In which our alter egos discuss philosophy, psychology, and our need for chocolate cake.
Reporter: Hello everyone! So glad you could join us today. After our last episode — well, let’s be honest. That didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. I really thought a bit of psychotherapy was all we needed, but then we wound up–
Editor: Hey! Would you stop jabbering over there for one freakin’ minute and get her off me?!
Reporter: Uh… excuse me, folks… Now, Writer-self, you have your own chair. You don’t need to sit in Editor’s lap.
Writer: Oh, I know that. It’s just that ever since she professed her love for me–
Editor: I did nothing of the sort! If anything, all I admitted was that you didn’t suck.
(Writer squeals and kisses Editor.)
Editor: Okay, that’s it. I’m outta here. (She stands; Writer falls to floor.)
Reporter: No, wait! I need you to stay! Writer, stop kissing Editor. You know she has problems with that sort of thing.
Writer: (sits in her own chair) Oh, fine. But I know she loves me.
Editor: I DO NOT!
Writer: (giggling) Methinks she doth protest too much!
Editor: That’s not how the quote goes, you idiot. I can’t take this. I’m leaving.
Reporter: I made chocolate cake.
Editor: (sits down) I’ll stay for a bit. Just keep her away from me.
Reporter: Fair enough. All right, I’ve been doing a lot of research on our… um… little problem. And I came upon some really fascinating stuff. Have either of you heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
Editor: Of course I’ve heard of it. I know all about it… But you should probably explain it for Writer’s sake.
Writer: Aww, that’s so sweet. Thank you for caring about me.
Editor: Because she’s an idiot.
Reporter: Okay, well, Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who came to prominence in the 60s. Interesting guy, by the way. I mean, I could go on for hours—
Editor: Please don’t.
Reporter: Right. Well, he had this radical idea of studying healthy people. I mean, before him, they were only interested in learning what was wrong with people. But Maslow thought by studying happy, confident, what he called “self actualized” people, he could help his clients grow into their best selves. You see, he didn’t call the people he met with patients; he called them clients. Isn’t that interesting?
Editor: Fascinating. What does that have to do with us?
Writer: I thought you said there would be cake. Where’s the cake?
Reporter: That’s for later. The thing is, I spent some time looking over his hierarchy of needs — by the way, Maslow himself never used a pyramid to discuss his ideas. That’s something other people did, and–
Editor: Oh my God, just get on with it already!
Reporter: Okay, well, the thing I noticed was that we seem to be in different places on the pyramid at the same time. So I’m thinking that might be our problem right there.
Editor: (studying the pyramid) Ah, yes. I see what you mean.
Reporter: Right? I mean, it seems pretty obvious.
Editor: Yeah. Writer is at the bottom, you’re in the middle, and I’m on top.
Writer: I’m hungry.
Editor: You two are really dragging me down.
Reporter: How can you say you’re at the top?! You are SO far from the top!
Editor: What? You think you are? Look, one of the things is “acceptance of facts.” Accept it, baby. I’m on top.
Reporter: How about spontaneity? Or creativity? Oh, hell – look right below it — “respect of others.” You respect no one! You’re the one who insults our Writer-self and makes her feel bad!
Writer: This is boring.
Editor: For once Writer is right. Where’s the cake?
Reporter: Okay, I knew this would happen. See, my research said that when a person’s basic needs are met, they then start thinking about the meaning of life, and they may begin to fear that it is, in fact, meaningless.
Writer: I think I can see the cake. Is that it?
Editor: Oh, yeah… It looks like it’s getting closer. That’s so weird.
Reporter: But then at the same time, the person will cling to a hope of life being important, or that they can create something of importance and thereby be remembered.
Writer: You know, I think the less we talk, the sooner the cake will get here.
Editor: Really? That’s surreal.
Reporter: This gives rise to an inner conflict referred to as ‘existential anxiety.’ It can be so disturbing that people will do just about anything to avoid it.
Writer: She keeps talking though. If we can get her to stop talking, we can eat.
Editor: Writer, that’s brilliant. Give me your scarf.
Reporter: Now, according to the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, rather than avoid this anxiety, we should embrace it. Because in doing so, we’ll live a more authentic, fulfilling life. But facing up to this sense of ‘non-being’ if you will, requires strength of character and increased responsibility.
Editor: You get on that side of her. Pretty scarf, by the way. Is it silk?
Writer: Yes. Believe it or not, I found it in a thrift store for three bucks.
Editor: Really? I’ve underestimated you, Writer.
Reporter: And beings how people dislike responsibility, you can see why so many choose the unfulfilling path. Sad, isn’t it? Although it brings to mind a quote by the theologian, Paul Tillich…
Writer: Look! There’s the cake! It’s got chocolate chips and walnuts on top!
Editor: Okay, on the count of three…
Reporter: He said “neurosis is the way of avoiding non-being by avoiding being.” — Hey! What are you– mmmbbhmmfffph
Editor: There. That should do it.
Writer: Maybe you shouldn’t tie it so tightly.
Editor: She’ll be fine. Hey, there’s a piece of cake missing! Why, that little bitch.
Writer: Don’t worry. It just means the rest of the cake is ours.
Editor: Writer, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake
I took this cake to work last week and it vanished quickly – it was that yummy. Coconut would be a good addition, if you feel so inclined.
- 1 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 oz. package chocolate chips, divided
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Pour boiling water over oats and let stand about 10 minutes. Add both sugars and butter, blend well (I used an electric mixer). Add eggs and beat again.
Sift together flour, salt, soda and cocoa. Add to sugar mixture slowly, beating well until fully incorporated. Stir in half the package of chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle nuts and remaining chips on top. (Coconut too, if you want.)
Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until set. Let cool to serve, if you can wait that long. 🙂