Monday, March 23, 2015

GOOD GRIEF


Have you ever watched the weather channel when they are not talking about weather? Holy moly, what a gloom and doom channel. If the weather isn't scary enough, their specials explore all possible catastrophes that can befall the planet.

I have tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Thumping my skull  helped tone it down but it is still basically there so I always have some sort of white noise going on in the house to disguise it. Either the TV on in another room or music helps to make me forget it.

Yesterday, I had left the TV on the weather channel for a change while I was working on the computer in my bedroom.  I was inadvertently picking up bits and pieces of the shows.

I was stunned to hear all the ways I have to perish in the next few years.  Yes it was educational but do I really want to know how sink holes are formed and that they could be under my house poised to gobble up my home like a deranged Pac-Man?

True the piece on fracking gave me useful information about the earthquakes caused by the process to secure shale oil and natural gas. Should  fracking come up on the election day ballot, I can now cast a more or less informed vote.

Hearing about all the massive asteroids heading our way are food for thought as are the melting ice caps. What makes me all warm and glowy is that some of these scenarios are man induced.

All of these options were laid out one after another for about 90 minutes as I half listened. I kept waiting for something positive.  Where is Al Roker when you need him?


It reminded me of when my parents took me to the Hayden Planetarium in N.Y. when I was about seven years old. At first it was cool sitting there with the universe presented gloriously on the ceiling for us to enjoy. I felt like we were floating in and were an actual part of space. It was such a magnificent show as we romped among the constellations.

Then the lecture began. The Seven Ways the World Will End.  Rather sketchy family entertainment that was recreated on the ceiling in stunning detail.

Burning, freezing, pandemics, exploding into a pile of debris, being sucked into a black hole, nuclear war, and volcanic eruptions. Things to give a 7 year old a variety of nightmares to enjoy. Barring war and pandemics, most of these the lecturer cheerfully explained would not likely occur for a billion years or so.

A woman in front of us jumped up and worriedly asked. "How many years?"

"A billion," he replied.

"Oh thank God," she sighed in relief as she sank back into her seat. "I thought you said a million."

I guess time is a matter of perspective.

So I turned off the TV and am now listening to music. Ahhh, much better. At my age, ostrich behavior has advantages.

Those things I can affect by the voting booth I do my part. Those I can affect by my actions I employ, while the rest I pretty much ignore. Now I do prepare well for emergencies but I just don't anticipate catastrophe that I have no control over. I can't vote an asteroid to take another path nor keep the earth from opening up beneath me.

Do you want the know the worst case scenarios of things you have no control over or are you content to just let things happen at their own speed and just hope you have enough food, water and clean underwear to last?

Monday, March 16, 2015

PARLOR TRICKS


I have mentioned before that early on growing up we had no TV. Therefore it was either board games, word games or parlor tricks to keep us amused as the dark of evening drove us inside and there was nothing good on the radio.

A parlor trick is a simple magic trick which is generally easy to execute. Such tricks are used to amuse people at parties.  They are designed to be performed in front of a small audience, such as a group of friends.

One of our family favorite "tricks" that surfaced when we had company was called Light as a Feather. This was also fun to try at slumber parties.  It was a game where four people, including children, could lift a grown person with just two fingers.

The liftee would sit posture perfect in a straight back chair with no arms. Then four of us lifters would stand over the person and place our hands in alternating fashion on top of the persons head.

We would all press firmly down on their head for the count of ten, then quickly release our hands, one at a time. The lifters would then place two fingers under the liftee's arms or knees and would be able to lift the person high off the chair with ease.

As a ten year old, I could actually lift an adult.  This always shocked both the novice lifters and liftees as well as the observers. It was even fun for the liftee as they felt like they were floating. Yes, parlor tricks were often mysterious and always amazing.

My love for parlor tricks continued into adulthood. I got a kick out of amazing others with my so called "powers."

Once my sister's boyfriend taught me a cool trick that worked really well in stopping a headache in its tracks. I was complaining of a headache one day and he offered to "heal" me.

He sat me in a straight back chair, placed his thumb and middle finger below my eyebrows beside the bridge of my nose with one hand. He then positioned his thumb and middle finger on my neck at the base of my skull with his other hand. Telling me to relax and to go with him, he pressed in firmly with both hands while lifting up, stretching my neck for about the count of five.  I can't really say it was a pleasant experience but when  he suddenly let go, the headache I'd been suffering was gone----poof.

I was at work one day when a co-worker came into my office grumbling about a headache. I had just recently become a convert of the procedure so I asked if she would let me "pinch her head" to get rid of it. She was totally dubious but I convinced her it was fool proof.   It worked perfectly on her. Tension headaches responded the best.

Before I knew it, as soon as the bank closed its doors in the afternoon, a small line would form outside my office and I would have to pinch away the day's stresses. This parlor trick worked 90% of the time and Dr. Patti was in.

Part of the success with "head pinching" was in their strong wish for relief, part in the use of acupressure and part in my convincing them that it would, without a doubt, remove the headache.

I also dabbled in palm reading and hand writing analysis through the years which I learned from those tiny booklets you could buy at most checkout counters. These "skills" were fun to bring out at parties when things got slow or to confuse dates. Truthfully I was a bit of a fake but then that is the basis of a good parlor trick.

I really haven't done any of those in years but was fun at the time. Sadly, electronics have put them to rest.

Thank you Mom for the love of parlor tricks and you Dad for the ability to make BS sound like an absolute truth.

Did you ever enjoy parlor tricks? Ouija boards and card tricks count.