Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

SOOTHSAYING IN THE ‘80s

1980 01 24 Sense and Nonsense

Nineteen-eighty is the beginning of a whole new decade. The soothsayers and fortune tellers are very busy predicting trends and events, not only for the coming year but for the next ten years as well. It seems to me there are a lot more soothsayers laying out their tarot cards, tea leaves and crystal balls than there used to be.

In a plain ordinary kitchen, a plain ordinary housewife is undergoing a fantastic  transformation. A brightly-striped towel becomes a turban; an ancient, gaudy housecoat is rescued from the ironing basket; and Presto! “Madame Ray, knows all, sees all!” is ready for business. An upside down sugar bowl serves as her crystal ball.

Enter First Customer: Pardon me but you have a funny name for a seeress, Madam Ray… it is so plain…so ordinary…

Madame R:(Thinking fast) It is all in the shpelling. Zee original shpelling vas W.R. A.U.X.Y.Z.  Ve emerged from the Black Forest and zee Green Swamp of Lower Sludgetovia. You are impressed, no?

Customer:  You are right. I am impressed, no! Vat… What does your sugar bowl say about Canadian economic relationships in our expanding world market?

Madame: ‘Genuine English China – Made in Japan.’ That suggests to me ve owe something to the Japanese. Yass, we are much in debt to the Japanese.

Customer: What! !t seems to me the Japanese are doing quite well in our country. I am sure they have much of our currency already!

Madame: They have our currency, yass…..but we have their currents. Japanese currents. You have heard of them? Vithout them, the Vest Coast vould freeze solid! Forty below celshi….shelci … Fahrenheit! That’s Vat!

Customer: Okay, okay. What about the Federal Election? Who will win, Clark or Trudeau?

Madame: (mumbling) Add two..carry the three ..divide by … In Canada zee voters are opposite to zee United Shtates. Down there zee candidate with the longest name is zee winner: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, all had zee longer names. In Canada zee shorter name vins. Pearson beat Deifenbaker two out of three; Trudeau beat Stanfield; Vats his name beat Trudeau…

Customer: The sugar bowl! What does the sugar say?

Madame: The sugar bowl is shtumped. It says, “Consult the tea leaves.”

Madame: All I have is coffee grindsh. The coffee grindsh shay their money is on Joe -but you can’t really trust coffee grindsh…

Customer: I am very interested in gold. Should I mortgage my home and invest in gold? Will it continue to rise?

Madame: You are too late for zee gold, too late for zee silver, and maybe even too late for zee copper. Zee sugar bowl says, “Try aluminum or maybe paper.”

Customer: Paper! What kind of advice is that?

Madame: (Shrugging) The sugar bowl says, “Paper – especially the kind with the Queen’s portrait on it.” It says, “It’s a gamble, but it’s bound to be worth something someday.”

Customer: What about the energy crisis?

Madame: Yass.ve are all tired.. It is zee late nights ve are keeping I think…

Customer: I mean what about the gas and oil shortage?

Madame: Zee sugar bowl has an idea. It says people vill do a lot more vith sawdust. Burn it in zee furnaces, cook on it. It even suggests ve eat it. Add it to certain prepared foods to improve zee flavour…

Customer: One last question. What will the weather be like next weekend?

Madame: The veather! I vas afraid of that question! That is tough shtuff. You probably could not tell, but I am new at zee soothsayer business.

Customer: I could tell.

Madame : That vill be $5.00 please. Just deposit it in zee creamer jug on your way out. My sugar bowl is busy.

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