I’m sure I got the assignment to write and direct the video because my boss didn’t want to deal with her. She had almost no budget, but Margret Merrill turned out to be one of my favorite clients. She was in her sixties with a PhD in something I can’t remember. I’m guessing she started Control Enuresis of the Northwest as a way to supplement her Social Security checks but it wasn’t her hobby, it was her passion.
“Were you a bed-wetter?” she asked me directly at our first meeting.
“I don’t know,” I offered.
She read my face intently. “You’d remember, that’s a no.”
I felt like I failed the audition.
“Excuse me for a second. Here read this.” She tore off the top sheet of a 5×8 tablet and handed it to me.
She got up from the table and headed toward the restrooms of the IHOP, carrying a stack of the same tablets. “THE END OF THE WET BED,” was the headline on the paper. Without saying exactly how it worked, the one sheet offered to cure “…the nightmare that leads to the Terrible Triangle; bed wetting, fire setting and cruelty to animals.” When she returned from “hanging paper,” as she put it, I asked her about the Triangle. “I’ll give you all the literature, let’s talk while we drive.” Off we went.
“This one might be dicey,” Margret said mysteriously, as we pulled into a rundown neighborhood on an Army base. The woman at the door smiled nervously and invited us in. She glanced down the street before closing the door behind us.
“My husband didn’t want that I should make the appointment. But he gets so angry at our boy, I thought this couldn’t hurt, right?.”
Margret reached over and took her hand. “Sweetheart, I’ve dried hundred of kids just like–,”
The phone rang. “Hello. (she winced) Yes. They’re here. I just –,”
The woman hung up and stood up quickly. “You all need to leave right now. He’s just at the PX.”
Margret looked like she knew the drill and was out the door in an instant. A car flew by us as we left the neighborhood but I didn’t look over at the driver. “That poor child.” Margret said softly as we drove away.
I found out that Margret used the same device you could buy at any Sears, a pad with two layers of chicken wire attached to a battery and a buzzer. “Moisture” completed the electrical circuit and set off the buzzer, waking the bed-wetter. Apparently it’s all a matter of training your brain to recognize the feeling of a full bladder, even when you are unconscious. Anyway…Margret warned me…“The right tool in the wrong hands is a dangerous thing.”
Over the next several days I met dozens of people who adored Dr. Merrill. When Margret took on a client she was totally committed and she expected the same from the family. “It’s a family problem and it’s a family solution.” Margret would sleep on the couch in their living room if she had to.
“Imagine starting every day of your life, thinking you are a failure?” Margret asked me once with tears welling up in her eyes. “That takes a toll.”
I began to look at this video in a whole different light. On one visit, a young woman pulled me aside and confided that after wetting the bed every night of her life, Margret help her stop two days before her wedding day.
In the end, Margret inspired me and got my best work at the time. I was proud to put her video first on my demo reel. (available upon request)