It's ruined my life, she says

FALLS CITY, NE ( this small town less than 90 miles from Omaha, Sue Eckert woke up one morning speaking exclusively in clichés.

Dr. Howard Mayer, a psychiatrist at the local Community Medical Center, said he'd never seen or heard of a similar case.

"It's just incredible," Dr. Mayer said. "I've been a psychiatrist for over forty years and I've never seen anything like it. What may have brought it on, in my opinion, was watching too many episodes of Friends and other sitcoms. Anyway, Sue's been my patient now for the last two years and although we've made some progress, she's hardly cured. Not only that, but I think that those around her-including myself-have to varying degrees caught her condition. It's like a darn disease."

He thought, and added: "Most people use a lot of clichés in their daily lives, but Eckert uses them all the time. I feel sorry for her. She's really been between a rock and a hard place."

Eckert said her life's been ruined because of it. A month after her affliction, she was fired from her job.

"It was like speaking to a brick wall," Eckert said, recalling the discussion with her boss the day she was fired. "Maybe my boss just had an axe to grind, I don't know. But he was as cold as ice."

As if being fired wasn't bad enough, her husband and daughter moved out of the house a month later.

"He had always blown hot and cold," Eckert said of her husband. "Even before we got married, he had cold feet. To be honest, he was nothing special, just the common garden variety. But when he left, he really pulled the rug from under my feet."

Mr. Eckert told TheShortStraw by telephone that he loved his wife but that her use of clichés drove him crazy. He said he knew he had to leave before it rubbed off on their daughter.

"When we first met she was the apple of my eye, but then one day, out of the blue, she started speaking in clichés all the time. I told her to stop, that she was stuck in a rut. She said I was just experiencing a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. I did for her what I could. Well, you can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

At this point TheShortStraw correspondent informed Mr. Eckert that he may have caught the same disease.

"Nonsense," Eckert said. "Why are you saying that? Because of the horse saying? Man, I just made that up. So, anyway, I just couldn't take it anymore. When it started affecting our daughter-as I said, I was immune to it--I knew I had to leave. She'd said she'd change, but it was just too little, too late."

Cindy Eckert, a junior at Falls City Senior High, agreed with her father. She, too, hasn't seen her mother in nearly two years.

"It was way too embarrassing," she said. "My friends used to make fun of me, saying an apple never falls far from the tree. When I heard that, my blood ran cold. Because I knew it isn't true. They were barking up the wrong tree. For now, I'm just taking it one day at a time."

"I think they're making a mountain out of a molehill," Sue Eckert said, referring to her husband and daughter. "But you watch-every dog has his day."

Dr. Mayer said he wasn't very hopeful about Eckert's recovery, or, for that matter, his own.

"Maybe every cloud has a silver lining," Dr. Mayer said, "but in this case I don't want to put the horse before the cart and say we'll be able to cure her or anyone she comes in contact with. Although we've made progress, do I think we've left no stone unturned? No, I wouldn't say so. Still, there's always next year."

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


TheShortStraw is intended for use by those age 18 and older. All stories are fictional and satirical and should not in any way be construed as fact. All contents Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw. All rights reserved.

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