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The Secret Handshake

Strictly Platonic: The Great and All-Powerful Hank

by Colin Wolf
Posted // 2011-10-18 - Would you get a Tarot-card reading from a guy who called you an asshole? I did, and he was spot on. Last Thursday, I called up a guy I met on Craigslist who was offering free, first-time Tarot-card readings. Let’s call him Hank. Spoiler Alert: He didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Here’s what went down ...

Hank: Hello?

Secret Handshake: Hi, is this Hank?

Hank: Yeah.

SH: This is Colin. I contacted you on Craigslist about the free Tarot card reading.

Hank: Oh, yeah. Hey.

SH: So, when can we do this thing?

Hank: How 'bout right now?

SH: I can’t meet up right now. How about later today?

Hank: My energy is good right now.

SH: What does that mean?

Hank: It means I can’t promise my energy will be good later.

SH: I’m not following you.

Hank: It means my energy won’t be as good.

SH: OK, but what does that mean? {long pause] Hello?

Hank: I’m not going to tell you.

SH: OK … umm, well, I’m a writer for City Weekly and I would like to do a story about the Tarot-card reading. Is that OK with you? If anything, it’ll probably send you some business.

Hank: (Long pause) I don’t fucking care what you do.

SH: What?

Hank: You shouldn’t have even told me what your fucking job is. I don’t care. You probably suck at what you do.

SH: Excuse me?

Hank: Are you one of those asshole investigative journalists or one of those writers who just talks a lot of shit? If you were any good at your job, you wouldn’t have told me that you were a writer.

SH: OK, Hank, I don’t care if I write this story or not. I was just being courteous by asking your permission. This story is supposed to be about Tarot cards and Tarot-card readers. So far, I think you are an asshole.

Hank: I’m sorry, you just kind of pissed me off in the beginning there.

SH: What? How did I do that?

Hank: I don’t know, all right? You just kinda threw me for a loop.

SH: You realize that you don’t know me and your coming across as a dickhead, right?

Hank: I’m sorry.

SH: How’s four o’clock?

Hank: That’s fine.

SH: Great, I’ll see you then.

When I put the phone down, my first thought was, “Why does this guy still want to meet me?” My second thought was, “Shit, what if he’s not psychic at all? What if he’s some serial clown rapist, or crackhead.” I immediately pictured Hank to be a combination of thisand this

After some thought, I decided I should have some backup on this one. So I called up my buddy Eric. 

SH: Eric?

Eric: Yeah.

SH: What are you doing right now?

Eric: Shit.

SH: Wanna roll with me into the ghetto to get a Tarot-card reading from a tweaker?

Eric: Absolutely.

I picked him up, and on the way to Hank’s house I gave him the rundown. “So, basically, this guy is an asshole,” replied Eric. “Yeah, or he’s really passionate about Tarot-card readings.” Eric gave me a puzzled look. “I don’t think so. I think he wants to kill you.”

We came to the conclusion that in case this thing got weird, we'd better have a game plan. Which, after some discussion, involved running, calling the cops, and if someone died, going to their house and deleting their computer’s browser history.

Even though the guy came across as an ass, I was pumped to see a psychic. I’ve been to one before and it was kinda fun. But that was almost a year ago and now I have a lot of questions, like … Does anyone read my blog? Will Glenn Beck ever get kicked in the plumbs? Should I invest in gold? Should I buy an iPad 2 or should I wait? When I die, what type of bear will I be resurrected as? How sick will I get if I eat a XXL Chalupa? Etc, etc.

Hank’s house was exactly how I pictured it, an old, run-down rental in the heart of the ghetto. “All right, you ready?” I asked Eric. He shrugged his shoulders. We walked up to the house and a kid was waiting on the front porch, lounging on a sun-bleached couch. “Hank?” I asked. “Hi,” said the tall, skinny, all-American white boy. “What the hell?” I thought to myself. “He’s just some punk kid.”

I was shocked and relieved to find out that A) I have a good chance of roundhousing my way out of this if it gets hairy, and B) he wasn’t some creepy old man. In fact, he looked a lot like this dingleberry.

I introduced Eric and he invited us in. He wanted to get right to it and didn’t want to waste any time with small talk. Hank got his Tarot cards out and told me to have a seat on the living room floor. He sat across from me, crossed his legs and began shuffling the deck.

“Before we get started, Hank, we need to clear something up,” I said. “What’s that?” “Why were you acting so messed up toward me?” “Hey, I’m sorry. I think I’m a little bi-polar and you caught me at a bad time. I apologize,” he said without taking his eyes off the cards.

“Yeah, you were a little grumpy earlier.”

“Yeah, but my energy is good now.”

I tried asking him several times how he got into Tarot-card reading, but he never gave me a clear answer. “Basically, I could always see and feel things better than other people You know, like in art.” I couldn’t disagree with this, because usually the only things I see in art are dicks or boobs.

Hank explained to me how his readings worked and I was a little bummed. He doesn’t do readings where you can ask questions about the future, he only reads the present and what could possibly happen in the future. As he puts it, “I only present options, and whether you choose to act on them or not is up to you.”

So after 20 minutes of card flipping and a shitload of questions from my end, he ended up telling me that I felt poor, but I hold the power of justice (I’m still not sure what that means). Also, he told me that I come from a hard-working pedigree and that if I allowed others to help me I could become super-powerful. He also said that if I don’t do anything and continue on this same path, I will become an almighty wizard, or something.

I wasn’t sure what to think of this. Yeah, I’ll admit I do feel poor and I’ve always had the inkling that someday I could end up as Magneto. But I felt like he was only telling me what I already knew and wanted to hear. Now I’m not dogging on psychics or Tarot-card readers. Are they legit? I don’t know. Is Hank an asshole? Yes. Is he really a psychic? Maybe.

I’m sure psychic readings can truly help some people. However, I just can’t bite. I don’t believe or trust anything. Shit, I think anyone who comes over to my house is trying to sell me something, especially these guys.

At the end of the reading, I asked Hank if this is his full-time job. He told me he used to work at American Eagle and that he’s a full-time student at the U. His parents help him out, and he’s just doing this for extra spending money.

Hank then looked down at the cards. “Huh, look at that,” he said. “What?” “All the numbers on the cards are facing towards you.” “What does that mean?” I asked. “It means that you already knew everything I told you today.” I looked up at Hank and he had a little smirk on his face. I felt like he was trying telling me something with his stupid psychic brain.“You see, Colin, you’re an asshole … and you know it.”

I squinted my eyes and looked back at him…“Fuck you, Hank.”

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Posted // October 22,2011 at 13:38 I've been reading cards for a long time and no one's ever asked me what type of bear they'll be resurrected as. Very funny article!


Posted // October 19,2011 at 10:53 Great read, Really enjoyed it!


Posted // October 19,2011 at 08:56 This is some funny shit, Colin. Very enjoyable read. Hey, why do you get to drop F-Bombs and I don't? I've been "working" for the Weekly much longer than you, and I work for free. This is unfair. This is bigoted. This is racist! I'm going to protest.


Posted // October 21,2011 at 10:23 - Where, in a dark, empty parking garage downtown? Men's bathrooms at the park? A pup tent at Pioneer? Three-at-once massage session at the Academy? $100 hand-jobs at a 'church' in Holladay? I'm game wherever, it might be educational and stuff.


Posted // October 21,2011 at 08:38 - Thanks, John!


Posted // October 20,2011 at 21:50 - You two blogging would be fine w me.... we should meet.


Posted // October 20,2011 at 11:56 - Well hell, Bill, I didn't expect you to out yourself like that. I only know you're Greek because you've said so on a couple occasions. I definitely like the job you've given me in your urban superhero scenario. I'll give a riveting performance, every time! I'll watch Blazing Saddles a few times to really get the nuances down. Do I have to actually shoot myself if our victi, er, the people we help don't comply with our wishes? Can't I just, I dunno, shoot you in the foot to show we're serious about enforcing peace and love? Or maybe I'll just carry around a puppy? I've heard they make convenient targets when something needs shootin'.


Posted // October 20,2011 at 10:28 - uh, make that "shut." Sorry, John, wasn't trying to go overboard here and I can't edit my posts, so it's your fault. I feel so Republican saying that!


Posted // October 20,2011 at 10:26 - Aw, hell, you know who we are. Duke figures that if I'm Bill, I must be Greek and he's eerliy correct. I say he's the old Hayduke and I'm the old Black Mamba. Sounds like a couple of those urban crime-fighting "superheroes" who dress up and walk the streets to. . . confront people who. . .are arguing and stuff! "Hi. . .Hi. . .excuse me, I'm BlackMamba and this is my partner, Hayduke. We couldn't help but hear you yelling at each other over your mother-in-law visiting this week-end. All we ask is that you consider other people's feelings when you raise your voice! In fact, we want to invite you to a prayer, poetry and drum circle tonight at the BaconLettuceTomatoandGay rally at the community center in Grantsville. We can help each other be better people, right Hayduke?" Hayduke has pulled out a pistol from his utility belt, holds it against his own head and yells,"Shit the FUCK up or the Duke gets it!"


Posted // October 20,2011 at 09:05 - Hilarious, Bill!

I've thought on more than one occasion that you and I could probably put on a fairly interesting blog. Has any weekly done that yet? Allowed their long-time anonymous (and opinionated and cranky) commentators to host what would likely boil down to a rant blog?

And thank you kindly, John. You've always been very generous. You should know who the hell we are and I swear I will call you one day and we will grab that drink. It's one of those situations in which you've blown somebody off for so long when you should have called immediately (and thought about doing so dozens of times) that you feel plain stupid, further putting off said phone call. It's made worse in that I have been posting for so long as this anonymous thing that replacing my imagined ugly mug with my true ugly mug is tough to do.

I don't know about Bill but I bet he'd be fun to meet. Actually, I thought you guys already knew each other. I thought all Utah Greeks knew all other Utah Greeks. I was under the impression that the Greek community had leg wrestling clubs and olive tasting competitions and stuff like that.


Posted // October 19,2011 at 16:53 - To Duke and Bill: You can say fuck on these boards anytime you want as far as I'm concerned. You've earned it. Now, who the fuck are you?


Posted // October 19,2011 at 14:45 - I thought of you last week, when, sure enough, another local musician dropped it in an interview. He has "gravitas" and "authenticity." He's tortured and angst-filled. As opposed to you and me who are just pissed and cranky. That will get you deleted. Maybe we should try a different approach, Duke. The next time you feel like dropping an f-bomb, do a little prep by saying something standard for a local musician like,"I was raised LDS in Provo until I realized what a crock that was and I rebelled, formed a band with four other guys who "felt the same way" and we've been doin' these freaky gigs at the Sarasota bowling alley at midnight for a year now. Oh, and F*ck!"

Bet that gets you through. If not, just substitute 'band' for 'bearded cross-dressing contest' or 'corporate marketing group.' That ought to do it.