THE DR. LAURA VANITY FAIR ARTICLE
By Leslie Bennetts
By 5:30 A.M., Laura Schlessinger is already working on her syndicated column or her latest book, lifting free weights and doing squat thrusts. Then she puffs her bouffant blond-frosted do and heads for the San Fernando Valley studio where her call-in show - the fastest-growing program in radio history - originates. She moves fast, charging past staffers who beseech her for a moment of her time. Her followers are waiting.
And when she goes on the air at 11 A.M., hordes of them are already on hold, hoping for two or three minutes of her precious wisdom. "Need some help, advice, a kick in the butt?" intones the announcer. "Dr. Laura!"
Although the 51-year-old Schlessinger concedes that she's not a psychotherapist and that what she's doing isn't therapy, those distinctions seem lost on the 60,000 people who call in every day, asking tremendously for the "doctor." They don't care that she got her Ph.D. in physiology (although she also earned a license in marriage, family, and child counseling). They just want her to fix their sorry lives.
Schlessinger's diagnosis of what's wrong with the country is simple: "Too much freedom and too little values!" Her cure? "Preaching, teaching, and nagging." The demand seems insatiable. Since her program was nationally syndicated in 1994, her rise has been meteoric; she has close to 20 million listeners, an audience that is quickly surpassing Rush Limbaugh's and has already topped Howard Stern's. She is now heard on 450 stations in the U.S. and 35 in Canada.
A year ago Schlessinger, her husband, Lew Bishop, and their partner, John Shanahan, sold her show to Jacor Communication Inc. for $71.5 million. Television beckons, although Schlessinger is skittish. Last spring, she abruptly backed out of a deal with Eyemark Entertainment (CBS's syndication arm), saying she didn't want to be associated with the company that syndicates Stern. He retaliated on the air, according to Schlessinger, declaring that she slept her way to the top (a charge she dismisses as evidence of his moral turpitude). After all, Schlessinger has standards - and millions of disciples who expect her to uphold them. When a Dr. Laura Web site was established, 310,000 people clicked onto it at once, crashing the system.
No matter; they can always buy one of her books. The first, Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives, was a New York Times best-seller for 26 weeks; the next, How Could You DO That?!: The Abdication of Character, Courage, and Conscience, held on for 34 weeks. Ten Stupid Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives catapulted Schelessinger's total sales to more than 2.2 million.
Her latest arrives this month. The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life, which Schlessinger co-authored with Rabbi Stewart Vogel, reflects her evolution, over the last several years, from a non believer into a Conservative Jew and now an Orthodox Jew. She believes in religion - any religion. "I've probably sent more people back to Catholicism than the Pope," she says.
But her followers aren't really seeking religion: they want a taskmaster to stiffen their spines and tell them what to do. And Dr. Laura is happy to oblige, dispensing her advice in doses that land as hard as a cane on the back.
Today, Dr. Laura's sinewy little size-two body is clad in a cornflower-blue Escada blazer and matching skintight jeans cinched around her taut waist. Diamonds glitter at her ears, in the Star of David around her neck, and on her manicured fingers with their blood-red nails. Despite her diminutive size, Schlessinger is a commanding presence. A black belt in karate, she seems tense, coiled, and ready to pounce: "I'm like a panther," she says. Her callers provide ample opportunity.
To a woman whose boyfriend wanted her to have an abortion, Schlessinger snaps, "You got knocked up by a guy who wanted to kill your child?" (Furiously anti-choice, Schlessinger refers to abortion as "sucking it into the sink.") The caller had the baby anyway and moved in with the louse that wouldn't marry her. "You've really blown it badly," snarls Dr. Laura. "Get a backbone transplant here!"
Then there's Valerie, who is reluctant to leave her boyfriend. "You're lying!" Dr. Laura explodes when Valerie denies she's afraid of being alone. "You're wrong! You don't want to face that it's your inadequacy!"
Between callers, Dr, Laura grumbles. "I don't know why women complain about their lives; they're the architects," she says irritably. "Let's not try to find a decent man: let's wait till he turns into one!" she scoffs. "My answer to women who complain about their men is: Pick better!"
She loathes weak women who choose victimhood. "I love women who volunteer," she says witheringly. "There is no oppression of women in this country. We volunteer. Nobody's going to send you to the Gulag if you don't marry somebody."
Schlessinger hates feminists too, but admits she used to be one. "They nauseate and sicken me," she says. "They've destroyed the sanctity of motherhood."
But men - nearly half of her audience are pilloried, too, particularly if they've had children with women they've left. One caller divorced his wife, with whom he has a seven-year-old, a four-year-old, and 18-month-old twins, because she is manic-depressive and suicidal. Dr. Laura has no sympathy for his custody problems: "Your penis helped create this," she says.
Although Schlessinger has become a poster girl for the Christian right ("They love me!" she exults), she doesn't completely toe the party line. She is tolerant of homosexuality, which she believes is not unusually an individual's decision. Moral choices are what interest her. Steve, another caller, is married with children but believes he is gay. "Tough luck," says Schlessinger, "You made a decision to hide, to deny, get married, and have children. You made a covenant. Now be man enough to live it!"
Although Schlessinger is almost always riled up, some days she's on a real tear. "How stupid can you be and still be able to chew your food!" she berates one listener. "Don't be so gutless!" she reproves another. Schlessinger calls one man's wife a "loose woman" and tells a 20-year-old her best friends are "drunken sluts." On other days, particularly with callers who grovel sufficiently, she can be less ferocious. "Since you're so smart, maybe you could be our judge and jury," implores Wendy. "Ohhhh - lubricate me," Dr. Laura purrs lewdly.
At times she even jokes about her own sadism. When Dennis says, "I'll try to listen to your questions carefully and answer them," Dr. Laura replies grumpily, "That's no fun. Then I can't jump on you." When Lita makes it through her first question unbloodied and wants to know if the guru has time for another, Dr. Laura unexpectedly relents, because "I haven't had to yell at you yet." Pause. "I'm hoping."
Often Schlessinger weighs in with a diagnosis before callers have a chance to explain the facts. Before it's established that one woman actually wronged her sister-in-law. Dr. Laura tells her curtly to "eat dirt."
Nor does she consider social context. A man whose girlfriend was date-raped wants to confront the perpetrator. "How do we even know it happened?" Dr. Laura demands. "Women accuse men unfairly!" Then she attacks the victim for not reporting the incident, which occurred more than 20 years ago, when most teenagers didn't understand that forced sex, even with a man you know, is rape.
There is a similar absence of medical and legal context. Worried about paying for her children's orthodontia, a divorced mother asks whether to seek help from the grandparents. Dr. Laura never mentions that the woman is legally entitled to child support from the deadbeat dad.
To her listeners, such lapses don't matter. The more autocratic Dr. Laura is, the more they prostrate themselves. She hates it when they try to clarify matters with relevant facts. "You called for my opinion," she says, "Why would you argue with me?"
And the testimonials keep coming. "Dr. Laura, you are my hero," Shaynee says abjectly. "I think you have a great program." Alison says. "It's helping the world." Linda, whose first adulterous affair was with her therapist, quavers, "You may have saved my life." A grandmother offers, "I wish I had heard you when I was bringing my children up. I've learned a lot from you morally."
And in an age of moral relativity, Dr. Laura's certitude compels. Who could find fault with her message of personal responsibility? Do the right thing! Put your children first! Honor your commitments! She is like having an avenging fury, come to reveal the path to righteousness.
"I am a prophet," she crowed to the Los Angeles Times early this year. After some found that grandiose, she claimed she was misquoted: "I have never, ever said that I was a prophet! That's a total, complete lie," she tells me. ("She said it twice," reports the writer, Janet Wiscombe.)
But Schlessinger's fervor is indisputably evangelical, and her listeners believe her to be a paragon, a beacon of hope and rectitude in a dissolute, degraded world. She gets faxes asking her to run for president. "The country needs you!"
Dr. Laura's old friends and colleagues listen to all this with mirthless amusement. "Everyone who's known her hates her - and on some level she knows it," says Marilyn Kagan, a radio host who incurred Schlessinger's enmity. "She is probably the unhappiest woman I've ever met," says Shelley Herman, a writer who has worked with Schlessinger and been a closest friend for many years. "She doesn't appear to have a guilty conscience, even though we all know the road is littered with people. Maybe that's why she's not happy: she knows from whence she came."
She's writing a book on the Ten Commandments?" asks Dr. Laura's original mentor, veteran Los Angeles radio personality Bill Ballance. He snorts derisively. "She's broken them all."
Clearly, he is joking: Schlessinger is undoubtedly innocent of polytheism and idol worship. But the others seem to be up for grabs, since she insists that the commandments must be understood metaphorically as well as literally. Dr. Laura maintains that character assassination is tantamount to murder; in that case she may have some explaining to do on Judgement Day, which she firmly believes in.
On the surface Schlessinger's life appears exemplary: Lew Bishop, her adoring husband, serves as her manager, and their 12-year-old son Deryk is so smart and poised that she has put him on the air to answer kids' questions. She observes the Sabbath and keeps kosher. (Actually, it's Bishop who keeps kosher; he does all the cooking.) Lew Bishop used to be Episcopalian, but Dr. Laura doesn't believe in mixed marriages, which she calls "interfaithless marriages." So he obligingly converted to Orthodox Judaism, too.
Schlessinger even has friends, although not many. "She doesn't have time for friends," says Patti Edwards, one of Schlessinger's closest friends. "But when she does become your friend, you've got a friend for life," adds Rhoda Marcovitch, a psychologist who says Schlessinger is "the most loyal person."
However, before the happy family and the best-sellers and the dream house with its 30-foot ceilings, there was another Laura Schlessinger. Scratch the surface of the radio industry and the ill will toward her bursts like a festering boil; former co-workers describe a Schlessinger her listeners can't even imagine. "You want to talk to me about Laura?" says Bill Ballance, who is often called the inventor of modern talk radio. "This ogre I created?"
Schlessinger's official life story is studded with odd conflicts and critical omissions. She grew up in Brooklyn and on Long Island, the daughter of Monroe Schlessinger, a Jewish civil engineer, and his Italian war bride, Yolanda Ceccovini. Laura's hostility toward mixed relationships has primal roots; when her parents married, her father's family reacted poisonously because Yolanda wasn't Jewish. "Every member of his family cut him off and would have nothing further to do with him from 1945 on," says Ballance, who knew both Yolanda and Monty. Laura and her sister, Cyndi, were raised in a home where there seemed to be little love. "She was brought up in a quarrelsome family, so her idea of human communications is shouting, screaming, bellowing, and screeching," says Ballance. The Schlessingers eventually divorced, and Monty died of stomach cancer in 1990.
Some of Laura's intimates didn't even know that she had a sister. "She always told me she was an only child," says Shelly Herman.
Schlessinger has been estranged from her sister, who is a marriage and family counselor, apparently since the 1970s. Her friends don't know why. When Ballance, who actually met Cyndi before the rift, asked Laura about it, she just said, "Oh, she's so much prettier than I am!" Laura's own attractiveness has always been an extremely sore subject. "Her daddy told her she was ugly when she was little," explains Herman. Laura, who had brown hair and big glasses back then, remembers this assessment as totally devastating.
Although Schlessinger admonishes her callers to mend family rifts, she hasn't seen her own mother in 14 years. The rupture amazed her friends, who say that Laura's mother was devoted to her. "Laura is a very needy person, and her mother was instrumental in helping her function on a daily basis," explains Herman. "Her mother lived for Laura and would have done anything for her."
Schlessinger claims that her mother walked out on her job as her secretary after Laura suggested she learn to type.
"She just evaporated." Laura told People magazine four years ago, in an interview in which she also described her mother as "filled with negativity.....She blamed everyone for her unhappiness." But back in 1984, Schlessinger explained the breach somewhat differently: "I retired my mother from my office," she said in a letter to Ballance. These days Schlessinger refuses to talk about her family at all, insisting that gossip is against her religion.
The subject of divorce sends Dr. Laura into public paroxysms of anger, but many listeners don't realize that she herself is divorced. She had no children in her brief, early marriage. "It was a mistake, and I corrected it," she says coldly. When she arrived in California in the mid-1970s, she was only separated; Ballance says he had been dating her for months before he discovered she had left a husband back East.
By then Laura had succeeded in launching a new career. One day, listening to Ballance's radio program, she had called in to answer the question "Would you rather be a widow or a divorcee?" A widow, she said, because then everyone feels sorry for you. Her wit was so quick, her repartee so ready, that Ballance, who is 29 years older, was enchanted. He says he met her the next day and they went to bed that very afternoon. ("That's not true," says Laura, who insists Ballance "was just mentoring me.") Ballance complains that their ensuing relationship has also been subject to Dr. Laura's penchant for revisionist history. "We went together for two goddamned solid, passionate, throbbing years, although she has now reduced that to a couple of lunches," he says sardonically. "We used to thrash around like a couple of crazed weasels. I used to call her Ku Klux, because she's a demon between the sheets. Dynamite!"
Schlessinger also turned out to be dynamite on the air. In her first major appearance, she started off badly, "with a faint, quivery voice and a lot of disclaimers, like 'I really haven't had a chance to give it much thought....'" Ballance reports. During a commercial break, he told Schlessinger she had to project more authority. "By the end, she'd practically taken over the show: 'Bill, let me handle this!'" he says, mimicking her brisk, I'm-in-charge voice.
At the time, Schlessinger was working in a lab at the University of Southern California next to Lew Bishop, a tenured neuro-physiology professor and father of three. They are vague about when their relationship began; first they insist Bishop was already divorced, but later Schlessinger concedes he had just separated. Friends have a different recollection. "Laura always used to complain about how they had to sneak around," says Ballance.
Dr. Laura is now a passionate opponent of pre-marital sex: she particularly disapproves of unwed couples "shacking up." But according to Shelly Herman, "Laura lived with Lew for about nine years before she was married to him." Schlessinger blames the influence of the 1960s for such lapses. "There are things I did that I wouldn't dream of doing now," she says. Nor was she interested in children back then: she had even undergone a tubal ligation. "I didn't want to have kids because my mission in life was to be very successful and brilliant at something," she says. But in her 30s she began to feel "a big empty space: something missing," she recalls. "I wasn't happy. I kept churning, not knowing what my problem was."
On her show, Schlessinger disparages would-be parents who insist on bearing biological offspring rather than adopting needy children. But after deciding she wanted a baby, she herself underwent protracted fertility treatments to conceive, enduring a traumatic ectopic pregnancy before getting pregnant with Deryk. Herman says that Schlessinger told her she was pregnant at her wedding, which Herman recalls as a particularly joyful because of the happy news. But Schlessinger adamantly denies that she conceived either pregnancy out of wedlock.
Her son inspired her best-known slogan, "I am my kid's mom."
"He is the most important thing in my life," says Schlessinger, who gave Deryk her own last name rather than her husband's. She believes fervently that mothers should care for their children rather than work outside the home. (Part-time work is O.K. after the kids are in school.) She claims she stayed home for 10 years after Deryk was born, although when I ask Bishop he says his wife returned to work when Deryk was "five or six."
By this time, Bishop had left U.S.C. for medical-technology sales. But he lost his job, and he and Schlessinger hit hard times. When I ask him about that period, he tears up, then turns his head away in embarrassment. "Six years ago, our house was in foreclosure," he says, staring at the floor. "We had no money. We were in terrible trouble."
The family's problems were compounded when Bishop nearly died after cardiac arrest. Schlessinger took the blow badly. In the hospital, she tells me, "I was down on my knees in the hall, screaming in terror and anguish." But much of her concern seemed to be for herself. "She would say, 'What am I going to do?' It was all 'I, I, I,'" says Herman.
Then Schlessinger began to suffer incapacitating panic attacks - "terror and pounding and thinking I'm going to die," she says. These included a dramatic episode moments before airtime. "She actually had a nervous breakdown right in front of all of us, " marvels a former colleague. "She got in an argument with her screener, and all of a sudden she was down on the ground vibrating like a carp out of water." Schlessinger was taken out on a stretcher by paramedics.
Her husband has recovered, thanks to a sextuple bypass and a defibrillator, but he and Schlessinger never talk about his heart. "It scares me too much," she says in a small voice.
Schlessinger's reliance on her husband is the flip side of her aggressive displays of strength. "She's totally dependent on Lew for validation," says Herman. Tall, bearded, and bespectacled, Bishop looks like his wife's opposite, but he seems equally dependent. "Lew became the wife; Laura became the breadwinner," Herman explains. "I think Lew is so blindly devoted to her that he has completely lost his sense of self. Lew has morphed into Laura."
Bishop no longer has an independent career; he and Schlessinger decided several years ago that he would manage hers instead. Deryk often went along for the ride, even when his mother worked the late shift. "You'd have to dodge him in the hallways; he was always running around the station unsupervised," reports Laurie Sanders, whose show ran from 6 to 10 P.M. at Los Angeles's KOST, while Dr. Laura took the 9-to-midnight shift at its sister station, KFI, housed in the same building. "One night I was on the air and Deryk ran into the studio with another child and screamed and laughed at the top of his lungs. I called my program director and said, 'This has got to stop.'"
Schlessinger was livid. "From that point on she ignored me," says Sanders. "When I was released from the station, allegedly because of budget cuts, she ran around overjoyed, singing, 'Ding, dong, the witch is dead!' She just reveled in the fact that I was let go."
When asked about Sanders, Laura claims not to know who she is, and says she "would never rejoice in anybody else's pain." But another staffer remembers the "ding, dong" comment, too: "She said it to me."
Sanders doesn't know whether Schlessinger had anything to do with her termination, but other women have found her a formidable enemy. "Any woman she came in contact with, she would view as a threat," says Shelly Herman, adding that on-air personalities were at particular risk. "Tracey Miller, Marilyn Kagan, Barbara De Angelis, Mother Love - she systematically set out to destroy each of these women. She was the most vengeful, evil person. She had me making calls, trying to find out things about these people. Now she's against gossiping, but she was very much in that trap of finding out things about her colleagues and using the information to undermine them. She would go to management: 'How can this person be giving advice - they're not a therapist!'" Herman sighs. "At the time, I didn't realize that Laura's doctorate was from a biological science rather than a behavioral science."
Schlessinger denies having tried to undermine her rivals, but she admits that when she worked nights at KFI, she coveted the noontime slot held by Barbara De Angelis, who had a doctorate in psychology from Columbia Pacific University. De Angelis, whose call-in show was highly rated in Los Angeles, was already a best-selling author, and at first Schlessinger cultivated her. "She called me and said she wanted to write a book. That was the last time we ever spoke."
"Laura found out that Dr. De Angelis was not a doctor," says Tracey Miller, who is now at KLSX in Los Angeles. "She informed the entire building." Laurie Sanders adds, "She was always bad-mouthing Barbara. To go out and discredit someone to get what you want - is that ethical? She was always looking at it like 'This should be mine - and I will do whatever it takes to make it mine.'"
Colleagues were appalled by Schlessinger's tactics. "If you're the best, earn the job - don't go digging up dirt," says one. (Schlessinger denies asking De Angelis how to write a book, but admits she complained to KFI management about the other woman's credentials.)
De Angelis ended up leaving KFI, but her problems weren't over. "The California state board is very strict about who can call themselves 'doctor,'" De Angelis explains. The board contacted me and said, 'Unless you have a clinical license you can't use "doctor'" They said they had a complaint, but they wouldn't tell me from whom. I haven't used 'doctor' since." (Schlessinger says she did not file the complaint.)
Schlessinger also allegedly targeted Marilyn Kagan, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who inherited Dr. Laura's time slot when Schlessinger replaced De Angelis at noon. "When I first got there she was saying, 'Well, finally we have a real therapist! Marilyn really knows what she's doing,'" recalls Kagan. "She befriended me; she would call me every day. People at the radio station were saying, 'Just be careful. Watch your back.'"
Kagan confided to Laura that she was undergoing fertility treatments. Then a co-worker informed her, "Laura went to your boss and told him you're very ill, that you were going through lots of things that would put you in the hospital, and that you'd be out a lot," Kagan reports. "Laura had a guy she told them they should replace me with; she's less threatened by men. I went to my boss and he said, 'Don't worry about it.'" David Hall, her former boss, is still program director at KFI, which carries Schlessinger's show. Asked about the incident, he says, "I don't remember."
But from then on, Schlessinger was a declared enemy. "Everything I would say, she would put me down on the radio or challenge me," says Kagan, who now appears on KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. "She would constantly zing me and berate me on the air. She has said really horrible things about me; she slanders me right and left." Although other co-workers remember such comments, Laura denies attacking Kagan: "What a lying bitch," she says angrily.
Kagan adds, "The sickest thing about Laura is how she ingratiates herself to you, with a plan: If I kick your ass, then I can stab you in the back. The minute she didn't need people anymore, she would shit on them. She is such an evil, vicious human being. This woman is very ill; her envy is so perverse. I can't believe how she hurts people. I guess even $71.5 million doesn't heal a wounded psyche."
Schlessinger attributes such accusations to envy of her success. The problem with that explanation is that so many people disliked her before she ever became rich or famous. "Even before she was a star, she had the attitude that 'the rules don't apply to me,'" says one former colleague.
Dr. Laura is not pleased that I have asked her if she is being hypocritical. "I live my values," she says, and offers one of her favorite quotes: "A hypocrite is somebody who says, 'Do as I say, not as I do.' A teacher is someone who says, 'Do as I do, not as I did.'" She admits there are "things I regret and have shame for." But she is not about to enumerate them. "With the mindset I have now, There are certain things I would not have done." she says evenly. "I am repentant; I have moved on; I see no reason to embarrass myself."
Particularly now, when things are going so well. After 22 years of bouncing from one radio station to another, after all the shows when her husband and Shelly Herman had to call Dr. Laura with fake problems because nobody was calling in with real ones, she now has her own, custom-designed studio and can buy a Mercedes whenever she wants. She attributes her success to her own enlightenment. "This show parallels my personal growth: it evolved as I evolved," she says.
Petty quibbles about her own life merely serve to distract from her crusade to change the world, a task she believes she is accomplishing. In front of her new, California Mission-style house is an exclusive gated community in the San Fernando Valley, her husband has placed a sign that alludes to Schlessinger's lofty goals: ON A MISSION, it says.
I am getting people to stop doing wrong and start doing right," she says.
Schlessinger may not be calling herself a prophet these days, but "rabbi" will do. "Rabbi means teacher; I am one," she says. She ignores the fact that Orthodox Judaism doesn't permit women rabbis, and insists that the strictures Orthodoxy imposes on women are not sexist. "The clarity of the roles is wonderful," she says. (Several days later, I turn on the radio and hear her ridiculing my "ignorance" for asking about the concerns of Jewish women who believe that Orthodox Judaism is sexist.)
Schlessinger doesn't like it when you don't agree with her. One day I question her interpretation of an on-air exchange. Her green eyes blaze. "You missed the point again," she says. "That's the difference between a civilian and me. Listening to the pieces of the puzzle, we're not equal. Sorry; that's not arrogance, that's just a fact."
Her admirers ascribe her certitude to divine providence. "I think her show is one of God's blessings," says Patti Edwards, who became a friend when she persuaded Schlessinger to be honored by Childhelp U.S.A., a charity Edwards supports.
"To call her America's conscience is not an exaggeration," says Reuven Bulka, an Orthodox rabbi from Ottawa, Canada, who has become Schlessinger's latest spiritual adviser.
But many mental-health professionals doubt whether her obey-me approach is truly constructive. "A good psychotherapist helps people find their own answers," says Salvatore Maddi, a professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of Southern California at Irvine. "Basically Dr. Laura is about: I'm right, everyone else is wrong. The hostility behind that is very tangible in the way she interacts with everyone. The more followers she gets, the more she's sure she's right. She needs very much to be in control."
And her acolytes arc are happy to hand over the reins. "A lot of people feel overwhelmed," Maddi explains. "People want there to be simple right-and-wrong answers: 'Spank me some more, Mama, and I'll do whatever you want!'"
It seems to be a surefire formula; the money is rolling in. In addition to Schlessinger's books, audiotapes, and videos, there is a magazine, a new line of gifts and collectibles, and the Dr. Laura Collection of clothing. Never shy about merchandising - she used to have Deryk read on-air commercials - she now hawks an "I am my kid's dad" tie in two styles, the conventional boardroom version and the showbiz one. She has formed her own production company and written a children's book. And Ten Commandments goes on sale September 9, she reminds her listeners.
But all this activity is not about the money, she assures me. She loves to quote the Bible, and one day she tells me about the time she read the words "You shall be unto me a nation of priests." "I stopped dead," she says. "So the point is that, by virtue of what I do and how I live, I give evidence of God's presence on earth! That was the deal at Sinai: that was the job given to the Jews!"
She tilts her head back and closes her eyes beautifically, as if basking in an invisible light.
"I like having a job." says Dr. Laura.