The PsychoSlut returns: Freud on everyday life

After a brief hiatus to get caught up in my project of re-reading Freud volume by volume, the PsychoSlut column is back in the August issue of Bookslut, reading The Psychopathology of Everyday Life:

My five-year-old memorizes song lyrics like they’re the plans to the Death Star. When he locks onto a song, he’ll insist on starting over if he gets even one phrase wrong. The sentence, “Start this song over, please,” is perhaps the most dreaded in our household, though we also find it charming that he can sing along to songs as different as “Iron Man” and “One Week,” or to music ranging from nerdcore rap to Arcade Fire or Flogging Molly or Kimya Dawson.

But there is one song he can’t get right, even though he intellectually grasps what the lyric is. The Hold Steady’s “Ask Her for Some Adderall,” opens this way:

If she asks don’t tell her that I’m living hand to mouth,
Don’t tell her that I’m sleeping on your couch,
If she asks just tell her that we opened for the Stones,
It’s her favorite band, except for The Ramones.

Eliot knows this song by heart — correctly working out the names of drugs like Adderall and Klonapin, and character names like Charlemagne, Holly, and Gideon. But that opening couplet gets him every single time. Here’s his version:

If she asks don’t tell her that I’m living hand to mouth,
Don’t tell your mom that I’m sleeping on her couch.

This mistake cracks us up every time, because it neatly captures two key aspects of our (still fairly guileless) kid: First, in his mind, “don’t tell her” obviously refers to a mom. Relatedly, the extent of his deceptiveness so far is on the order of “don’t tell mom/dad.” He’s not much of a liar yet. And second, a key article of faith in the boy’s code is that you cannot admit to being tired, and especially to needing a nap. That would be beyond the pale. He associates “sleeping on the couch” with napping — when he was transitioning off of daily naps, sometimes he’d take his nap on the couch, because that would guarantee it was a “short nap,” as opposed to an “epic” nap. So, “Don’t tell your mom I’ve been sleeping on her couch” can be translated as, “don’t tell mom I need a nap.”

As always, read the whole thing!   Next month is Volume VII, which includes such goodies as the Dora case and  Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.

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