Our intrepid correspondent finds himself suffering from that most fashionable of psychological afflictions, Multiple Personality Disorder!

The Jekyll/Hyde character has been used to express duality in human nature for so long it’s become a cliche. And like most cliches, it’s true.

Everyone has at least one extra personality, and usually more. For example, I seem to be the field of activity for three distinct players — the amiable Dr Jekyll, the despicable Mr Hyde and, much to my consternation, Mrs McPherson, apparently a Scottish Presbyterian.

None of these characters have much in common. Jekyll doesn’t like Hyde and views McPherson as an unimaginative busybody. Hyde hates everyone’s guts and thinks Jekyll and McPherson should be dumped in the knacker’s yard. Mrs McPherson considers Jekyll an impractical dreamer and vociferously wants Hyde consigned to the pits of hell.

Actually, I’m thankful for Mrs McPherson. She’s the only one with the gumption to deal with Hyde. Jekyll is too warm and caring and holistic to wrestle with a degenerate bastard like Hyde. But no one argues with Mrs McPherson.

For the most part this unlikely crew bubbles along in inexplicable harmony, doing good and bringing happiness upon the land. But every so often a defection occurs and one or another goes ape.

It doesn’t much matter if Jekyll gets loose. I mean, what harm can he do? Bore someone to death by telling them to be here now? Scare a neighbour with a bean salad? I like Jekyll, but let’s face it — he’s a wuss.

It’s more nerve-wracking when Mrs McPherson gets out. Mrs McPherson does not tolerate horseplay! Hard work, prudence and the fear of God are her mottoes, and you can either like it or have it taken out of your hide with a hickory stick.

But woe upon us when Hyde escapes! You’ve heard the phrase, “…it’s like the devil gets into him,” well, that’s Hyde. Hyde is the devil. The deceiver, the pillager, the glutton. When Hyde appears, disaster and degradation follow.

You can see why I’m thankful for Mrs McPherson. Jekyll doesn’t have a hope in hell of quelling Hyde’s insane rampages. He’d probably suggest breathing exercises or something. Leave it to Jekyll to try stopping Godzilla with a tennis racket.

These insurrections are usually short-lived, and balance and order are soon restored.

But supposing one of these characters got the upper hand, or broke off and declared himself independent. Holy mackerel! What if Mrs McPherson seized control!

Imagine being possessed by a Bible-belting, turn-of-the-century, galleon-shaped, prohibitionist women’s rights activist! The very thought makes me nervous.

Heck, if Hyde staged a coup, most likely I’d just end up dead or in jail. But if McPherson managed a takeover I’d have to do really weird things like dynamite disco joints and drive money-lenders out of the temple and stuff like that. It’s too much to even think about! Thanks to Jekyll’s goofball influence I just don’t think I’m emotionally prepared for demolishing bar-rooms with axes and driving harlots into honest work.

But worse still, spirit mediums and New Age journalists would proclaim me a legitimate case of possession and write books about it and make me talk about sin and redemption and magnetic healing on talkback radio.

It’s like Flash Gordon Versus the Psychic Vampires, except worse. Flash’s foes were little more than mind-draining bat people. Anyone could deal with that. But what in the name of all that is merciful do you do about Mrs McPherson?

The terrible thing is, I know she’s in there. Waiting. Waiting to escape. Waiting to ban tobacco and catch kids chewing gum in class.

First she’ll take my mind, then yours, then the country, the planet, the solar system, the…

Make no mistake; Mrs McPherson must be stopped.

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