“My sister’s clairvoyant told me to come and see you because there’s something not right with my thyroid,” said the worried-looking patient. I search for the smile and wait for the hearty laugh to let me know this is an elaborate joke, but alas, my worst fears are realised as it dawns on me that she’s absolutely serious.
Now I don’t spend my weekends in a caravan at the seaside surrounded by signed pictures of Ken Dodd and The Krankies moonlighting as a palm reader, but even I could have predicted the outcome of this particular consultation. In short, there was nothing wrong with her and her bloods returned normal results. I happily broke the news a week down the line, seeking to reassure my troubled service-user who simply replied: “Well, we’ll have to keep an eye on it Doctor, because it will happen, I know it will.”
Perhaps I should be absolutely honest and tell you that I am fascinated by anything to do with psychics and mystics and magic and suggestion and I would love it to be true, but (in my humble opinion) it’s nothing more than a load of [crystal] balls.
A couple of years back we went from work to see a clairvoyant perform, sorry, my mistake: “give a demonstration” of his mentalism act, sorry my mistake again “psychic abilities” in a run down motel. We arrived half an hour before the proceedings and were met by someone doing a passable impersonation of a former member of Agadoo (remember when we all pushed pineapples and shook that tree?). Yes it was 1980s hair and spray-tan a go-go. Having had to pre-book, the four of us were carefully crossed off the list (ringing warning bells yet?) and the number ’4′ was placed next to the name.
For the next two hours (with an interval in which we were offered the fabulous opportunity to purchase his books and CDs) we were treated to: “He’s only recently passed, hasn’t he?” (to the obvious widow shaking with emotion clutching a handkerchief in one hand and a sheaf of photographs in the other), and “I’m getting June, somewhere over here” [points to whole room] “it could be a name, or a date, or it could be May?”. To be honest, I do him something of a disservice – it was both a very slick performance (for the most part) and a brilliant demonstration of the art of cold reading.
Is it fair to exploit the vulnerable like this at a time of bereavement? Is it justifiable because it gives them comfort? Who am I to judge? (To enter, text your answer A, B or C to 81888 – remember, entries received after death will not be counted, but may still be charged).
On the other hand, perhaps a oujia board for antibiotic requests would be helpful in a couple of years or so for those difficult consultations when Jocasta’s been sent home from prep’ school yet again with one of her highly contagious conjunctivitides. We could perhaps use it to make contact with the ghost of a once great NHS (thanks to the antics of your friend and mine Mr Lansley) to point to the word “NO” followed by “Goodbye”.
What, you’re thinking that Andy L won’t ruin your NHS? “Well, we’ll have to keep an eye on it, because it will happen, I know it will.” It’s written in The Star.