Justin? Justin, can you hear me through this door? Are you asleep again? Your mom said you got up to use the bathroom a minute ago. She was hoping you were coming down to have dinner with us. No? Hello? Well, son, I know that you have a real problem; at least, that's what the therapist tells us. Anyway, you're not alone. We all get a little low sometimes. Life is certainly no picnic—don't I know it! But usually, after a while, folks snap out of their funks. Not because they want to, but because they come around to the fact that they have no choice. The truth is, son, we'd all like to lie around all day being "clinically depressed," but at some point, we have to swallow hard and face the music. Step up to the ol' plate.

There are plenty of mornings I don't want to get up and go to work, but I do. And you know how much your mother hates that exercise bike of hers. Do you see what I'm driving at, son?

Justin, your mom and I love you, and we want you to get well. If you have something, anything, you need to get off your chest, please know that you can share it with us. There's no reason to keep it bottled up. Anything you tell that therapist of yours—what's her name, Dr. Goldbar? Goldbrick? Gold—well, anything you tell her, you can tell us, too. I never did see why you'd rather open up to a complete stranger than to the two people who spent years trying to raise you the best way they knew how, but I'm willing to accept it. Just as I accept that you have a problem that you can't control, even though there might be a solution that's as plain as the nose on your face. I guess what I'm saying, Justin, is: I'm a practical person. I always seek the most direct solution to a problem. That may not be intellectual enough for some people, but it's always worked for me.

Now, come on down to dinner, Justin. Your mom made pork chops.

Son?

Justin, do you know what could make you feel better right off the bat? Raising your blinds and letting in some light. Because, I mean, I can believe you feel clinically depressed in that room of yours—I would, too! Anyone would. It's dark, it smells, and there's mounds of clothes and books all over the floor. Get out of bed, open the window, and do a little picking up. Accomplishing a small task could do a lot to restore your self-confidence.

Speaking of windows, maybe once you get your room clean, you can help your ol' dad put up the screens. It'd be just like way back when! With all the trouble you've had lately, and the running back and forth to the clinic and to your school, I've fallen behind on household chores. You see, I don't have the luxury of spending Saturday staring at the television, all curled up in a blanket even though it's the middle of summer. There's things that need to be done.

I've also had to miss a lot of work. Now, don't worry, your dad is sitting pretty at good old Kenyon Mortgage, but I've caught a little flak from George. Well, it's not fair of him to imply that clinical depression isn't as bad as a real disease. I didn't say this to him, but it's what I believe. Okay? Don't you worry about George one bit.

By the way, did you know that those ambulance fees weren't covered by the company health plan? I got the damned co-pay bill yesterday. I yelled my head off at them over the phone, that's for sure, but the girl said there's nothing they can do. Whew, and those pills you take aren't cheap, either, are they? I figured it out, and they come to about $3 apiece! So, uh, when are they going to take effect? You've been on them for a couple months.

Son?

Look, I think your grandmother had some of this clinical depression herself. I think a lot of it stemmed from her poor upbringing—she never did learn to read or write well. So, you know, her clinical depression wasn't because she was some bored child of privilege. No, she didn't have the luxury of sitting around being clinically depressed. When she got the blues, she sucked it up and carried on, because she knew that life was full of pain—not to mention that she couldn't afford some... shrink.

Now, son, you've had more advantages in your 17 years than Mom had in all her 58, but I'm still willing to meet you halfway on your problem. Hell, I'm even willing to call it a problem, instead of calling it "lying around and feeling sorry for yourself," which is sure what it looks like. You can't claim I'm the ogre here. But that's what you think I am, right? A real jerk. "Fuck you, Butterfat," you once told me. Even though I was only trying to help. Butterfat? At least I don't lounge around in my room all day, wasting away to nothing when there's a decent meal right—

Justin, open this door right now, dammit!

Okay, well now, finally we're getting somewhere. Great to see you at last, son. Look, I'm sorry about being a little tough on you. I suppose ol' Doc Goldwhatever wouldn't be happy. But sometimes, when someone you love is clearly wasting his potential, you have to—hey, where are you going? To the bathroom, again? Justin, why did you lock the door?

Oh, dandy. Just dandy. Son, this is hardly what anyone would call a positive step.

Justin? Justin, answer me!