Fortune Telling 101
My medical practice has provided me with some insight on how fortunetellers work. First and foremost contrive to learn something that you seemingly could not have known if you were not a journeyman fortuneteller. Parlay this into the appearance of supernatural power. With this head start the sort of people who consult fortunetellers are reassured that your powers are for real. They want to “believe” in you and will give you many new hints to help you “confirm” your fortune telling prowess.
Physicians have many fortune telling opportunities, which they never even think of exploiting no doubt because of their somewhat more than minimal sense of what is ethical. I have amused my public and myself by exploiting some of these opportunities constructively. Immediately after a notable such success I explain how it was done, pointing out that the details could vary, but the principle of establishing fortune telling credentials remain valid even when a physician does it.
This week I had an unscheduled patient from some distance who unexpectedly and urgently needed a physical exam to qualify for a truck driver’s license. He was about 30 years old, scarcely overweight, and had had type II diabetes (non-insulin dependent) for three years. Amazingly his family history, which was well known to him, was entirely free of diabetes. While I was finishing the paperwork, I asked him to compliment his parents for bringing up an adopted child who scarcely remembered that he was adopted. Naturally, he did a double take about how did I know that he was adopted. I not only informed him about the inheritance of type II diabetes and how strongly it is inherited, but also about fortune telling 101. I like to think that his family and associates will be less susceptible to fortunetellers because of learning the truth before they could be taken in.
My first explicit knowledge of my “powers” occurred early in my career. A young lady consulted me regarding her pregnancy. While questioning her about her medical history, I tossed in the question: “Did you pick the right daddy?” She enthusiastically answered “yes”, meanwhile looking grateful and relieved, from which I inferred that she was not yet married. I am pleased to report that the vast majority of similar young ladies thoroughly believe that they have picked the right daddy. This is of considerable importance to society and in my opinion more important than the status of the paperwork. I call this other status “medically married.” A committed relationship has many advantages. Since the AIDs epidemic I have emphasized this concept. All agree that the bugs don’t care about the paperwork.
My wife suggested that I add the statement that I have no supernatural powers and furthermore that I do not even think that I have such power.
John A. Frantz, M.D.
May 25, 2002
For a renaissance spectator a unicorn was more believable than a giraffe.