I Was Mesmerized

Better I say that I was hypnotised.

Franz Anton Mesmer, who discovered the phenomenon in the late 1700s, believed that it worked through ‘animal magnetism,’ and treated it like a parlor trick, entertaining the social elite in their homes or small halls.  A hypnotised person is not supposed to do anything beyond their moral limits.  It was revealing and disturbing, the limits that the minor aristocracy would go to.  Eventually, he was booed off his entertainment stage, and the term mesmerism took on a negative connotation.

In the summer of 1958, when I was 14, an entertainer booked the auditorium of the Town Hall for five evenings – Monday to Friday.  He put up posters on lamp posts and handed out small flyers.  He was a stage hypnotist, who promised an interesting and amusing show that included people clucking like chickens.  I HAD to see this.

I attended the Monday show.  I never thought about where he would get willing subjects until he asked for audience volunteers.  I was the first on my feet.  I didn’t feel hypnotized – whatever that was.  I was awake and aware, but felt no drive to do anything but just stand there.  My part came toward the end of the act.  He had me and a girl about my age hold our right arms out.  He lit a candle and passed it beneath her fingers.

She never moved a muscle, while I waggled my hand and acted disturbed.  When he asked me why I was upset, I told the audience that my fingers were hot.  I don’t remember them actually feeling hot, but I remembered that his flyer said that someone would experience it, so I gave him what the crowd expected.

All the volunteers got a pass for a later show.  I was busy Tuesday and Wednesday, but went to the Thursday show.  A University Professor used to give lectures, and when he was done, would tell his classes that psychology inhibited people from being the first to respond, so he always offered to take the Second question.  Thursday night, when he asked for audience participation…. crickets, nobody moved.  I again stood up, and there were five more behind me when I reached the stage.

Some people claim that, “I’m too intelligent to be hypnotised,” but practitioners say that more intelligent people are better subjects, because they are able to focus, and accept the required control.  This night, he saved me for the final part of the act – the piéce de résistance.

He had two of those uncomfortable, tubular steel and formed plywood, chairs placed about four feet apart, and had two of the other subjects sit in them.  He told me, Stand up straight.  You are firm.  You are hard.  You are strong.  You are rigid.  You are like a tree.  You are powerful.  You are as stiff as a lamp-post.  Then he poked me in the chest, and I fell over backward.  Two of the other enchanted assistants caught me, lifted me horizontally, and placed me across the backs of the two chairs.

The one contacted me just below the collarbone and above the shoulder blades.  The other met the back of my calf muscles.  There I hung, suspended in midair, planking, long before it became trendy.  But the show isn’t over, ladies and gentlemen.  Watch this.  He placed another chair in front of me, climbed up onto it, slowly turned to face the audience…. and carefully sat down on my stomach.

Even I was amazed, a scrawny little stick of a kid like me, holding up a 160 pound man.  I was completely aware of what was happening.  I wondered if I had any control over my body.  I allowed my abdominal muscles to relax about a quarter or half an inch.  He felt it, and intoned, Steady!  Steady!  Rigid!  Rigid!

He climbed down to thunderous applause, and turned back to his onstage rogues’ gallery, to begin un-hypnotizing all six of us – and there were only five.  Who was missing?  Where?  When?  How??!  This had never happened to him.  Hypnosis will eventually wear off, but he worried about a suggestible victim being given a direct command in public.

The one missing was a lad, two years older than me.  The hypnotist enjoined us to go looking for him, and take care of him if need be.  I went to his house, and told his father what had happened.  He just laughed, and went back to watching The Honeymooners.  With a 90/95 IQ level, between stupid and stubborn, the boy apparently did not go into a hypnotic trance.

I met him the next day, and he explained.  Nothing exciting happened to him during the show, and he was bored, and felt like a fool, just standing there.  While I was doing my levitation act, he drifted into the wings, down the back stairs, and off to the bowling alley in search of French fries and tourist girls.

I guess that shows like this may still exist in Las Vegas or Atlantic City lounges, but hypnosis has come to be used much more professionally and effectively to aid in combating drug or tobacco use, stress, depression, psychiatric and relationship problems.  My two experiences were all in fun, but it can be quite serious.  Have any of you had hypnosis therapy?

’20 A To Z Challenge – U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s New Pussycat? Whoaoo-oaoo-oaoo-whoa!  Tom Jones says, It’s Not

UNUSUAL

to hit a bit of writers block, but that’s old news.

What is also not unusual is that, like many other entertainment personalities, the Welsh singer, TOM JONES, isn’t.  He is Sir Thomas John Woodward OBE.  Jones is the most common Welsh surname, although there does not seem to be any among his immediate ancestors.

I can find no proof that he assumed the name Tom Jones because of a desire to reference the raunchy 1749 English novel with that name, which enjoyed a resurgence and republishing, just as he was beginning his public career.

Still, at the height of his popularity, inside industry observers estimated that he was having sex with up to 250 female fans per year.  His son/manager says that he is astounded and embarrassed that even into his 60s and 70s, female audience members were throwing panties with their phone number onstage.

So, I you got screwed without even a kiss, because Creativity bailed out and went for a beer, Desperation moved into the pilot’s seat, and barely landed a post with a U word in it.

I could go on a #MeToo rant, about guys like Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Peter Nygard, Jeffrey Epstein, Randy Prince Andy, Keith Raniere and Bill Cosby.  Men like this regard themselves, and are regarded by others, as alpha males, somehow entitled to unlimited sex with an unlimited number of females.  Sadly, these actions and attitudes are also not unusual.  Cosby’s only difference was that he had a kink where he preferred his victims unconscious.  All they have done is bring the concept of droit du seigneur up to date into the modern, electronic age.

I won’t do that (Too late!) because this post is already too depressing.  I’ll have something a little more upbeat in a couple of days.  C U then.  😀

30 Day Challenge – Twofer

9: Your Last Kiss
11: Your current relationship, if single, discuss how single life is

I put these two together, because I’m not really going to write about either, yet they kinda go together.

The wife and I are now closing in on 53 years of marriage, but I’m sure that there are readers who would be surprised to find that there is not an abundance of “Love.”  For much of history, and much of the world, marriage was a socio-commercial undertaking.  Even today, ‘arranged marriages’ are common, and their divorce rates are lower than the ‘marriage for love’ ones.  They are based on mutual respect and adaptation.

I’m assuming that the author meant a passionate, ‘love-induced’ kiss, not the How Are You peck on the cheek from a sister-in-law.  At the three-quarters of a century mark, there’s not a lot of passion left.  The son says that he gets strange looks from co-workers when he tells them that we are each just hanging on until the other dies – dark humor, that boy.

Hoggimus-Higgimus
Man is polygamous
Higgimus-Hoggimus
Woman’s monogamous
It is said that a man will trade love for sex, and a woman will trade sex for love.  The wife and I have learned to respect each other, and there certainly has been a great deal of adaptation over the years.  There was a certain degree of love to get the marriage started, but…. 

A man chases a woman – until she catches him.  I came home one day from work, to find that the coffee klatch at my house had not disbanded.  I heard the wife telling the neighborhood women that she picked me, because she felt that I was very intelligent, and she thought that smart men made more money.  Oh, you sexy minx!  You had me at ‘Credit Check.’  I am the victim of an arranged marriage.  It was just my wife who arranged it.

I am not displeased or disappointed with my married life.  Only occasionally do I wonder how things would have gone in other circumstances.  One of my online friends has been divorced and living alone for 30 years.  I don’t have the self-sufficiency to live alone.  I need a zoo-keeper to care for and feed me.  As a mild sociopath, I could probably handle the isolation, but I still value the social and intellectual stimulation from my children, and now grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

There have been few periods in our marriage that could be described as brilliant fireworks.  That’s probably a good thing.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I have seen those whose lives, including their marriage, have been roller-coaster ups and downs.  Eventually the downs seem to be such a contrast, that they decide to give up and change them.  Divorce is survivable.  Suicide is not.

Our marriage has not been boring.  We have been able to travel a bit, and see and experience some interesting places and things.  Now that we are (much) older, and the bodies and the bank account are weak and creaky, we are learning to use our electronics for entertainment and social connections – like this.

Thanx for stopping by to read this unexciting description of Same Old – Same Older.  I’ll haul out more interesting info for next time.  Wanna hear about the neighbor who’s a drug dealer?

***

I’m still (reluctantly) getting used to this damned Block Editor. I’ve figured out most of it but, can someone tell me where to find the control for color of text??

Flash Fiction #219

High

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

IT’S HIGH TIME

So, Canada had legalized marijuana, and he had wound up getting a job with one of the legal grow-ops after graduating from Agricultural College. Given the ‘entertainment’ habits of some of his dorm-mates, it was a surprise that it was him, rather than one of the 4:20 cadre.

He was pleased with the safety equipment his employer provided – gloves, coveralls, respirator masks. His hometown had once been the center of a tobacco-growing area. Each year there had been at least one case of death from nicotine poisoning. Here, about the worst thing that happened, was a nice contact high buzz.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

It’s a good thing that I went back to proof-read one more time. Spell-Check didn’t catch that I had titled this Flesh” Fiction. That’s a whole different genre!   😳 🙄

One-Lines Of Wisdom

Billy Crystal

A potpourri of thoughts on life from various comics and entertainers – some wise – some otherwise. See if you can identify any of the submitters.

“By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.”

“I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.”

“Proof that we don’t understand death is that we give dead people a pillow.”

“Don’t talk to me about Valentine’s Day. At my age, an affair of the heart is a bypass.”

“I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? ‘Hey, if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.'”

“If God had really intended man to fly, He’d make it easier to get to the airport.”

“Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”

I’m dating a homeless woman. It was easier talking her into staying over.”

“I can’t wait till Sunday, I’m gonna see my favorite niece. And my other niece.”

“Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings … and lawyers.”

“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, ‘denigrate’ means ‘put down.'”

“My wife, we get along good ’cause we have our own arrangement. One night a week I go out with the boys, and one night a week she goes out with the boys.”

“I think if I took therapy, the doctor would quit. He’d just pick up the couch and walk out of the room.”

“Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself.”

“Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.”

“I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.”

“My father never lived to see his dream come true of an all-Yiddish-speaking Canada.”

“Let me ask you a question, who do you think has more freedom—the married man in America or the single man in communist China?”

“Housework won’t kill you. But then again, why take the chance?”

“I was on a date with this really hot model. Well, it wasn’t really a date-date. We just ate dinner and saw a movie. Then the plane landed.”

“Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps. End of list.”

When you are eight years old, nothing is any of your business.”

“I’m a godfather. That’s a great thing to be, a godfather. He calls me ‘god’ for short. That’s cute. I taught him that.”

“Misers aren’t fun to live with, but they make wonderful ancestors.”

“I wish people would stop making fun of fat people. They have enough on their plates.”

“To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click ‘I Agree’.”

“Shirley Temple had charisma as a child. But it cleared up as an adult.”

“Nobody is worried about a government shutdown. They’re worried about it starting back up.”

“I was having a great day until I woke up.”

“Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it.”

“Now all of us can talk to the NSA—just by dialing any number.”

“My favorite kind of humor is basically, if it was happening to you, it wouldn’t be funny, but to observe it, it’s hilarious.”

“I’m a gentleman and I was always taught it’s rude to talk about a woman’s age or weight unless you are breaking up with her.”

“I look at wives the same way I look at tattoos. I want one, but I can’t decide what I want and I don’t want to be stuck with one I’m just going to grow to hate and have to have surgically removed later.”

“Get-well cards have become so humorous that if you don’t get sick, you’re missing half the fun.”

“Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.”

“If you don’t do any self-examinations or see a doctor ever, you’ll live forever. The diagnosis is what gets you. You just have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy with any and all bodily functions.”

“I didn’t wake up in a new Bugatti this morning…. I’ll try again tomorrow.”

“The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day, you’re off it.”

Flash Fiction #174

Flat Earth

Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

ERROR 404 – NO TITLE FOUND

I know that I shouldn’t bother, but I’ve been debating some Flat Earthers online.  The Flat Earth Society has members all around the world.  They’re as bad as the rabid Bible-thumpers – which many of them are.  Their minds are made up.  Don’t confuse them with the facts.

If the argument for a globe were a house, they can refute windows, or roofs, or walls, but not the entire building.   And their ‘proof’ against floors contradicts their ‘proof’ against chimneys.

Sometimes these discussions can be irritating.  Sometimes they can be amusing and entertaining, but often, they just go ‘round and ‘round.

***

Don’t be afraid to click on ‘Flat Earthers,’ above.  It’s not a deep Wiki article, just a few thoughts I published on the subject a couple of years ago.  Even the less astute of you may notice that I am willing to plagiarise even from myself.  Rochelle’s photo, coupled with Wednesday’s religious rant, joined forces to give the inspiration for this post.  I slipped in an old, previously published Flat Earth joke, and used the same “Round And Round” hook line from my Nov. 30th Flash Fiction.  That’s just flat-out lazy.  😉

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Not Mirror Image

Mirror

Words with two Meanings

1. THINGY (thing-ee) n.
Female…… Any part under a car’s hood.
Male….. The strap fastener on a woman’s bra.

2. VULNERABLE (vul-ne-ra-bel) adj.
Female…. Fully opening up one’s self emotionally to another.
Male….. Playing football without a cup.

3. COMMUNICATION (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n.
Female… The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one’s partner.
Male… Leaving a note before taking off on a fishing trip with the boys.

4. COMMITMENT (ko- mit-ment) n.
Female….. A desire to get married and raise a family.
Male…… Trying not to hit on other women while out with this one.

5. ENTERTAINMENT (en-ter-tayn-ment) n.
Female…. A good movie, concert, play or book.
Male…… Anything that can be done while drinking beer.

6. FLATULENCE (flach-u-lens) n.
Female…. An embarrassing by-product of indigestion.
Male…… A source of entertainment, self-expression, male bonding.

7 MAKING LOVE (may-king luv) n.
Female…… The greatest expression of intimacy a couple can achieve.
Male….. Call it whatever you want, just as long as we do it.

8. REMOTE CONTROL (ri-moht kon-trohl) n.
Female… A device for changing from one TV channel to another.
Male… A device for scanning through all 375 channels every 5 minutes.

AND . . .

He said… I don’t know why you wear a bra; you’ve got nothing to put in it.
She said….You wear pants don’t you?

He said….Shall we try swapping positions tonight?
She said… That’s a good idea – you stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa and fart!

He said….. What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?
She said ….Turn sideways and look in the mirror!

He said…. Why are married women heavier than single women?
She said…..Single women come home, see what’s in the fridge and go to bed.
Married women come home, see what’s in bed and go to the fridge.

😳

 

’18 A To Z Challenge – Flood

Challenge '18

Letter F

Unless the Mayan calendar apocalypse comes to pass, my little home town, situated where a river meets a lake, will never have a flood.

Lake Huron’s levels are closely monitored and controlled by the St. Lawrence Seaway commission, the geography is stable, and it would take something larger than a falling Chinese Space Station, to cause a tsunami.  The land quickly rises, so that most of the town is 50 feet above water level.  My birthplace house is more like 70’.

The closest thing to a flood is the spring ice-breakup in the river.  It starts 3 miles upstream, below the little rapids.  The thin ice breaks, pushing downstream against the thicker and thicker layers, partly impeding the water flow, until finally it lets loose.  Suddenly, thousands of tons of ice blocks, 2 – 3 – 4-feet thick, and as big as buses, thunder down the canyon, scour the harbor docks, and spew into the lake.

I’m told that it is an awe-inspiring sight and sound, but silly little things like education and employment have never allowed me to be present.  In late fall, the docks are cleared.  Ladders for swimmers and boaters are unbolted.  Fishing boats are winched onto the concrete, and placed well up on the banks.  After the cascade, ice that’s in the way is bulldozed back into the water.  Blocks that aren’t, are still melting beside the little park, well into June.

***

When we made our pitifully few visits to the lower United States for vacations, we were usually fixed on getting to our destination as soon as possible, and took the Interstates.  Humming along steadily for hours, at 110Kmh/70MPH, the extra distances were made up for by not having to follow some farm tractor, or stop at every stop sign and red light in every goober little town.

The time we took our On Top Of The World trip, we decided that we had the time, not to go 100 miles from Buffalo to Erie, PA, to get on I-79.  Instead, we took State highways down and back, from Buffalo, through Pennsylvania.  The entertainment and education justified the decision.

We passed through Du Bois, PA, named after W.E.B. Du Bois, a 19th century Negro civil-rights pioneer.  Both names are pronounced ‘due–boys’, rather than the French ‘due-bwah.’

We found a small PA town that clings to a mountainside so steep, that the northbound lane of the highway/main street, is 8 feet above the southbound lane, with a guardrail to prevent cars from falling in.  The industry in another Pennsylvania town was a Weyerhaeuser paper mill.  We could smell that one 3 miles before we got there, and 3 miles after we left, and rolled the windows down to clear the stench.

Rolling into one town we were faced with 6 or 7 truck-docks, at the back of a large plant.  Each dock seemed to be a different color, red, green, orange blue, purple.  When we got closer we found that it was a Pittsburgh Glass plant, and what we’d seen was hundreds of pounds of broken bottles and other glass, all sorted by color, which had fallen below the docks as it was being brought back in for melting and reuse.

As we were coming back north, we reached a spot where a secondary road met the highway at a T-intersection to our left.  Suddenly, in the middle of Nowhere PA, miles from any town or city, I was faced with the first roundabout I’d ever seen.

Like the 1942 song That Old Black Magic says, “Down and down I go.  Round and round I go.”  Round and round the roundabout I went, missing the northbound, uphill highway.  Instead, I continued ‘round, and exited onto the westbound, downhill road.

Six miles this steep, two-lane blacktop weaved its way down and down, with not a sign of a turnoff, another side-road, or even a farmer’s lane, to turn into to turn around.

Finally, after losing hundreds of feet of altitude, we reached a sign that said, “Welcome To Johnstown PA”.  Johnstown??  Like in the Johnstown flood??  Sure enough, there was the Conemaugh River, before we started our long trek back uphill.

In 1851 a dam was built 14 miles upstream, to provide water for area industries, and for a barge-canal system.  Later, trains replaced barges, so the dam was sold to a railway company.  The Railway Company wasn’t in the ‘dam’ business, so they didn’t maintain it, even removing and selling piping that could lower water levels behind it.

In 1889, a ‘Century Storm’ dumped 12 inches of rain in the mountain valley in two days.  The dam finally failed, and the flood roared through several small towns and Johnstown.  It caused $17 million 1889 dollars worth of damage, almost $500 million today, and killed over 2200 people.

I quietly drove back up to the highway and home, to compose this happy tale for you.  Stop back again later, when we visit The Rockies and talk about avalanches.  😯

Medical Bills

medical_363124952_std

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said: “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

The distressed woman wailed: “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet.

“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.

He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.

A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said: “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!” she cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged. “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the CAT scan, it’s now $150.”

***

You can get much farther with a kind word and a
gun than you can with a kind word alone.
Al Capone

***

President Trump was being entertained by an
African leader. They’d spent the day discussing
what the country had received from the Russians
before the new government kicked them out.

“The Russians built us a power plant, a highway,
and an airport. Plus we learned to drink vodka and
play Russian roulette.”

Donald Trump frowned. “Russian roulette’s not
a very friendly game.” The African leader smiled.
“That’s why we developed African roulette. If you
want to have good relations with our country,
you’ll have to play. I’ll show you how.”

He pushed a buzzer, and a moment later six
magnificently built, nude women were ushered in.
“You can choose any one of those women to give you
oral sex,” he told Trump.

“Unreal,” The Donald said, “But it doesn’t seem much
like Russian roulette.”

“Trust me!” he said. “One of them is a cannibal.”

 

 

Flash Fiction #100 – Milestone

Milestone

MILESTONE

This is my 100th Flash Fiction, so it‘s a milestone – or is it??!

The first Flash Fiction I wrote, I did so as a challenge by my blog-friend, BrainRants, who had tried it. The blog-post of Rochelle’s that I accessed was not a F.F., and the photo I downloaded was that of her Grandmother, which I used to write a [pioneering story.]

That first one was 101 words, just to prove that I could do it. Every one since has been exactly 100 words.  It, and a few of its followers, I did just for personal satisfaction, and to extend my stat numbers.  I soon learned how to LinkIn, and joined the group.  Christmas/ New Years -2014/15, Rochelle didn’t post a prompt photo, but I felt a surge of creativity, and used one of my own photos, of a double rainbow, to write a [Sci-Fi short story] that didn’t get linked.

(Technology apparently still eludes me.  It’s FF #32  😯 )

Inspiration does not strike every week, but number 100 is just over two years from my first. Along the way, I’ve read some interesting stories, and met some creative writers and nice folks.  Thanx, to Rochelle and the rest of you for having me along.  This week’s submission follows.

Clown

Copyright -John Nixon

PIANO, MAN

There was something strange about this piano. He’d got it for a song.  A classical pianist had used it for practice, but had mysteriously disappeared.

He had tried to play upbeat lilts, but they always seemed to come out sedate and serious.

Today, while playing for the kids, in his Happy the Clown show, he had reached up to turn the page, and somehow caught his hand. When he reached up to free it, his other hand got tangled….  and he’d ended up – where??

How could he be inside a piano??  And who was this old guy with the tuxedo??!

***

Here’s what he was playing, on YouTube ‘circus march piano’

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.