So I get to breakfast, and Alex is already there at the table, and they’ve got just, like, a bagel, a banana, and some of that yogurt that you never know the flavor til you eat it? Nasty. But they’re not eating, they’re just on their phone.
I grab a buncha those little Raisin Bran boxes and pour em into a big bowl, and about a dozen sugar packets and a bunch of milk. Much better. So I start nomming down on that, and then Mette comes in, and I give her a big grin, and she smiles back. She’s got a big plate – always likes the fresh stuff, berries, fruit, things like that.
A question, if I may.
You’re asking if you can ask a question?
Ironic, I know. But this is a bit personal.
You’re asking if you can ask a personal question?
Ha. Fair enough. I’m curious. I know from your file the general … parameters of your transformation. But this raises the question of edge parameters. Your appearance is that of a giant gorilla. But gorillas are primarily herbivorous, with perhaps some insects were available. Dairy product and pizza and so forth –
Yeah, Dr Quill, he’s done some research on that. I mean, I’ve tried chomping on leaves, and you know what it’s like?
Chomping on leaves. Ugh. Dr Quill, he says I seem to run on a more complex diet than actual gorillas, maybe to make up for, ah, “increased cerebration and metahuman activity,” something like that. He made up this “optimized” diet for me, lots of protein powders and this yeast goo that tastes like, uh, something not good. I ask him if I could just eat, like, normal stuff, and he said I sounded like his kids, but yeah. So that’s what I do.
No ill side effects?
Well, I gotta be careful on Mexican night at the caf, 'cause I eat a lot more, so, y’know, it’s all gotta come out sometime, and stuff that’s too spicy …
Ah. Yes. Thank you both for that image and for indulging my professional curiosity. Please continue.
So Mette always goes for fruit and fresh stuff. Roddy, other hand, is like picking crunchberries out of a bowl of cereal with chocolate milk, which is pretty disgusting, not surprising. The last to the table is Kiln, and they’ve got, like, a pile of bacon and a bowl of ranch dressing – you okay?
It’s a wonder half of you don’t come down with scurvy or something.
I don’t get it. We’re not, like, pirates.
Never mind. Please continue.
So Kiln’s got the tray of bacon, which smells really good, even if like the meat packing industry is shit and animal cruelty and all that, so I’m a little conflicted.
You’ve an interest in animal cruelty causes?
Look at me, doc. What do you think? But not enough to go veggie or anything, because that’s maybe being a little too gorilla. So, yeah. If I was gonna go all social cause thing, I’d probably choose hunting, poaching, that sorta shit. I heard and saw enough about that even before the – thing – that it pissed me off.
So, bacon. Kiln’s there, on my right, but looks all distracted. Roddy’s eyeing the plate, and I think he’s gonna take some of the bacon, but he asks Kiln if he’s gonna use that ranch, which is even more disgusting, but, hey, Roddy. I mean, they call me unnatural, but he’s talking crunchberries, chocolate milk, and ranch dressing? Dude’s a freak, and I know about freaks.
So Roddy just snags the ranch, and Kiln blinks, and kinda nibbles some bacon, and then there’s no ranch, and they start to look around, and then Alex, next to them, takes their bacon, and says …
Doc, I gotta ask you. I mean, I know what it says on TV, but – the stuff I talk about with you, it’s, like, confidential?
Psychiatrists and similar professionals have both ethical and legal standards which keep their conversations with their patients fully confidential, shared with nobody, even under legal compulsion.
Like, nobody? Ever?
There are some very limited circumstances when a “Duty to Warn” comes into play. If you were a threat to yourself – being suicidal – or if you were a threat to others – threatening to harm someone – then a psychiatrist would be obliged by ethics and the law to pass that on, in the least confidentiality-breaking way.
Okay, guess that makes sense. Um, sometimes some of the language I use –
The bar is set pretty high, Joey. Saying, “I wish I could give Roddy a poke in the nose,” doesn’t count.
Okay, okay, that’s good.
Unless the health care professional really thought you were going to commit a serious act of violence.
Okay … um …
How about, uh, other stuff?
Other … stuff?
Other things that might be, y’know, breaking the rules. Like, the school rules. Or, y’know, the rules of someplace else. Or, like, um, the law?
Duty to Warn does not encompass joy rides, sneaking out under curfew, or even, arguably, jewel theft. Unless what you tell a professional demonstrates a serious risk of self-harm or harm to others, they are obliged not to report it, at the risk of losing their license to practice, at the very least, along with civil liability.
So is this leading up to something?
So what if …?
Joey, I am here to help you, not to judge you. I have heard amazing things told to me by people in this room, many of which involved, ah, “rules violations” far greater than I deem it likely you would commit.
I, uh, guess that’s good?
Joey, ultimately, what we do here is a matter of trust. I would hope you would trust my judgment as to when something was so dire that I would break confidentiality to pass it on. If you can’t, I’m not sure you can trust me enough to tell me anything of importance, sufficient for me to help you.
Okay. Okay, I got it. Thanks, doc.
You’re welcome, Joey. Now, what happened when Alex took Kiln’s bacon?