I think its your shell.”


I have a shell?”


Of course, everything does.”




Well, clams, mussels, scallops, abalones, armadillos.


Have you ever seen an armadillo?”


No, but Ive read about them.”


Thats hearsay.  You cant use it.”


Okay, beetles then.  They have very hard shells.”


Do humans have shells?”


Yes, they do, very special shells, invisible to everyone except psychologists.”


What are psychologists?”


Psychologists are humans that study human shells.”


So, what have these psychologists learned?”


Hanging out in your shell all the time isnt healthy.”


What if its a camper shell?”


Airstreams are okay but I dont like Winnebagos.”


How do you know these things?”


Studied psychology at Oyster Cad.”


So, what do you mean by you think its my shell?  Whats it?


Your problem.”


I have a problem?”


We all have problems.”


Psychology, pfft!


Well, its true.”


So, what is your problem?”


Were not talking about me, were talking about you.”


No, youre talking about me.  Youre saying I have a problem and that my problem is because of my shell.  I like my shell.”


Youre too deep inside your shell, too withdrawn from the world outside, friends and family.”


Too deep.  Too withdrawn?  Says who?”


It would be better if you opened up a little, let your feelings out.”


Better for me or for you?”


For you, of course.”


Yea, you just want to get your oyster knife in there and twist it.”


Dont be ridiculous.”


Cautious.  The proper word is cautious.”


I am only thinking of whats good for you.”


So you want me to wear my feelings on my sleeve?”


I didnt say that, just open up a little, thats all.”


Open my shell?”


Yes, thats it, open your shell, just a little.”


And I would be better?”




I thought we were supposed to drop out, turn on and tune in?”


That was the sixties.”


A golden age.”


The sixties was a failure, the whole back to nature back to the land thing was no more than a passing fad, a mistake.  And besides, were not talking about a movement here, were talking about you.”


Are you sure about that?”


Lets not get off track, were talking about your shell.”


So, whats so bad about a little introspection?”


Navel gazing.  Counterproductive.  Shell game, shell corp, bomb shell, shell shock, shell out … the word shell oozes negativity.”


Yea?  What about shell fish?”


Very funny.  The exception that proves the rule.”


What rule?”


Look, all Im trying to do is help you.”


I know, but your hypothesis is wrong.”


What hypothesis?”


That my problem is my shell.  I have a lot of problems but my shell is not one of them.  I like my shell.  I can read there without being interrupted.  I can think without being disturbed.”


But, arent you lonely?”


Sometimes, yes.”


And, arent you bored?”


Sometimes, yes.  But arent you sometimes lonely and bored yourself?”


Well …”


And, dont you sometimes just want to get away from everything, all the worlds distractions, just chill out, you know, smell the roses as that worn out saying goes?”


Uh … well …”


Have you ever tried just hanging out in your shell?”


Oh hell!  Just go stew in your juices.  I dont give a fuck.”


Thats a terrible thing to say to an oyster!”


The world is my oyster.”


Yea, well good luck with that.  The man who doesnt believe in something believes in anything.”


So, you believe in your shell?”


Damn right!”


So, youre a hedgehog, not a fox.”




You believe in one big thing, yourself, and ignore the rest of the world out there.”


What a dumb idea.  We have met the enemy and he is us.”


You live in Platos cave.


No, I live in Candides garden.”


This is getting us nowhere.”


Youre right.  Lets have lunch.  How do you like your plankton?”


On the half shell, please.”


Dont be an ass.”