(The Camera comes into focus on a somewhat dimly lit stage with three over-stuffed chairs. A rather ordinary woman sits in the middle chair. As the camera zooms in, it’s obvious that she is clearly focused.)
Barb: Welcome to the Church of the Wayward Gypsy. My name is Barb Black, and I’ll be your host today. Please, have a seat, grab a cup o’ bean, and get comfortable. Today, as previously promised, we’re foregoing the usual philosophical ramblings so that I can interview two of the most prolific entities in the known Universe, The Maligners of Morale, those guys you hate to love and love to hate… Señor Self Doubt and and Monsieur External Validation! Without further ado, let’s bring out Señor Self Doubt first…
(Camera and lights pan stage right as a small, rather bookish, but surly looking fellow enters the stage.)
Barb: Hello, Señor Self Doubt, and welcome!
Self Doubt: *slumps in chair* Uh… thank you. You can call me Sid… my middle initial is 'I', for Inflicted. That is, if you’re sure you want to do this at all. I mean, if you’re sure you’re up to it. You don’t look well… have you been getting enough sleep? Your clothes look a little tight… maybe you’re not eating right.
Barb: No, I’m fine, thanks Señor Sel… um… Sid.
Self Doubt: *heavy sigh* If you say so.
Barb: Sid, you seem to be able to be in several places at once - truly an admirable trait. How do you do it?
Self Doubt: It’s easy, really. It only appears that I’m in several places at once. But basically, I only make little visits throughout the day, plant my seeds, fertilize them well with BS, and then I’m off to squander my attention elsewhere. Does your hair always look like that?
Barb: *clears throat* I’ll ask the questions here. You say you plant some seeds. Expound on that, please.
Self Doubt: *scoffs* Right. Like you’d understand that. I didn’t say “some seeds,” I said “my seeds!” Seeds of Self Doubt. See, you people are so easy to manipulate that all I’ve got to do is plant one of my wiggly little nuggets, toss some BS in the mix, and you’ll incubate the thing until it grows completely out of proportion. Ta Da. I call ‘em Sid’s Little Tumor Babies, ‘cause they grow fast, take over everything, and all they do is eat, spew, poop, and whine.
Barb: I see. They don’t sleep?
Self Doubt: *rolls eyes* Never. You’ve got something stuck in your teeth.
Barb: Uh… Sid. Tell me where you grew up.
Self Doubt: *yawns* Oh, here and there. But mostly I spent my time in the Halls of Apathy. You’d think it would be boring there, but there’s so much mischief to get into. I had a blast.
Barb: Halls of Apathy?
Self Doubt: Duh. Huge place, lots of great hiding places, plenty of food. Been around pretty much since dirt was new.
Barb: Hmm. Who were some of your early influences?
Self Doubt: Oh, well… I’ve always looked up to my Dad, Cynicism. He’s an Expert. Goes around telling people that nothing’s ever gonna work, and most people actually buy it! Morons. My Mom, Pretention, is a great gal, but she’s kind of a show off. My Uncle Lan… uh, short for Pusillanimous, I think (his Dad was some old Greek guy… spent forever pushin’ a rock up a hill). Uncle Lan is a real kick in the pants.
Barb: Have any playmates as a kid? Have any friends?
Self Doubt: *snorts* Yeah, unlike you. My best buddy is your other guest. Me’n Val been runnin’ together since we was knee-high to foot fungus. Lotsa fun… he sets ‘em up, I knock ‘em down.
Barb: Well then, let’s bring him out. Please welcome Monsieur External Validation!
(Camera and lights pan stage left as a tall, dashing, self-assured looking man enters the stage.)
Barb: Hello, Monsieur External Validation. As always, it’s good to have you here.
External Validation: Hey, hey! Great to be here. Fantastic. Wow, you look great… beautiful eyes. Hey, call me Val.
Self Doubt: *shakes his head*
Barb: I… uh… thanks, Val.
External Validation: Sure, sure, sure. Really, so nice of you to have me here. Always thought you were a great gal.
Self Doubt: Geez… c’mon Val… you’re pandering.
External Validation: Of course, ya little imp. Go with what you’re good at, right?
Self Doubt: Ya make me sick, ya big Sugar Sack.
Barb: Okay guys. Okay. Val, unlike Sid who seems to be around all the time, you seem to show up only when you’re needed…
External Validation: Oh, well, don’t let that fool ya, Pretty Girl. I’m needed a lot, way more than it looks like, really. But I do sit back and monitor situations before I step in. Sid gets people feeling so lousy about themselves that they need a boost - hey, who doesn’t? That’s where I step in. I nudge other people to, truthfully or not, say nice things to that person. Then I give the person a good ego massage, get ‘em all relaxed and happy again, and send ‘em on their way.
Self Doubt: *chuckles* I can’t handly that sappy crappy craptastic crapola. I give it a few minutes and then, just like Jack Nicholson, I chop down the door and… “I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!”
External Validation: *good naturedly tousles Sid’s hair* You do keep me busy, ya little booger.
Self Doubt: Hey, if it wasn’t for me, you wouldn‘t even have a job!
External Validation: True speech, my little friend. Little… hey… you getting’ taller? You look different. Better.
Self Doubt: BAH! That crap don’t work with me! Shovel it somewhere else.
Barb: Guys, guys, guys… Val, Sid mentioned earlier that you’re somewhat of a mentor to him…
Self Doubt: Hey! I never said… he ain’t no…
Barb: Shush. Val, who were some of the great influences in your life?
External Validation: Definitely my parents, Si (Self Importance) and Miss Guided… hi Mom and Dad! You’re my heroes! Love you, love you, love you!! Oh, and my Grandmother… wonderfully sweet lady… always handing out useless advice… making people feel all warm and fuzzy… dear old Granny Cloy. I miss her. My cousin, Perfidious… lots of fun, that guy.
Barb: Interesting. Alright guys. Lastly, I’m going to give you a phrase, and I want each of you to complete it. Val, Sid… I am worthy because…?
Self Doubt: Worthy? Who is really worthy of anything. Nothing you do really matters.
Barb: *raising an eyebrow* How about you, Val? I’m worthy because…?
External Validation: Easy, Gorgeous! Because everyone else says you are.
Barb: You’re both incorrect. I am worthy. End of sentence. The “because” does not signify.
Self Doubt: You’re so full of shi… hey, you cheated! *mutters in a whiny voice* “because does not signify“… pfft…
External Validation: As intelligent as you are, I disagree… “because” always signifies… who are you without the splendor of outside opinion? Who could exist that way?
Barb: I know who I am, and I am worthy. And, I’m most definitely done with the two of you. You can leave now.
External Validation: Sure, Dollface, we’ll wait for you in the wings while you wrap it up.
Barb: No, I mean leave for good. Go away. Hit the road. Be gone. Done listening to either of you... so done. Get out.
Self Doubt: You don’t have the strength to get rid of us.
Barb: Watch me. I know who I am. I am worthy. Bye guys.
(Camera and lights pan stage right as Señor Self Doubt and Monsieur External Validation exit hesitantly. Sid can be overheard whispering to Val, “Don‘t worry, Pal. Just yesterday I planted a whole bunch of my seeds… she ain‘t seen the last of us.” Val claps his hand on Sid’s shoulder and replies, “You da man!”)
(Camera and lights pan back to Barb as she sits, looking worn but satisfied, rubbing the back of her neck.)
Barb: Thank you all for joining us here today. Boy, I’m exhausted, but I‘ve never felt better. Oh, a word of caution… if you see those two, I recommend that you steer clear of them. Take care and be good to yourselves… happy wonderings.
(Camera and lights pan stage left as Barb exits purposefully.)