Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Monday, August 20, 2007


Palm Saturday

When you're dealing with infertility issues and the doctors can't seem to tell you just what the righteous fuck is going on, you can find yourself a little desperate for answers. Even if they don't make sense. If someone were able to conclusively tell you, "Yes, you're having problems with fertility because you wear shoes, which are too constricting on your bio-progenitive aura," you might actually consider trying a year barefoot.

It's maddening. Especially if you're like my wife, who really can't stand not having answers. Over the last two years that we've been dealing with this, she's logged a good three thousand hours googling different theories about why this is happening. Sometimes, she runs across things that sound fairly plausible and half-convinces herself that our problems stem from something she did.

All I can do at times like that is to remind her that outside factors like whatever behavior the internet tells her may be responsible rarely have any affect on pregnancy. This is what doctors have told us, anyway. But it's such a goddamn unsatisfying answer.

Which is why my wife and I did what we did Saturday night. We'd gone to see the last half-hour of an update of The Orestia in the park. Sure, we could've shown up on time, but all the good stuff happens in the last half-hour anyway. As we walked back uptown, we talked about our problem and somehow--I really don't recall how the hell the idea got placed on the table--we decided that we should consult a psychic.

Not wanting to pay exorbitant Upper West Side psychic prices, we headed for home, as there's a psychic literally around the corner from our apartment.

Seeing a psychic is one of those ideas that sounds good for the first few seconds after it's brought up, but fades somewhat in the sober light of a minute from now. And, as we stood outside, looking up at the sign promising a $2.00 Special! I had second thoughts. Buyer's pre-morse, if you will.

As it turns out, my feeling that we shouldn't be spending money on this was the closest we got to an actual precognitive experience that night.

A very nice young woman answered the door and invited us in. She ran down her list of mystic options for us. These included the advertised $2.00 Special, which was a "personality profile" based on some tarot cards already laid out on her table. That one didn't sound like it was designed to answer specific questions. Then there was the $30.00 full-tilt tarot spread. That one seemed a mite expensive for a whim. So we settled on the $15.00 palm reading, which had the advantages of being more extensive than the Special, but more justifiable than going whole hog.

So I sat down in the chair--not entirely sure how it was me who got to do the honors on this--and the young woman sat down opposite me and took a look at my palms. She launched into her reading, precisely none of which had any bearing whatsoever on our fertility problems and all of which sounded about as spontaneous as Miss America speeches from contestants who want to work for world peace.

I didn't want to be rude. I did my best to nod appreciatively here and there and generally act like I knew exactly what she was referring to. But what I was mostly doing was trying my level best not to look at her boobs, which were kind of right there as she leaned in at me. I made certain to shuttle my eyes directly back and forth from my palms to her face and nowhere else. Someone may be shovelling a bucket of bullshit at your feet, but that doesn't mean you should be impolite.

Despite the utter and complete crap that was this reading, I didn't get down about being taken advantage of until she tried to upsell me. The palm reading, you see, is just kind of a quick sketch. To really go in-depth, she would need to take some questions from me and then, I don't know, sit up all night consulting her runes or something. This would be a complete aura-workup and would run a bit more, but it would be a lot more detailed. I said no thanks, that we'd just take the canned palm reading and be on our way.

I handed her a twenty and didn't tell her to keep the change. I should feel bad about that, I suppose, but I'd already dumped fifteen dollars down the crapper. I don't feel it's necessary to tip a three-card monte dealer, either, by the way. She went in the back in search of change, but could only find three stray ones. I had to admire her grim determination to get a tip out of me whether I wanted to give her one or not. My wife and I chose not to fight for our two hundred cents and we headed down the stairs a little wiser about cheap psychics and nowhere closer to knowing whether or not we'll ever have a kid.

I should take a moment here to note that I don't actually think all psychic readings are bullshit. I'm not saying that I believe there's any sort of truly supernatural contact with the misty netherworld or anything like that, but neither do I think tarot is useless.

I had a roommate in college who was a Wiccan and did tarot readings for just about everyone in our house over the course of the year. And there was something to it. There was. I believe that tarot is a useful tool to help you figure out what's going on in your own head and where you need to go. I think that what you see in the cards can help you determine what you really want to do.

But anyone who tells you it's more than that just wants to get you to upgrade to the full aura work-up.

She might try acupuncture. A friend of mine did, after several years of trying everything that western medicine had to offer. She got pregnant and had a healthy, happy baby.
Every time the wife and I are walking past one of those palm-reading places we always ask, "Who the fuck are the goddamn idiots who keep these people in business?"

Now we know.
All I can say is to hang in there the best you can. Infertility sucks and it takes us to places that can be really dark (not a reference to psychics here - I mean literally dark, horrible places in both the heart and soul).

5 years of the shit almost did us in but tenacity won out in the end. Even though it was expensive as hell, it was all worth it.

Would you get a $25 tattoo?
Actually, I create my tattoos at home with a power drill and some watercolors.
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