[Justin see's Dr. Perry for the last time in his new office before leaving off to college]
Justin Cobb: What happened?
Dr. Perry Lyman: What do you mean?
Justin Cobb: This place. It looks a little depressing.
Dr. Perry Lyman: I don't know, I... I guess I stopped trying to be anything. I accepted myself and all my human disorder. You might wanna do the same. Do you remember when you were like, 13 or something, you were... You were always doing an impression of a newsman.
Justin Cobb: [chuckles] I did?
Dr. Perry Lyman: You were quite good.
Justin Cobb: Sorry.
Dr. Perry Lyman: If that's what you want to do, New York is the perfect place for you. Make the contacts, knock on doors.
[Dr. Perry lights a cigarette]
Dr. Perry Lyman: Get the right haircut, take voice lessons. Might work. Then again. You'll have to deal with a lot of fear.
Justin Cobb: I just came here for a checkup.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Really? Justin, I'm sorry if I contributed to any feelings of shame you may have about your thumb. I've been reading up on it. Medically, psychologically, there's nothing really wrong with thumb sucking.
Justin Cobb: I don't think I can agree with that.
Dr. Perry Lyman: No, really. Look. Justin... there was nothing wrong with you.
Justin Cobb: It felt like everything was wrong with me.
Dr. Perry Lyman: That's 'cause we all wanna be problemless. To fix ourselves. We look for some magic solution to make us all better, but none of us really know what we're doing. And why is that so bad? That's all we humans can do. Guess. Try. Hope. But, Justin, just pray you don't fool yourself into thinking you've got the answer. Because that's bullshit. The trick is living without an answer. I think.
[both chuckle and laugh]
Dr. Perry Lyman: [Dr. Perry chuckles and lights another cigarette] I think.
Justin Cobb: We have to overcome the idea that everyone is the same.
Dr. Perry Lyman: I stopped trying to be anything. I accepted myself in all my human disorder. You might wanna do the same.
[Justin lays back in the chair of his dentist who suggests a way to help him stop his thumb sucking condition]
Dr. Perry Lyman: It's time we were honest with each other.
Justin Cobb: Yeah?
Dr. Perry Lyman: I don't wanna fix your teeth all over again. It's time to confront the underlying issue.
Justin Cobb: What do you mean?
Dr. Perry Lyman: I know what your problem is. It's an understandable habit. In fact, what's strange is that people ever quit. It's nature's substitute for your mother's breast. How were you fed as a baby? From a bottle?
Justin Cobb: I can't remember.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Any tension at home? Anxiety? Any bad memories?
[Justin has a flashback of playing little league and missing the catch of a high fly ball]
Justin Cobb: No conscious ones.
Dr. Perry Lyman: We never remember the big ones anyways. Some dumb babysitter holds your mouth shut so she can watch soap operas in peace. At 40 you wonder why you can't stay married. There's only so much I can do with traditional orthodontics. Justin. Justin. Are you ready to let go of your thumb?
Justin Cobb: Why are you talking like that?
Dr. Perry Lyman: Answer my question.
Justin Cobb: What are you gonna do?
Dr. Perry Lyman: I wanna try hypnosis.
Justin Cobb: [Justin smiles wanting to laugh] No way.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Yeah. Really, I've seen it do wonders. Just try and relax. The more relaxed you are, the deeper we can go. Focus on the moon in the painting.
[Dr. Perry points to the painting behind him on the wall of his office]
Dr. Perry Lyman: [Dr. Perry turns out his office lights and lights a candle] Sense of peace... like a white light... fills your body. Imagine the white light... filling your feet... and your legs. Then your torso. Then your head. Imagine you're on a path. You're deep in the forest. A shaft of light illuminates a wild animal.
[Justin see's the image of a male deer with antlers]
Dr. Perry Lyman: This is your power animal. See it. Study it. When you feel like sucking your thumb, I want you to call on your power animal. Call it now.
Justin Cobb: [Justin whimpers out loud] Come here.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Do it in your mind. Whenever you feel afraid, alone, call on your power animal. You're not alone. You're not afraid. You don't need your thumb. And your thumb doesn't need you.
[Justin wakes up]
Dr. Perry Lyman: Justin, from now on, your thumb will taste like Echinacea.
Justin Cobb: [Justin asks before leaving Mr. Perry's office] What's your power animal?
Dr. Perry Lyman: That's personal.
[Justin and Mr. Geary have a final word with one another]
Mr. Geary: Justin, it's... in my professional opinion that you've become a monster.
Justin Cobb: What? You used to love me.
Mr. Geary: Don't get grandiose with this.
Justin Cobb: Well, what was that all about my gift? And you told me - You - You built it up. You told me I had a talent.
Mr. Geary: Yeah, you do. You have a real intensity. You have a great understanding of group dynamics. But there's also a lot of things you need to work on, Justin. Like glibness. Arrogance. Self-control. Shall I go on?
Justin Cobb: At least I still have a dream.
Mr. Geary: That's great. Is that how you see me? That's what we've come to, Justin?
Justin Cobb: I already decided that I'm quitting the debate team.
Mr. Geary: That's my fault. Thank you very much. Good luck to you.
[Justin leaves Mr. Geary's room]
[Joel works out stretching in front of his bedroom mirror when Justin walks in]
Joel Cobb: What?
Justin Cobb: Nothing. Ass.
Joel Cobb: Be quiet.
Justin Cobb: Joel.
Joel Cobb: Yeah?
Justin Cobb: I always kinda thought Audrey was gonna leave Mike.
Joel Cobb: They couldn't be apart.
Justin Cobb: But is that love?
Joel Cobb: I don't know.
Justin Cobb: Well, don't you ever think about this stuff? Doesn't it ever freak you out?
Joel Cobb: Everything freaks you out.
Justin Cobb: You don't even care. You have it so easy, Joel.
Joel Cobb: I hate it when you say shit like that.
Justin Cobb: Like what?
Joel Cobb: Like you're the only one with problems. You ever think maybe you're so busy being weird, that I have to step up and be normal? Everyone's worried about you. All the bullshit you get yourself into.
Justin Cobb: Why didn't you ever just say anything? I'm sorry.
[Justin and Rebecca kiss in her bedroom when she notices the MFC written on his thumb]
Justin Cobb: [Chuckles] What's MFC? Justin? Justin.
[Justin becomes shy when he's reminded that MFC is his dad's initials, written on his thumb as a reminder to stop sucking]
Justin Cobb: Nothing.
Rebecca: It's nothing? Well, then why don't you just tell me? Justin.
Justin Cobb: Motherfucking cocksucker.
Rebecca: Why are you acting like this? What's the point of us spending time together if it can't lead to openness?
Justin Cobb: I'm sorry.
Rebecca: Maybe you should go.
Justin Cobb: I'm sorry. Um... Should I call you?
Rebecca: When you're ready to be open.
[Justin tells his father at work that he was accepted into college]
Mike Cobb: Well, you know, what does it mean?
Justin Cobb: It means I want to go.
Mike Cobb: Just like that?
Justin Cobb: They want me to go to their summer-school thing. They want me to make up some math and language credits this summer.
Mike Cobb: [quiet, and sad Mike says] I was just getting used to you.
Mike Cobb: [stands up after another pause and taps on his work desk] I gotta go deal with this shipment.
[Mike stares at Justin before padding his head and walking out]
Justin Cobb: The only way somebody like me could get her attention is by being her kid.
[Justin talks with Mr. Geary about how his medication is going]
Mr. Geary: How are you doing with the, uh, medication?
Justin Cobb: I read Moby Dick straight through.
Mr. Geary: That's great. But how do you feel?
Justin Cobb: I feel... like me. I never really did before.
Mr. Geary: Have you had any other breakthroughs beside the book?
Justin Cobb: It used to be kind of a hassle to put on underwear in the morning, but now it's kinda easy.
Mr. Geary: Yeah.
Justin Cobb: I actually listened to the words to the Pledge of Allegiance today, and they - gave me chills
Mr. Geary: I've always felt that you have a real sensitivity when it comes to language. And I know that you're smart. I think you see a lot more than you take responsibility for. That kind of perception you have that can't be taught by anyone.
Mike Cobb: I... I never know what you two are thinking.
[Justin listens and smiles at Rebecca giving her debate speech in Mr. Geary's class]
Rebecca: The ocean contains 97 percent of the Earth's water and generates over 70 percent of the Earth's oxygen, and replenishes our fresh water through the clouds. If our oceans are failing, than so will we.
[the class claps by banging on the tables softly]
Mr. Geary: Well done. Justin. Rebuttal. Justin?
Justin Cobb: Actually, I uh - I agree with Rebecca. I saw this show on Animal Planet about how they were giving depressed male baboons prozac.
Mr. Geary: Justin. This isn't Agree Club. It's Debate Club. If you had done your research you'd have the confidence to have an opinion. And if you have an opinion that's based on facts gathered from your research, then you are confident to speak. And speaking confidently does what, class? Speaking confidently...
[the class mumbles]
Mr. Geary: That's right, wins minds.
Mr. Geary: [whispers] Justin, if you wanna admire Rebecca, you can do that during recess. If you wanna compete here, you're gonna have to apply yourself. You can have a seat, Rebecca. Sasha, Lewis. Well done, have a seat. I like the Animal Planet, though, Justin. Great channel.
[the scene cuts to Justin sucking his thumb in the school's bathroom stall]
[Justin lays back in the dentist chair talking to Dr. Perry]
Dr. Perry Lyman: Justin, do they teach you about the subconscious at school?
Justin Cobb: A little.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Ever heard of subconscious pressure? Involuntary behaviors?
Justin Cobb: Like a serial killer.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Perhaps. Justin, all of us carry a certain weight. A weight we don't recognize. Some of us have heavy loads.
Justin Cobb: In our minds.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Yeah. A force from inside. We don't know it's name but it makes us do things. Things we don't like to admit.
[Justin calls Mr. Geary in the next room so that Geary can buy him and the female debaters beer while staying in a hotel room]
Mr. Geary: [Mr. Geary on the phone] Are you trying to put me in a position to buy alcohol for minors?
Justin Cobb: People do it all the time.
Mr. Geary: Yes, I can understand you guys wanna unwind a little. You've worked hard, and you'd like to enjoy yourselves, but, uh, I am a teacher.
Justin Cobb: We think of you more as a peer. A friend.
Mr. Geary: That's the line you're gonna use? Well, I hope your head's better tomorrow. Don't keep me on the phone. You're gonna talk yourself out of a six-pack.
Mr. Geary: [Mr. Geary minutes later shows up to the students hotel room with alcohol] I thought about it. I don't think it's a good idea. You guys should be doing your impromptus and getting ready for the meet.
Justin Cobb: What?
Mr. Geary: [Geary hands him over a bag of beer] Here's your six-pack.
Justin Cobb: [laughs] That's really messed up.
Mr. Geary: One of these is going to go a long way with the pills you're on, so go slow. Okay?
Justin Cobb: I understand.
Mr. Geary: Have fun and stay here. All right.
Justin Cobb: Thank you.
[closing the door]
Justin Cobb: [All of the debaters cheer their beers screaming their debate salute, line'em up and knock'em down!]
[Justin plays the blindfold game with Rebecca]
Rebecca: We're not in a relationship, Justin.
Justin Cobb: Why not?
Justin Cobb: [Justin takes off the blindfold] Rebecca... I love you.
Rebecca: God, you always have to make everything so serious. This was just a teenage experiment. That's all.
Justin Cobb: Experiment?
Rebecca: [whispers] I needed to educate myself, Justin. So, um... I decided to pick someone like you.
Justin Cobb: Like me?
Rebecca: Someone that I'd never get hurt by.
Justin Cobb: That's just so fucked up.
Rebecca: Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. Maybe you should just go. Go, Justin.
[Justin has a dream of himself as a newsman with all of his family and friends watching him, when he's suddenly unable to say the words from the teleprompter]
[Justin slowly opens his eyes and realizes he's still on the plane, now sucking his thumb]
Justin Cobb: [a female passenger giggles at him] Hi. Hi. I'm Justin.
Girl on Plane: [smiles] Hi.
[Justin smiles at her and she smiles back]
[Justin draws while his little brother Joel bothers him with questions about girls]
Joel Cobb: You never even had a girlfriend.
Justin Cobb: So what?
Joel Cobb: You don't even hang out with girls. You just, like, hang out with your nerdy friends.
Justin Cobb: No, I - I do hang out with girls.
Joel Cobb: Really? But how come you never bring any over here? Or I never, like, see you walking with any, or anything? I just see you walking by yourself.
Justin Cobb: Why do you care, Joel?
Joel Cobb: I don't know. 'Cause I'm bored. All the guys in your grade have probably fucked girls. You haven't even kissed one.
Justin Cobb: Leave.
Joel Cobb: No.
[Justin sits in the school library when Rebecca sits across from him and draws]
Rebecca: You like that book?
Justin Cobb: Oh, yeah. It's, um - It's got great stuff on Greenpeace.
Rebecca: Yeah, it's a good introduction. Those Greenpeace guys are really brave.
Justin Cobb: I wish I could do something like that.
Rebecca: What? Be brave?
Justin Cobb: Yeah.
Rebecca: Maybe you already are.
[Justin and Rebecca walk along the stream together]
Justin Cobb: It's hot today.
Justin Cobb: I think I'm gonna take my shirt off.
Rebecca: Yeah? Go ahead.
Justin Cobb: You should, too.
Rebecca: What are you trying, Justin?
Justin Cobb: No, really. I mean, we're so uptight in our clothes. It's just like wearing a bathing suit. At the beach.
Rebecca: No. My stomach will get sunburned, and my mom will get mad.
Justin Cobb: Your mom looks at you naked?
Rebecca: Well, yeah, I mean, don't your parents?
Justin Cobb: Audrey? Mike? No.
Rebecca: Why do you call your parents by their first name?
Justin Cobb: Mike says when I call him Dad, he feels old. And I sound like a child or something. And when I call Audrey, Mom, she seems old to him?
Justin Cobb: So are you gonna take your shirt off?
Justin Cobb: Yeah.
[Justin and Rebecca turn away from each other and take their shirts off before turning back around to face each other]
[Justin calls Dr. Perry asking him to take back the hypnosis he still feels under]
Justin Cobb: Perry. It worked.
Dr. Perry Lyman: That's wonderful.
Justin Cobb: No, I - I didn't think it would be like this. Can you put it back? or something?
Dr. Perry Lyman: Your subconscious has taken its course.
Justin Cobb: Please, I really feel crazy.
Dr. Perry Lyman: Stick with it, Justin. Call on your power animal for help.
[Justin looks at the phone confused and hangs up]
[Justin and his little brother Joel both walk to the bike race that Dr. Perry is a contestant in, to make Perry crash his bicycle by holding up animal photos crossed with red X's]
Joel Cobb: This is gonna be stupid. I thought you liked that guy.
Justin Cobb: He just pretended to be my friend, Joel. If you're scared, you can go home.
Joel Cobb: All right.
Justin Cobb: Joel! I'm sorry, okay? Perry fucked me up.
Joel Cobb: How?
Justin Cobb: He said he'd help me. And then he just fucked me up, okay? Joel. Just this once! Please.
Joel Cobb: Goddamn it.
[Justin begins his first real debate]
Debate Official: Okay, today's topic for spar is the media, with an emphasis on TV violence. Elise Burns.
Debater Elise - 'TV Violence Kills Morality': It's just sick. TV violence kills moralitiy, particularly amongst teens. The studies prove it. Day after day, kids watch shows with gunshots. And the next thing you know, someone's dead.
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': Television is a Trojan horse in our homes. It claims to give us education and entertainment, but it really just takes the imaginations of today's youth hostage in the process.
Debater Kate - 'Accountability Needs to Be Enforced.': Yeah, I agree. I mean, Media conglomerates say they want to change, but it's all double talk. I mean, accountability needs to be forced.
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': I concur, but let's go further. TV contributes to the decay of the American family. And once the family goes... down goes our institutions and up goes our drug abuse. Ditto gambling and pornography.
Justin Cobb: You have no evidence to support that claim.
[the debaters pause]
Justin Cobb: Images aren't reality. Violence in art goes back to Egypt. What's important is teaching people to be skeptical. To draw a line. To distinguish between images and life. Lisa, what's your opinion?
Debater Lisa - 'You're Right. TV's Not Real': Well, you're right. TV's not real.
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': Hold on. Reality is not the point here. Social decline is.
Justin Cobb: Kate, reaction?
Debater Kate - 'Accountability Needs to Be Enforced.': Oh, no, go, ahead.
Justin Cobb: Mark, I understand the spirit of your refutation. But society and its coneption of reality are inextricable.
[Justin wins the debate from the silence of the other debaters]
[Mike and Audrey Cobb lay in bed together discussing the sudden success of Justin in his debating skills]
Audrey Cobb: You know, you should see him. He wears this tie.
Audrey Cobb: It's important to be supportive. And seen.
Mike Cobb: Can't believe it was almost easier when he was always fucking up.
Audrey Cobb: Yeah.
Mike Cobb: He looks like he thinks he's smarter than me.
Audrey Cobb: Well, maybe that's the way it goes.
[Justin and Mr. Geary driving home from a debate]
Mr. Geary: How do you feel?
Justin Cobb: Tired. But good.
Mr. Geary: Why do you feel good?
Justin Cobb: 'Cause I'm winning.
Mr. Geary: How about learning.
Justin Cobb: I'm learning how to win.
Justin Cobb: You're so hungry, Justin. I never really took that into account.
[Debater Mark catches Justin in the bathroom with a bottle of pills]
Justin Cobb: What are you doing?
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': No wonder. You know this stuff's just speed right?
Justin Cobb: It calms me down.
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': That's what they say. But it only speeds up so much, to focus. Three molecules different than cocaine.
Justin Cobb: A doctor gave it to me.
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': I saw the special on PBS. Teachers are overmedicating kids, just makes it...
Justin Cobb: TV is a great source for information, isn't it?
Debater Mark - 'Whatever, Speedfreak': Huh. Whatever, speed freak.
[Justin talks to his mom at breakfast, who works at the rehab for celebrities]
Justin Cobb: How was work? How was work?
Audrey Cobb: It was really good actually. It was really good.
Justin Cobb: Doesn't that get depressing? Seeing all those people who have everything just throw it all away?
Audrey Cobb: No. It's humbling. Last night this guy said to me, I was born addicted to fantasy.
[Justin sneaks to his mother's place of work at the rehab center for celebrities, while outside he bumps into his mom's favorite celebrity smoking outside, Matt Schramm]
Matt Schramm: So, what, are you in juvie?
Justin Cobb: Yeah.
Matt Schramm: What's your poison?
Justin Cobb: Uh, dope.
Matt Schramm: What flavor?
Justin Cobb: I don't know. Everything I guess.
Matt Schramm: Mmm. Welcome to the fucking club. I never met a drug I didn't like.
Matt Schramm: [Matt notices Justin looking back at his mother through the open curtain in the window] Yeah, she's a tough one. In fact, I consider her my guardian angel.
Justin Cobb: Are you friends?
Matt Schramm: Mmm. It's deeper than that. A month or so ago, I fly in here. I work in TV. My studio commits me. Have you ever seen my show, The Line? You know, sometimes you gotta cross it.
Justin Cobb: I don't know.
Matt Schramm: Anyway. So naturally, I smuggle in a stash, right? Tucked up my ass. But it's too high up. I can't get to it, so... I take a spoon. Something goes wrong. There's all this blood everywhere.
[we see the flashback]
Matt Schramm: Jesus Christ! That's a lot of blood. There's Cobb there. She runs into my room. Sticks her hand in there. No Vaseline, just my blood.
Audrey Cobb: [in the flashback, we see Matt screaming and whimpering] There it is. There it is.
Matt Schramm: [laughs] That's heavy, right?
Justin Cobb: That's sick.
Matt Schramm: Yeah. She saved my life though. And that was the moment I finally got real about myself. I'm Matt. And I'm an addict. The other night she said to me, we're all addicted to...
Audrey Cobb: Something. Maybe an idea of ourselves, of our lives. Maybe some idea of success, or failure or...
Matt Schramm: What, you're scared, too?
Audrey Cobb: Being the mother of a 17-year-old is a trip.
Matt Schramm: Oh, yeah.
Audrey Cobb: Yeah?
Audrey Cobb: You're supposed to have all the answers, and you don't have one.
Matt Schramm: Wow.
Audrey Cobb: Even the idea that once you have a family, you'll never be lonely again.
Matt Schramm: Heavy, huh? We don't like to admit it, but, uh, we're all just scared little animals.
[Matt gives Justin a hug for the share]
[Justin walks into Audrey's room after she knows he's been accepted to a college in New York]
Audrey Cobb: [sniffles] You know I'm happy for you. I am. It's just... I don't know. If it was Belgium, or Chile, or... Mars... somewhere I couldn't picture you, you'd just vanish. But New York. I can see you. Justin in Central park by the fountain.
Audrey Cobb: Justin in a taxi on Fifth Avenue. Justin at Times Square. And Justin eating a fucking hot dog from a street vendor.
Justin Cobb: [Justin sits beside her] You can always come to visit me.
Audrey Cobb: [sniffles] Yeah.
Audrey Cobb: Yeah. You're already gone.
Justin Cobb: No, I'm not.
Audrey Cobb: Yes, you are. I know you, Justin. I've been watching you my whole life.
Justin Cobb: [tearfully looks at Audrey] You have?
[Audrey nods while combing her hand through Justin's hair]