I recently discovered that I have legitimate psychic powers for predicting the future. Actually, no; scratch that, I discovered these powers long ago when I was a teenager and had a dream that my ex-boyfriend (the one who I kept tricking with my bewitching beauty) had written me a love letter from Venezuela, and when I woke up, I ran out to the mailbox to find, lo and behold: a letter from my Venezuelan ex-boyfriend.
I had long forgotten my latent super-power, as a necessary part of the aging process. The customary development of cynicism and subsequent discounting of one’s supernatural abilities is indispensable in the support of the assemblage of normalcy and the avoidance of straight-jackets and padded rooms.
But something that happened the other day reminded me of my long-dormant ability. The family was sitting at the table enjoying a typically vociferous dinner when I noticed that Lucas (age 6) was slightly more violent than usual with the bobbing-and-weaving, while precariously holding a drink in his hand. He was sloshing the mostly-full beverage and hopping jauntily half-in, half-out of his seat.
I got that yucky feeling: he’s totally gonna spill that shit. I must do something to stop it.
“Lucas,” I admonished, “You are going to spill your drink. Stop bouncing around and be careful.”
There. Annoying unnecessary drink-spill averted.
He totally spilled that shit, in epic splattering totality, about thirty seconds after I told him he was going to do it.
See?? I’m psychic.
I am the type of person who says “I told you so,” not only because I’m a terrible annoying nag, but because it is absolutely necessary to call attention to the ignored wisdom that is so frequently dispensed from my lips. Otherwise how are we supposed to grow and learn as a family? If everyone could witness my superiority in all regards via repeated examples of “didn’t I just fucking say that would happen?” then we might eventually come to a place where I don’t have to say “I told you so.” Everyone would just listen the first time.
I’ll never give up.
So I pulled the whole “I told you so” routine on Lucas and sent him to time-out (after making him clean up his mess), with the qualification that “You are not going to time out because you spilled your drink. You are going to time-out because I told you you were going to spill your drink and to be careful and you ignored me and then spilled your drink anyway.” I’m pretty confident that was awesome parenting.
And while Lucas was in time-out, my husband (who is an engineer - practically a scientist) and I concurred that I do indeed have the ability to predict the future. And the hubs pointed out, brilliantly, that we had almost-scientifically answered that age-old question: If it were possible to glimpse the future, would that mean you could change it?” And the answer, un-fucking-fortunately, (or maybe fortunately, depending on what you’ve glimpsed) is: No. You can’t change the future.
It turns out being able to predict the future is a completely useless talent because knowing the future does not mean you can prevent it. It only unnecessarily addles your brain with anxiety leading up to the inevitable. In fact, our unintentional experiment seems only to highlight the likelihood that trying to prevent a foreseen outcome is the very thing that engenders the manifestation of that outcome. I’m pretty sure that when I warned Lucas about his wild bouncing it only distracted him from the knowledge that he was holding a drink in his hand, therefore increasing the chance that he would spill it.
So maybe when I see my kid slopping his drink all over the place the best thing to do to avoid a mess is to just stay quiet.
Errrrr, yeah… that is so not going to happen.
And I want a new psychic power; this one sucks.