Repressed-Memory Therapist Recovers Rockford Files Episode

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Vol 41 Issue 23

NBA Playoffs Interrupted By NBA Preseason

DETROIT—Game Six of the NBA Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons was postponed Saturday so that the Heat could play their first preseason game against the Seattle Supersonics. "It would've been great to have determined who would've been in the finals, but this exhibition game was already on the schedule," said Heat coach Stan Van Gundy. "Sonics fans have been looking forward to this game all off-season." Representatives for both teams expressed hopes that the 2005 NBA Finals would be over by the start of the 2006 All-Star Game.

Eighth-Grader Hasn't Missed A '69' Joke Opportunity All Year

LEBANON, PA—According to Lebanon Central Middle School staff, Mike Eichstadt, 14, leapt on every possible occasion to make a "69" joke during the entirety of his eighth-grade year. "If a teacher said 'Turn to page 69' or a classmate got a 69 on a quiz, Mike Eichstadt was there with a smirk and a quip," principal Melanie Reinke said. "Sometimes, Mike only needed to be asked a question involving a number—such as 'How many years did Ford serve as president?'—to make a '69' joke." Despite his aptitude for "69" jokes, Eichstadt received a D in math.

Congress Relieved To Admit It's Not Going To Accomplish Anything This Year

WASHINGTON, DC—Members of Congress breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday when Speaker Dennis Hastert successfully introduced a resolution averring that the legislative body was "probably not going to get much done in 2005." "Whereas, we have been debating the same bills for months," the resolution read in part. "Whereas, we have been getting nowhere; Resolved, let's not force it."When asked what they would do for the rest of 2005, given the passing of the resolution, many said they might go see some movies or visit constituents.

Garden Too Much For Grandma This Summer

TULSA, OK—Though she has tended the same 10' x 25' backyard vegetable plot for more than three decades, local grandmother Helen Fischer, 74, said Monday that the task would be too much for her this year. "My knee hasn't been the same since I hurt it weeding the kohlrabi last summer," said Fischer, slowly lifting a bag of seeds to the mouth of a hanging bird feeder. "I might plant some marigolds in the window box, though, if Kerry's Greenhouse has any nice ones." In a related story, Fischer's husband Ralph said that, while he doesn't believe he'll be stringing the front-yard trees with holiday lights this year, he will still put out the wreaths.

Kuwait Starting To Notice Girls

KUWAIT CITY—In light of the country's recent decision to allow women to vote and hold public office, observers around the world have noted that Kuwait appears to have discovered the fairer sex. "The boys in Kuwait are really taking notice of how much the girls have changed over the country's long political winter," said Fouad Ajami, an expert in Arab affairs. "They're no longer shyly avoiding women they're not related to or clumsily shooting them for not wearing veils in public." Ajami added that he was not entirely surprised by Kuwait's discovery, given its long history of teasing women, calling them names, and stoning them to death for being unclean.

I'm Sick Of These Money Problems

Hola, amigos. What's goin' on? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but it's like life keeps raining shit down on me and I don't have a shit shovel big enough to clear it all away. My ride is giving me grief. The muffler is coming loose, so it's making a lot of noise. The car might sound badass if it were, like, a Thunderbird or something. But it's a Festiva, so it sounds like a souped-up lawn mower. I took a tin can and some muffler tape and patched the pipe up, but my repair job isn't going to last for long.

Deep Throat Revealed

Last week, former FBI agent Mark Felt revealed that he was Deep Throat, the anonymous source that helped break the Watergate scandal. What do you think?

Well, I Guess That Genocide In Sudan Must've Worked Itself Out On Its Own

I was pretty worried a year or so ago when the news came out that thousands of people had been indiscriminately slaughtered in Darfur. It was unsettling to hear that citizens of one ethnicity (Arab, maybe?) were systematically mass-murdering the population of some other ethnicity (Was it the Ganjaweeds? It's been so long since I've read their names!) But lately, the main stories in the news seem to be about Deep Throat, the new summer blockbusters, and something about stem cells. Since I'm sure I would have remembered if the U.S. had intervened in some way to stop it, I can only assume that the whole genocide-in-Darfur thing has somehow worked itself out.
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Late Night

Repressed-Memory Therapist Recovers Rockford Files Episode

OTTUMWA, IA—After months of hypnotherapy, local repressed-memory therapist Brian Marnard has helped Joan Spees, a 37-year-old farm-equipment sales consultant, recover an entire Rockford Files episode from the darkest reaches of her subconscious mind.

"Joan, who had suffered from seemingly inexplicable anxiety attacks her entire adult life, was the perfect candidate for repressed-memory therapy," Marnard said Monday. "Under my care, she began recovering vivid memory flashes from what seemed to be a single, distinct episode from her past. The images included an old-fashioned answering machine turning on in an empty room, a gold Firebird experiencing a sudden, violent change in direction, and a dark-haired man walking on the beach. In spite of the memory's persistent nature, Joan could not see how the fragments were related."

Spees said that, although the flashbacks would intrude upon her waking hours accompanied by the same "catchy snippet" of music, they did little to disrupt her personal life. Nonetheless, Marnard was concerned about what the memories might signify.

"Repressed memories, which are stored outside the awareness of the conscious mind, can usually be traced back to a traumatic event," Marnard said. "What if Joan had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse by the dark-haired man she felt was named James, Jim, Garner, or Rockford? If so, she needed to bring these memories to the fore and confront them."

For two months, Marnard engaged Spees in an exhaustive, expensive course of drug-mediated interviews, hypnosis, regression therapy, and literal dream interpretation.

"Brian said my scraps of recollection were probably part of something bigger, an incident at least 44 minutes long—one that might be part of a larger chain of similar events from my adolescence," Spees said. "Brian kept encouraging me to pursue my vague feeling that the man I was seeing was a criminal, even though I felt even more strongly that the mysterious figure could be trusted."

According to Marnard, Spees' first few sessions progressed little beyond her strong memory of lying on her family's living room floor.

Marnard, who used hypnosis to recover details of a critically acclaimed '70s detective show (above).

"I'm 8... I'm wearing my Pooh pajamas... wrapped in an olive-green blanket..." a transcript of Spees' first session read. "A phone's ringing, but it's not mine... I'm waiting for someone to answer the phone... There's a message.... An important message about someone picking up the car from the garage? No, it's a woman saying she's lonely... no, it's a pizza shop. I'm not sure..."

At that point in the session, Spees would usually whistle a distinctive melody.

"It was a long time before I got any more out of her," Marnard said. "But finally, Joan was able to recover some very strong memories, like the image of a murder suspect who supposedly died in a car accident. And something about an angel trying to get his money back from a swindler who was on the run from the mob. And then, there was a garbage disposal jammed by a missing bullet."

"Still," Marnard added. "She was never able to fully understand what was going on."

Finally, near the end of a one-hour 'deep therapy' session, Spees had a breakthrough.

"I was about to bring Joan out of it, when she started talking in a deep voice, like that of a father figure," Marnard said. "I could feel we were reaching a climax. That's when she said, 'Honey, we're all scared to death. I guess that's the price we pay for living in a world where we sell cemetery plots on billboards by the freeway and all the prices end in 99 cents. What you gotta do is just keep laughing.'"

Marnard said it wasn't until Spees paused and said, "Later tonight on NBC..." that he recognized the quote as coming from Jim Rockford, the laid-back ex-con-turned-detective played by James Garner on the popular '70s TV show, The Rockford Files.

In spite of the breakthrough, Dr. Klaus Stenner of the Iowa Psychological Association criticized Marnard's methods, and those of all repressed-memory therapists, calling them unprofessional.

"There is no real evidence that childhood memories are ever unconsciously repressed," Stenner said. "In addition, recovering these supposedly repressed memories, whether of sexual abuse or the plots of popular television series, has never led to significant improvement in a patient's psychological health and stability. Luckily, Spees was spared any lasting harm—probably because her memories were innocuous and generally positive, thanks to The Rockford Files' high production values and taut writing."

Immediately after the breakthrough, Spees discontinued her twice-weekly visits and refused to pay her outstanding bill, calling Marnard "a quack." Marnard, however, adamantly insists that Spees should return to therapy.

"Joan can run from her problems all she wants, but the haunting, sinister image of the gun in the cookie jar will be with her forever," Marnard said. "And even if she has discovered the source of the mysterious answering-machine messages, it doesn't explain Joan's recurring memories of a shadowy, mustachioed figure known only as 'Higgins.'"

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