40 / CHRONICLESnto question a lot during the first hournand indeed to disagree a bit with thenpsychiatrist, so that he could pretendnhe was an open-minded person. Anyonenwho remained silent got a messagenfrom him through the Charge Nurse:nPerhaps Mr. X. did not have anythingnto contribute to the great work at theninstitution; perhaps Mr. X. would benhappier somewhere else.nThe fifth quarter-hour was the timento say to the psychiatrist, “Oh, now Inunderstand”; and “I never thoughtnabout that aspect,” which gave thenpsychiatrist the last quarter of an hournto sum up what we had learned.nAnd what did we learn? On weekends,nassigned careworkers usuallynshowed up late or not at all or drunk;nthere were occasions when I took carenof all our charges. In the evenings,ncareworkers put their charges to bed asnsoon as possible and then rushed to thenStaff Room to make personal phonencalls and drink coffee and smoke andnread and talk about how sick sick sicknthe children were — because if thenchildren were sick sick sick, then thenwork of the “highly qualified personnel”nwas all that much more dramaticnand important and wonderful.nI did not catch on quick enough. Inthought that my job was to reconcilenthe children with a world which hadnoften treated them badly, to teachnthem how to get along with people andnhave a good time. I was proud when Incould write in the daily report: “Had angood day. Was cooperative and cheerful.nGot along well with other children.”nFinally a psychiatrist snarled atnme: “That is not the way to writenreports”; but he didn’t tell me how tonwrite reports. I had to find out fornmyselfnAmong the careworkers was a girlnwhom I will call Mallory. In the eveningsnand on weekends, she generallynhid away from her charges, in the StaffnRoom, talked about her latest abortion,nand made literally hour-long privatenphone calls, drank coffee,nsmoked. She was usually assigned tontwo boys, Joe and Tony. Tony was onlynsix, but a clever and assertive fellow.nHe would knock on the Staff Roomndoor: “Come out, Mallory, and donthings with us, like you’re supposednto.” Mallory would get hysterical: “Inhate that littie f—n’ bastard! Dropndead! Leave me alone!” She not onlynhad a degree in psychology, she wasnalso a psychiatric outpatient, at anothernhospital, for many years. She knewnwhat psychology is all about. Onenevening, after a summer storm, shenasked Tony: “Listen, Tony! Who is thenbig warm sun that makes the clouds innyou go away?” She pressed andnprompted him for a long time. Finally,nshe wrested from him a dubiousn”You?”nA few days later, at a meeting, thenPsychiatrist-in-Charge read a 500wordnromance purporting to be a reportnon how Tony had shyly confidednto Mallory that “Something very importantnis happening here! Missnevidently has a special relationshipnwith Tony!” Yes, indeed! Mallory hadnby that time phoned at least on 12nseparate occasions, during weekendsnand evenings, to the main hospitalncomplex, claiming that Tony was “unmanageable,”nand had a nurse comento give the boy an injection of sedatives.nNo other careworker did so.nSpecial relationships became a sortnof in-house knighthood. One noontime,nwhen lunch was late, a boynwhiled the time away by scratchingndirt out of a crack in the table. Hisnastute careworker asked: “hito whosenheart are you sticking this knife?” Henworked on that, and got his specialnrelationship a few days later.nTony got into many fights, mainlynbecause Mallory neglected her charges.nJoe and Tony wanted to join upnwith other groups and were rejected,nand Tony would hit and shove. n anmeeting, with all the psychiatrists etnal., it was deduced that Tony foughtnbecause an older boy in another groupnwas instigating him. Neither the motivationnof the older boy nor the mechanicsnof his instigating were evenndiscussed. The P-in-C ordered thatnwhen Tony would fight thenceforth,nhis careworker was to find Kevin andnsit on him.nApparently nobody noticed thatnMallory was very clumsy and, weighingnclose to 200 pounds, might wellncause grievous harm to Kevin if shenwere to try to sit on him. I gasped:n”You mean if I am with Tony and henfights in our dirty backyard, I leavenhim there and run downtown to Woolworth’snand sit on Kevin there, if he’snthere?”nThe psychiatrist did not deign tonnnanswer. But later I got the message:nPerhaps I had nothing positive to contributento the great work at the Institution.nPerhaps I would be a lot happiernsomewhere else.nThere was a file in the Staff Roomnon each child; we were supposed tonread the files. But I didn’t want to. Inwas afraid that if I read of disturbednbehavior, I might expect it and subconsciouslynprovoke it. I wanted to seenthe problems first. Actually, I nevernhad any problems with the children,nwho all seemed to be astonishinglynnormal. Bob in particular. He wasnsuch a pleasant, sensible, reliable fellownthat I went to his file in sheernperplexity. It contained three items: anstatement by his mother that he hadnbeen conceived while his father wasndrunk and that she had known fromnthe first that he would be retarded;nsecond, a statement from a schoolnprincipal that Bob had done a lot ofndaydreaming at school; last, an admissionnform on which it was stated thatnhe had an I.Q. of below 80. There wasnnothing about any disturbed or delinquentnbehavior. There was no indicationnthat he had been seen by a psychiatristnin the three years since hisnadmission.nWorse: In the ensuing weeks andnmonths I became convinced that Bobnwas actually quite intelligent. I askednto have his I.Q. tested again and wasnthreatened with dismissal because onlynpsychiatrists could make such requests.nBut the boy was retested. Thisntime they came up with a 130/nBorderline Genius.nAnd then? Nothing happened. Anreport with the new figure was enterednin the file after a few weeks. That wasnall. Bob was the perfect patient. Henjustified a lot of salaries without makingnany demands. They wanted tonkeep him.nAn aquarium had been donated.nBecause Bob was the only one whontook care of it, it was moved into hisnroom and spoken of as Bob’s aquarium.nHe wanted to buy more fish andnan air pump. I told him that if henwould save five dollars out of his allowance,nI would pay the rest. Hensaved half of his allowance every week.nAnd then we had a Case Conferencenon Bob.n”Saving is not normal in a boy. Henwill explode!” said careworker T.D.n