The Autobiography of T.
based on a true-life story, adapted from a novel
and edited in length and content for television
(Confabulated by an experienced writer. Do not try this at home.
Your mileage may differ. Void where prohibited.)
I want to tell you about a brilliant, insightful, highly motivated, and
charismatic psychology professor, but because I don't know any I'll tell
you about me.
I started life at a very early age--I was practically an infant. Kidnapped
by Jean Piaget, I vividly recall one or two repressed memories of being
in a crib with my chubby little hands tethered to mobiles hanging over my
head. I wiggled my arms to get them moving because I thought that Jean couldn't
figure out how to get them to move himself. He seemed pretty concrete to
I managed to escape by disguising myself as a Cabbage Patch doll and
being given to the Jouets pour les Enfants (Toys for Tots) campaign of
the French Foreign Legion. I spent a few weeks in Casablanca until I was
sold by a Monsieur Rick for two letters of transit to a guy named Fred Skinner.
He put me on a little treadmill with a Twinkie just out of my reach. He
must have been taking me for a pigeon.
Fortunately, he gave up on me, muttering something about my not being
a positively reinforcing experience. I managed to disguise myself as monkey
and snuck out through the primate lab. I hitchhiked across the country,
and got picked up in Wisconsin by a guy named Harlow. I was hoping to be
picked up by a cinematic blonde, but he said his name was Harry.
I spent the a week in a cage clinging to this cloth-covered wooden
doll. Harry kept whispering, "Come to Momma." I didn't have the heart to
tell him that I clung to the cloth-covered figure not because it provided
comfort. I actually was repelled by the wire doll with the milk bottle
because I was lactose intolerant.
Later, Albert Bandura stopped by Harry's lab. I was having a tantrum
in the cage, holding my breath and rocking back and forth. He said I kinda'
looked like an inflated Bobo doll. I was insulted and bopped him on the
head. He was surprised, but got a glimmer in his eye and said, "You're coming
with me." He had me view a number of scenes from "Lassie," "The Brady Bunch,"
"The Sound of Music," and many other such shows. I was warped for life.
I remember watching TV one day and laughing at Opie Taylor who was
joshing with his dad, Andy, a big important sheriff in Mayberry. A visitor
passed by and commented in a thick Austrian accent that I was in sibling
rivalry with Opie for the affection of Aunt Bee. He was a bearded guy with
a cigar writing on a notepad.
I said, “What should I call you?”
He said, “What would you like to call me?”
I said, “I don’t know.”
He said, “I wonder why you don’t know.”
I said, “I’m not a mind reader.” He said that he was. He was promoting
a book called The Egg and I. He had wanted to call it, Leggo
My Eggo, but he kept waffling on it. I suggested that he call it the
Ego and the Id. He thought it was a good interpretation; I told him it
just sprang from my unconscious.
While I enjoyed the television watching, I had an insight one day that
television was not the real world. Another participant in this study, Truman
Burbank, told me that I was wrong. I left Seahaven by walking off the set
and I wandered into a different part of town. Then Mr. Rogers came into
the neighborhood. I said, "I thought that you would be singing about what
a beautiful day in the neighborhood it is and if I would be your neighbor."
He placed his index and middle fingers along his jaw, curled his
ring and pinkie finger by the corner of his mouth, and his thumb under
his chin and said, "You thought that I would be singing about what a beautiful
day in the neighborhood it was and if you would be my neighbor?"
I certainly couldn't fault his hearing. "Yes, that's what I said, " I
"Yes, that's what I thought I heard you saying," he said.
I could feel the sap in my veins turning into syrup. I asked, "What are
we doing here--waiting for Godot?"
He said, "It sounds like you are wondering what it all means, what is
our purpose for existing, and are we just waiting for something or someone
who may never come?"
"No," I snapped, "I just wanted you to sing your theme song and hang
up your sweater, Fred."
He replied, "You seem to think that my name is Fred Rogers."
I began to feel dizzy. I saw inkspots before my eyes...
With this kind of early background, I decided to go into psychology.
The rest is history.