I had an experience today which made me again question how people come to believe the things they do. The woman across the hall from me in my Bala office is named Angela. She is a very tolerant neighbor. She doesn’t seem to mind me blasting my “Henry Kissinger reads the Khama Sutra” tapes or my constantly yelling “Yeah, as a matter of fact I do have a friggin law decree…Now LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE…Your honor” into the phone. Today she came over to chat.

Angela is sort of a massage therapist. She started out by saying I looked tired. I told her about the baby, and of course my sex machine responsibilities to Jen, but she thought it was something different. She thought my Chakras were out of balance. I quickly pulled my hands out of my pockets and explained that I was just jangling my change, but she invited me into her studio for a quick treatment. I was reluctant to go at first, but then I got buzzed by the receptionist who told me some client wanted the papers I was supposed to have drafted. I needed a quick escape, and Angela provided one.

The first thing Angela did was something she called Reiki. This was like massage, only she didn’t actually touch me. It reminded me of my prom date. After a minute or two I wondered if there were also Reiki Hoagie makers who only pass the mayonnaise near the bun. She kept asking me if I felt anything, as if she had her heart set on it. I couldn’t bring myself to say no, so instead I said the following:

“Feel something??…I feel like every tendril is exploding like ten federal buildings, and each cerebral synapse is melting, while my now-liquid brain is cascading down a thousand mountains of ecstasy and terror married into one heavenly miasma of cosmic righteousness. I am on FIRE Angela!! I am on FUCKING FIRE!!!”

This seemed to make her happy.

The next thing Angela did was bang two tuning forks against a rock. She then put one tuning fork on my knee, and one on my forehead. She then again asked me if I felt anything. “Feel something??… I feel like every tendril…etc… (It’s hard to think of two of those in a couple of minutes). This was apparently supposed to synchronize my Chakras. However, about ten seconds into it, she looked panic-stricken and asked, “You weren’t born in the year of the Ox, were you? They can’t get this treatment!” I reassured her that I was born in the year of the Lime Tic, but that it’s never a bad idea to have one’s malpractice insurance paid up.

Finally, she “Pendulized” me. This involved holding a pendulum over me to see if my Chakras were now in balance. We had the following exchange:

If the pendulum moves, it’s because
you are in balance.

If the pendulum moves, it’s because your
hand is going back and forth.

It only seems like that.

It seems like that a lot.

No, its an illusion, like everything which
makes you tense or uneasy is an illusion.

You mean my creditors are an illusion?

It’s all an illusion.

So all I have to do is stop imagining
that a Mr. Clark at the bank keeps calling me and
asking for payment.


Cool. I can’t wait to tell Mr. Clark. I
wonder if it’s too late to get that check
out of the mail.

Angela has constructed an entire life around beliefs with absolutely no empirical evidence to support them, like the flat-earth society, or the Republican Party. I suppose it makes her happy, but frankly I demand a little more proof of something before I rent a studio and start buying tuning forks in bulk. I personally would like to believe that Don Knots will live forever, and that I can fix my car by eating Kung Pow Shrimp. I would love to think that bottles of rum are bottomless, and that peeping in my neighbors windows will make my stocks go up. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. I decided to let that check to Mr. Clark go out.

Tomorrow: Angela slaps me silly with her mind.