Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
What Do You Think You're Doing?!A True Story
The Crossroads Where Fantasy Lane Hits Cold Hard Facts Avenue
2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
I barely survived. Shaken, that was the state I was in after reality jumped out and took a bite out of my hide. Can you really blame the world for being the way it is? Here's the rub: who adapts to whom?
It all started out innocently enough with an invitation to my father to drive with me to the local high school. At fifteen and one-half, with only a permit to drive in my name, it was legally necessary to have a licensed driver in the same vehicle. It made perfect sense. Little did I realize then that this offer put my father and me on a direct collision course, one to be played out at the crossroads where Fantasy Lane hits Cold Hard Facts Avenue.
It tickled and pleased me to no end to show off all I had learned about driving in my short career, spanning an entire driver's class and six whole weeks of occasional jaunts when a driving partner could be enlisted. Father, usually rather easy-going, appeared calm, taking it all in due course.
Firing up the old, faded blue, early 60's Ford wagon and carefully putting the transmission stick on the steering column into first gear, we slowly, if stutteringly, moved onto the street. Dad helped provide the general direction to proceed with his right pointer finger. His gesture seemed old-fashioned, but endearing.
Independence being my theme song then, the thought struck me that there was quite little that wasn't known to me at that instant, or couldn't be known fairly easily. No one other than myself was in better command of the dice rolls of my life. While I still knew everything, it's a wonder that I didn't go "Pop!" I was so full of myself. Nonetheless, hopeful confidence reigned, even though I was surely a happy idiot in truth.
Yet up ahead of us the main thoroughfare seemed to narrow, as it had always done. On the right side, nearest the curb, were many late-model, automobiles. They were parked as they usually were. All seemed to proceed well, very well indeed.
I continued to aim our modern tank forward where, as I had learned, the roadway should have been. It certainly appeared to me that the old blue station wagon came within inches, if not millimeters, of those half-dozen parked vehicles.
My usually serene, unflappable dad erupted like a lava-hurling volcano awakened out of dormancy. "GET ON OVER, WILL YA! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!" He repeated himself, this time with twice the amplitude and emotionality. It was like being inside some eerie echo chamber, out of time, with this phrase repeating itself over and over like some infinite tape loop inside my head.
Somehow the instinct for survival almost instantaneously became engaged in circumventing this impending disaster. Quickly twisting the steering wheel away from danger, I righted the tank back onto where the roadway actually was.
It had all transpired too suddenly for any semblance of understanding to take form. Feeling depthless humility, not to mention the embarrassment of a schoolboy having a pratfall in front of a school assembly, I put the best face on these circumstances. Expressing gratitude seemed apropos for narrowly dodging this bullet I had inadvertently fired into my own foot and dad as well. I was happy to find our vehicle and the others intact. Thank God my father and I were still alive and well. That was enough for me.
Of course, things were a bit different for a while afterwards. My usually good-humored, happy-to-help father was rather C-O-O-L, even frostbitten, about hazarding into any further driving adventures with me. Could anyone in his right mind blame him?
As is often the case, it took days, weeks and months to fully digest what had occurred in split seconds. My very best "thinking" created a highly dangerous situation. In time, with distance and compassion, a law attributed to both author Franz Kafka and musician Frank Zappa resounded within me that has taken on layers of layers of meaning: "In the fight between you and the world, bet on the world." Professional coach Eric Kohner, CPPC says it like this: "My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I've learned not to go there alone!"
It is nothing less than shocking, humbling and amazing the blind spots every one of us bears throughout this life. Usually the roots of these hidden potholes that can not only rock our ship-of-state, but further eat us alive, lie in our thinking, that is our beliefs, assumptions, and expectations. Here is an ego-bruising story cut right out of my life of just such a foolish and utterly human blind spot.
The true story above offers a key context by placing each of us at a crossroads. Will we take the path of Fantasy Lane and irrationality, with its impulsive, hedonistic, and immature behavior? Or will we take the path of Cold Hard Facts Avenue and rationality balanced with intuition, with its deliberative, harmonious happiness and hard-won, mature behavior? The choice is ours moment by moment. Here, let me get the door.
© Copyright 2013 by
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
Wills Perspective on Practicing Psychology: Dr.
Friedman's Practice | Dr.
Friedman's Approach | Therapeutic
Purposes | Credentials
| Experience | Brochures
| Interview | Events
and Workshops | Website Disclaimer