When I opened The Family Bed Education, Rehabilitation and Training Center, it was with the particular goal of providing a nurturing, enriching environment in which to instruct my Companions. Over the years, I have trained countless Companions – shaping them into upstanding, productive members of society. Many of them have gone on to careers in the Arts, Politics, Finance, and Sports Medicine. A few have moved into the arena of Community Organizing and Activism, but one has to expect a certain number of failures in any educational setting, I suppose. Still, overall, I enjoy my work and feel the FBERTC is a successful institution.
Probably the most rewarding part of my day, however, is the work I do with the more disadvantaged members of the Family Bed. Some of my companions suffer from developmental challenges. Some are behaviorally dysfunctional. And some are just porky-mouthed. (You know of whom I speak – Bachmann.)
One of my toughest cases is Ernst … He’s an Eggplant. And though he’s very sweet, there are clearly many problems which I must help him overcome. For example, I’m constantly reminding Ernst to use his words because when he gets overly excited he just grunts and points. I believe his issue stems from being left on the vine over-long … I’ve consulted many experts and they agree with my diagnosis.
I work with Ernst on a bi-weekly basis but we often nap together. I have found, through my work in the Family Bed, that napping is a great way to build trust and promote inter-companion communication. I do nap with other Companions, both within and without the confines of the Family Bed, as each individual case may demand. In this photo, Ernst and I are napping on the couch in the family room. The elevated position gives Ernst a feeling of empowerment, and also serves to protect him from the prying eyes and often cruel taunts of some of the other Companions. Notice his serene countenance. Plus, Ernst is quite cuddly and I look especially lovely next to his plush purple exterior.
In many ways, Ernst is my biggest success story. Since I first began to train Ernst, his vocabulary has expanded by over 12 words. Additionally, he no longer spits as a greeting. And while there are numerous issues yet to be resolved – his need to announce bodily functions, for example – I firmly believe that I can help Ernst become the Eggplant he has always longed to be.