ESP, To Believe Or Not Believe!

My Long Lost Cousin and I were seated on our favorite green padded stools in our favorite watering hole.

“My watch has stopped again,” said LLC.

“Better put it in for repair.”

“No, no, cousin, all my clocks in my house are stopping intermittently, lately!”

“Are there ghosts in your house?’ I laughed.

“I’ve also had a lot of déjà vu lately and premonitions too. I think I have a gift!”

“What kind of gift is that?”

“The gift of ESP of course, cousin!”

“Oh no, not another Paranormal in the family!”

My cousin nodded and smiled.

“Do you really believe in that hokum?” I said.

“Yes, I do. You and I are different, cousin. Remember I predicted my granddad’s death on his 90th birthday, and it happened! I still see him in my dreams.”

“Any other experiences?” I prompted.

“Yes, in a diner, the other day, I ordered a ham sandwich on rye with cheddar cheese. But a few moments later, I thought I would rather have provolone cheese on it. I didn’t bother to change my order. When the waitress returned with my sandwich, it had provolone on it! She must have received my thoughts.”

“Well, I know there is a lot of ESP experiences going around. It amazes me WHY so many people believe even though the evidence for ESP is unreliable according to scientists.”

“Why is that, cousin?”

“Since you’ve been talking a lot, lately, about your weird experiences, I’ve been thinking about the reason why credulity is so high even though science rebuts it.”

“You read a lot about ESP in the papers and magazines,” said LLC.

“You’ve hit the nail on the head there, cousin.”

“I have?”

“Yes, you have. Spectacular stories of paranormal activity are well reported in the media. It sells newspapers, magazines and books. So people are more likely to read about support for ESP than see or hear any evidence that will challenge its validity.”

“It almost seems like I “WILL” myself to believe,” said my cousin.

“That’s another interesting point. Shall we have another drink? Bartender, another beer for my cousin and I think this time I’ll have a whiskey on the rocks.”

We both took a sip of our drinks and savored them!

“Now, about people’s WILL to believe in ESP. The existence of ESP gives people COMFORT because it suggests that there is a “greater reality” a “spirit life”, if you will, that we don’t fully understand.”

“What are you saying, cousin?”

“I’m saying that people like the possibility for some part of us to survive death! Most people would want a slice of immortality and ESP keeps that dream alive!”

“That’s all very interesting. Anymore explanations for ESP?”

“Yes, now that you ask, we all have an “outer space” and an “inner space”. Our  “outer space” is the world outside ourselves, our society. Our “inner space” is accessed through introspection and meditation. It opens up a perspective of our mind and spirit. You and I, cousin, are the total of all of our past experiences and lessons learned and this starts memories to resurface! It’s this “inner space” that supposedly triggers your ESP!”

I stopped for air and then ordered another beer and whiskey.

“I’ll pass on the beer, cousin, I have to go now. But I’ve discovered the difference between you and me. I TALK TO SPIRITS AND YOU DRINK THEM!”

Truth and Fiction, Where Is The Line?

“I want to write the story of my life, but I want it to be interesting!”

This is what a writer friend of mine said to me recently.

“Well, do you want to fictionalize it, like a blend of truth and fiction?” I offered.

“I don’t know, where is the line?”

“Are you saying your life story is boring?”

“Not entirely, it just needs a little embellishing.”

“So, you want to exaggerate the truth to make it more juicy?”

“Right, I might change some events altogether.”

“So, now you want to sell your life story as a novel.”

“Sounds good to me. It might sell then!”

“But will your life story be believable if you exaggerate too much?”

“I don’t see why not. Some say there’s a bearded man in the sky who created everything in seven days! Yet the same people say unicorns and fairies don’t exist!”

I smiled: “I know there’s a lot of conflicting ideas about truth and fiction in our so called “logical” world!”

“The dictionary says fiction is an invented story, not real. Truth is defined as accurate, conforming to fact, agreement with reality.”

We both were pondering those two words for a few minutes.

“Well, I think fiction actually comes from truth! Your fiction comes from incidents of truth. The incidents might be exaggerated and stretched to make them more interesting.”

“So, fiction is an escape from the boring truth of the world.”

“You could put it that way!”

“Many authors fictionalized their autobios. Dickens did with “David Copperfield”. F. Scott Fitzgerald did it in a couple of his novels, but they were considered fiction.”

“Why did they do it?”

“Probably, too many demons in their lives made them uncomfortable. Maybe through fiction they could tell the truth without humiliating themselves.”

“I’m still confused,” said my writer friend, “I want to make my life story interesting but real!”

“Well, what do we do when we write fiction?”

He thought about it for a minute and said: “We invent characters and events that feel real to the reader.”

“Right, spot on!”

My writer friend smiled.

“Now, one way to make it seem real is to use exaggerated autobio details.”

“Maybe this dilemma of truth or fiction or a mixture is getting clearer.”

“Most novelists incorporate pieces of their lives in their stories to ground their friction in reality.”

“So, to convert the truth to fiction, use the juiciest bits in your life and toss the uninteresting parts in the bin. This way you can use a piece of truth to its fictional advantage.”

Writer friend seemed satisfied!

“I’ve put a lot of “me” into my stories and sometimes the ratio of truth to fiction is very small.”

Someone once said: “Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our life!”

“Well, I guess I will start on my autobiographical fictional life story. I probably won’t even recognize it as MY LIFE!”

Help! I Have More Past Than Future!



I was sitting on a green padded stool at the bar in the corner of my favorite watering hole. I’ve come here so much that I think of it as “Dave’s Corner”.

And who should walk in, but my Long Lost Cousin. In all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, he walks into mine! I think that was Bogart’s phrase in Casablanca. It was quite appropriate on this occasion!

“Hey cousin, why so glum looking?”

“I’m a pensioner now and the time seems to be flying by. I can’t keep up. I’m frightened!”

He did look pale!

“Bartender, give my cousin a gin and tonic and another beer for me.”

My cousin drank his drink fast, and re-ordered!

“Why are you frightened?”

“I feel like shouting, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”. But I’m not quite ready to jump off. I want to stop time from racing away from me. The faster time goes, the more I have to face the fact that my time is running out!”

“Well, cousin, you need to live each day to the full.”

LLC shifted his weight on the green padded stool.

“Cousin, how can you be so calm, you’re older than I am!”

“My dear cousin, I will not live in fear. What will be, will be!”

“I’m starting to feel that when youth is gone, the party is over.”

LLC’s voice and hands were shaky.

“Relax, my friend, you’ll live longer!”

“Oh, that’s real funny cousin. But WHY is this happening?”

I felt sorry for him. He was a bundle of nerves.

“Well, cousin, there are a few theories: One theory is that fewer NEW things happen in an old person’s life. There is constant routine which makes time seem to fly.”

“Oh great, now I’m going to be old and bored!”

“Hold on, here’s theory number two: Years are proportionally smaller as we get older. For example: A year is l/10th of the life of a 10 year old, but a year is 1/70th of the life of a 70 year old. Therefore, each year feels shorter relative to all  the time we’ve lived and thus time seems to be going faster!”

“Too many theories, it’s boggling my mind. Age doesn’t always bring wisdom, you know, in my case it came alone!”

I smiled: “Well, at least you haven’t completely lost your sense of humor!”

“What’s theory three, not that it makes any difference.”

“You’ll like this one. Your biological clock slows down, so that means your bodily processes slow down, so your internal clock is much slower than the calendar! So, time passes much quicker than you expected it to!”

“Now I am miserable.”

“Cousin, you need to get some fun in your life.”

“Why! They say: Time flies when you’re having fun. But when you’re old, time flies whether you’re having fun of not!”

“Cousin, maybe it would help if you lived in the Present more.”

“Oh, I give up! We are all born to die and we’re certain it is going to happen. Since I am in my 7th decade, for me this inevitability will probably occur sometime within the next 20 or so years. It seems like a long time but the years are accelerating. So when it does occur, my reaction will be: “WHAT! ALREADY!”

What Type Are You?

I was at a writer’s conference in London, listening to a speaker talking about the merits of categorizing people. It’s like that old adage: When you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you! Often when you label a person, it reflects on you also. Categorizing is about self-awareness!

After the speech, we were all tested to see what type we were. The six people at my table, including me, had a discussion about the pros and cons of typing people.

“Well, here we are ladies and gents, we have all been typed, and I am an introvert. I’m very independent, I’m a “do it my way” person, like Frank Sinatra. What were you people typed as?”

Tom spoke up: “I’m an extrovert, a realist who is action-oriented.”

Jim smiled and said: “I’m also an extrovert, but I’m a communicator and persuader. I motivate people.”

Patsie mumbled: “I’m an introvert. I’ll try anything once, usually high-risk things.”

“I’m an extrovert. I take on challenges readily. I’m inventive and I tend to convert everything to ideas and schemes,” said Lily.

Jane looked confused and said: “I’m an introvert. I tend to do the necessary things that have to be done. I’m driven by a sense of responsibility and I’m a practical person.”

“Well, that’s all very interesting. Now, do you agree with your test type?”

I became the moderator of the group!

“Yes and no,” said all!

“Well, I think I have some of each type and I try to see people as individuals not types,” said Jane.

“I think Jane is right,” said Tom, “Sometimes I’m an extrovert and sometimes I’m an introvert.”

“That’s true, but what I think is being tested here is what ways we prefer to express ourselves most of the time.”

They all nodded in agreement.

“We were all tested on extroversion and introversion. Do you remember what the speaker said about them?”

Lily explained: “You are an extrovert if you verbalize much of what you observe and think. You talk rather than listen. You are a lively person.”

“Wow! There’s nothing wrong with your memory, Lily,” said Patsie.

Patsie continued: “You’re an introvert if you keep your observations and thinking inside. You listen rather than talk.”

Jim responded: “Yes, I’m an extrovert because I am energized by the outside world.”

And Jane said: “I’m an introvert. I get energy from reflection, introspection and solitude. Introverts want a quiet life in a noisy world!”

“Well, all your comments have been spot on. Shall we finish by having you all comment on: Should you put people in categories?”

They all looked very pensive.

“I’ll kick it off, I think we are all individuals and I resent it when people think they know me just because they have put me in a pigeon-hole!”

Everyone nodded and clapped.

“I think it’s human nature to type people whether we realize it or not,” said Tom.

“You should not try to judge people until you get to know them. But we tend to group people as soon as we meet them,” said Jim.

“But can’t we fight against the bad things in our nature,” argued Patsie.

“I like to fool people. I am basically shy, but sometimes I become a mouthy dame,” laughed Lily.

“When you pigeon-hole someone, you really might lose the chance to get to know them better,” said Jane.

I chimed in: “Sometimes, we ASSUME we know a person by grouping them and when they prove us wrong, we feel like an ASS!”

The table exploded with laughter!

“At the end of the day, we are all writers. Will all this info about typing people help us become better writers?”

“I think it will. It will help us put together our characters more realistically. We also, will realize why we approach a story the way we do,” said Tom.

Everyone agreed.

“So, I’ll sum up this discussion with the statement: EVERYONE IS NOT LIKE YOU. YOU ARE UNIQUE. DIFFERENT IS NOT BAD, IT’S JUST DIFFERENT!”