Friday, November 17, 2017
Perspective

Column: Dial 'M' for mysterious Mystic

RECOMMENDED READING


I once was asked to choose a single adjective that least describes who I am. I considered "fastidious," and "sculpted," and "dapper," and "conservative," but eventually settled on "spiritual."

I don't want to offend the many perfectly nice, earnest simpletons who believe in astrology or numerology or crystal therapy or feng shui or geomancy or, say, the healing power of labyrinths, but I myself scoff at that sort of magical thinking. I believe that if the human race doesn't extinguish itself first, everything one day will be explainable on a scientific basis (with the possible exception of the enduring popularity of those word-search puzzles).

In short, I have managed to churn through the many days of my life without ever even considering consulting a psychic. That changed one day recently. I got suckered in by an ad.

It was a professional-looking sandwich-board sign on the sidewalk. This is what it said, verbatim:

Grand Opeing!

Psychi Readings

By Monica. $5.

The bargain price was definitely a factor, but that wasn't the deal closer. What got me were the casual, dreadful misspellings. If I was going to invest in a psychic, I wanted to be amused. I wanted a cut-rate psychic with spectacular inattention to detail.

(Initially, I had read it as "Opieing," suggesting an appealingly transformative process to return to a simpler time, and a fishin' hole.)

Monica's pad was at the top of the stairs, and her studio didn't resemble what I imagined a psychic's lair would look like. There was no dim lighting or hanging draperies or crystal balls. There were kids running around. We went into her brightly lit consultation room, and she asked to see my right palm, which she held. She said she was going to read my energies.

Monica was young and pretty, and I think I was partially wrong about inattention to detail because she favored the sort of decolletage that might distract some more distractible male clients from noticing any errors that might happen to occur, such as when she immediately nodded at my hand and said, "Four children."

I said no, I have two.

"I know," she said. "But you were meant to have four children." She said this in a meaningful way, as though she was disappointed I had not lived up to my cosmic fecundity.

She spoke very rapidly. There is cancer and diabetes in my family.

True enough! My mom died of cancer and my father was partly blinded by diabetes. However, I must note that, based on health statistics I have just pulled up, and doing some actuarial computations, it turns out the odds of both cancer and diabetes existing somewhere within, say, three generations of anyone's extended family is roughly four in five. Still.

Monica assured me I am going to live into old age, which I strongly doubt inasmuch as I have half a liver, intemperate habits and generally slothful, sedentary behavior. However, at 61, I arguably have already lived into old age, so maybe she was just noting the obvious.

She continued: I work hard but think I am not accomplishing as much as I am, I should travel more, and almost everyone I know who is not my family is my enemy.

Wait. What? She had just thrown this in at the end of a sentence!

Yep, she said gravely. They are all envious of me and wish me harm, and I must be very careful that they do not take advantage of me. Be particularly wary, she said, of people with an M or a J in their names.

That was it! The end of the session. I ponied up a $10 bill and told her to keep the change.

It was only when I got back into the street that I realized: "Monica" begins with an M.

Gene Weingarten can be reached at weingartenwashpost.com. Follow him on Twitter, geneweingarten.

© 2013 Washington Post Writers Group

Comments
Oh, Florida! We should all be thankful for the lady accused of shoplifting while dressed as a turkey

Oh, Florida! We should all be thankful for the lady accused of shoplifting while dressed as a turkey

he other day, I had a lovely chat with a lady who was arrested on charges of shoplifting ... while she was dressed as a turkey. I guess you could say that she’s been accused of doing the wrong kind of stuffing.The lady’s name is Irene Leonhard and sh...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Perspective: How the ‘Shalane Flanagan Effect’ works

Perspective: How the ‘Shalane Flanagan Effect’ works

When Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon this month, her victory was about more than just an athletic achievement. Of course, it’s a remarkable one: She’s the first American woman to win in 40 years, and she did so in a blistering 2 hours...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Perspective: A link between alcohol and cancer? It’s not nearly as scary as it seems

Perspective: A link between alcohol and cancer? It’s not nearly as scary as it seems

By AARON E. CARROLLThe headline had some of my friends in a panic.Citing evidence, the American Society of Clinical Oncology warned that even light drinking could increase the risk of cancer.Once again, we’ve been told that something we eat or drink ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
The bridge wobbles. So do you. That’s when the trouble starts.

The bridge wobbles. So do you. That’s when the trouble starts.

Only one countyOut of all America’s 3,141 counties, only one — Howard County, Iowa (population 9,332) — voted by more than 20 percentage points for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.The three wealthiest people in the...
Updated: 9 hours ago
PolitiFact: Explaining the Virginia election results

PolitiFact: Explaining the Virginia election results

As late as a few hours before the polls closed on Tuesday night, pundits were thinking Republican Ed Gillespie could pull off an upset in Virginia’s open-seat gubernatorial race.When the votes were tallied, however, they showed that Gillespie’s bid r...
Published: 11/09/17
Organic agriculture can help feed world, but only if we eat less meat and stop wasting food

Organic agriculture can help feed world, but only if we eat less meat and stop wasting food

Mammals were largely creatures of the night until the dinosaurs were killed off by an asteroid some 66 million years ago, a study finds. The findings, described in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, illuminate a pivotal transition in the history...
Updated: 9 hours ago
PolitiFact: John Kelly, the Civil War and the slavery compromise that almost was

PolitiFact: John Kelly, the Civil War and the slavery compromise that almost was

he uproar that followed White House chief of staff John Kelly’s comment about the roots of the Civil War stands as Exhibit A of the potential problems that come when an official uses shorthand to talk about the country’s history of slavery. Here is t...
Published: 11/03/17
Updated: 11/04/17
Was George Papadopoulos just a ‘volunteer’? PolitiFact reviews the evidence

Was George Papadopoulos just a ‘volunteer’? PolitiFact reviews the evidence

President Donald Trump and prominent allies have repeatedly referred to former campaign aide George Papadopoulos as a mere "volunteer" after news broke that he had pled guilty to lying to the FBI in its Russia investigation.Press Secretary Sarah Huck...
Published: 11/01/17
Updated: 11/03/17

Wolves know how to work together

Nearly ½ of Americans told the Pew Research Center that they trust only "some" or "none" of their neighbors.More than ¼of the farmhands in the United States are immigrants working here illegally.The first ninepresidents of Princeton University owned...
Published: 10/31/17
Updated: 11/09/17
Perspective: National Book Award winner says it’s self-interest that leads to racist policies, and then racism

Perspective: National Book Award winner says it’s self-interest that leads to racist policies, and then racism

Ibram X. Kendi was not surprised to see Donald Trump elected president.Unlike many Americans of every political position, Kendi saw the 2016 election not as a shock but as a swing of a historical pendulum he has spent years studying and writing about...
Published: 10/31/17
Updated: 11/03/17