Thursday, January 11, 2001

I hate Jonathan Edwards

I hate Jonathan Edwards. In case you don't know, he's this so-called psychic who talks to the dead on the Sci-Fi channel. Big deal. Anybody can talk to the dead.

EDWARDS: Hey, big guy. (tapping on coffin) How's it feel in there? S'awright? (throwing voice) S'awright.

Talking to the dead is easy. Persuading the dead to talk back? That's the hard part.

Edwards makes out he's chatting with spectres and shades with a series of stochastic* Barnum statements. The audience buys it because they want to. It's sad.

His act goes something like this. Edwards finds some needy, weepy-eyed person in the audience who's lost somebody. Usually, it's a woman. He does a little small talk, then goes into his act. The woman looks up at him with big eyes.

EDWARDS: I'm picking up ... an enemy? A stranger? A friend? A distant relative? A close relative? One of your parents? Or both of them?


EDWARDS: There's been a death. Or deaths. Recently. Or a long time ago.

She sobs.

EDWARDS: Don't cry. I'm ... there's a message for you. It's very strong. I'm definitely picking up on it.

WOMAN: What's the message?

EDWARDS: "The pain is gone. It's a better place. Please don't cry."

She sobs more.

EDWARDS: I hear ... yes, I hear something. That's very unusual, but ... Yes. I'm definitely hearing a very strong sound. It's ... A tone. A note. I'm seeing ... some sort of string instrument. Your parents were musicians? Professional concert violinists?

WOMAN: Both my parents were deaf.

EDWARDS: Yes. That's what's coming through! I can see ... hands! American sign language! (he gestures) "No sound. Deaf. Stupid."

She sobs.

EDWARDS: The sound ... is more like an image. An image of a ...

WOMAN: A color?

EDWARDS: Yes! A color. Blue.

She shakes her head.

EDWARDS: I mean green. Purple. Violet. Mauve? No. More like red, yes, I see red, definitely red ... red ... a woman in a red dress. Your mother?

WOMAN: My mother's not dead.

EDWARDS: A man in a red dress. Was your father a transvestite?


EDWARDS: He was a professional Santa Claus?

She shakes her head no.

EDWARDS: A Satanist?


EDWARDS: He had a red vest because he worked as a cashier in a gambling casino?


EDWARDS: And when I say "red vest" what I mean is a red tie. Your father spilled ketchup on his tie. He had a red handkerchief?

WOMAN: Yes. My father DID have a red handkerchief.

EDWARDS: And...yes... your father has a message for you.

WOMAN: What's he saying?

EDWARDS: He's saying ... I mean he's signing: "Blow your nose when you have a cold. Don't use a handkerchief like I did but use a Kleenex and throw it away. And drink plenty of fluids and watch your health." Your father was very concerned with your health...

WOMAN: Yes, he was!

EDWARDS: And...and he wants you to get a flu shot.

WOMAN: That's amazing!

The woman cries. The audience applauds.

I hate Jonathan Edwards.

*Educated guesses narrowing down from the specific to the general. Is it bigger than a breadbox?

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