ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
|2005 AND 2006|
THE MASK OF SANITY
Section 2: The Material
21. The psychopath as businessman
21. The psychopath as businessman
No attempt will be made to give a detailed history of this man. Suffice it to say
that the incidents mentioned are not isolated experiences in the general life pattern but
rather expressions of a motif which persistently recurs to interrupt the outward serenity.
He is now 50 years of age, and he has gone on to achieve considerable business
success, being an equal partner in a wholesale grocery concern. As a businessman there
is much to be said for him. Except for his periodic sprees, he works industriously. He
has contributed foresight and ability to the business, whereas his partner has contributed
the stability necessary to keep things going when he is out of action.
He is pleasant and affable during his normal phases, which make up the greater
part of his time. One gets the impression, however, that ordinary life is not very full or
rich, that strange gods are ever calling him, and that the call is far dearer to his heart
than anything else. He is, perhaps, like a man who through necessity has given himself
over to foreign ways for most of his hours and who goes on fairly patiently but without
spontaneity until the time when he can throw it all aside for a while and go
wholeheartedly at what he finds really to his taste.
These recesses are sometimes taken at intervals of a week; occasionally several
months go by without one. They sometimes last merely a few days, sometimes a week
He does not drink in groups with men and women whom he meets in the
ordinary course of his life. It would never occured to him to have a cocktail party or to
serve whiskey to friends in his own house. Apparently he
194 THE MASK OF SANITY
can see no point in what might be called ordinary or normal drinking, in the sense, say,
of taking several highballs to be warm and lively, to talk more gaily to pretty women and
cut a finer figure in their eyes, to be more playful, to throw aside the routine problems
of the day, and to express oneself a little more vividly.
If he drinks at all, it is to reach a state of roaring folly and perhaps to continue
until he may fall limp, He frequently goes out of the city and, in some hotel of dubious
standing, gathers a few coarse companions and begins to pour liquor into himself on
such occasions. His associates are usually uninteresting drifters or vagrants ready to
accept any handout. Sometimes obvious psychopaths are included. Often harlots are
called into the room where this noisy group of fat, middle-aged men are already
staggering about, sweaty in their undershirts or lying out half stupefied across the beds
or on the floors.
The women are stripped or encouraged to strip themselves, and among those
men still able to flounder about a great clamor arises. The women are chased about and
fumbled over. Intercourse is accomplished by the more energetic ones, not in the
privacy ordinarily considered desirable but in the presence of all and often on beds
across which a more sodden member of the group lies snoring.
Men and women stumble about, the men pouring more and more whiskey into
themselves, the women usually drinking little but occasionally picking their senseless
companion's pockets. Daylight often finds a few of this jolly brotherhood still wobbling
feebly or crawling about the room in search of more liquor.
During the next day some pull themselves together and depart, others remain
drinking and cursing through the morning and afternoon. Consciousness and power to
speak or sit erect come and go through the hours. During these more lucid intervals
some find what they take as exceeding delight in sitting, naked and unsteady, on the
edge of an untidy bed, staring at a companion, smiling inanely, and, in slurred, mushy
tones, repeating for thirty minutes or more: "You old son of a bitch. You old son of a
bitch, Jack. You old son of a bitch, you."
After such exploits the subject of our discussion returns home feeling pretty ill
but apparently refreshed spiritually for his other kind of life. At times his sprees will
take the classic form already described, which consists in having a Negro boy drive him
out into the woods where he drinks to semiconsciousness and, after lying out for a
satisfactory period, allows the boy to drive him home.
Usually these extravaganzas take place without attracting general attention, but
occasionally exuberance carries the play beyond its early secluded
THE MATERIAL 195
setting and the public is treated to puzzling displays. Returning from several days of
ordinary lying out and still boisterous and maudlin by turns, this executive, disappointed
in his wife's failure to greet him with proper enthusiasm, took a few more pulls from the
bottle. Feeling suddenly much misused and sorry for himself, he rushed out on the
lawn and began to bewail in thunderous tones the general injustice of his situation.
Since the time was high noon on Independence Day, he soon drew a fair-sized
audience. Stimulated by this, he rushed to the dog's kennel and fumbled with the brassstudded
collar of his big Doberman Pinscher, who, patient-eyed, watched his frantic
master. Gaining possession of the collar, he placed it around his own neck and, with
the leash flying behind, set off at a lively pace through the neighborhood. Attempting
to bark like a dog as he went and shaking his collar, he succeeded in conveying his
conviction to the public. Not only was he, so to speak, "in the dog house" (in his wife's
disfavor), but in vigorous canine outcries he registered his protest.
Trotting over the well-kept lawns and about the gardens, he was observed by
many acquaintances who lived near him in this fashionable section of the city.
Occasionally, in bursts of zeal, he practiced or mimicked the dog's well-known ritual in
which eliminative and gregarious impulses blend. By the time he drew near the outskirts
of town, he had a retinue of small boys in his wake. Realizing now that it was
Independence Day, he led them to a small store where fireworks were sold and, roaring
with wordy generosity, bought for them dozens of Roman candles, firecrackers, and
For a while his irrelevant shouts merged with the hissing and popping of
fireworks but, becoming always more aggressive and purposeless, his efforts to direct
his companions began to vex them. With the well-known callousness of small boys
where mischief is concerned, they hit upon the idea that it would be more fun to direct
their Roman candle barrages at or close about this comical stranger and to chase him.
As the skyrockets began to whiz by his wobbling head and the fiery balls from
Roman candles began to play about his vicinity, he blundered into Right. With-the
shouting, joyous band behind, he made a zigzag progress which finally led him to the
house of a friend.
This man has never been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He has often spent a
few days in general hospitals while sobering up and occasionally a week or more in
retreats which advertise their success in curing the liquor habit.
For perhaps 80 or 90 percent of his existence he has been a prosperous and
respected member of his community and outwardly is not unlike other men of the same
Section 2, Part 2