A Lesson Long Remembered

by John H. Morrison

I set the book I had just finished on the stand beside me, and leaned back. That was really an interesting book! It was about this psychic who could detect and diagnose, and even cure diseases. I found it fascinating.

Someone entered our dormitory lounge. I turned; it was Kate. I called out to her, "Hey, Kate!"

"Hi Sarah," she replied.

"Hey, I just finished an interesting book! It's about this psychic who can cure sickness and disease!"

"Now you don't believe all that crap, do you really?"

I was shocked! I just couldn't believe her close-minded skepticism. I said, "This book tells of hundreds of people healed by this man. People who would otherwise be dead by now!" I knew what was going to happen; it had happened to various degrees many times before. Sigh, I couldn't possibly explain to them what seemed so obvious to me! They just automatically rejected it!

We talked for a few more minutes. I said to her, "Remember X-rays! People said that that was impossible!"

Kate replied, "They said that about N-rays, too!"

Fed up, I promptly walked out of the room. I was just plain sick of it! I'd show them!

The next morning, I had an appointment at the medical center. It was just a routine checkup. I'd blush to describe all the things he did to me. I'm quite ticklish, I must say. Anyway, he said I was perfectly fine. I made an appointment with him for six months later.

The following weekend, I read a book --- I forget the title, but it was about how doctors were caught up in conventionality and conformity, and intolerant of new discoveries. They cited a number of examples of intolerance: Galileo, smallpox, X-rays, and other things. Even washing hands was at one time considered to be a hoax!

Then I saw in our college newspaper, the Weekly Stud, an advertisement for a psychic healer. She was actually coming here, and was offering checkups for a cut rate! Without further ado, I called the number and made an appointment for a session the following day.

I showed up ten minutes early. She called me in. She was middle-aged, with some wrinkles. She had me lie down on the couch, and close my eyes. Just relax, she said. I closed my eyes and relaxed. I felt her hands lay lightly on my tummy, and hummed a constant pitch --- A-flat, I think.

Presently, she spoke out. "I detect something serious." She moved her hands around over me. "Yes, I feel it. Right here. There is definitely a major problem with your asparagus."

I make an appointment for the following week to have the problem treated by the psychic. It would cost me $100, she said. I expressed doubts about it. But she was insistant. "It's very serious!" I said something about going to a doctor. She said, "Doctors, they don't know anything. They're part of a conspiracy. It's the indoctrinated training. Everything is all memorization. And to complete the indoctrination, they have to serve 36-hour shifts for their internships, too." She was insistant. So I finally agreed.

The following week, I withdrew $100 from my savings account, and showed up for the treatment.

She took me into a darkened room, that smelled of incense or something of the sort. In the center was a couch of soft silk and down. Laid around it were ten or so candles of various colors, all lit and all emitting that peculiar smell. She told me that in order for the cure to take effect, I must be in the pure nude state.

The Healer spoke continuously as I removed my clothes one by one. She talked about Beings, immortal and powerful, whose influence could be called. "Beings of pure Energy?" I inquired.

She replied, "No, ever more powerful. Beings of pure Angular Momentum." I was fascinated!

As I was about to drop my string bikini panties, she quickly said, "That won't be necessary now." I was relieved at that, although if I had known things

would be like this, I would have worn full-sized panties instead. I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes. She began chanting in a monotone. My body, almost despite me, relaxied like it had never relaxed before. I think I sort of dozed off, only vaguely conscious of the monotonous chanting, calling down the spirits of Truth, Mercy, Health, Purity, and Mathematics. I was only infinitesimally aware of occasional cold metal things lightly touching me on various points. I know that once or twice I took a deep breath and moaned or sighed or something.

Finally, I came to again. She told me to get up and get dressed. I did so and then left.

That evening, I talked with my friends in the dorm. I told them how she had discovered a problem with my asparagus. The regular doctor never caught it even! And they scoffed again, saying I had been gypped. I had no idea how intolerant my fellow students could be!

I also returned to the doctor's office. I told the secretary to cancel my the appointment I had made for the next checkup. I was not going to come back here, I said, because I had found something better and more reliable. I told how the psychic had discovered something wrong with my asparagus, and had cured it even! The doctor here hadn't found it at all!

A few days later, I discovered that college cable TV was having a special on psychic healing. Of course, I signed up to participate in it.

The talk show took place in one of our lecture halls, the same one where I took my freshman physics class. The psychic healer was there, too. I waited in a back room, where the demonstration equipment was kept. The host was introducing me and the Healer. I don't remember what they said. Then they called me on stage. Yikes! The hall was full of people!

There were three comfortable-looking chairs at the front of the room. The host invited me to sit in one of them. The Healer sat in a second one, and the host sat down in the third. There were microphones hanging from the ceiling.

I briefly described how the Healer had discovered something the matter with my asparagus. I wondered at the burst of laughter that came from the audience, but it quenched immediately. I forgot about it. I told about the ritual, and about how the Healer had summoned Beings of pure Angular Momentum to expell and exorcise the problem. There was more snickering from the audience...

The three of us on stage talked together for some time. Finally, just before we ended, I gave a solemn pronouncement against prejudice and ignorance. I commented that, "The worst kind of fools are the ones so ignorant that they are ignorant of how much they are ignorant." Again, I wondered at the occasional snickers and burst of laughter from the audience.

They told me it would be broadcast the next day on our cable channel, channel 24, at 4:00 in the evening. I was in the lounge and ready for it. An abnormally large group of people were there too. Were they all there to see me? I felt honored!

The television announcer spoke, "It's now time for College Prank, in which some Unsuspecting Member of the College Community learns a Well Deserved Lesson." I asked them, "Is this the right channel? Channel 24?" Several people snickered, and one of them answered, "Yep." The announcer continued, "The topic for today is ---" A drum roll "--- Psychic Healing and Utter Gullibility. We bring you live-on-tape to L. J. Mammoth Auditorium. Our interviewer for today is Alan Labb."

Oh, no... I felt a sinking in my stomach. The camera zoomed onto the very stage where I sat yesterday afternoon! And there was the guy who had interviewed me! He spoke into the microphone. "Remember, this is supposed to be a serious interview. Don't laugh, any of you; you'll ruin the effect!" He stifled a laugh himself, cleared his throat, and continued "I'll be interviewing Sarah Kramer. She is a freshmen here in College, living in Albert Hall. She's from Ventura, California, and attended Lynn S. Grace College Preparatory School for Girls. Tonight, we will talk about how she was cured of an ailment by a psychic healer. Let's welcome Sarah Kramer."

They spent a few minutes describing the prank. Then they showed me walking on the stage. They showed me talking with the interviewer and the Healer. Every time I mentioned problems with my asparagus, there was an explosion of laughter from the audience. I could see now, when the camera focused on the audience, that there were a number of people from my dorm. The audience howled uproariously when I mentioned "Beings of pure Angular Momentum."

The camera briefly focused on a guy who lived just down the hall --- what was his name? I forget... His head faced down, buried in his lap, trying to avoid laughter. Out the corner of my eye, I saw him cringing at the scene. At least I wasn't the only one utterly mortified.

As I told the story, the scene me on the stage was mixed with scenes of me talking with the Healer, being diagnosed. Being cured. Oh, my God! That was me lying virtually naked on the couch! Oh, how moritifying! The Healer was holding some kind of wand and touching me all over with it, while she was chanting. Oh, how I breathed there! Oooooooooooo! Eeeeeeee! I could barely watch, I felt so humiliated! They showed me making the proclamation about the fool, and his ignorance! After I left the stage, the Healer took off his wig --- yikes, that was a guy! That was Chris, a junior who lived down the hall from me!

Everyone in the lounge watching the television spectacle was laughing uproariously, except for myself. I just sat there, utterly and totally humiliated, cringing back as far as I could into the sofa. I couldn't say or do a thing.

After the show, I was about to head back for my room for a good, humiliated angry cry. But then Chris up to me, and put something in my hand. He said, "By the way, here's your $100. I must say, you were a great subject. You let me go further with you than anyone else ever has."

I turned away in humiliation. He asked, "Are you coming for dinner?"

I didn't feel like facing the other students. But I asked anyway, "What're they having?"

He answered, "Let's see. They're serving steak, baked potatos, and --- oh, yes --- asparagus."