hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


June 13, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: No telling which fortune is right


I share the opinion that fortune tellers somehow predict what you want to hear to put you in a better state of mind. Call it deception. Call it anything. But don't call it truth. Nothing deceives like a horoscope.

My sainted mother had two exceptional gifts. She could tell your whole life's story from a deck of playing cards and predict what the future held from the grounds in a cup of Armenian coffee.

She told fortunes over a lifetime and people actually placed faith in her predictions.

I tend not to patronize such poppycock. If the bluebird of happiness ever flew overhead, it would drop a bomb square on my noggin. News of an imminent lottery ticket winner would only be an exercise in futility.

If my lucky stars predict gloom, I turn to the sun and moon for guidance. No way will the sky fall on this fellow.

I once booked a flight to Chicago — my first experience flying — and purchased a $20,000 insurance policy before takeoff at one of those kiosks. Then I picked up a newspaper and just happened to glance at my horoscope. Horrors!

"A recent investment you just made will pay off big dividends."

Goodness, were we in for a crash? I broke out in a cold sweat and was never the same until we landed at O'Hare.

Later, I won an overnight trip in a church raffle. The hotel was a mile from where I lived — hardly the get-away you would expect.

At a Chinese restaurant, I cracked open a fortune cookie only to learn that any action I may take could be potentially dangerous. "Pray for guidance," it read.

Was mortal danger lurking in my home? Would I fall from the curbstone and break my ankle? Would a workout at the YMCA result in a ruptured artery? Was there a vicious dog hiding in the bushes ready to spring forth?

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