University of Baltimore MFA student Tyler Mendelsohn’s grandfather Poppa, the analyst patriarch in a family full of psychoanalysts, is “exploding with ideas,” a good thing — sometimes, though, he’s a very, very close talker, which proves more challenging.
The person whose company I most prefer at family functions, my grandpa—or Poppa, as we call him—has halitosis. And he’s become an increasingly close talker, as his hearing goes. Every family event, I face a strange dilemma: I can choose to have my brain tickled, while my nose suffers in olfactory agony, or I can ignore Poppa. My fondest memories, needless to say, are of conversations we had while sitting across very large tables.
University of Baltimore MFA student Tyler Mendelsohn has always understood her various disorders and neuroses — less so, her self.
When I was a kid, I kept my parents alive by finding all the spots on my body I could feel a substantial pulse, and counting and counting. I still feel that the numbers 1 and 6 are neutral; 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 are lucky. Three and 8 are bad. Despite the overwhelming probability of anything I count ending on a lucky number, I often feel bombarded by 3s and 8s.
Both of my parents are psychoanalysts. So are an unbelievably large number of my other relatives, but that’s a separate story. When I was a kid, I realized that my parents were the most perceptive people in the entire world, especially my mom. There was not a thing that slipped past my mom’s radar. I always thought that all moms were like this, but I still believe that mine has a perception super-sense unlike anyone else’s in the world. Sometimes, I feel like she knows what kind of trouble I’m getting into all the way from New York to Baltimore. Over the span of my childhood, I was thought to have a cocktail of mental impediments to my highly praised and mythical potential: ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, bipolar disorder, OCD, anorexia, body dysmorphia, narcissistic personality disorder, dissociative personality disorder, a whole host of learning disabilities, sprinkled with a healthy dose of paranoid delusions and separation anxiety.