I know that I seem to have a bit of that lugubrious shaman blood, that tendency toward black Russian despair and a taste for Kafka and Munch as rather funny gentlemen. I know that my paternal grandfather was prone to brooding silence and violent outbursts, a supposedly remote, even cold, man who I never knew but nevertheless suspect would have been up for some good chats and dark laughs—that we would have somehow “gotten” each other.
That grandfather, I know, also had electro-shock therapy—one of the first to get it in Chicago in the 30s. Whatever that grandfather “had,” I know that my father feared getting it (and perhaps that’s why there is so much he never “got,” at least not yet). He had years of psychotherapy, and once anti-depressants came on the scene he was on those; I’m told they helped, but I’m not sure I see the evidence.