A note from Bright Crow: Long before Walhydra became (in)famous on the 'Net with her ranting blog, Walhydra's Porch, she was already part of a private listserv of Pagan friends called The Crone Thread.Part 1: Dr. Bob
In January of 1996, Walhydra started serializing an adventure she had just survived at what began innocently enough as a New Year's Eve Eve Party, hosted by her prison counselor colleague, Dr. Bob.
Walhydra had been looking forward to the party all week.
Dr. Bob, her host, was one of the most interesting and unusual of all the dozen or so interesting and unusual clinical colleagues she worked with. Most of these folks were mid-30s to 40s, either counselors or correctional officers become counselors.
For a year plus, Walhydra had marveled at how well this quirky, diverse crew of folks meshed professionally and personally as they accomplished the day to day miracle of keeping 250+ mentally ill male prison inmates more or less stable and safe.
Dr. Bob had been the most challenging of them to mesh with. He was a genuine polymath, a brilliant man, now in his late 60s, who had a seemingly endless reserve of stories—all clearly true—about "when I was at Julliard," "when I was a concert pianist with the Houston Symphony," "when I taught at the University," "when I was studying meditation with my guru," "when I was experimenting with LSD...."
None of these stories were told to show off. Each was offered in context, either to illustrate a point or simply to share his delight in an amazing experience.
Dr. Bob had come out of retirement to work as a psychologist in the S.C. prison system—because he needed extra money to refurbish the ocean going sailing yacht he had designed and built by hand years earlier, and which now sat in drydock in Charleston harbor!
Part of what made Dr. Bob a challenge was his absolute commitment to rational thinking and empirical evidence and his readiness, at any moment, to gently but firmly dispute any sloppy thinking or any claim or belief not confirmed by scrupulous scientific method.
He didn't mind at all being teased or argued with and enjoyed baiting his colleagues, though never in an unkind way, if he thought they were being at all careless in their thinking.
Walhydra had found Dr. Bob very daunting at first. As a boy in high school and college, and on into her 20s, she had used her own intellect both as a distraction and as a defense against the teasing or indifferent people around her. She had even believed that she was basically a logical, scientific person.
That was until age 23, when she dropped out of Lutheran seminary and began the process of coming out as a gay man and witch. Now, at 45, she could be amused by both rational and non rational discoveries. She could laugh at her own silliness, her own "professional white male" ego defensiveness, her own spectacular mistakes and successes—and so on.
But it still took a while to stop worrying about not being able to out argue Dr. Bob. And to discover how much they shared and enjoyed in common.
The outer bounds of this common ground had to do with their mutual intellectual fascinations with their clients and the mysteries of mental illness, with music, with politics and with other realms of human behavior.
They also shared a chronic enjoyment of Internet communication—though Dr. Bob could program and de-bug and fix computer hardware, while Walhydra steadfastly refused to learn these things why bother when she could always ask her math and computer wiz spouse, Jim?
As they became more familiar, Walhydra and Dr. Bob found that they also shared a very unorthodox view of what is naturally okay about human sexual behavior, as contrasted with what is either condoned by or horrifying to conventional morality.
This in turn led them to an even better discovery: they shared a life long, polymorphously perverse fascination with...
[To be continued]