Left cold by psychics

I want to believe in psychics. The idea of a harmless thrill, dabbling in the supernatural, asking what fate has in store? I'm all for it, as a concept. In reality, I can't handle it. I'm too judgmental. I can't see beyond the fact that psychics are either delusional schizophrenics, or professional liars - mostly the second one. They are hucksters. Shysters. Scoundrels. Awful, awful people who detect subtle social signals and use them to manipulate people.

My wife's friend Jeff was hooked in by a gang of con artists once. Heartbroken after the end of a relationship, he visited a psychic in a Phoenix strip mall. For me, that's a red flag. I know psychics won't necessarily use their powers to get rich. But you're telling me the future is so uncertain that you rent? I only take cosmic advice from homeowners. Have a little skin in the game. I can't entrust my spiritual future to someone sharing a wall with GameStop.

Jeff walked in, and got exactly what he wanted: hope. The psychic lady said there was a chance he could rekindle love with his ex. He just needed to come regularly, and commit to a bunch of spiritual exercises. Are psychics any different from shrinks in this? No psychologist ends the first session saying "well, it sounds like you're a standard model asshole: I can't help, just take each day as it comes and try not being yourself".

After a while, the lady gained Jeff's confidence completely. And one day, she has a black eye. Jeff asks what happened. She's married to a brute who beats her and her kids. She's trapped. She's desperate to flee, but penniless. Again, psychics who marry wife-beaters? You forgot to consult the crystal before the wedding? Isn't that professional malpractice? But they say doctors make the worst patients. Anyway, Jeff has a lot of money. Some he earned, the rest his parents and grandparents made. Somehow, the idea came up of Jeff giving this woman a large sum of cash so she could get away and start a new life. I believe the total was $50,000. The day the check cleared, she was gone. Strip mall cleared out. Phone disconnected. The grift took about three months from start to finish. Fifty grand is not a bad haul for a few weeks' work.

That did it for me and psychics. On principle, I despise them. But when you hate psychics, somehow you become the monster. You're un-fun. You won't play along like everyone else. And when you start ranting about what criminals they are, people start to view you with contempt. "You hate that adorable little woman sitting by red candlelight? The old lady in the shawl, arranging heather on that antique tarot table? What the hell is wrong with you? She wouldn't hurt anyone." No, that's ALL she does. You know who doesn't hurt anyone? Florists. So when I want to know the future, I go buy a few blooms. When I ask a florist what's in store down the line, I get the truth. "Lillies are here in few weeks". And that's good enough for me.