Month: August 2012

The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 39


to be a viable alternative,” said Dr. Stein.
“No, probably not.”
“I’ll tell you what my take is on your situation. Honestly, Drake when I look at you, the way you dress, the way you talk, your mannerisms, you’re rock and roll. You love to teach, but you hate authority and bureaucracy. This really creates a dilemma for you,” said Dr. Stein.
“Yeah, agreed. So what do I do?”
“Well, I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t go back to teaching in a traditional school division setting. You need to teach in an environment that is non traditional and is unconventional.”
“Where would I find a job like that?” asked Drake.
“There are two types of places that I can think of offhand. One would be to teach in a penal institution and the other would be in some kind of mental health setting,” answered Dr. Stein. In both those environments I think your supervisors would tend to let you do your own thing and would basically see you as the educational expert. You would feel much less pressure to perform according to someone else’s standards and you would be freer to exercise your creativity. My advise to you would be to start contacting some of these institutions to express your interest in teaching there. In fact, I have a friend who supervises a mental health rehabilitation center in The House of Hope. His name is Rick Jennings and I have his contact number. He’s a very nice guy and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind meeting you over a coffee or lunch. Are you interested?”
“Yes, would it be possible for you to introduce me to him?”
“No problem. Why don’t I set up a three way call for you right now?” asked Dr. Stein.
Drake shuffled nervously around in his chair and said, “Yes, go ahead. Thank you, Harvey.”
Dr. Stein picked up the phone and dialed Rick Jenning’s number.
“Hi, Rick. It’s Harvey Stein calling.”
“Hey, how’s it going, Harvey?” said Rick.
“Rick, can I put you on speaker phone? I have a client in my office that I’d like you to talk to. His name is Drake Stephens. His background is in teaching but he’s interested in working in a non traditional setting.”
“Sure put us on speaker phone. You’ve got me interested. I can assure you that this is an unconventional place to work,” said Rick.

The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 38


“Wow, We sound pretty good together,” said Drake.
“Well, I’m not going to quit my day job just yet, Drake,” said Dr. Stein.
“I don’t blame you,” laughed Drake.
“Well, I think it’s time that we got down to business,” said Dr. Stein. I’ll go over the results of your Strong -Campbell test first Drake. The results are pretty definitive. According to your scores you definitely fit into what is called ‘the helper’ category.”
“What does that mean?”
“It indicates that you like to work with people and to help people. Several professions fall into this category including the ministry, social work, lawyer, teacher and a few others. You score high in all these occupations Drake but your highest score is in teaching. According to the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory you demonstrate a strong interest in any of these occupations but your highest aptitude is for teaching.”
“Oh, great. So I should continue being a teacher?
“Not necessarily. This test just shows that you still have a strong interest in education. Your Myers-Briggs test results indicate that you belong to a personality profile that is not common for a teacher. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be a teacher because there are working teachers with the same personality profile as you. Let’s explore the field of social work. You also have a strong interest in this profession but I can tell that you hate paper work and bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the field of social work has even more bureaucracy and paper work than teaching. For this reason, I wouldn’t think that it’s a good fit for you.”
“So, where do we look next, the ministry?”
“We could. Let’s explore that. Are you a Christian and do you attend church?”
“Yes, to both but I’m a bit irregular in my church attendance,”
“Does that mean that you don’t go to church every Sunday?”
“Yes, I often don’t go to church on Sundays. I might go once per month.”
“Don’t you like church?”
“Sometimes I do, but I’m often bored in church. Most Sundays I’m simply too burned out from my job and feel that I just need to sleep late and take it easy on Sundays,”said Drake.
“I don’t think that sending you to seminary to be trained as a pastor is going to be a viable alternative,” said Dr. Stein.

The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 37


“Your tests all finished Drake?” asked Dr. Stein.
“Yes, and I feel all tired out,” answered Drake.
“I’ll tell you what. It’s going to take me an hour or two to score and analyze your results. Can you be back tomorrow at 10:00 AM.?”
“Sure.”
“Good. I’ll go over the test results with you then. Have a good day, Drake.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Doc.”
Drake arrived about fifteen minutes early for his Sunday morning appointment. He was greeted at the door by Dr. Stein. This morning the psychologist was wearing a faded denim shirt and a pair of similarly well worn blue jeans. Drake looked around the study and saw an acoustic electric guitar sitting on a guitar stand in the corner.
“Do you play guitar, Harvey?” Drake was by now feeling enough at ease to call his psychologist by his first name.
“I try, Drake. I’m not very good but I still find playing the guitar to be relaxing.”
“What kind of music do you like to play?” asked Drake.
“ All kinds. Folk and classic rock the most, probably. I love playing Bob Dylan songs.”
“Wow, I love Dylan’s music. Did you know that Dylan is playing a concert in Winnipeg this summer?”
“I sure do. I’ve got tickets for it,” answered Dr. Stein.
Drake laughed. “Me, too. I’ll see you at the concert.”
“It should be a great show. It’s the first time Dylan is playing in Winnipeg,” said Dr. Stein.
“Do you know how to play Mr. Tambourine Man, Harvey?”
“It’s one of the few songs that I play half decently.”
“Can you play it for me now?” asked Drake.
“Well, playing Bob Dylan songs to one of my clients wouldn’t be considered a best practice in my profession, what the heck. I can call it establishing a therapeutic relationship.”
Dr. Stein walked over to get his Martin acoustic guitar. He took a minute or two to tune up and then broke into the opening chords of Mr. Tambourine Man. It sounded so good that Drake started singing along with his psychologist. Their harmony was surprisingly good and doctor and client sang the song with great emotion.

The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 36


“What do you think Drake? What do you want to do?”
“I’m not sure Dr. Stein. I don’t think I have the health and stamina to return to full time teaching,” said Drake.
“Then let’s explore some alternatives. I’ll give you a couple of psychological tests to do. I’ll score and analyze them for you and then we’ll talk some more.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Drake.
“Are you planning on applying for long term disability benefits?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Then ask your doctor to refer you to a psychiatrist. The insurance companies require the assessment of a psychiatrist for these stress related claims. I know this for a fact. I’ve worked with several teachers and other professionals in your position. As for any career transition issues I will be the best one to help you. It’s probably going to take awhile for your life to stabilize and you’re going to need a source of income during this time. That’s what long term disability benefits are for,” said Dr. Stein.
“You mean I’ll have to see a psychiatrist. Do you think I’m crazy?” asked Drake.
“Not at all,” laughed Dr. Stein. “ But it’s very likely that you are depressed and that’s an accepted medical condition. That’s what your insurance company will be looking for, a recognized medical condition.”
“And they need a psychiatrist to determine this?”
“That’s the way the game works, Drake. It’s the insurance companies that make up the rules. But let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Are you ready to start your written tests?” asked Dr. Stein.
“Yeah, let’s get at it,” answered Drake.
Drake looked at the papers that Dr. Stein handed to him. One test was known as a Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory. This test was designed to determine what kind of occupations Drake might be interested in pursuing. The other test was the Myers -Briggs Personality Tests. Drake had done both these tests when he had seen a university counselor but that was several years ago. Dr. Stein also had Drake do a couple of psychological tests that Drake was not familiar with. Fortunately, Drake enjoyed doing these types of tests and was interested in how Dr. Stein would interpret his test results when he was finished. In a little over an hour Drake had finished his tests and called Dr. Stein to come back to his study.

The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 35


When Drake phoned the psychologist he was told that he had an appointment available at 9:00 AM. He was also told that the appointment would be at the psychologist’s home in Transcona. Apparently, he couldn’t be bothered to drive to his downtown office on a Saturday.
Drake parked his red Ford Tempo in front of the psychologist’s house. He was struck by how modest the house looked. It was a small house painted white with red trim. Some of the paint was already faded and peeling and the grass in the front yard looked like it could use cutting. When Drake tried pushing the doorbell, he found that it didn’t work. Drake decided to try the metal knocker that appeared to have a picture of an elf carved in it. He gave the knocker three quick hits.
The door was opened by a large, burly man. He was tall, overweight and his head looked like it still hadn’t seen a brush or comb that morning.
“You must be Drake. Hi, I’m Dr. Harvey Stein. You can just call me Harvey or Harv, whichever you prefer. Sorry, I almost forgot our appointment this morning. I usually don’t see clients on Saturdays but your doctor told me that you were quite anxious and that I should see you as soon as possible.”
“Thanks, Dr. Stein. I really appreciate it,” said Drake.
“Let’s go downstairs to my study, Drake. The chairs are very comfortable down there and there’s a coffee pot there too. Do you like coffee?”
“Yes, very much. Probably too much.”
“Same with me.”
When they entered Dr. Stein’s office Drake was struck by the clutter. There were books, magazines and file folders scattered everywhere he looked. He also saw a stereo system in a corner surrounded by two piles of LPs. He could see albums by Bob Dylan and The Sex Pistols.
Gee, this doctor is cool. I hope he knows what he’s doing, thought Drake.
“So you’re a teacher from what your doctor told me,” said Dr. Stein getting up to make the coffee.
“Yes, that’s correct. Or at least I used to be,” Drake answered.
“What do you mean by ‘used to be’?
“Well, my doctor thinks that it’s time I started looking at other career options.
In fact, my wife agrees with him.”
“What do you think Drake? What do you want to do?”
“I’m not sure Dr. Stein. I don’t think I have the health and stamina to return to full time teaching,” said Drake.


The Weird and Fantastical Writings of Ken David Stewart

When Drake went to see his doctor he did not get a clear bill of health. His doctor told Drake that he had a form of mononucleosis that could lie dormant for awhile but cause later flare ups. He could not guarantee Drake that he would ever get his premorbid energy level back. The doctor suggested that Drake seriously consider a less challenging occupation that would not excessively tax his energy level.
“What am I going to do?” asked Drake. “I have been a teacher for most of my adult life and I have a family to support.”
“I know that this is not what you wanted to hear Drake, but I’m obligated to give you my best professional assessment and recommendation. I’ll tell you what I can do for you. I know an industrial psychologist that counsels people in your situation all the time. This guy is good and…

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The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 34


When Drake went to see his doctor he did not get a clear bill of health. His doctor told Drake that he had a form of mononucleosis that could lie dormant for awhile but cause later flare ups. He could not guarantee Drake that he would ever get his premorbid energy level back. The doctor suggested that Drake seriously consider a less challenging occupation that would not excessively tax his energy level.
“What am I going to do?” asked Drake. “I have been a teacher for most of my adult life and I have a family to support.”
“I know that this is not what you wanted to hear Drake, but I’m obligated to give you my best professional assessment and recommendation. I’ll tell you what I can do for you. I know an industrial psychologist that counsels people in your situation all the time. This guy is good and I know he gets results. I have already referred a few of my patients to him. You will likely be able to keep your health insurance for a few months yet so seeing the psychologist shouldn’t cost you anything.”
Drake knew that he could trust his doctor and that he would only refer him to another professional who is very competent in their field of expertise. When Drake returned home he reported the details of his doctor’s appointment with his wife, Judy. Drake was very emotional and started to weep when he told Judy that he shouldn’t return to full time teaching. He also told her about the referral to the industrial psychologist.
“ I know it doesn’t feel that way but I think that this will work out for the best, Drake. You’ve been working much too hard and you no longer have the stamina that you had before you got sick with mono. Your principal and your doctor both care about you and want what’s best for you, and so do I. To tell you the truth I was very concerned about your return to teaching but I didn’t want to discourage you. I think that you should definitely make an appointment with the psychologist that your doctor recommended. You are a very talented man, Drake, and I’m sure that the psychologist will show you many other career options that you can pursue,” said Judy.
“I’m sure blessed to have you for a wife, Judy. Most wives in your position would tell their husbands just to tough it out and go back to teaching,” said Drake as he moved towards Judy to give her a hug.

The Cover Up Novel by Ken David Stewart Part 33


When the paramedics arrived to check Drake out they didn’t find any evidence of a spinal injury. They took Drake to the hospital to have a doctor check him out. The doctor at the hospital told Drake that his case of mononucleosis was very severe and was causing his weakness and fainting. The doctor recommended six months to a year off work to allow Drake to recuperate.
That same day Drake phoned his principal, Bob Hanes with the prognosis.
“I want you take as much time as you need, Drake, to fully recover. You have a very challenging job and you’ll need to be in top physical condition to perform your regular duties. I’m going to start interviewing as soon as possible to get a replacement for you. You gave us quite a scare Drake and we all wish you a recovery to your peak form,” said the principal.
Drake had to admit that he was relieved by how well his boss was taking this and he was actually looking forward to the time to rest up. He was also happy that he would now have more time to spend with his family.
After six months Drake felt that he was ready to resume his teaching assignment. Within about a month Drake realized that he had made a big mistake. He had returned to work too soon. Having been off work for several months Drake had forgotten just how much energy it took to teach a classroom of children with special needs. He tried to tough it out and did not want to tell his principal that he was struggling.
Bob Hanes was an experienced administrator who was not convinced when Drake would tell him that he was feeling okay. Mr. Hanes had noticed that Drake was making his lessons shorter and was having more discipline problems than usual. He also noticed that Drake had lost all the color from his complexion except for gray.
After Drake’s first month back was completed Bob Hanes called him into his office for a serious talk. “I’ll get straight to the point Drake. I’d want you to know that I’ve always liked you personally and in the past I was very pleased with your teaching performance. But now, unfortunately, things have changed. I hate to say this to you Drake, but I can see that you’re really struggling. If I were allow you to continue like this I feel that I would be putting your health in danger and it wouldn’t be fair to your students either. Drake, I want you to see your doctor as soon as possible and to tell him the truth. Tell your doctor as honestly as you can how you are feeling and what I have said. I’m going to get a substitute for your classroom until you return from your doctor’s appointment. I will need a clear bill of health from your doctor or I cannot allow you to continue teaching. I’m very sorry to have to tell you this but I’m very worried about you.”

Garage Sales


Garage Sales
It’s been several years since I’ve been interested in garage sales. This weekend, however, I visited a couple of garage sales with my wife and granddaughter. You never know what little treasure you might find at a garage sale. Our granddaughter found a toy train and a teddy bear that she liked. Grandpa found an extra large dinosaur and a stuffed sheep dog toy. When I was a little boy I used to collect the plastic dinosaurs that came with cereal boxes. A long time ago I used to have a real sheep dog. When we got back to Grandpa and Grandma’s house it was time to play with our new toys.

The Doors Revisited


The Doors Revisited
One of my all time favorite bands from the sixties is The Doors. Jim Morrison was indeed a great poet and his poetry was backed by some great musicians. I have recently been listening to some remix versions of their classic songs. I must say that I like them. These versions will never be as good as the original Doors’ recordings but they make for an interesting listen.