Premonitions or predictions can lead to self-fulfilling prophesies if one is not careful.
Take the story of a man named Jed. He had his fortune read by Madame Marie, who said to beware of lions, stating he would die at the foot of one.
“Rubbish and hogwash,” he thought. “How can that be? I’ll never be confronted by one. I don’t plan to embark on a safari ever, and I never go to the zoo.”
Jed contemplated about asking for his money back for being given such a ridiculous fortune, but he knew Marie needed the cash. Her clothes were tattered. Her eyes looked as if she hadn’t slept in a week. She was skinny to the bone, perhaps anorexic; otherwise she surely needed to eat more on a regular basis.
His girlfriend Sally had asked him to stop in to see the soothsayer, something he would never do just for the sake of getting his fortune read. Marie was an old friend and confidant of Sally’s mother. On her death bed, the parent asked her daughter to check on the fortune-teller regularly, for which Sally would go every Friday to have her tarot cards read and make sure the old woman was all right.
Poor Sally had been hit badly with the flu, knocking her off her feet for the past few days, preventing the young woman from keeping her weekly ritual with Madame Marie, hence her boyfriend’s visit.
Slipping the frail lady an extra ten bucks, Jed left the foreseer’s small, dark, stuffy storefront, behind which Marie lived in a tiny two-room flat. At least she didn’t need to travel far for work.
That wasn’t the case for Jed. He had a fifty-minute commute on the bus to his office and back home each day. The pit stop at Madame Marie’s cost him an extra twenty minutes for transfers plus the thirty minutes while listening to her crack-pot premonition.
Jed bought the evening newspaper to pass the additional time while returning to his uptown apartment. Yes, some people still get their news and entertainment from print nowadays and not exclusively from smartphones or the Internet.
A full-page ad proclaimed the circus was in town, which caught his eye instantly. A parade of the exotic animals was scheduled for that evening to pass down the boulevard leading to the local arena, a block away from his apartment. He would have to pass by there on the way home.
Lions, illustrated as jumping through flaming hoops, shot out from the newspaper ad. Madame Marie’s cockamamie fortune popped back into Jed’s mind after his having dismissed it previously as nonsense.
“Those big cats are going to be marching in the street with the rest of the circus troupe,” he thought. “What if one of them were to get loose? I could get mauled and killed as Madame Marie predicted.”
As a precaution, he decided to get off at the bus stop that preceded his normal terminus, walk a few extra blocks and cut through the park’s mall, which would totally bypass the parade route and bring him to his apartment building from the backside.
“No way am I going to get close to any lion,” Jed said to himself while scurrying through the park toward a long flight of stairs that descended from the mall to Reyerson Avenue. From there it was a straight shot home.
In his haste and self-induced paranoia, not paying close attention to where he was walking, Jed slipped on some ice at the top step and tumbled headfirst down at least a dozen stairs, cracking his skull open and breaking his neck by the time his body landed on the sidewalk below, dead at the feet of two lion statues that reclined classically on individual concrete pedestals at either side of the stairway.
Self-fulfilling prophesy won out again. Had Jed gone home his regular way, not only would he have been treated to a wonderful parade, but he would have probably been alive and well at this point.
“What brought this on?” you might be asking yourself. An acquaintance on Twitter, out of the blue, sent a direct message, saying she was worried about me, had a bad feeling about my well-being; and that she was usually never wrong about these things.
I assured her my health was good and knew nothing else was out of the ordinary. This occurred on New Years Day, a nice gesture on her part; but her premonition is something that’s been a nagging, disturbing, recurring thought ever since.
So without going out of my way to be extra careful, and continuing on with my life as I have been doing, every little ache and pain as a result of aging (no longer am I a spring chicken); or any little abnormality which normally passes in a few days brings on a paranoiac feeling that maybe I’m actually not all right; and my life is in danger.
Isn’t a part of each day capable of putting our mortality at risk by some unpredictable event such as a fatal car accident, heart attack; being shot by a deranged mass-murderer, or developing an incurable disease?
No sense worrying about these things until they happen. We all have to die somehow and sometime, but hopefully not in the near future. It would be a sad state of affairs if we knew the exact date and time for our expiration and exit stage left or right, whichever the case may be.