“You don’t always have to do Jewish topics. I know you’re not sitting around spinning dreidels and eating matzo balls every day. Go have unique experiences and write about them!” my editor at L’CHAIM magazine announces.
That’s all I need to hear…I make an appointment with a psychic channeler. You know, someone who claims they can reach the other side? I’ve always thought they were frauds, and now I have permission to find out how it all works!
Immediately I receive text instructions: “Please focus on an individual who crossed over and you have unfinished business with. Close your eyes and silently issue a formal invitation for him/her to attend your session. You must concentrate on the specific date and the exact time so they will know when to appear.” What? Like these deceased souls have calendars and booked-up social lives? And what happens if they’ve been reincarnated? Will I get an auto-generated voicemail?
The day of my session, I finally meet the psychic channeler in person. His name is Paul Pulseler and his tagline is, “Mr. Pulseler has his pulse on the pulseless.” (I think Mr. Pulseler needs a better marketing team.) He wears a blue t-shirt with, “The sky is always bluer on the other side!” printed on front. (And a better wardrobe consultant too.) Standing only 5 ft tall, he shakes my hand uttering, “I’m a small but huge presence in the medium industry.” (A better humor writer wouldn’t hurt him either.)
I sit down, highly skeptical. He leads me through a meditation with our eyes closed. Only I squint through my lids to see if Mr. Pulseler is actually shutting his own eyes. I don’t like being stared at when I don’t know about it. It takes us a good five minutes (each of us peeking at each other covertly like this) until trust is finally established. Now Mr. Pulseler goes into an intense trance. Or maybe he just knows how to give a good impersonation of one. Instantly his eyes snap open and he looks wildly off to my right, claiming to sense a bossy female energy in the room.
“Why are you adding steak sauce to my brisket recipe? I taught you the onions provide enough moisture!” Mr. Pulseler’s voice is high-pitched and gravelly — I suppose he thinks this is how my grandmother talks. I play along. “Sorry Bubbe, I’ll go back to your tradition.” Mr. Pulseler suddenly jerks his head over to the left and lowers his voice to a Brooklyn accent. “Oy Vey Ethel, she’s still got the long hair covering her pretty eyes and dressing like a lady of the night with that tight blouse. I hope this doesn’t mean she’s dating her old schmuck again.” As I get angry and shake my finger at Mr. Pulseler, sputtering how dare he insult me like this, he looks meaningfully up to the ceiling as if to issue a silent reminder, “I’m just the messenger.” So I slump back in my seat only to hear, “Hey Baby, it’s your old Schmuck. Remember how we went to second base on my motorcycle before I crashed into that brick wall?” Oh no! My old college boyfriend who passed away? I sure hope my grandparents have delicate ears they can cover!
Before I can tell Mr. Pulseler these aren’t the people I invited here today, he informs me that there are also several great aunts, uncles, and second cousins quietly sitting in the back of the room. Hands politely folded in laps, wearing cowboy hats and bandanas, they’re patiently awaiting their turn to speak. What? This doesn’t sound like typical behavior from any of my dearly departed boisterous relatives. My thoughts are interrupted when Mr. Pulseler hollers, “And why are you wearing my pearl earrings? You know they should stay in the safe deposit box!” Followed by, “Quiet Ethel! You can’t tell a big shot author anything. She’s a wild woman now.” Mr. Pulseler slips me a business card, murmuring he also conducts therapy for dysfunctional families. I scowl. At this point he proclaims the group hanging out in the back are NOT my extended relatives after all. They’re actually here for his next client, a woman from Texas. They just hate to be late.
During my drive home, I get a call from Mr. Pulseler inquiring how he did? “Huh?” I ask baffled. He then confesses my editor gave him some dirt on my family so I’d finally have some fascinating secular subjects to write about. Meanwhile it was free advertising for him because his marketing team is weak. As for me? I’m going back to spinning dreidels and eating matzo balls on a daily basis.