After 'bipolar' comes a new mental disorder - NEQUOIA. Comes from the Latin "nequeo" meaning "to be impossible". To find out what it was all about I called on Dr. Fritz Krakkers at his clinic in Los Angeles where he and his team do research for several government agencies on mental abnormalities and their cures.
His office overlooks the luscious lawns of a nearby golf course and contains all the parpaphernalia of a man who has traveled the world several times over; African masks, Buddha statues, wall hangings and paintings and, of course, many shelves of books filled the spacious office. The doctor sat behind a large desk, a rakish looking man with black hair, a thick moustache and dense looking glasses. He puffed on a cigar and seemed only mildly interested as I was shown in. I sat in front of him and opened my notebook searching for a question that might put him at ease.
"What's that!" he exclaimed springing from his chair.
"Didn't you hear a strange noise!"
"Can't be too careful," said he slumping back in his chair. "Damn place is bugged if you ask me. They read my emails you know. Know everything."
I could sympathize. I was convinced my own email accounts back home in London had been hijacked, maybe everybody's. In any case, the conversation between me and Krakkers went as follows:
Me: What exactly is "Nequoia", Doctor Fritz?
F: Hyper-scepticism leading to anxiety. Very serious affliction among the young. Whippersnappers!
Me: Scepticism... about what exactly?
F: Mostly peer figures, society in general. Victims show an unhealthy relationship to one or more parents. Kids who are properly reared generally are free of Nequoia but those from dysfunctional families cause all sorts of mayhem in their own lives and those of others. Seems to be spreading too. We will all get it, if we are not careful. Victims are incapable of trust. Excessive questioning, our trials have found, is peculiar to these people and of course the more questions you ask the more wrong answers you will get which leads to greater questioning and so forth; and so follows depression as the nervous system becomes overtaxed. We believe there could be a strong relationship between Nequoia and various forms of brain cancer. Too early to tell.
Me: And people who question political decisions?
F: Yes, can lead to severe anxiety, depression and even suicide. That is Nequoia. We have evolved a medication to deal with it.
Me: And what does this medication do exactly?
F: It'll stop people doubting...er.... indulging in unwarranted scepticism. I mean if you thought the traffic lights were unreliable you might find yourself in a state of anxiety. You might take red for green because you figure you know better.
Me: I should think that highly unlikely even among the most sceptical among us. But it could be argued that scepticism of political decisions in particular is a necessary and healthy activity.
F: No, our trials have found that it can disrupt lives and can lead to insecurity in the mass of people in general not just in individuals.
Me: So, this medication of yours will stop all questioning.
F: No, it is not designed to do that. But it will stop you becoming hung up on the answers you foolishly get, especially if you have arrived at those answers all by yourself. With this medication you are less likely to act on them and do something foolish. It is not cheap mind you but the market should level out eventually once we get the expected government backing.
Me: Let me see if I understand correctly. If I come home unexpectedly and find a strange shirt and a used condom lying on a chair beside my sleeping wife that I know damn well are not mine I may well be sceptical. I may wonder about my wife's fidelity. But, with your medication I won't.
F: Of course you will... but you will not believe your own conclusions and so will not be driven to act on your suspicion. You won't worry about it and so won't get depressed. And your wife would be most thankful.
Me: And if I confront her with my perfectly reasonable doubt....
F: Most unlikely.
Me: If I confront her with it and she spins some idiotic lie... I will be inclined to believe her, will I?
F: Well, you are more likely to trust her.
Me: I'll believe her.
Me: That would make me a zombie, wouldn't it?
F: No, it would just mean you married the wrong woman.
Me: I am sorry Doctor Fritz I cannot accept your reasoning about all this. Medication that is going to turn us all into blind fools is not something I can support.
F: This phenomenon of Nequoia has been known for a long time. It is relieved on a daily basis by many measures such as television, pop music, entertainment in general, alcohol of course, and numerous other things that we all take to be normal. These things, - especially movies - entail, indeed cannot exist without, the suspension of disbelief. Enjoyment comes from the burden of lifting unwarranted scepticism. What we have done here at the clinic is to isolate the ailment and treat it accordingly. This medication will help people be happier. It will increase the quantum of trust in society leading to less crime and more happiness for all.
Me: This is some sort of government conspiracy I think. You want to turn us all into fucking automata who will question nothing and believe everything we are told by governmental spin doctors. We will all be starring in a movie called "Stepford Nequoia"!
At that point the phone rang. Dr. Krakkers got to his feet. A strange expression appeared in his eyes. He walked around his desk three times. Then he fished a key out of his jacket pocket and opened a drawer. Next thing I knew there was a gun pointed in my face. The door swung open. Two security officers burst in and hauled me out of the room. I was dragged out onto the gravel forecourt. Not a word was spoken.
All the way home I kept wondering if the bastards had tinkered with the brakes or even put a bomb under my car. I was so glad to be out of there I didn't give a rat's whether I had nequoia or paranoia or some odd mixture of both. What I had seen and heard, I had seen and heard. That much they couldn't take from me. Although it was evident they would never give up trying... whoever 'they' were.