THERE ARE TV talk shows and there are TV talk shows. The celebrity talk show deals with such heavy topics as what types of pajamas an actress sleeps in at night, and what it is life to make a movie with Mel Brooks.
And then there is the other talk show, which deals with such taboo subjects as wife-beating, child abuse, incest, homosexualtity and nymphomania.
The second category, popularized by Phil Donahue, who I must say does it very well, has brought on a string of imitators. The problem is that there are just so many subjects that can be discussed openly on TV, five times a week, and then you run out of taboos.
"Hello everyone, this is Hal Dorfman, and today we're going to take up the subject of one of the last taboos in the country -- gypsy moth-beathing. With us today is Roderick Crawford, who has just written a book titled, 'Confessions of a Gypsy Moth Sickie.'
"First, Mr. Crawford, why have you come out of the closet at this time and decided to admit that you were a gypsy moth killer."
"Because I believe there are more moth killers in this country than anyone will admit. No one talks about it, and I felt I could help other people who had the same problem."
"In your book, Mr. Crawford, you say that you are responsible for killing over 10,000 gypsy moth caterpillars."
"That is correct. Once I killed one, I couldn't stop myself and just kept going. Every time I saw a caterpillar I had this urge to squash it before it became a moth.
"Did anyone in your family know about your compulsion?"
"My wife did, but she couldn't stop me. No one could stop me."
"When did you realize you needed psychiatric help?"
"When I quit my job and decided to devote my entire time to killing caterpillars and gypsy moths. I couldn't keep my mind on anything else. I was full of hate for the little buggers, and all I could think about day and night was smashing them to pieces."
"And when you went into therapy, what did you find out."
"It all went back to my childhood. I once saw a bunch of gypsy moths destroy a whole woods behind my house, and I had developed a hatred for them I never was able to overcome."
"Was it them that you discovered there were many peole like yourself who couldn't stand gypsy moths."
"Yes, I found out I was not alone. My doctor told me he personally new of many people who had the same terrible secret, and caterpillar-squashing was much more prevalent in this country than anyone would dare to admit. It was only recently that enough people were willing to talk about it, so that what had been considered an isolated case was really a national social problem that had been ignored."
"Let's take some questions from the audience. This lady here."
"Mr. Crawford, when your wife saw you killing caterpillars, why didn't she leave you?"
"She threatened to several times, but I think she was afraid to. I was in such a state that I told her if she left me I would do to her what I was doing to the caterpillars."
"This lady over here."
"My husband has the same phobia about gypsy moths, but he won't go for help. How do I get him to a doctor."
"You can't drag him if he doesn't want treatment. He has to realize that no matter how many caterpillars and gypsy moths he kills, he cannot prevent the blight. Once he acknowledges he is only hurting himself and his loved ones he will them seek professional advice."
"One more question from this lady up here."
"What do you do now when you see a gypsy moth on your property?"
"I pretend it's a butterfly and say to myself 'God loves all creatures great and small.'"