My Second Twenty Years: An Unexpected Life

My Second Twenty Years: An Unexpected Life

My Second Twenty Years: An Unexpected Life

My Second Twenty Years: An Unexpected Life

Excerpt

In May of 1953, a few days after my twentieth birthday, I broke my neck in an automobile accident and lay for a while, precariously, on the farthest rim of existence.

Even if one happens to be the offspring of two psychiatrists, as I am, one is not necessarily convinced that accidents must be self-willed. The son of two psychiatrists, in fact, may resist the idea all the more; so may the psychiatrists. True, I was driving the car; I drove it off the road, causing it to flip over. Still, when I return from time to time to the scene of my youth, I whisper into the wings to Freud, "You are wrong, there are accidents, pure and accidental." My accident happened with a suddenness beyond my control, out of the blue.

In retrospect, though, signs that I wanted an interruption to my panicky youth mark the examined blue. We all know about retrospect, how it shames the blindness of one approaching a transforming event. Accidents happen "before we knew it." After twenty-odd years of retrospection, of attempting to "know it," I am still investigating causes. I still find new questions to ask. The more time that passes, the fuller my mental archives become.

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