Friday, November 16, 2012

Collect Calls from the Great Beyond

My older daughter and I have become hooked on TLC's show Long Island Medium.  If you've never seen this show, it follows psychic medium Theresa Caput as she acts as intermediary for spirits and their loved ones among the living.  Theresa considers herself a "typical Long Island mom"--if by typical you mean someone with bleached blond hair, nails that should be registered with the FBI and heels that leave her tottering though the show.  Except she talks to dead people. 

I've  always been pretty open to the idea of the paranormal, and I have no problem believing that the Long Island Medium really can receive messages from those who have passed away.  Watching the show, however, I realized that clients always come to her with a specific person they wish to hear from and, surprisingly enough, that's always who shows up to the party.  What if the spirit who came through is someone you didn't want to talk to again, in this world or the next?  What if instead of your sainted mother, Theresa called forth the bully from 3rd grade? ("I'm sensing something about a swirly.")? Or that uncle who got drunk at every family gathering and used racial slurs? ("Oh jeez, the spirit says you should go #@!^ that $%^&* boyfriend of yours.")  Or perhaps someone you've never met?  ("Did you know someone named George Smith?  From Hoboken?  No?  Sorry, wrong number!")  And somehow these spirits always bring messages of forgiveness and closure.  Theresa states before each reading that she only channels positive messages (spoken in a tone which sounds like a disclaimer--"the following psychic reading is for entertainment purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of this station.")  Just once I'd like her to tell the grieving son that his mother thinks he's a schmuck and she never liked that trampy girlfriend of his.  Death cannot possibly make everyone nice and understanding.  I plan to send messages to my children that amount to "I told you so." 

If I was ever haunted by a spirit, I have no doubt in my mind who it would be.  Only my Grandma Mabel was obsessive enough to not let a little thing like death to keep her from getting the last word.  Mabel Antoinette Bakke Alvick was a first generation Norwegian American and she took family very seriously.  She may have been a pain as a parent, and very a difficult mother-in-law, but she was a wonderful grandmother.  Grandma was the one who encouraged me to write.  I know exactly what message Grandma Mabel would bring to me from the Great Beyond:  first she'd call me by the horribly embarrassing nickname she saddled me with, and then she'd hold up one hand, displaying all five fingers.  This was Grandma's way of reminding you to behave--each finger stood for one of her rules:  no drinking, no smoking, no chasing (members of the opposite sex), go to church and write your (grand)parents.  Well Grandma, two out of five ain't bad--which is why I fully expect to be visited one day by the spirit of Grandma Mabel.  "Why haven't you been going to church?  Would it kill you to visit your parents more often?  Why has it been five weeks since you wrote a blog post--do you have cherabook?"  (Some word Grandma made up, I'm sure, or claimed she learned from the Native Americans, meaning an illness that causes laziness).  Grandma's  message will not be one of forgiveness and closure.

When I am done with this mortal life and pass over to the other side,  Grandma Mabel and I are going to cause all sorts of trouble.