Stressful LivesAs a psychologist specializing in men's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 19, 1993

Stressful Lives

As a psychologist specializing in men's issues, I want to bring attention to the factors that are being overlooked in the suicide death of Vincent Foster Jr.

His prior history did not suggest instability or mental illness.

Signs of his stress and depression had to be there, but were either unnoticed or not taken seriously because other staff members and friends are not familiar with the signs of depression.

This man was unable to express his negative feelings. He held in his anger and guilt to the point that it got expressed in punishing himself through suicide. These feelings had to be building over a period of time.

The suicide note reflects his perception of factors existing at the time he decided to kill himself. These factors should not be simply dismissed. Even if his perceptions were clouded by his mood, there would be elements of truth in them. He was too much of a perfectionist for them not to have some basis in reality.

The emotional level of people in high power and pressure positions needs to be acknowledged and respected. There should be mental health professionals on the staff or available to high-level men and women. The adjustment of anyone, especially younger staff, with limited life experiences, is bound to be difficult, and emotional reactions or overreactions are to be expected. They must be dealt with more effectively and rapidly.

The shame of it is that in psychology, we probably know more about the causes of depression than any other disturbance, but men are resistant to talk about things that are bothering them and there is very little encouragement to do so.

I know, from experience, that this is especially true of men in high, visible positions. They are afraid of public reaction which is why the confidentiality of mental health treatment must always be maintained.

Alvin S. Baraff

Washington

French Grammar

Since the Edgemere bar mentioned in the Aug. 11 Sun is turning over a new leaf, and its new owners aim to correct a string of offenses against Liquor Board rules, perhaps they could also correct an infringement of the rules of French grammar.

The dictionary informs us that the word mirage is masculine (not male, not macho, just grammatically masculine in gender -- not sex). Therefore this watering hole should be called Le Mirage.

I once tried in vain to persuade the owners of a Baltimore establishment not to call their restaurant Fontaine Bleu because the word fontaine in French is feminine (not female, not ladylike, just grammatically feminine in gender) and therefore bleu should be spelled with an "e," Fontaine bleue -- the blue fountain.

I have always suspected, however, that they thought they were naming their establishment Fontainebleau after the chateau near Paris.

As far as I know, the syllable bleau is not an adjective that must agree with Fontaine. One has to travel far and wide to find Americans who know how to pronounce that name -- Fontaine-blow.

Please do what you can with the prestige of your paper to protect the French language.

Frances Alice Kleeman

Baltimore

Courting the Press

In the Aug. 4 Sun, state Del. Leslie Hutchinson, who stands accused of failing to appear in court seven times on various traffic charges, told your reporter ". . . I have no intention of speaking to reporters. If you call me again, I will contact my attorney and have criminal proceedings filed against you . . ."

I suspect that if she does file suit, she will show up for that trial.

Jeff Sattler

Baltimore

Ample Coverage

Why would you want to give such prominent space on your Opinion * Commentary page to such idiotic maunderings as Lisa Respers' "The Joys of Ample Womanhood," July 29?

Does she think -- do you think? -- that with all of the issues clamoring for our attention (a faltering economy, politicians under a cloud, a troubling Washington suicide, European weak knees at Sarajevo, the exploding Middle East, higher taxes, our disintegrating social standards, and on and on) that your readers are interested in Ms. Respers' boobs and buns, or her deficiencies or superfluities thereof?

Come on, Sun, let Ms. Respers cope with her curves in the privacy of her boudoir, and you find something better to do with valuable news space.

Aurelia L. Loveman

Catonsville

Goals for Pay

There is much controversy regarding salaries, stock bonus and perks senior executives or chief executive officers enjoy, publicized in the media.

Why not limit base salaries of top management and utilize a formula where the company pays executives after specific goals are realized?

An example is corporate earnings and profits, the most important criteria.

William Arwady

Baltimore

The Marrying Kind

The Marine Corps commandant's now-aborted edict barring married recruits prompts two questions, both stemming from a 23-year military career:

How could an experienced military staff officer hope to make a change of this magnitude unilaterally? Why hasn't such a prohibition been in force for years?

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