What’s in YOUR Future?

Qué será, será. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Qué será, será.

But wait! I really want to know my destiny. And I’m not alone. Throughout the ages man has looked for ways to learn what the future holds. The Romans were particularly curious. In ancient Rome the Emperor Valens employed alectryomancy, which is the practice of using chickens to read the future, to learn who might be trying to overthrow him. Under this method, a hungry bird was placed amid piles of grain with each pile representing a letter. Names of his enemies were then spelled out as the chicken pecked at the piles. It was like a living Ouija board with feathers. Another means of predicting the future used by the Romans was haruspicy, which is a way of learning the future by studying an animal’s entrails after it is sacrificed.

Serama chickens: Daisy and Delilah at the computer.

Chickens have updated their methods, tho.

These practices have since fallen by the wayside as chickens are notoriously bad spellers and PETA had issues with the killing of animals to study their guts. So today we rely on psychics to predict our fate. The American Federation of Certified Psychics and Mediums estimates that there are over 45,000 psychics in the U.S. and Europe and they do a brisk business. In America, about one in seven adults visits a fortune teller each year. Interestingly, women are twice as likely as men to visit one. By the way, it is estimated that 50 % of women ask their psychic to put a spell or curse on somebody compared to only 3% of men. And, since 60% of divorced women have visited a medium that number may be 10% too low. The fairer sex? Yeah right!

Since I wanted to know my fate I decided to visit a psychic. I knew I could get a reading over the phone (The most famous phone psychics were the Psychic Friends Network but they went bankrupt. Guess they didn’t see that coming). But I wanted to see a fortune teller in person so he/she could study my complete aura and so I wouldn’t have to give my credit card number to someone in that line of work.

I was nervous about the session. Would he/she tell me of my impending doom? What if I was told that I was going to die in a plane crash? I am already a nervous flyer. I’d never fly again. However, I was calmed by the thought that he/she might see me perishing at a ripe old age at the hands of a jealous husband, which is my preference.

I thought that my psychic might look like Professor Marvel from the Wizard of Oz and would be wearing a turban and telling my future while looking into a crystal ball. Or perhaps she might be interesting and funny like Rita Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) in the movie “Ghost”. So I was a little disappointed when I met my psychic, Juliana. Juliana was a stocky, dour, older woman who looked capable of putting a curse on me.

Tom Hanks even got a wish.

Juliana explained that she could do a palm reading for $30, a tarot card reading for $40 or for, an amount I don’t want my wife to know, she would tell me my complete future regarding career, money, love and family. I decided to go for the full monty.

After she had me tell her some things about myself, she began placing tarot cards face up between us. She quickly put me at ease by telling me that I would live a long life. I decided not to have her delve into the cause of my ultimate demise.

Juliana used a psychic approach called “cold reading”. This is a technique where the fortune teller analyzes the customer’s age, appearance, intellect, body language and any other information that she can get the client to divulge. With this information she makes high probability guesses about the individual. But she would have a tough time with me as I was going to hold my tarot cards close to my vest.

Here are a few highlights from the rest of our session:

Juliana: What is your zodiac sign?

Me: Virgo (Virgo is August 23 – September 22).

Juliana: I see you were born in September.

Me: No.

Juliana: You were born in late August.

Me: Yes (duh!).

Juliana: August 31st.

Me: No, August 27th.

Juliana: I can see that. (Yes, because I just told you)

It was clear from the outset that she had no psychic abilities but she still might be able to curse me, so I had to tread lightly.

sybil trelawney

Even Harry Potter’s psychic teacher was more accurate.

Juliana: What question do you have for me?

Me: Will I be rich?

Juliana: You will not be as wealthy as Donald Trump.

Me: There is a lot of room between my net worth and his.

Juliana: You will receive a letter in the mail. You will have to sign a document. Be careful. That is all I see. What is your next question?

Me: Tell me about my future love life.

Juliana: I see an active love life for you (I couldn’t wait to tell me wife and to purchase some viagra). Wait! I see another woman coming into your life. A lover perhaps. Who is she, John?

Me: I don’t know. You’re the psychic (I truly didn’t know but if this was the case, I would need to see if COSTCO sold Viagra in bulk).

[The rest of this section was deleted as my wife sometimes reads my articles]

Juliana: You may ask one more question, John.

Me: Who will win the World Series? (This was the true reason for my visit. I thought with her insight and some big wagers I could start closing the wealth gap between The Donald and myself.)

Juliana: The cards are not showing me anything related to sporting events.

Me: Do they sometimes?

Juliana: Yes, but usually people ask me about football.

Me: Well, it’s baseball season.

And that was the end of the session. I didn’t learn much.

So what’s in your future? Who knows? Certainly not a psychic. Life is random and you will just have to wait to find out. The only thing you can be sure of is what Yogi Berra once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

At least get a good meal while looking for your fortune.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with permission of the author

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