ringbellSteve from Australia sent this picture, which makes us ask the question... why? Shouldn't the door just open as you approach?

And this reminds me of a story. While doing some research in New Orleans, I visited a palm reader with a woman of my acquaintance. We sat down in a bead-festooned closet, and he felt our palms.

"Hmm" he said, and then "Oh... I see." And despite the fact that neither of us were wearing our wedding rings, the psychic told us with complete confidence that we were married. He said that though there will be some conflicts, we are always going to be married. You see, our "life lines" and "heart lines" showed him this, and there was no mistaking it.

Upon hearing his proclamation, we looked each other in the eye, and shared a wink. You see, the psychic was right. We were married. He could have just guessed... a couple walking in to see a psychic is usually indicative of some sort of relationship, but the fact that we didn't have wedding rings on should have suggested that we were just dating. Somehow, the psychic saw deeper and discovered the truth of our situation.

And yet, neither of us was particularly impressed with this demonstration.

The psychic missed one rather important piece of information. Yes, we were married... but not to each other. Not only that, we were both waiting for our divorce papers to finalize, which they did a couple of months after this encounter.

My conclusion: the young lady and I have defective palms. I'm not sure who to complain to about this.

Performance artist Laurie Anderson had a similar encounter, as related in her epic work, United States Live.

Here is Laurie's experience, in her own words:

False Documents by Laurie Anderson

A while ago, I went to see a palm reader
And the odd thing about the reading was that everything she told me was totally wrong

She said I loved airplanes
That my mother's name was "Hillary"
And that I'd been born in Seattle

But she seemed so sure of all of this information
That I began to feel like I'd been walking around with these false documents permanently tattooed to my hands

It was very noisy in the parlor
Members of her family kept running in and out
They were speaking a high, clicking kind of language
It sounded a lot Arabic
Lots of books and magazines in Arabic were strewn around

Suddenly it occurred to me that maybe it was a translation problem
Maybe she was reading my hand "right to left" instead of "left to right"

So thinking of mirrors,
I gave her my other hand

And then she put her hand out
And we sat there for a while
In what I thought was some kind of participatory ritual

Until finaly I realized that her hand was out...

Because she was waiting...

For money.