Note: I'm ankle deep in a huge project right now that I can't share with the Internet as a Hole. But I have a conundrum: I'd also like to post, and skip merrily around commenting (occasionally excessively) on other blogs. And there's only so much abuse this keyboard can take. So, to solve this, from time to time I'll post something from my past - a "best of" from my syndicated weekly column or a story from my book or some musings from a previous life. And sometimes I'll just suck it up and write something new. And most of you reading this won't know which is which. So we're all happy.
This is a true story.
A friend of mine had an appointment recently to visit a psychic. She wanted to get her future foretold. But just as my friend was packing up to go and see this psychic, she got a call. The psychic had to cancel. Something unexpected had come up.
Excuse me - how does anything “unexpected” come up when you're a psychic?
I’ll tell you what should have happened: When my friend originally phoned for an appointment, the psychic should have said, "Let's see ... Monday night ... hmmm ... no, Monday's no good. My husband's going to double over at the dinner table. We'll rush him to the hospital - it'll be his appendix. But they'll operate and everything will be okay. By mid-week my life will be back to normal. How's Wednesday at nine...?"
In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, a real psychic shouldn't have any need for an appointment book. You should just be able to show up, out of the blue, confident that you’ve been expected for some time.
In fact, let's go even further - if you're dealing with the real thing, you should be sitting at home one evening when the phone rings: "Hi, you don't know me, but my name is Bob, and I'm a psychic. Your friend Dave is going to tell you about me, and you're going to be intrigued, and you're going to show up at my place on Monday. Well, I'm just calling to tell you that's a bad night for me."
Now, there's a psychic.
I don't mean to scoff. I know there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in my philosophies. But I can't help seeing the logical gap that opens up when a psychic get surprised.
Speaking of logical gaps, I have another friend who paid good money to have someone lead her through a "past-life regression". She got hypnotized and taken back through all these past lives she supposedly lived. For example, she had been a serving girl for Cleopatra in one life. In another she was one of Al Capone's henchmen.
It didn't seem to strike her as one bit curious that no matter at what point in history she surfaced, she was always right at the heart of the action. So she stood side by side with Al Capone in Chicago in the thirties rather than, say, spending that decade building a fire out of goat dung in a village in Tibet. Granted, that’s nowhere near as romantic - but come on, let’s face it, Capone only had so many henchmen.
If you ask me, people spend too much time with the past and the future. What we really need is someone who can tell us the present.
People should be willing to plunk down fifty bucks to have someone sit across the table and say: "Here's the way it is for you right now, here, in the present. You're in a decent job, but you're not putting enough money away for your retirement. You don't do enough to help out around the house, and you could ease up on your kids a bit - hey, weren't you young once? You want a new car, but get real - you can't afford the models you've been looking at. And look at you - get a haircut and lose thirty pounds. And by the way, that's not the best colour on you. That'll be fifty bucks. Next!"
I think we all could use someone like that from time to time. I'm just not sure we'd all be willing to pay for it. I'm one of the lucky ones - every day, my wife tells me my present, and doesn't charge a thing. And you know, most times, she's dead on. It's uncanny.
In fact, she's so good she's been thinking about telling other people their present for a small fee. You'll have to call ahead, make sure she's not busy.
Unless, of course, you're a psychic. Then you'll just know when to show up, won't you?