I don't care what sort of prognostication you choose, it's all nonsense. It's fun, but it's balderdash. It is. It really is. And that sounds funny coming from me because in my family, growing up, all of the women read tea leaves.
We did. It sounds so silly to say out loud but it's the truth. My mother learned from her mother who learned from her mother and so forth. I have no idea where or when it began but we all knew how to do it. So much so that, growing up, it seemed like a perfectly normal thing to do. Some families got together in the evening and played Parcheesi, we read tea leaves. It was sort of like a parlour game.
I honestly do not know if my mother, or her mother (or further back) actually believed that what they were foretelling was really going to happen or not. I never asked how they felt about it. But I know that I always considered it just entertainment.
When my friend Sandy, back in Connecticut, had her tea room (she made the BEST food!) once in awhile, she would ask me to be a gypsy tea leaf reader. Just for fun. And it was fun. The first time I played that role for her, I even created a sort of costume to make it more festive. I made sure to tell each person that I "read" that it was solely for the purpose of entertainment and should not be confused with any real predictions. But when I looked into their eyes, I could see that far too many of them really wanted to believe every word I was saying so the next time I wore regular people clothes hoping that, by not playing a role enforced by a costume, there would be more doubt in their minds. It did not help.
Being able to tell how people were reacting to what I was saying over their teacups or "Reading people" is completely different than reading tea leaves. It is an actual psychological skill that investigative organizations such as the FBI use in their fight against crime. Of course criminals also utilize this skill to manipulate and exploit people so it's a good/bad thing. Some people are just naturally good at it. Like professional (and I use the term loosely) fortune tellers. Any 'soothsayer' who makes an actual living via their craft has exceptional skill at reading people. Generally speaking, my skills are fair to middlin'.
Actors also use this ability, particularly comedians. They call it "reading the room". It's the energy they do (or do not) get back from the room. Really good actors, public speakers and comedians can adapt their speech or their "bit" on the fly to accommodate their audience. It's part of why some are more successful than others.
The actual 'reading' of tea leaves can be taught, even self taught. There are books about it, just as their are books about palmistry, dream interpretation and divination via Tarot Cards. And, spoiler alert, just because there are books about it doesn't make it any more authentic or genuine.
But I think most of us want to believe. Especially when life feels crazy and out of control, we want something to steady us, something strong that we can lean against. And if, during those sort of times, someone who seemed plausible to us made a prediction that gave us hope, well it would be hard to not hold on to it.
Which is probably why, when I opened my fortune cookie last night and it said this:
my spirits were instantly lifted. I know it's silly. I know it's just a fortune cookie. I know for a fact that a cookie cannot predict my future. But it still made me feel good.
And not because I believe in crystal balls or ouija boards or throwing bones for that matter. But because I believe in myself, I believe in my family, I believe in humanity in general and I suppose because I am a sunnyside of the street sort of person.
It's all relative anyway. To a person with no money at all, ten bucks sounds like a fortune. I probably have that in my change jar. Which means, I suppose, that I already have a fortune.
Have you ever heard the expression, "A self-fulfilling prophesy"? That is probably the only sort of prophesy that is real. It's when we make our own luck. We create our own good (or bad I suppose) future. We are the ones in charge of how our lives turn out. We are the captains of our ships. Here's a tip: Don't steer for the rocks. And I don't need any tea leaves to know that is true.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.