Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures: On the Subject of Love

Case Study #1
Farmer’s wife: Filling out a form at a doctor’s office
Test Name: Berger Sentence Completion Test
Purpose: To assess a disabled person’s attitude towards him/herself.

Answer the following sentences by filling in the blanks:

It has been _______ (measurement of time) since the incident occurred. I am a _______ (gender) and a/an _______ (career). The incident happened when I was _______ (verb) a/an ______ (noun). Now I suffer from the loss of a/an _______ (noun). I felt ______ (adjective) when the incident occurred, and I ________ (verb) as a reaction. I now feel ________ (adjective) when I ________ (verb). _______ (noun) caused the injury because ______ (noun) _______ (verb). Now that I have this injury, I cannot ______ (verb), so I ______ (verb) instead. I am capable of _______ (verb), but not _______ (verb).

4 months, female, farmer, pointing at, combine cylinder, index finger, faint, cried, pained, wash dishes, my husband, he, started the engine, hang onto (chopsticks), eat (canapés), forgiving, feeling

Case Study #2
Murderer, Rose West: Sitting in prison
Test Name: Powerlessness Scale
Purpose: To assess the extent to which a person feels his/ her behavior either influences or does not influence outcomes.

Read the following and rate.

The newspapers say: Convicted of Multiple Murders on 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester. They are right. Bodies buried in the garden, one after the other. Was it twelve dead? No, thirteen counting my husband. He hung himself with a bed sheet before the police got him, leaving me alone. He was a frightful man, but I dug those holes out of love.

Now my Guinea pig is dead and I want an autopsy. Somebody has poisoned him because the girls in the cafeteria look at me with mean and inquiring eyes, as if urging me to come at them with a fork. I refuse to eat. They whisper amongst themselves and I spit on their towels after folding them. I’m inconsolable, and the warden gives me a television and remote. I suppose he’s the only one who feels bad about my Guinea pig, but I don’t thank him. Instead, I silently watch Lucille Ball’s face contort a million different ways.

How often do you feel “in-tune” with the people around you?
1. Never          2.          3.          4.          5. Always

How often do you feel people are around you, but not with you?
1. Never          2.          3.          4.          5. Always

How often do you feel like crawling into a hole?
1. Never          2.          3.          4.          5. Always

Case Study #3
Man at a bar: Talking to a girl
Test Name: Beauty Rating Scale
Purpose: To assess perception of facial beauty based on portrait photographs

I am in love with a dead woman whose ghost is sitting across from me. That’s right, the girl at the bar looks like goddamn Grace Kelly with those green eyes. The exact eyes in the photograph: the princess in the pool, her head popping out of the water. She looks all wet and slick in that one, like she might slide away if you don’t have a strong grip on her. This new girl likes tossing her hair and talking real slow, and when she sips her wine with those pouty red stained lips, I think of that swimsuit in the picture. Man, don’t they both look good in primary colors? It makes a person nervous.

If her eye catches the top of my chest hair, I’ll know if she’s interested in letting me walk her home. But for now, my shoes are off and kicked under the barstool because I’ve had too much to drink and want to feel relaxed. She is so beautiful it makes me nervous. I know I’ve already said this, but it’s true.

She’s laughing now. See how her eyelashes make me putter? Did she like my joke? Because I am funny. Everyone tells me so. Or, is she laughing at me? I couldn’t bear it if she was laughing at me. Her nose scrunches in such a cute way. I’ll joke with her more; she’s such a kidder and seems to be taking it well, her shoulders shaking and eyes rolling, she looks like a dainty little bobble head. It’s perfect, because I like a girl who doesn’t take things too seriously when your impulse is to wrap your arms around her. This one is such a good gal. It makes you want to take her head home so you can frame her and admire her for a while longer.

Case Study #4
Girl at a family reunion: Meeting a clairvoyant aunt
Test Name: UCLA Loneliness Scale
Purpose: To assess loneliness and social isolation through a series of questions.

Answer the following three questions, first reading the selection below.

She carried Peace around in her eye sockets. My boyfriend told me it began when she lost her husband, and that Peace was really a spirit collective and not one person, and that if his family reunion was too much all I’d have to do was scratch my nose and he’d whisk me away. Yet, his aunt made a great frittata. She’d bought many eggs and stood in the kitchen delicately cracking them open into a big bowl. She counted my head and added two more.

While watching her fingers, I supposed her husband’s death was also a part of a collective, each cell simultaneously fading, at 11:39 PM, his arm still under her neck when he passed away. And maybe that night, when she drifted off into sleep, she dreamt, as if in a black and white picture, of swallowing metal shavings, being ripped from a womb, her husband leaving her in a parking lot.

Shortly after this, Peace began to float around her bedroom, living in paintings and sleeping in drawers. Their presence shocked her at first, like a new pet might, peeking out from under the covers, a fleeting figure in the corner of the eye. When she finally became comfortable with their presence, they loaded up a U-Haul and entered her. When I asked her what they put inside their truck, she smiled. They had many shoes.

They travelled inside her brain through the left ear, bouncing on its drum like a trampoline, tickling her Ossicles. Afterward, they splashed around her cerebrospinal fluids with their tiny feet, riding the frontal lobe like a slippery slide. She told me they were always having fun, like children, although they knew lots of things and were very wise. For example, they told her that in past lives she and her daughter were husband and wife, father and son. They were best friends and then, enemies. Murderers, actually. Her daughter, who was cutting onions, nodded with tears in her eyes.

Peace told everyone in the kitchen my boyfriend’s sister was a debutante and wore colorful skirts. She had known her lover throughout history. With passion, I watched my boyfriend, imagining us tied together for an eternity. He was setting the table, and resetting it, trying to remember what side the spoon was supposed to be located. Could I have murdered him? I suddenly wished this to be true.

How often do you feel like you live in a peaceful environment?
1. Never          2.          3.          4.          5. Always

How often do you feel at home with those around you?
1. Never          2.          3.          4.          5. Always

How often do you feel you lack excitement?
1. Never          2.          3.          4.          5. Always

MOLLY GALLENTINE is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at The New School. Her written work has been published in journals such as Gulf Coast, New England Review, and The Normal School. She is a Pushcart Prize winner, has been listed four times as a notable essayist in The Best American Essays, and is a Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize recipient. Read more at