Count Marco - Day #4 - July 3, 1974

Day #4 - Wednesday - July 3, 1974

Count Marco - July 3, 1974

Your Mirror Can Also See Inside You

When I wrote that psychiatrists and psychologists ruined more marriages than they saved, I wasn't surprised by the angry reaction.

I had contended that shrinks look at ordinary marriage problems as "cases," to be dissected, rearranged and deranged, leaving the "patient" totally disoriented.

What would happen if a physician examined a patient and said, "You have such and such a disease. Now do something about it," without prescribing treatment.

Mother Nature is like an oyster. She heals emotional wounds through passage of time. An oyster finds a grain of sand has forced its way into the shell. As time goes on its mucous continually covers the irritant until eventually what was a sore spot becomes a magnificent pearl.

However, if one instead took a sharp instrument and sliced the pearl in half, the only result would be to expose the original grain of sand, the irritant.

According to a report in The Chronicle, behavioral researchers have shown unmistakably that psychiatry is a very imprecise tool in diagnosing mental illness.

On specific diagnoses (labeling a patient "depressive") psychiatrists can agree among themselves only about 40 per cent of the time.

Any couple having problems in their marriage can be considered depressive. Instead of sitting down and saying simply (as he should), "Look, you two. Grow up. Marriage is a give and take proposition and one of you is taking too much," the psychiatrist takes your time and money to tell you that because your mother slapped you across the mouth once for talking back, you've hated your mother ever since and consequently hate your husband, or wife.

The best psychiatric treatment you can have is taking a long truthful look in the mirror and saying honestly to yourself, "Okay, what am I doing wrong?"

Your mirror will tell you. The basic trouble with marriages is too many of you are afraid to face the truth and hope an outsider will agree.

You don't need psychiatry. All you need is the Count Marco column.

This post is part of a series, Ten Days of Count Marco, which examines the ten Count Marco columns leading up to the July 8, 1974 Count Marco letter.

The title of this column reminds me of the Friedrich Nietzsche quote: "And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."

Michael Cole


  1. Michael D. Kelleher 28 March, 2012 at 16:17 Reply

    This is a very interesting piece by Marco. I think this could well have grabbed Zodiac’s attention. With references to mental health issues, the role of mental health professionals, the allusions to introspection, all of that kind of thing. I will need to give this piece some thought but it struck me as something that could have easily grabbed the killer’s focus, at least for a short time. It’s so hard to guess at this kind of thing.

    Fun series, Mike. Really interesting stuff, to go back in time and read it all over again. I had forgotten how Marco was such an out-of-step, pain-in-the-neck guy. Looking back, I cringe when I read his silly statements and his attitudes that seem to come from deep in the Victorian era, or perhaps the Caveman era.

  2. Mike 29 March, 2012 at 07:01 Reply

    I agree. In my opinion, this is the piece that set the killer off. Once I get through the remaining articles, I’m going to write a wrap-up piece in which I’ll go into more detail as to why I think it’s this article.

    It’s a bit strange though, really. This is not the kind of content that I would have imagined motivated the killer (prior to reading all of these columns). It’s always interesting and thought provoking to find evidence that appears to contradict your intuition or belief…

  3. Michael D. Kelleher 29 March, 2012 at 07:55 Reply

    The wrap-up should be an interesting read. I’m looking forward to it.

    One of the things that has always troubled me is why Zodiac would even care about Marco and his rather silly column. He was such a media hound, front-page style, what would keep him going back to the Marco do0-doo? Perhaps there is more to Zodiac’s interest than meets the eye. I have no idea. Back in the day, Herb Caen was the guy to read, not County Marco.

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