies.”


One of the great things about my friend is that he is original in his thinking. “That’s deep,” I said. “If I really am living in a fantasy world of happiness and toxic shame can I be helped?”

Addler threw his cigar at the fireplace and said, “If you have deep pockets and are sincere, there any number of gurus in California who will ‘share’ their books, pills and advice on how to milk the silver cord to maximum happiness.”

I feel I’ve internalized my anger, guilt and embarrassment, I told him. I asked would it help if I learned to project these feelings on others.

“Yes. It’s been going on inside you for far too long,” Addler said. “Your only hope is to slough them off. Think of your problems as being ticks that quickly cling to any pant leg that goes by.”

“I think I hear you saying that there is hope for us who are seeking a magical combo for serenity,” I said.

Addler released a primal scream and said, “I’m sorry but it’s time for my daily essential emotions breakthrough session. It helps me cope with loneliness.”

I asked why he didn’t have an emotional support pet. Addler writhed on his couch.

“The collie bit me, the coon cat scratched me, and the only one I really enjoyed was the turkey I ate at Thanksgiving.”

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 p.m. on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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