JR, Part 3: JR’s Relaxation Therapy
We did not care for the way staff from other programs felt free to pluck our artists from the A.R.T. studio as if their program was of higher value than ours. In our opinion, there was nothing the center offered that gave the residents more meaningful consequential choice-making than working in the limitless creative freedom of our studio. For people who made so few decisions about their own lives, A.R.T. artists made hundreds of intuitive and carefully thought out intellectual decisions every session they had in the studio. And these resulted in amazing finished physical products art collectors fought over. What else did they create that the outside world really wanted, really valued?
Into the studio came one of the staff. She took the handles of JR’s wheelchair and rolled him backward out of the room, announcing in a sing-song voice, “It’s time for your relaxation therapy.”
From what we knew the artists did not need to relax, they needed to jam.
This was why, for fun we had changed the headrest mounted pressure switch on JR’s chair from a wimpy recorded message, “Can I get a little help over here?” to the sound of a menacing roar of a tiger. JR loved it.
Relaxation therapy took place the next door over so we could hear the tinkling woozy new age music begin. We heard the therapist asking JR to tell her how he felt by fixing his gaze on either a happy face or a frowny face.
The therapist asked, “Do you feel happy face? Or frowny face?”
To this JR arched back to ignite the sound of a roaring tiger.
JR’s best friend Eric leaned to call out the studio door, “We hear you buddy. We hear you.”