Sunday, November 8, 2009

Changing Channels

I recently became aware of a physician colleague who claims to have the ability to channel those who have gone on to worlds beyond the grave. As he tells the story, he became aware of these powers somewhat gradually. Ten years ago, he started out with the idea that he would write a book about his conversations with dead celebrities. But he never seemed to make any headway until he realized that the conversations in his head were not imaginary, but real attempts by the spirits of said stars to communicate with our world. Once he let go of his scientific hesitation and accept the voices for what they are, he was able to write freely. To date he has produced five books on the topic, including, “Is There Comedy in the Afterlife?” in which Bob Hope returns for yet another NBC (Netherworld Broadcasting Company) holiday special.

I am truly fascinated by the concept of channeling, but not quite sure I can buy fully into it. While my level of spirituality tends to vary with my desires for immediate divine intervention (as I suspect does everyone’s, whether they admit it or not), I fervently hope there’s something out there beyond that which we see in the world around us and in the ether beyond the grave. But I’m not too sure about spirits channeling through any particular individual, especially when these wise spirits do things that make little sense. For example, if I’m Abraham Lincoln, I might channel through the Leader of the Free World who might actually be able to do something rather than through an auto mechanic in Cuba, Kansas. (No slight on Cuba, which is a lovely place, and only two counties north of the Ottawa County town of Minneapolis, which is the home of Rock City.) And if I’m Johnny Carson I’m going to use the best writers the afterlife can offer.

(This is my theory about the coming of the Messiah as well. When he comes…and I’m purposefully avoiding the argument of who that is or when he’ll show up…I can’t help but think his wisdom would dictate that he shows up in a major media markets on a weekday early in the news cycle. Seems to me there’d be a lot better chance of getting noticed than if he came back in a suburb of the Akron-Canton Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. Of course, if you’re bringing the Kingdom of the Lord I suppose everyone would know in pretty short order, so maybe it doesn’t matter too much.)

But wanting to give my colleague the benefit of the doubt, I thought I’d try this channeling thing myself. So I took some quiet time and a beer, dressed in loose, comfortable clothing, turned down the lights and lit a Febreeze candle (for mood and to kill the smell of cat litter). I tried to clear my head (actually a remarkably easy task given the very few things that actually live in there) and closed my eyes, hoping for a voice from the afterlife to speak to me about those things I should know, those things that make life worthwhile, those messages I should carry with me to my friends and family so we can all live in warmth and love. And while it was hard to fully submerge my skepticism, I was gratified when I started to hear from the spirits of those who had gone before.

First Charlie Chaplin came to me. He said “



That was heavy, and I resolved to think about this and try to apply it to my own life. But I had no chance for reflection, as Marcel Marceau came by to let me know that, “


But clearly there was a problem. Despite my best efforts, it was still hard for me to accept the reality of what was going on. The spirits of those who went before knew they had to talk to me in a language I would understand, in a religious tradition close to my heart. So Harpo Marx came to me and exclaimed, “



My life will never be the same.


  1. Love the blogs! I wish mine were half as fun! :-)

  2. Well, I've been holding off on the story about the nerd who gave a girl a book about The Battle of Britain for a Valentine's Day gift...

  3. Perhaps that is still a favorite book of hers. Is she a WWII buff and does she know anything about the Mighty 8th's contribution to the war? I think that is a great V-day gift!!! As an avid reader and the new owner of a Sony Reader, I'm sure she still treasures the book! A nerd? never. Intellecual genious and one of the most unique people on the planet, be sure! But the ultra lib rhetoric and physicians being the ONLY ones who can write orders, hmmmm.... would love a debate! Uh oh, just had one of those "I am way the heck in over my head moments", about something I am not as knowledgeable enough about to truly debate. Although, I surely do miss intellecual conversation with novel sorts that have traipsed the ins and outs of the healthcare system. However, I do realize that I shall have to be disappointed as I understand where I stand with said persons. What is that old saying about hindsight being 20/20? :-)

  4. Indeed, I think the country song goes "They say hindsight's 20/20...and I'm surely going blind." And I'd love to debate the expanded role of nurses in health care, and why ARNP's may be great for office work, they are rotten in the ED (is that provocative enough for you?). And you stand just and ocnversation always still on. Besides, you introduced me to sushi, for which I still owe you.

  5. OMG! How can you make me go from crying one minute (perpsectives) to laughing out loud (the nose knows) within a matter of minutes. BTW, I almost got thrown out of the library at DSC for the whole thing! That would be a bummer, too, because I have a favorite spot in the library and I wouldn't want anyone else to have it! It's mine, I tell you! Mine!!!! Great blogs, as always, I am so impressed with the level of writing and intellect that goes into your works. Not that it matters that I am impressed, but...Hey, for what it's worth, you are an amazing writer.
    Also, BTW, I thought you hated me forever (which is a really long time). Would love to do coffee and conversation--especially about expanded roles of NP's. Although, I happen to agree with you on NP's in the ED. However.... I did 2 years as a hospitalist in St. Augustine (yes, the hospital that time forgot) and it was a great role and place for an NP. I did burn out in 2 years, though. That was the hardest work I have ever done. Very, very, difficult--rewarding? yes, but I couldn't keep up with the pace and I had no life. Of course, that was the effect I was going for at the time....long story and not worth it.
    Wow, I forgot about the sushi... Do you still enjoy it? I do very much! Puberty boy likes it as well, so at least I don't have to eat it alone! OK, did I always used to be so wordy and off on tangents?
    My fave spot for coffee is B&N and Dunkin'Donuts---yeah, I know it's cheap, but the coffee Rocks! I can't wait until the gingerbread flavor comes back!
    I would be interested to know your thoughts,about direct to consumer marketing of drugs. If you ever have a story about it to blog about, would love to read it. Also, don't be surprised if you start hearing from my students....I gave them your blogspot address....:-) They are a fiesty bunch and I have several Canadians in the bunch that have some DEFINITE opinions on Health Care. (can you see me? I'm smiling ear to ear!)

  6. Hating forever? Well, maybe for a bit. But it was almost twenty years ago, life has turned out pretty nicely, and holding grudges wasn't going to do anyone any good. Gave that one up long ago.

    Still really like sushi...special affinity for eel and red snapper...and since you introduced me also to the concept of the eyelash curler I didn't seem such an ignoramus when the current bride (a former pageant girl)had two of the devices in her makeup bag.

    Thanks for passing on the blog address...will be fun to engage some more with folks.

    Send me a "real" e-mail and we'll find a time next week to catch up. Bring pictures of kids, etc, and I'll do the same.