Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cross my palm with silver: My lifeline research report on America's future

Six months ago, I got my palm read. "See that fork in your lifeline? That means you will travel." Hey, I'm up for that. Will I win the lottery too? So I can afford all this travel? But I digress.

After having my palm read, I became fascinated by lifelines. Were they really an accurate prediction of how long one's life was going to be? And if by some chance lifelines WERE accurate, then could I use them to be able to predict the future? For instance, if I looked at the lifelines of a whole bunch of children and their lifelines were long, deep and solid -- would that mean that somehow California was going to be able to avoid the future economic instability, health and education disasters and endless war that the Bush Republicans in Washington seem to have in mind for us?

I started reading up on lifelines. And I started grabbing people's hands. "What is important is the depth of the lifeline, not the length," said one book. That's good to know.

I have a friend who has diabetes and a very short lifeline but the line is way deep. That describes her situation exactly. Despite her infirmities, this friend takes care of business, is a force to be reckoned with. Hummm....

I also looked at the hands of some low-income African-American boys who live in my neighborhood. Their lifelines were all alike -- yet very different from the adult hands I had looked at so far. Their lifelines had all these stops and starts and branches and little islands in them. They were so unusual yet so common in this age/race group that I started to call them "Stay out of the Army" hands.

But, basically, the lifelines I've looked at so far were mostly strong and unbroken and unbranched.

Then I started looking at the lifelines of new immigrants to this country and THEIR lifelines were completely different -- they were all over the map, all broken and twisted and strange. These I started to call the "I've lived through Hell and survived it" kind of hands.

What have I learned from studying lifelines? Three things: To be extremely grateful that chance has allowed me be born in white middle-class America; that my lifeline is strong and secure and I have managed to stay out of the Army; and that I, unlike billions of other folks on this planet, have never had to come "back from the jaws of death, back from the mouth of Hell".

In addition, I now have a lot more respect for what other people have suffered through and survived. Compared to the lifelines of folks from El Salvador, Afghanistan and Rwanda, Americans have it really soft. And we Americans need to learn to be more grateful for all the wonder gifts that we now hold in our hands.

PS: When I looked at my friend Almira's palm yesterday, she had all these weird broken up lines on her lifeline too. "My goodness, Almira!" I cried. "You have the palm of a third world person. What's up with that?" For an American, this woman has really had a hard life!

But Almira just winked at me and said, "Now you have discovered my secret. I am an alien!" That explains it. Almira is not from no third world country. She's from OUT of this world completely!

PPS: My father was born in Roswell, New Mexico. Does that make me an alien too? Actually, my father and my daughter have something really interesting in common: Both of their mothers (including me) were pregnant with them when the Earth passed through the tail of Haley's Comet. What are the chances of that ever happening? You couldn't even PLAN something like that.