Fear of Cancer Returning

The last time I had a psychic reading, back when I was at college, it was just as much for novelty as this time, and in the end, just as disturbing. Don’t these people know that we’re just looking for a little entertainment? Why do they always feel the need to give me the bad news?

“Do you drive fast?” She said as soon as she took my hand.

“Well…I don’t know. I guess sometimes I drive fast?” I replied.

“Do you drive fast around corners?” She continued.

“What?” I said.

“Well, I’m not suppose to tell you these things,” she said, and looked behind her as if for emphasis, “but I get a strong feeling that you will die driving too fast around a corner.”

What?! What the hell kind of psychic reading is that?

“And your girlfriend is no good for you.” She added, in a sudden southern Indiana drawl.

That was four years ago, and while she was right about my girlfriend at the time, there’s no telling about the accuracy of the rest of her story.

I don’t buy into the psychic thing, or, at least, I better not. I’m sure that there are some people out there who have some kind of talent in this area, but I’m sure it’s got to be pretty rare. The two I’ve now gone too mostly start with the same nonsense: I see that you are very strong-willed, nobody understands or appreciates you, something happened to you in the past that hurt you – you know, vague stuff that could probably be accepted by anybody as at least mostly true.

And then they jump into the more specific, and that’s usually when they start talking about me as a dead man walking.

When I drove into Pompano Beach on Sunday for this long anticipated vacation, I noticed a lot of kitschy, tacky tourist stores that usually line most beach front property in Florida. And the psychic place. It said “Palmist” on the sign.

I had also gotten a palm reading once when I was in Hawaii. It was at a farmers market on the big island. The dude, the palmist, told me that I was strong-willed, and nobody understood me, and that I liked to travel. Liked to travel? Duh? What was it that gave it away – the camera around my neck? The clothes that don’t match? The look of stupid wonder on my face? The Illinois driver’s license that I flashed when getting the $5 to pay? Thanks for nothing.

But I’m game for interesting activities, and shuffleboard at the hotel is difficult to play by yourself, so I went to the psychic’s place the next day.

A tall skinny lady with dark features answered the door.

I won’t get into how the place looked, and my misgivings about her decorating (which I awkwardly complimented her on…I don’t know why). She led me into what must have been her office. It was painted floor to ceiling in dark, night blue, with a massive, 10-foot sun on one wall and a matching moon on the opposite wall. There were crystals littering the desk and books on a book shelf – “The Tarot Encyclopedia”, “Psychic Readings”, “How To Make Money On Tourists”, “Basic Psychology 101″ (alright, the last two weren’t there…).

As she started to lay down the tarot cards she started talking.

“I see that you are a very strong-willed man” – blah, blah, blah. And on and on with the normal beginning stuff.

“Something happened to you in November, something that could have brought you the success your looking for. But you missed it for some reason, and now you are behind. I see that you are about 2 years behind on your success. What was that thing in November?”

Well, I thought, that’s certainly a bunch of baloney. I thought back to November. To laying on the couch in my parent’s place, surrounded by empty pharmaceutical packaging, rolling in nausea, bloated and angry. I’d mostly stopped gigging by then. Nothing was going on. Just chemo.

“No, I don’t think anything happened in November.”

“Where were you?” She asked.

Nice question, eh? Hell, I could be a psychic if the people coming to me would give me all that information – “well, I see your strong-willed, and…uh…so what is it you do?”…etc., etc., etc…

I paused and looked at the lady. Do I really answer this?

“I was in chemotherapy. I wasn’t doing anything.” I finally answered.

“Ah yes, the sickness.” She said, suddenly adjusting the cards on the left, as if she was just about to get to that anyway.

“Yes, the sickness kept you away from something.” She concluded.

Good call, lady. Tell me something I don’t know.

“Your cancer will come back, but you won’t die from it. I see that you are planning to move, yes? I see that this place, southern Florida, is not for you. I see the west coast somewhere. Where is it that you were planning to move?”

“Wait a minute,” I said, “go back. Did you just say that the cancer is going to come back?”

“I don’t mean to alarm you.”

“Really?” I looked at the cards. “Where does it say that?”

“Oh, you’ll be ok. You won’t die, you’ll beat it again. Your cancer is in remission, yes?” She said.

Ok. This lady has clearly never been through cancer treatment. ‘You’ll beat it again’? Like that’s supposed to make me feel better? Do you know what it’s like to beat cancer? That’s not just something you brush over casually before heading on to the next subject.

“Yes, I see you on the west coast when it happens. Doctors there will have a cure.”

Ok, lady, that’s enough.

It went for a few minutes longer. She talked a little about relationships and told me that, for only $250 (!), I could have a FULL reading, but that she’d need me full name and date of birth. And although she didn’t ask for it, I bet she could probably get some use out of my social security number, a major credit card, the internet passwords of all of my bank accounts, etc., etc., etc.

Thanks for nothing, lady.

So I think my curiosity with psychics has waned. Either I’m going to die in a fiery car crash or I’m going to be riddled with cancer on the west coast. I could do without that information, thank you. In Machiavellian terms, I imagine this is how they hook their clients. They tell them some sort of horrible event that is bound to take place in the future, but that can be avoided through the psychic’s constant guidance. And BAM! You’ve got a client that will hang on your every word and pay you whatever they need to pay you. Too bad for her I’m strong-willed and she doesn’t understand me.

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