It is ironic that I write this blog on manipulation as I sit before the roaring fireplace (on TV, even though they do have a real working fireplace)) of Romaine, known as the Monarch Of Manipulators, world renown for his manipulation of cards and billiard balls. But this is not about that kind of manipulation. I am talking about Mental Manipulation, like the 3 card monte guys on the streets of New York, who “accidentally” rip the corner of the Ace of Spades so you always know exactly where it is and of course it turns out that you are wrong, but they manage to get you to choose the card they want you too. Mental Manipulation.
Which brings me to a special Friday night. Friday night is when the family usually comes over for dinner, but one Friday just my two youngest grandchildren, age 5 and 7, came as they were to sleep over as their parents were packing to go to Florida the next day.
A few weeks prior to this my daughter borrowed my kitchen chairs as she needed them for my grandaughter’s birthday party, leaving me two, one for me and one for Phil. Normally we would eat in the dining room on Friday night, but with just the two kids we decided to eat in the kitchen, but we had only 2 chairs and I did not want to drag over the dining room chairs into the kitchen. Now I did have one folding chair that I could use. I still needed one chair, which brings me to the crux of the problem.
The chair I speak of is not really a chair, but a foot stool, which the children always fought over as they each wanted to be the one to sit on it. I solved the problem by folding it and hiding it behind my bedroom door when they came over. Out of sight, out of mind. But last Friday night, it was the only seat available. I knew they would fight over it. If Jacob got to sit in it, my granddaughter would pout and be miserable and make sure everyone else was miserable with her. If she got it Jacob would say she always got her way and he would be unhappy. I had to avoid this if we were to have an enjoyable meal.
Then I heard these words tumble out of my mouth. “Hey kids, did you know that besides being a magician, I am also a fortune teller?” Their mouths dropped and Jacob said, ” What do you mean by a fortune teller?” I said ” I can predict the future, I can tell when something is going to happen , even before it happens.”
“I predict that there is going to be fight in this room in a couple of minutes.”
“Who is going to fight?”
“You and your sister?”
They both looked at me strangely, as they were getting along so well.
“What are we going to fight about?”
” Who is going to sit on the step stool.” I answered.
In a heartbeat the 5 year old said, “Oh, I don’t care about that. Jacob can have it.” And Jacob said, “She can have it. I don’t care either.” And so it was settled without a fight, as I knew it would be.
Had I been a true mentalist, I would have shown them a sealed envelope and told them the prediction was sealed inside and they could see it after supper. They would have read, “The children will not fight over the step stool” They would have been been blown away, but all I really wanted to do was evade an inevitable fight which I managed with some mental manipulation.
The strange thing is they still believe I’m a fortune teller, but they delight in telling everyone I’m a fortune teller and I got it wrong!