Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Totally-Weird New Job

Yes, respectability is creeping up on me -- or maybe it's the lousy economy. Anyway, seeing that I needed a reliable source of income, I went out and got a job. Of course, being me, I chose a totally weird job.

I'm now officially a telephone psychic.

No kidding! If you doubt it, Google between 2:30 and 10:30 PM, go down the list of available psychics, and click on "Leslie Bard, #75096". They'll link you to a phone number, and I suspect you'll recognize the voice of the Psychic Adviser who picks up the phone.

Yes, you have to pay for every minute of the call -- $.99 per minute for newcomers, $1.99 per minute for regular customers -- but that comes to $120 per hour, which is less than you'd pay a broker, lawyer or psychiatrist. Besides, you're not charged by the hour but by the minute: no more minutes than you want to spend. Your broker, lawyer or psychiatrist won't cut you that much slack. Considering what sort of questions I'm usually asked -- about love or money -- that puts me in pretty much the same business, and I daresay my advice is just as good.

Actually, I've done this before. About eight years ago I worked as a telephone psychic on the network of the famous Miss Cleo, but I got out of it before the IRS came after her. Then as now, I used Tarot cards as my psychic amplifier. (Note: I'm only a medium-level psychic -- not one of the great talents like Croiset or Hurkos -- so I need a good reference-point to start with and some sort of amplifier to bring out the subtle impressions I get. Other mid-levels use tea-leaves, runestones or crystal balls for amplifiers, but Tarot cards work best for me.) They worked pretty reliably for the questions I usually got ("Does he really love me?" "How can I get money?"), and sometimes they gave me even more information than I was looking for.

In fact, that's why I quit Miss Cleo's service. I got a woman caller who asked the usual questions, and I spread the cards for her (I use the classic Celtic Cross spread), and suddenly got a strong and undeniable impression: that this woman was going to die within the month. Unfortunately, I got absolutely no impression of how that was going to happen, let alone what could be done to prevent it. I kept her on the line as long as possible, asking questions, trying to get some hint of what was going to kill the woman, and never got a clue. I couldn't find any useful warning to give her, so I didn't mention what I'd seen. The incident left me severely shaken up, so I quit Miss Cleo's service within the week. A few months later Miss Cleo and her network got taken down by the IRS, but I was safely out of it. Of course, I never heard from that clueless woman again.

Well, a few years have passed and I've grown a little tougher. Nowadays, if I got an impression like that again, I'd tell the client outright "You're in serious danger. Tell me who or what might be after you". So I'm back in the saddle again.

Besides, it'll be months before I hear back from the publisher I sent my latest novel to, and I need the income. *Sigh* Thus poverty doth make brave folk of us all.

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish


ravenclaw-eric said...

A friend of mine did that for a while. I don't know for how long or why she stopped.

Prof. Godel Fishbreath, Otter said...

The typical smart-ass question would be "What is my question?", likely read as what should be my highest concern.

I did look up your name, I really do not have much that I think a psychic would help. Jobs, maybe?

Do you do readings at fanish events? Would your employer object?

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Raven. The problem with this biz, as with any shop, is getting customers to come in. That takes advertising, and I haven't a clue how to do it.

Hi, Prof. Yes, as a matter of fact, the one customer who's given me repeat business usually asks me about jobs she's trying out for. She gives me the names of companies (which I've never heard of before), I read the cards and get impressions, and tell her. It seems that my impressions have been accurate so far.

Heheheheh. Yes, once I got a smart-ass client (probably a teenager who'd snitched Mama's credit-card) who tried that. I replied: "Your real question is whether I'm a real psychic or not" -- which, in fact, was true.

Yes, I'll do readings at fannish events, if asked. Usually I'm busy singing, but I'll bring my Tarot deck hereafter. My boss would only object if I did other telephone Tarot readings.

--Leslie <;)))><

Unknown said...

Psychism is basically a scam, but as you note, no worse a scam than psychiatry or counseling or the priesthood. And there are ethical ways to do the scam. It's the difference between being a liar and being a artist.

The scam, in psychism's case, is that the cards give answers. No; they're random; they convey entropy not information; but they remain scientifically useful as provokers of unexpected questions. Like a table of random numbers, they yield statistically unbiased searches.

For instance, the client calls about being love-lorn. You turn up a Two of Coins and ask if client has a job. Clueless client blurts out, no, I was fired months ago, what's that got to do with it? You think to yourself, aha, and you spin a tale around the random cards consistent with what you just figured out about client.

Hey, if your reading gets him off his ass, then you done good. He'll forget the half of your reading that was wrong, and remember the half that was right. So you're no worse than the headshrinker, and much cheaper.

Mostly the client wants comfort, companionship and excuses. Mystic showmanship is an extra; and forget about client listening to your good advice. Client is not the sort who listens to good advice, or client would not be calling psychic. (Or visiting the headshrinker, or priest.)

I distinguish between 'parapsychology' and 'orthopsychology'. The latter is when the investigator is smarter than the subject; the former is the reverse. So when you suss someone out, but they can't suss you out, then you are practicing orthopsychology and they are experiencing parapsychology.

Random idea-sampling, plus cold reading, both conscious or unconscious, plus lateral thinking, plus plain old outwitting the mark, makes the psychic.

So your new job's a scam, Leslie, but you can make it an ethical scam if you have the right attitude; that of an artist rather than a swindler. Put on a show; use freaky random questions, plus your wit and intuition, to trick the truth out of the client; then tell a tale around that truth. The flattery-to-signal ratio is up to you.

And expect the cards to croak out DEAATTHH every so often, just from sheer random chance. Well, everybody dies, maybe tomorrow, maybe a century from now, but in any case for sure. So in such a case, use your intuition. If client is oozing fear, or is dangerously arrogant, then yeah, maybe you should tune in on the paranoia. But usually it'll do to parrot the usual blather about the cards being metaphorical. Startled client will blurt out that nothing's been the divorce; aha, you say to yourself.

I suspect that in your case the paranoia you picked up on wasn't the client's, but your own, about working for that particular boss. Maybe the client is alive still, but you were sensing that your job-bubble was about to pop.

Unknown said...

Nathaniel said...

Sorry, the google didn't catch my name.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Nat. Ah, but one difference between parapsychology and regular psychology is that the psychics admit that not enough is known about psionics to call it a science yet; they freely admit that it's still an art. The psychologists insist that their study is a really-really true science, and that's the scam.

Quite true, Tarot cards -- like other psychic amplifiers -- are just random-pattern generators, but they do help clarify and enhance subtle impressions. F'rinstance, I've seen the Death card come up in several readings wherein in "knew"/"felt" that it didn't mean literally death but only the end of a cycle or influence. Contrariwise, when I got that death-impression for that previous client, there was no Death card in the spread. IIRC, the cards were all pretty much harmless. I got that strong impression anyway.

No, there's plenty of solid evidence that psychic phenomena are real. The Rhine Institute has been conducting tightly controlled laboratory experiments on it for more than half a century, and has collected truck-loads of data. Even the Amazingly Bigoted Randi can't poke holes in their data, so he avoids mentioning them -- except to grumble that they must be cheating somewhere, which is a statement of faith rather than science. Another thing he said was; "If ESP is real, then all of science is wrong." Whew! Is that a bigoted statement or what? I saw a quote by a scientist who admitted: "On any other subject, one-tenth the evidence would have convinced me; on this subject, ten times as much wouldn't convince me." Wow! 'Nuff said.

Just why "reputable" scientists feel obliged to deny the evidence on ESP is a subject for a whole 'nother article.

--Leslie <;)))><