Healing the Exquisite Pain of Being on the Outside

I expect most of you have felt bypassed and invisible. We all want attention, at least some of the time. Respect. Notice. Recognition. It is like water to a flower, necessary for life.

The recently ended AMC TV series, Mad Men, illustrated this in a brief scene with an unknown actor. Evan Arnold played Leonard, a no longer youthful man who has accepted his invisibility — accepted that he is unloved and unlovable. The creator of the series, Matthew Weiner, called this perhaps the most important scene in the entire run of a TV show that began on July 19, 2007.

Rather than say more, I will let the actor embody something with which you can identify. Leonard’s understated lament is, at bottom, what brings many people into psychotherapy. Even if you haven’t experienced his pain yourself, I bet someone close to you has. Evan Arnold’s delivery of a group therapy monologue lasts less than three minutes. His “refrigerator” metaphor is unforgettable. In the space of these few moments, Leonard is every man, every woman, every child — and we are he.