A friend of mine went to a fortune teller in Chinatown. I know this to be true because I was right there encouraging her to pay the twenty dollars to have her palms read.

Her palms say that she would be wise to start a business with her husband after she’s thirty one, and she should stay away from fire and water. Her face also tells her that she will give birth to three children, that there is another man waiting in the wings and, if she can find the time, will travel far and wide.

My friend also claims that the sage told her she was a mouse. I told her there were no mice in Chinese astrology, but rats. “Rats are filthy and disgusting, I’m a mouse!” she protested. Yes, and I’m a kangaroo, I thought, refusing to argue.

This particular seer came with impressive credentials. By his tiny table outside a restaurant was a pinned up newspaper article quoting him. He had predicted, months before, that the Y2K bug would not wreak havoc on civilization. He had also advised, if I remember correctly, that 1999 was a good year to get married. And that’s not all. When he was a teenager he went to his grandfather and asked to be taught the art. His grandfather replied that he had already read his palms when he was only six. His godfather was also a palm reader.

So you can see why I was impressed when he read my face. I managed to avoid paying him by asking a lot of questions and just being friendly. He pointed to the line across my forehead and said it was a “rope” and the three lines running down were “knives.” “Not good.” he said. He said it could be an accident or something equally bad. But the good news, always the good news, was that either my grandfather, father or my “nation”(!) would come to my aid. He then went to my earlobes. “Good ears” he said fingering them. “Long life.” He moved to my nostrils. “Your nose not good. Nostrils too big. Money comes in and goes out again.” He looked very concerned when he saw the scar on my temple, a childhood accident. “Accident?” he asked, his face worried. Yes, an accident. “Very bad if you were born with it.” he said.

I, of course, believe all that he told me. I believe that we can change our destinies and fates. Just as you can change your underwear. No, really, my friend asked the old man if it’s possible for one to change one’s future. He said yes, you can. “I have a lot of people who come back to me to thank me for saving their lives…”

I have never been to a fortune teller. I have never had my palms read, my tea leaves interpreted. I do read my horoscope daily, sometimes three times a day just to be sure. I did have tarot cards read in a bar years ago but I don’t really remember what the woman said. It might have been something about a certain someone holding me back. And I almost called a television psychic once when I was very drunk and coming down at four in the morning and had nothing better to do. The thing that stopped me, besides the fact that I didn’t have a phone or credit card, was that I just didn’t want to know.

If you knew your future and you could change it and whatever the seer told you wouldn’t happen. Which just defeats the primary purpose of going to the fortune teller.

I don’t want to know what’s coming for me. I would rather see the future when it gets here.

I kind of wish now that I had my palms read. Maybe I would know how this sentence…