the tough questions
Sometimes a man must ask himself the tough questions. Face the music. Unfortunately for me, that music is the theme song from Jeopardy and suddenly Alex Trebek is sitting in front of my id, ego and super ego.
Before I plunge into the meat of this, let me give you a quick review of the id, ego, and super ego. Without that basic knowledge, you won’t be able to imagine how the three versions of myself would be dressed. As much as I’d like to believe that the people who read Lance Manion are doing so during a small break in their typical day of unraveling the mysteries of the universe in their lab at M.I.T., I am realistic enough to know that most of you have a Big Gulp in your other hand and you’re listening to your iPod, loaded with a collection of Queen songs done on the banjo at the same time you’re reading this.
I’m not thrilled with this reality but the truth is I love the part where it goes “Bismillah! No, we will not let you go… twang twang twang” just as much as you do.
The id, ego, and super ego are the three parts of Sigmund Freud’s model of the human psyche. The id is made up of our basic instincts. Our unconscious desires. Our primal impulses. The id is the reservoir of our libido. There is no right or wrong in the id.
That stuff is handled by the super ego. This is the repository of all the rules and morality we’ve been taught. The super ego demands perfection and is better known in psychological circles as “the party pooper.”
Acting as the mediator between these two forces is the ego. The ego is all about balance. The ego tries to give the id a little of what it wants without having the super ego get all pissy about it. Realism rules the day as far as the ego is concerned.
Armed with this information, you may now proceed to imagine the three versions of myself standing there behind our podiums, buzzers in hand.
And the categories are:
“Bad decisions I have made.”
“Things that I am embarrassed about.”
“Things I am ashamed of.”
“Things that if anybody knew I’d be mortified.”
And finally… “Things that if anyone knew I’d be incarcerated.”
You’ll note that there isn’t a category titled “Things I would take back.” Maybe that’s why I hate this game so much. All the categories might as well be “Things that are wrong with me.” I’m not even half way through “Things I am ashamed of” and the audience has transformed into the frothing crowd of ignoramuses that make up the Jerry Springer Show. They are calling for my blood and the whole time my id is laughing and flipping them off and my super ego is being held back by my ego because all he wants to do is punch my id in the face.
By the time the words “’Things that if anyone knew I’d be incarcerated’ for $500” have left the mouth of Alex Trebek, he has sprouted enormous twisted horns and has cloven feet and a barbed tail. Even my id doesn’t seem to have the intestinal fortitude to buzz in with the answer.
And the whole time I’m desperately looking for the “Things I would change” category but it’s not there and the game keeps going on and on and my id keeps building his lead because although they all know the answers to the questions, neither of the other two want to say them aloud. The ego was hanging in there for awhile but once the real stuff started to come out he gets all pale and looks like he needs some air.
Then comes Final Jeopardy and Alex has huge bat wings and tusks jutting out of his dripping maw and the audience is a choir of demons and the word “jeopardy” starts to echo in my head with such ferocity that I can barely make out the question.
But I do.
And my ego, in a last desperate attempt to win, bets it all as the music builds to a crescendo.
What would your answer be?