628MIT:  A Driving Tale of Vehicular Maladjustment


Meredith G. Warshaw, M.S.S., M.A.

Many examples of abuse and maltreatment are seen by mental health workers. The author presents here the psychosocial assessment of a particularly sad case in the hope that it will prove edifying to all who care for societyís unfortunates.

Identifying Information

628MIT is an 8-year old green Gremlin of AMC origin. It is an only car and was adopted 1 year ago after living in an unknown number of previous foster placements.

Presenting Problems

628MIT has been having severe somatic disturbances of late, necessitating extensive treatment, with a need for major surgery in the near future. Recently, it has become increasingly difficult to predict on a given day whether 628MIT will be willing to go out or not, and mobility and speed have become severely limited, resulting in an unwillingness to venture far from home.

Assessment of Current Psychosocial Functioning

628MIT is currently held in a joint custody arrangement between its adopted mother, Ms. W., and P. Garage. 628MIT resides with P. Garage on alternate Mondays through Wednesdays, and Ms. W. pays (exorbitant) Gremlin support. 628MIT can be very communicative to those it trusts, but is unhappy around strangers.

Background History

628MITís early life is unknown. Born in 1974, there is evidence of at least one accident requiring major cosmetic surgery. It is unknown how many homes it resided in previous to its current placement. Three days after adoption by Ms. W., 628MIT was hit by a cab, causing major disfigurement to its left side. Thereupon followed a long history of psychosomatic disorders, culminating in a nervous breakdown in the Callahan tunnel in Boston.

618MIT was very unhappy about moving from Boston to Philadelphia, feeling overburdened by the demands placed on it to haul heavy loads. It has never fully adjusted to its new home. This fall it developed major valve problems and can no longer move at full speed or power. Feeling overwhelmed by the winter, 628MIT seems to have lost all will to live.

Diagnostic Impression

DSM-III Axis I: Adjustment Reaction with Severe Psychosocial Stressors and Somatic Complaints.


628MIT is a very ill Gremlin, suffering from palpitations, hesitation, lack of energy, poor motor control, and broken valves. Major engine work will be needed to extend 628MITís life more than a few months, but it is doubtful whether even that will bring it back to health and adequate functioning, or if it would just prolong 628MITís agony. Sadly, 628MIT does not seem long for this world and it may be kindest to avoid heroic measures and allow it to die with dignity.

Copyright 1989 Wry-Bred Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission of the copyright holder from the Journal of Polymorphous Perversity.