You think you know someone. You hang out with them, exchange emails, jokes, and anecdotes. Maybe you even work with them. Then, one day, out of the blue, you discover they believe you are going to Hell. Perhaps a conspiracy theorist or a believer in the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Or the next Messiah.
I lived in Jerusalem for almost 9 years. Big surprise, you meet a lot of people who are sure they are Jesus Christ come back to finish his work on Earth. One of them worked at the local pizza joint and seemed perfectly normal, until in the middle of a casual conversation, he would drop a bomb about his mission. And there you were, transported to wacko central.
I had a casual friend who was a piano player. He sang and played at fancy hotel bars, like the Hilton Hotel lounge. He was an American, so it was inevitable we would meet. We struck up a little chatty relationship. One night, he called and invited me over. He had something important to tell me.
Important? Our relationship consisted of reminiscing about life in the U.S. in the 1960s — and I’d done his horoscope. I was (coincidentally) the astrology columnist and managing editor of a short-lived English-language weekly. Please, let’s not discuss astrology or my psychic abilities (or lack thereof). You don’t want to know and I don’t want to tell you.
Having nothing better to do at the time, I walked over to his house (just around the corner) and we got to talking. Suddenly, I knew. He was going to tell me one of two things: he was an alien and came from on another planet or galaxy … or … he was Jesus Christ.
It was the latter. Another Jesus. He wanted me, because of my brilliant psychic abilities, to be Paul and spread the word. I worked very hard to tell him that his timing was off and I would be sure to advise him when the right moment arrived. Then I fled into the night and home. He was one of several people who convinced me there was no future for me in the psychically predictive arts.
Then there was the guy I worked with at one or another of the many high-tech companies at which I was employed, who one day informed me of his intention to quit his job and move to an underground bunker. In anticipation of the coming apocalypse. I hadn’t even done his horoscope.
Not surprisingly, a series of these unwelcome surprises has made more than slightly wary of prospective friends. I’m afraid of what will be revealed as we get to know each other better.
The thing about people who believe in cabals, believe they came on an alien space craft or will be leaving on one shortly, and they are all sure God has assigned them a mission.
You can’t argue with them. They believe what they believe. Absolutely. Don’t bother with facts, their minds are made up.
What if they decide I am one of their (many) enemies? Pass the aluminum foil. I think I need a new hat.