When I was working in psychiatric hospitals, I often heard people talking to themselves or imaginary others. On rare occasions while roaming a city street, I might come upon a certifiable psychotic, or a hallucinating alcoholic, but nowadays I hear people talking to themselves all the time.

I recently found myself in the bathroom at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts during a dance performance intermission. Standing next to me was a guy with both his hands at his fly talking loudly to himself. He was saying how excited he was watching the belly-dancer (who had just performed) — going on and on about her incredible moves, her oozing sensuality — all the while holding onto himself and smiling animatedly. I’m thinking it’s not be as bad as Senator Craig reaching under the toilet stall to shake my hand, but it’s really more than I want to know.

He flushes and when he turns, I see that he has a Bluetooth cell phone in his other ear. I followed the Bluetoother to the sink (he’s still talking), so I start talking as if I had one in the ear he couldn’t see. I start softly, mumbling repetitively…… I must keep washing my hands! I must make myself clean! He never looked up, so I escalated the volume….. The Devil is a belly-dancer! I have been seized by the Evil Inclination; I want to feel her body! I curse you Satan for contaminating me with this filth! I must make myself clean!

The Bluetoother is still talking, so I cranked it up to my best Shakespearean basso voice and exclaimed, Out, Out, damned spot!, which in short order was followed by, Help me Jesus! Only then did he look up at me and begin to move whispering “There is some nut-case next to me.”

The Blue Tooth is making a mockery of civility and class. There are 233 million Americans subscribing to wireless service (CITA); more than ¾ of the U.S. population has some kind of wireless device. This means more and more of us will be looking like we’re talking to ourselves in supermarkets, airports, and restaurants, until even the psychiatrists look like nut-cases. We are a culture that has made the line between the ordinary bananas and the flaming ones indistinguishable.

Last Mask of the Authentic Healer

Nov 30– Dec. 2, 2007
Franciscan Renewal Center, Phoenix, AZ
PDF Flyer
“This unique, experiential workshop is designed for healers and
those who are interested in expanding their therapeutic repertoire.
In the language of ritual and ceremony, we will explore the many
ways you can magnify your healing power.
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