IMHO Installment #93: You Shouldn't Argue with the Certified

10 Sep 2007


So, a few days back, I hypnotized you. It failed, apparently; I've checked my mailbox every day, and the cash hasn't begun arriving yet.

(Kidding, of course ... I'm expecting checks.)

Anyway, the post was simply about the human mind and the power of suggestion, which is what hypnotism is all about. I've long been fascinated by the field, and have attended demonstrations many times. They're always highly entertaining, including the one I watched last weekend at a renaissance faire.

After the show, we ran into a family we know. You know how families always pair off when they meet? (The moms talk to each other, the dads talk to each other, the kids borrow five bucks and run off for a funnel cake ... ) Well, I didn't have too much to say to this particular dad. He seems like a nice guy and all, but I just don't know him. So, I made smalltalk: "Hey, did you guys check out the hypnotist? Man, that was an awesome show."

He sort of chuckled and said, "That guy's no hypnotist."

I thought he misunderstood. "Well, yeah, actually. He's a hypnotist!"

Again with the chuckle ... "No he's not."

"Uhhh ... okay," [me with the dude-you're-confusing-me attitude], "it was a hypnotism show, so-"

"Mmmmm-hmmmmm," he laid it on me as only a self-proclaimed genius can, "that's the whole problem. It was a show."

"Oh, I get it ... You don't believe in hypnotism? Well, that's cool, but uh-"

"Oh no, I believe it it fully. I'm board certified."

"You're a hypnotist?"

"Board certified," he repeated, nodding. "See, that guy's just putting on a show."

I countered: "Yeah, but a hypnotism show, right? So-"

He cut me off: "Those people you saw weren't hypnotized."

I raised an eyebrow. "They weren't?"

He shook his head, adding nothing more to the conversation for a moment.

Still, I couldn't let it go. "But, uhhh, he had them all running around, taking their shirts off, forgetting things, acting crazy, laughing hysterically ... "

He stood his ground. "They weren't hypnotized. They were ... cooperating."

I held on to my argumentative mode for one more weak volley: "So, they weren't entranced? Because, it really seemed-"

"Board certified," he cut me off again, as though that should settle the matter once and for all.

Out of respect for my daughter and her friend, and for my wife and her "other mom" acquaintance, I didn't push the issue. But, "board certified" or not, those volunteers were god-damn mesmerized in the true sense of the word! Take it from me; I've decided I'm board certified as well. (Just don't ask me what board or what certification, okay?)

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