Just got back from the shrink’s office. It did not go as I’d hoped. Here’s what happened:

DOC: How are you today, Steve?

ME: Not so good. The hits just keep coming, know what I mean?

DOC: That’s sort of what I wanted to talk to you about.

ME: Oh?

DOC: Well, I’ve finally got a diagnosis for you. And it isn’t great news.

ME: Give it to me straight, Doc. What have I got?

DOC: Steve … I’m afraid you have toxic masculinity.

ME: Wait, what? That can’t be. I listened to Kim complain about work for at least two whole minutes the other day. And I picked up a pizza. Even did the dishes.

DOC: Hmm … could be a temporary regression. There is another possibility, though. Did you do it just to do something nice for your wife – or to get her to do something for you in return?

ME: Aw, well, um, you know how it is …

DOC: Right, that’s what I thought.

ME: Now you’ve got me freaking out, Doc. So many questions. Is that why I love football so much? Being successful at work? Oh my God, porn? Not porn!

DOC: Please try to calm down Mr. Tobak.

ME: Sorry Doc. Can it be cured? I mean, is there a pill I can take – you know, like Lexapro or Viagra or something?

DOC: It’s such a new diagnosis, the pharmaceutical companies are just getting started. There’ll be years of clinical trials and all that. Therapy can help but it takes a lot of work: self-reflection, getting in touch with your emotions, and of course, time. Even then there are no guarantees.

ME: Crap, I’m royally screwed. You’ve got to help me Doc. Please.

DOC: Sorry Steve, that’s all the time we have for today. Let’s pick up where we left off next week, shall we?

ME: Jeez Doc, you can’t just leave me hanging like that.

DOC: In the mean-time, why don’t you start reading this book, Toxic Masculinity Is an Epidemic — Is Mass Castration the Cure? by Gillette president Gary Coombe. I think you’ll find it enlightening, if not transformative.

ME: Hey thanks. So you think there’s hope?

DOC: One step at a time, Steve. One step at a time.

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