Friday, January 24, 2014

Teenage Telepath

Sometimes when I'm being an awful person, I think snotty thoughts about other people. Then I worry that the person I'm mentally being bratty to can read minds. What if they can hear what I'm thinking? Are they just super good at pretending they can't read my mind? How long did it take them to perfect their poker face even while someone nearby is thinking "Wow, I really don't like her capris," or "The name she picked for her baby sounds like something a teenage girl at a new school would choose to call herself because she thought her given name (Beth) was too boring and easy to spell." At least I've learned to only think my name criticisms.

If I'd named her Rubijanedella, you'd think it was dumb. I don't care how nice you are.

Is their power limited by proximity? Or could it be magnified somehow, Cerebro-style? I seriously wonder about these things, because I think it a real (though small) possibility that they could be reading my mind. Why do I entertain such paranoia? Because my mother knew someone who was telepathic when she was in high school.

She was my mom's friend from seminary (daily religion class Mormon kids go to in high school). Let's call her Oda Mae, for the sake of her privacy and because my mom couldn't remember her full name anyway. Oda Mae confided in my mother one day that she could read minds, and my mother believed her. This blog post would be more interesting if my mother could remember exactly how Oda Mae proved her abilities, but my dear mom's memory is about as murky as the contents of the plastic cup Graham likes to backwash into, so all we know is that my mother, who despite her memory actually has a lovely intellect and a keen skepticism (just ask my high school boyfriend!), completely believed Oda Mae.

In seminary they used to play a game called "scripture chase." The teacher would call out a clue that led to one of fifty notable scriptures from the curriculum that year, and the first to know the reference and open to the correct page would win. Oda Mae would always win, because she had the advantage of knowing the reference a few seconds before everyone else, having just plucked it from the seminary teacher's mind.

Me and my non-telepathic, yet gorgeous friends.

My mom remembers asking the teacher one day to let her call out the clues, hoping to level the playing field a bit. Instead of choosing a scripture reference and mulling over it while the class quieted down from the last round and Oda Mae scoped her consciousness, she'd blurt out the clue as fast as she could think of it, giving Oda Mae no advantage. Poor Oda Mae ... not only did she know whenever anyone hated her bell bottoms, now she couldn't even dominate scripture chase!

Oda Mae had another strange ability. If she called someone to mind, she could envision where they were and what they were doing. She recounted to my mom a particularly traumatic incident that occurred when she thought of her boyfriend, the stake president's son, and saw him using the bathroom. Oh, the life of a teenage clairvoyant!

High school is turbulent enough without telepathy. Please note that this was taken in my little sister's room, so I can't be ridiculed for the Beanie Babies, Viggo Mortensen poster, or motivational collage seen in the background.

I always wondered about where my mom's friend ended up. She could have worked for the FBI's missing persons unit, finding people as quickly as she could think of them. Or maybe she became an extremely talented child therapist who could understand even the most troubled kids. Or maybe she couldn't take the collective mental drama of everyone around her, all the time, so she lives quietly in the Ozarks, working the night shift at the Waffle House down the mountain.


  1. Would you believe I was just thinking about "Oda Mae" and her strange powers??? Maybe she orchestrated this post by manipulating the both of us, because naturally, she has honed her adolescent gift into something truly terrifying as an adult-- controlling the minds of people she has never met, but who were terrified of her abilities as teenagers. (Was that just me? Probably.)

  2. No way! Imagine all our teenage secrets revealed ... crisis.


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