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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Dr. BLT offers advice for a song to music-minded youth and adults in crisis. 

The following inquiry has been paraphrased, with certain details omitted and/or altered to protect the confidentiality of the subject.

Dear Doctor: 
 
Oh, please doctor, I'm damaged 
There's a pain where there once was a heart 
It's sleepin', it's beatin' 
Can't ya please tear it out, and preserve it 
Right there in that jar? 
 
Oh help me, please mama, I'm sick'ning 
It's today that's the day of the plunge 
Oh the gal I'm to marry 
Is a bow-legged sow 
I've been soakin' up drink like a sponge 
 
"Don't ya worry, get dressed," cried my mother 
as she plied me with bourbon so sour 
pull your socks up, put your suit on 
comb your long hair down, 
for you will be wed in the hour 
 
Oh, please doctor, I'm damaged 
There's a pain where there once was a heart 
It's sleepin', it's beatin' 
Can't ya please tear it out, and preserve it 
Right there in that jar? 
 
Oh, please doctor, I'm damaged 
There's a pain where there once was a heart 
It's sleepin', it's beatin' 
Can't ya please tear it out, and preserve it 
Right there in that jar? 
 
I was tremblin', as I put on my jacket 
It had creases as sharp as a knife 
I put the ring in my pocket 
But there was a note 
And my heart it jumped into my mouth 
 
It read, "Darlin' I'm sorry to hurt you 
But I have no courage to speak to your face 
But I'm down in Virginia with your cousin Lou 
There be no wedding today." 
 
So help me, please doctor, I'm damaged 
You can put back my heart in its hole 
Oh mama, I'm cryin' 
Tears of relief 
And my pulse is now under control 
 
Dear Doctor by 
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, 1968 
Extracted from Beggars Banquet 
 
Dear Mick and Keith: 
 
Dear Mick and Keith 
You need relief 
Hope I can help 
Handle your grief 
When you are rich 
Women seem cheap 
When you have fame 
Love is a game 
Is there an answer for you? 
 
I bet you thought no one would answer 
The letter you sent long ago 
'Tis a bit narcissistic to think it's for me 
But I think I will give it a go 
 
I know that the song's just a story 
And the character couldn't be you 
You're not so pathetic 
As this poor drunk, are you? 
Either one, will you answer, are you? 
 
One moment a dread's filled your being 
So you drink to forget what you'll do 
But the very next moment 
When your gal gets cold feet 
You act like your heart's torn in two 
 
Commitment is not such a torment 
If your love runs as deep as the sea 
If either of you 
Had as much love as fame 
You wouldn't be trapped in these blues 
 
Dear Mick and Keith by Dr. B.L.Thiessen 2004 
(from the as-yet-untitled forthcoming Dr. BLTribute to The Rolling Stones)
 
Dear Mick and Keith:
 
You veteran members of Rolling Stones wrote your letter in the form of a song, so I felt obliged to respond in kind. 
 
Like I said in the song, it would be narcissistic, and downright delusional I might add, for me to assume that your letter was written specifically to me. Moreover, it would be equally as narcissistic and doubly as delusional of me to assume that you would ever read my response. So my response is not intended for your eyes only. My lyrical letter is also intended for all of those bachelors or bachelorettes out there who are deeply conflicted---torn between love and repulsion, and willing to break an engagement at the drop of a hat, in order to capitulate to a paralyzing fear of commitment. 
 
Your letter is old---almost as old as I am, so I know that a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. But maybe if I stuck my toe in the river, I'd find (much to the dismay of the ancient pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus) that the river is exactly the same as it was when you wrote this song. If this were to be the case, I wouldn't be surprised. Fame, and the opulence that invariably accompanies it, often has the same effect on development as drugs do. Development, at least emotional development, tends to become frozen when fame and fortune are in the mix. I've read about you in books that rise above mere tabloid claptrap. You pulled some mighty immature stunts as young members of The Rolling Stones. Ab initio, neither of you were particularly emotionally mature for your age. So if fame and fortune have done their job, you are likely stuck at that same level of emotional development.
 
My own subjective, admittedly limited interpretation of the lyrics, suggests that the song smacks of fear---fear of rejection, fear of affection, fear of infection (?) and, greatest of all---fear of commitment. 
 
Mick, if you were as committed to one woman as you were to one band, you would have been married to the same woman for over forty years. Keith, though your love life or lack thereof has not been dragged out in the open to the same degree as Mick's, the same would go for you. Mick?!!!... Keith?!!!... 
 
Never mind. I keep forgetting that in all likelihood, this letter will never reach these two musical wizards.  So why did I write it? 
 
I wrote this for all of you like-minded, like-hearted rambling rock 'n’ rollers who eschew commitment like the plague for fear of what you could lose by giving your heart away. Instead of thinking about it in terms of loss, think about what you could stand to gain: someone to talk with, laugh with, cry with, hope with, dream with, argue with, make up with, make children with while making up with, and, ultimately, grow old with.   Who could ask for more? 
 
Marital commitment requires compromise, humility, dedication, loyalty, discipline, long-suffering, patience, kindness, tenderness, thoughtfulness, and flexibility. In short, it requires your all. What else have you got? What good is "your all" if you don't give it away? 
 
The church is the bride of Christ. She is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and your bride-to-be won't be either (or husband to be if you happen to be a female stricken by the same fear). There is undoubtedly risk involved, but if you follow the model of Christ, and act towards your bride (or spouse), the way that Christ acts towards his church, you can't lose. Of course in the unlikely (or shall I say impossible?) event that Mick and Keith actually stumble across this reply to their lyrical letter, the only church they may be familiar with is The Church of the Poisoned Mind. 
 
So, turning my attention back to the two of you, you may have to actually set foot in a legitimate church, or mingle with those dreaded born again Christians, to find out what I'm talking about. 
 
Actually, in all honesty, I must admit, your lyrical letter is rather catchy.  I only hope that your disease of intimacy-avoidance-at-all-costs is not. 
 
Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society. 
 
His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 

If you are a musically-minded person in distress, write Dr. BLT at drblt@drblt.com
 
 
 

Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society.

His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 


 
 
 
 

 

 
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