Don would come up with the most incredibly concrete interchanges, of which, of course, he only had the verbal and paralinguistic parts; he did not see the facial expression and the body language or anything. He just listened to the tape. He would then say something as concrete as, “All right, if they have a son, he is probably delinquent. If they have a girl, she probably has some psychosomatic problem.”
He was right every bloody time. And we would say, “For God’s sake, Don, how do you do it? What made you say this?” He would say, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, “Well, because of the way they laugh here.” We still did not know what was the thing that made him say it, but he was always right. I remember one funny incident in particular. We tried to get a control group of so called normals, and we rounded up three normal couples. I remember one was a father and a mother, whose marriage seemed to be very much all right after something like 17 years.
They had a 15-year-old daughter and she was doing well at school and there were no problems. So they qualified for our idea of normal. We played this particular part of “how did you meet” for Don, and for the first time Don said, “I don’t know; to me they sound normal.”