The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Friday, August 31, 2007

There Are No Problems Without Solutions

I read in the paper the other day that France has four times more registered clairvoyants than priests. That's remarkable for a country that considers itself a Catholic country--although something else I read recently put France pretty high on the list of least-religious nations. One would also think that the country that gave us Cartesian rationalism would be fairly skeptical of metaphysical hoodoo.

But there is definitely a high degree of belief in the, er, nontraditional forces that control our destiny. For example, every paper runs a daily horoscope, often right next to the listing of the day's saint (today is St. Aristide's feast day; you know what to do). That's not unusual, as many papers in the States do the same. Former president Mitterand was known to regularly consult his favorite seer--not unlike Nancy Reagan of the same era. My basic-cable lineup includes the astrology channel Astro Center TV (you can watch it right here if you've got a fast connection); street signs and hoardings in crummier neighborhoods are plastered with stickers for pay-per-minute astrological reading phone hotlines.

Most amusingly, every so often--about every other week--I get flyers from clairvoyants in my mailbox, along with the usual pizza delivery coupons, oriental rug shop flyers, and offers to join health clubs. They're all very similar; cheaply-printed slips on plain white paper, advertising a "professor" with an African-sounding name, if not a description of the actual tribe or village from which he draws his powers. Almost every one also has the slogan "Il n'y a pas des problems sans solutions," doubtlessly a powerful mantra, thus I had it scrawled on my office whiteboard for a while. Here's a translation of one of these slips that transsubstantiated into my mailbox yesterday:

EFFECTIVE -- SERIOUS -- POWERFUL -- Payment after results!
Professor KEBA
Grand International Seer and Medium

Graced with the great secrets and hereditary gifts handed down from father to son for 7 generations, whatever is your problem, contact him. He posesses very effective and rapid solutions to resolve all of your problems. Famous accredited specialist in relationship problems, even the most desperate. Sexual problems -- work -- exams -- family-- protection against enemies and evil spells-- definitive return of a lost lover or meet your future lifetime companion, quickly, etc.

Work done also by correspondence. Do not wait any longer! Your satisfaction is guaranteed.
7 rue Port du Temple 69002 Lyon -- Metro lines D and A -- telephone 04 72 40 92 19 THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS WITHOUT SOLUTIONS

Needless to say, I called immediately! I am pleased to report that I am now fully protected from my enemies' evil spells, and my multitude of sexual problems have completely disappeared, or will as soon as the next full moon, when I can finally bury this monkey's paw. Thanks, Professor!

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