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Dr. Max, Professional Therapist* *Not really
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Trifecta January 5, 1998

Dr. Max,

I know that you have heard of the belief that tragedies come in threes. This summer we were all rocked by the untimely demise of first William S. Burroughs and then the people's princess, Diana, person of Wales. In this knowledge, and with your superior German intellect, do you believe that John Denver's death is the end of this latest ghastly trilogy? Please respond, I'm losing sleep. 

- Anonymous
 

Dear Anonymous,

It is human nature to try to attach meaning to otherwise random events. We also like to find visual and numeric patterns in wholly random phenomenon -- looking for familiar images in clouds, for instance, or attaching mythological stature to the arrangement of certain stars, or seeing a face in a Martian mountain. Three, in particular, is a potent numerological symbol -- it takes three legs to hold up a table; mother, father, and baby makes three; the Christian Trinity; (I suppose I should include some trite, absurd example to fulfill the reader's comedic expectations, since I hear that some people read this column for laughs instead of to gain psychological insight.) and of course Barry, Maurice and Robin. (Satisfied? Too bad Andy had to die for that example to work.) 

I can't resist pointing out the irony of the whole situation. Here you have a man, known rightly or wrongly for wholesomeness, the embodiment of clean living, and a woman, at one time one of the most guarded people on the planet, and another man, perhaps the most famous ex-junkie weapon-fetishist there was. The first two die prematurely in senseless accidental deaths, while Mr. Burroughs lives longer than Mr. Denver, Ms. Spencer, and JonBenét Ramsey combined! Maybe they're in the same karass. 

So you see, it only seems that bad things come in threes. There is really no need to panic. As for your sleeplessness, I recommend either a nice cognac, a nice orgasm, or both, right before bedtime. And don't forget to say your prayers. 
 

- Dr. Max

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