THE MAN WITH A MICROPHONE IN HIS EAR, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

My sincere thanks to everyone for helping Chasing Backwards have a successful debut.

I’d now like to introduce my new novella, The Man with a Microphone in his Ear.

It is July, 1969 at PGH (Philadelphia General Hospital), an ancient psychiatric fortress. Enter the world of psychiatry through the eyes of a 1st year psychiatric resident on his first day of training on the locked inpatient unit.

A psychotic, paranoid man smashes a piano stool, and using the legs as bludgeoning propellers, tries to attack everyone in his path. He is eventually controlled and placed in leather restraints.

The next day, much to the horror of the clueless resident, this dangerous man becomes his first patient. Learning about Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorders and Paranoid States is the easy part. Overcoming his own fear and how to talk to a psychotic person is something that he’ll never forget and will shape his entire psychiatric career.

The Man with a Microphone in his Ear is available for all eBooks.


Art Smukler

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I looked in the mirror and nodded. Yeah, I really liked my jacket and wool cap. It was chilly this morning, but with the new additions to my wardrobe, I’d be warm and look good.

Minutes later, I was browsing the window of Barnes & Noble when a homeless man, pushing his cart filled with plastic bags, announced to the street, “Lookin’ cool, but a fool”.

Shocked, I stepped away from the window and watched as the man shuffled past. “Jesus”, he was talking about me! I glanced at my reflection in the store window and shuddered. How did he know? I was feeling so full of myself this morning, and the old guy picked right up on it. It was brilliant.

It’s uncanny how some untreated schizophrenics have the intuitive skill to read our minds. Like a psychiatrist uses his “third ear” to pick up hidden nuances in psychotherapy, the schizophrenic can be even more acutely in tune to another’s inner workings.

To me it is absolutely amazing and mysterious. Sadly or happily or whatever one’s perspective, when treatment is successful, the magic fades — as do the voices and paranoid ideas.

How do they do it?

Maybe being paranoid, with all senses on alert, allows the primitive part of the brain to pick up and decipher the hidden thoughts of all potential attackers?  The biochemicals align just so and magic happens.

I loved my first year of psychiatric residency when I was surrounded by untreated schizophrenics. I loved the mystery and the magic.

I still do…