Over a glass of beer, Johnson said to Smith, "My psychiatrist keeps talking about something he calls ambivalence, and I'm darned if I understand it."

"No problem," said Smith. "To be ambivalent is to feel contradictory emotions; to be both pleased and displeased with something; to both love and hate someone."

"That's what he says, too," said Johnson, "But I just don't see how you can experience two contradictory emotions simultaneous." Here's an example, then. Suppose you had just bought a brand new Cadillac for twenty thousand dollars and suppose the very first day you owned it, its brakes failed and it went over a cliff a mile high. How would you feel?"

"I'd feel terrible."

"But suppose your mother-in-law was the only one in the car at the time?"


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