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I've slept like a baby the last two nights... and have had lots of dreams. It's been quite nice.


Hmmm. Student loan people called today. It seems that I went 60 days without paying off the interest. Whoops. This is very bad.


Goo Goo Dolls:
Acoustic #10


Hot dogs @ lunch.


I need to go put money in the mail to the loan folks...

[ i n - t e r - i m ]

wednesday, june 6th

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Quote Du Jour:
"Problems are only opportunities in work clothes." (Henry Kaiser)

Where has the time gone? Just yesterday, it was Sunday and I had a list of things to write about... I turn around and it's Wednesday and I'm yet to write an entry. What can I say? I've been busy.

Most notably, I was hypnotized Monday night. Well, I think I was.

Some non-profit organization used the fire department training center classroom to host a hyptno-therapy sort of deal to get folks to stop smoking, lose weight and rid themselves of various other vices. I helped set up for the event and thought I'd stick around for curiosity's sake. Early in the event, the fella in charge said that he had trouble hypnotizing three types of people... people who scored below 70 on IQ tests, people who were paranoid or schizophrenic and people who like to overanalyze. As I'm sure you guessed... I tend to fall into the third group.

I did my best to keep an open mind and that paid off when he attempted to hypnotize all 100+ people in attendance. He voice was smooth and soothing as you might expect. We closed our eyes. He told us to begin relaxing body part after body part... feet... ankles... legs... chest... arms... et cetera. Finally, he told us to pretend to close our eyes. It didn't matter that they were already closed... we were supposed to pretend in our own way that they were closed. This, I thought, was a tad odd but I complied. He told us that as long as we pretended our eyes were closed, we'd be unable to open them. Oh, really? So I tried. I used every muscle in my head and they didn't budge. The wiggled a bit... but stayed clenched shut. At that very moment, I was sold on this hypnosis stuff. He had me hook, line and sinker. I would have bought anything this man wanted to sell me. My opinion quickly changed, though.

After his little hypnosis demonstration, he started his pitch. He was a non-profit organization, so he couldn't sell us anything. He could, however, give us a "gift" for our "donation." The more he used the words gift and donation, the more worried I got that I'd be forking out some cash before the night was over. Afterall, this stuff seemed to work. But the guy didn't know when to shut up. He started talking about why people smoke and why people eat too much. He started talking about the people who we wanted to love us but didn't. He talked about how our parents talked bad to us. He talked about how smoking and eating were killing us... and how we felt bad about those things. He talked about how we didn't love ourselves. Obviously, this guy doesn't know me well. I love myself plenty -- maybe too much. I may see room for improvement in the packaging... but as a person, I'm pretty happy with who I am. This guy was from the left coast and his psycho-babble definitely proved it.

You see, I'm a big guy. Stocky. Chunky. Not morbidly obese. I don't wheeze when I walk. I don't have to catch my breath after climbing stairs. I play tennis and run to hit balls... I don't let them pass if they aren't near me. I'm a firefighter for Pete's sake. With this said, I do need to lose weight. I'm above my ideal. I know that if I don't... one day I may have to catch my breath at the top of the stairs. I don't want that. However, no one made me big. I did it... sort of.

I was scrawny until about 10 or 11. As I slowly began the ol' transition from boy to man, I grew out instead of up. Doctors said that I'd grow tall shortly and even things out. Nurses suggested that I was eating too much. The former didn't happen for another seven or eight years. The latter was never the case. In fact, for my age, I probably wasn't eating enough. The simple fact of the matter is that I didn't get my lazy ass up and moving enough. I played youth league baseball and football in junior high, but that simply wasn't enough. I wasn't bigger than the other boys because my parents spanked me. I wasn't bigger than other folks because no one loved me. It was because I needed to be more active than I was. Simple as that.

Just before an intermission, the west coast doctor tried to close the deal.
Thirty-five bucks would get you some tapes you could listen to and stop smoking. Forty-five bucks would get you some weight loss tapes. I was thinking hard about parting ways with $45. (Didn't need the smoking tapes... I've never smoke a cigarette in my life.) But the man's words were still lingering in my head. I had to give the matter more thought.

Following our break, he said that we all were going to go into a deeper state of hypnosis. Again, we started with the relaxation of body parts... and relaxed a little bit. But the ol' man started talking about "picture yourself when you were five years old... what were you wearing... what did your house look like... what did your house smell like..." I was having trouble with some of that. For the life of me, I couldn't remember what I wore when I was five. Granted, I can picture the house I lived in, but that's no big deal. I could draw you a diagram of that puppy even without the hypnosis. I lived there for the first 10 years of my life. These were happy memories... but that wasn't this fella's goal. We wanted to go deep and dark. He started asking us why we were sad at age 5. He asked us who didn't love us back then. Well, guess what? I wasn't sad when I was five.

At age five, I was yet to have anyone die. I hadn't even lost a pet at that age. I was an only child then. I was spoiled rotten. My mom stayed home with me a great deal of the time between birth and kindergarten. My parents were still in love. We had food on the table, clothes in the closets and toys in the floor. I didn't have a worry in the world.

We quickly left the five-year-old stage and moved along the course of life. He was still trying to pull out the bad memories of our lives. I could hear the ladies near me start to weep. I felt bad for them. I felt like they were being manipulated by this guy. As for myself, I wasn't buying any of it. My skepticism had taken over. He was trying to make me feel sad and it wasn't going to happen.

I'm not some big, stupid tough guy. I am capable of being sad. And I'm capable of crying. I do these things at the appropriate times. I didn't think someone trying to make me feel sad was the appropriate time. What was it going to accomplish besides making me feel bad enough to buy his tapes?

The other day, I pulled out a photo album of last year's Washington, D.C. trip. Looking back, many of the memories flooded back. I was sad. I miss those few days. I wish I could go back and soak it all up a little more. Seeing images of that time... remembering the how wonderful I felt... those things that trigger sadness, not some guy saying, "Remember when you wanted things to be different but they weren't. Remember when you were sad."

I walked out of there with my money that night. I know a few folks that got the tapes... and I may listen to them because I am convinced that hypnosis works to some degree. However, its a shame that simple proof wasn't enough to sell this man's program. It was a shame that he had to make people cry in order to get their money.

copyright © 2001-02, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.