Narcissus, Echo and the old guy
Watching Lynne Cheney get kicked out of her Republican congressional position for not worshiping the old guy reminded me of Greek mythology. Lynne had her head chopped off because she refused to kiss the older guy’s lower region of his rather expansive anatomy. Either of my kind readers might rightly wonder by what bizarre logic does the old guy fit into Greek mythology? No one could rationally compare the Old Guy to mythological figures. “On the contrary” as a French snail eater would say. Remember Otter in “Animal House” who once said, “I think this situation absolutely requires some really frivolous and stupid gesture to be done on the part of someone. And as Bluto almost replied, “I’m just the guy to do it.” Jules in the movie “Pulp Fiction” once said in a slightly different context, “Let me respond.”
So I will respond.
The former guy was diagnosed from afar as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This raises three questions: 1. Who was Narcissus? 2. What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? 3. If the diagnostic shoe is suitable, does the old type wear it?
Let’s start with Narcissus. Narky, as his pals called him, was what was called in the days of the Greek formula a pretty boy. He was even prettier than the Artist Formerly Known as the Prince. Narky didn’t care about other people’s feelings as he was too superior to associate with people or even gods.
One day, Narky was hunting in the deep forest when he was spotted by a charming mountain nymph named Echo. The nymphs were beautiful young female spirits. Zeus frequently made whoopees with nymphs, with the exception of Echo. Echo’s job was to keep Zeus’ wife, Hera, talking to Hera while Zeus played sports with other nymphs. Eventually, Hera found out that Zeus was chatting. She blamed Echo for covering it up. Hera put a curse on Echo that caused Echo to only repeat what someone had told him. This made Echo a boring and irritating talker.
It was love at first sight for Echo when she glanced at Narky. Narky shouted, “Who’s there? Unfortunately, Echo could only repeat what Narky had said. His limited conversational style irritated Narky greatly. He angrily rejected the longing for love, leaving her in the woods to long for him. Echo’s love sickness caused his body to disappear into the ether. Only his voice remained which could only repeat words shouted in a canyon. This is why the Echoes were named for poor Echo.
Things didn’t end much better for Narcissus. He left Echo to go and sit at the edge of a basin of water for a drink. When he looked in the pool, he got a first glimpse of her beautiful personality. Apparently, mirrors hadn’t been invented yet. Never having seen himself before, he immediately fell in love with his own reflection. Narky was pretty, but he wasn’t too bright. He thought there was a handsome young man in the pool without realizing it was just his reflection. When Narky reached the pool to touch his loved one, the ripples made his reflection disappear. Narky was so enamored with his own image that he couldn’t leave the pool. He was sitting there, falling in love with himself, forgetting to eat. It withers, dying by the pool admiring its own reflection. There may be a moral hidden somewhere in this story. See if you can find it. Psychiatrists have stolen history for their own purposes.
Psychiatrists have a handy book on psychiatric disorders called the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” which they use to classify patients into small, neat categories of mental problems. The summary description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is that the patient is described as arrogant, egocentric, demanding, and “often has high self-esteem and may feel superior or special in comparison to other people.” However, they seem to need excessive praise and admiration, and they may react badly to perceived criticism. “
The Shrinks will diagnose a patient with PDN if five of the following criteria are met: “A great sense of self-sufficiency; preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty; the belief that the patient is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high status people; a need for excessive admiration; a sense of entitlement; interpersonal exploitative behavior; a lack of empathy; envy of others or belief that others are envious of him; or a display of arrogant and haughty behavior.
Dear reader, I’ll leave it to you to decide if the former guy encounters five of these delicious character traits to warrant a curb diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One clue is that the old guy spent an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer money on his golf courses. Golf courses are notorious for having water hazards that the old guy could have spent many hours lovingly gazing at his own reflection in. His cult followers mimic Echo by constantly repeating his false accusations. Barry Goldwater has previously campaigned for the presidency with the slogan “One choice, not an echo”. The former guy reversed Barry’s slogan to “An Echo, Not a Choice.” It was on Ms. Cheney who chose not to be an Echo.
Love is a resplendent thing.