Parts is Parts

Before we get too far here, yes, “parts are parts.” Does anyone remember the great Wendy’s commercials from years ago? “Where’s the beef?” That was the most popular one and even played into a presidential election in 1984. “Park it.” As I recall, there was a hint of a Bostonian accent as the drive-through attendant said you have to park and wait. “Frozen stiff.” With the frozen patty falling to the counter… Great, classic commercials, including the one that explained chicken sandwich contents as “parts is parts.” All of these poked fun at competitors and are among the best fast food commercials, which have to also include “two all-beef patties, special sauce… (etc.)” and that McDonald’s breakfast commercial from the ‘70s (“Breakfast at McDonald’s is served with a Flair…”). I hate – sort of – to admit it, but I know the jingle and words for that McDonald’s breakfast commercial…

Anyway, I personally know three psychologists in Grand Haven. That made me wonder “why so many.” The general population of GH, GH Township, Spring Lake Village (and township) and Ferrysburg – the “tri-cities area” – is roughly 45,000. I thought, “I must know all three.” No… There are more – a bunch more. I didn’t count them, but it seems there is one for every so many thousand with even more in Muskegon and Holland and, of course, Grand Rapids. Then I realized that losing your town and favorite haunts during a good portion of the summer to non-resident vacationers probably causes some strain worthy of psychological support. And winters like the one before last probably brings out some seasonal affective disorder even in the strongest of people. That covers a large percentage of the year, so, yes, I guess we DO need psychologists in the area.

So, what do psychologists have to do with Wendy’s? Nothing. There may be something to do with “parts.”

I actually ran into all three I know within the past couple of weeks. I got into a conversation with one of them about “parts” of a person. At first I attributed the comment to “psycho-babble.” And then said that out loud. To my surprise, they laughed big-time and agreed that there was no better terminology in which to categorize the “parts” thing, but the psychologist friend did explain it a little. There’s some pride in listening I have (Yoda-speak). So, I got to thinking about that later and, yes, by golly, I DO have parts.

This became more apparent to me when realizing that it’s more or less like those commercials you see where the “evil you” wants you to eat the whole pizza while the “healthy you” says you shouldn’t. You’ve seen the representation of these “parts” as little figures standing on your shoulder, talking into one ear or the other. Thinking more about it, yes, I do have “voices in my head” in this respect. (I’ve never seen the little figures standing on my shoulder…) And I’m not suffering from a mental health disorder (necessarily…).

So, one day, I started to make a list. Let’s see… I found that maybe some emotions are “parts.” There’s happy, sad, courage, fear and others. Then there’s the one that I named “the critic” who seems to like to find something wrong with everything I do – not that this “part” wouldn’t have some basis occasionally to get that right. There’s “the loner” that is like the guy in the Enterprise commercial who doesn’t want to talk to any humans, but also “the socializer” that loves to be with people. There seems to be a musical one, another concerned about health and one that has some spirituality (and morality) as a theme in a “part.”

Beyond the list, I realized there were complexities. Some had tangents with two ends opposed while others did not have an “opposite” so much as degrees of interest or operation from none to fully engaged, perhaps too engaged as a possibility. So…

One of these days I may chat with my psychologist friend again (they are going to charge me to chat if I have too many questions…). It’s a very interesting perception of me as a person with all of these themes or agents or “parts” running around. The concept does explain some aspects of how thoughts work, how you make plans, why things happen and all of that. Very interesting.

The rest of the jingle? Now, remember this was 38-40 years ago, but as I recall… “…for writing while you’re dining – you’ve got time to spare. And after you’ve enjoyed McDonalds’ breakfast delight, take the Flair pen with you – it’s a great way to write.” Or something like that…

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