So for a while I have been researching psychics, something that comes naturally to me, and is part of a long term project. I used to work in a occult supply shop, studied fortune telling scams, went undercover as a phone psychic (a really depressing job) and have just been around this stuff for ages. Literally.
In the course of my recent investigations–and FYI psychism is subjective, and
just learning the future will change it
so there’s always that out for a fortune teller–I came across a really goofy psychic on a psychic hotline. But oddly his predictions were fairly accurate though he was pretty nuts, a freaky old hippie Druid, lets call him OHD, who talked a lot. About himself. At $1.99 a minute. But his reading were adequately accurate, especially with time frames, and there was something endearing about him.
When you sign up for these psychic websites you get a private email account so the psychics can send you offers, predictions, and their schedules. OHD would send out these blasts about astrology and the tarot cards and how much he loathes Republicans, along with complaining about his computer and his former roommate. Once he mentioned his real name and the California city he was in. His rants were pretty funny.
Today though his email got worrisome. He began with explaining his financial straits. Somehow he’d overdrawn his account by a few dollars (math is hard) and was now over $700 in debt to Bank of America, which meant that his SSI check for March would get sucked up to cover the overdraft charges. He wrote that his life was useless, that he had no purpose, that he was going to kill himself because he felt old and pointless and had no future. (Yes, I recognize the irony of psychic who see no future for himself).
He sent out six versions of that email in under two hours. And while yes, it was plea for people to hire him to explain their lousy love life or give the hope for a better tomorrow, there was an underlying desperation and sense of futility, anguish and fear.
What could I do? What should I do? Well, yeah, there wasn’t really much of an option because he was talking about killing himself.
With the info he’d given in an old email and using whitepages.com, I found his address. I called the city-funded suicide hotline in his hometown, but no one answered (oh that’s helpful!), then I tried the Senior Services Department and got through to a really nice lady who took me seriously even when I said “psychic hotline.” She said she would track him down via SSI and have a welfare drop-in done by the police.
I waited a few hours then checked on the psychic service’s website, saw OHD’s “available” button was lit up (my roommate wondered if he must have escaped the butterfly net or even if anything had been done) and clicked the “connect me” link–he’d sent me five free minutes in one of his emails, so what the hey, every story needs an ending.
“Hey, this is Old Hippie Druid, how are you? What’s on your mind?”
“Just checking in for a general reading, how are you?”
The floodgates opened to me, a stranger:
“Wow, the cops came today to check on me because SSI heard I was suicidal, and I was doing a phone reading, so that was few bucks, and they let me finish and we talked and stuff and it was cool because they hate Republicans as much as me and one of the cops hates Bank of America too because they are trying to take away his house. I had called a suicide prevention hotline earlier, but they didn’t help, they didn’t seem to have a solution and I hung up thinking they hadn;t talked me out of it. But the cops came by because they said SSI had called them about me. And so anyway, let’s shuffle the cards for you…”
Not exactly the preamble one would like from an all knowing seer, but even the Oracle of Delphi was human.
He did a quick reading for me, not that I needed one; I just wanted to find out more about his situation. And he we was willing to tell me on my dime. I learned that he uses a food bank twice month
Two bags of whatever. It’s always a surprise.
His new roommate also uses the food bank. A friend of his is covering his phone/internet service for March so he can continue to work on psychic hotline, but he is still stuck in the overdraft hole which will be filled by his March SSI check, despite calling B of A and pleading with them. He’s on SSI’s work furlough program which means he can suppliment his income up to $300 a month–he makes about $150 as psychic–and not lose his government assistance, but he is not entitled to food stamps.
OHD is just one of many thousands of Californians teetering on the brink, trying to get by as best they can. He’s just a guy, someone I’ve spoken to maybe three times in a year. But he is representative of so many people in my state, my country who are totally screwed right now.
I am grateful to the Senior Services staff for taking action and making the calls they did to check on him and that the police took the time to visit him. That’s our tax dollars at work in a good way.
Now if he’s just right about those Lotto numbers….