Today was a surprisingly fun day at work, work aside. Every once in a while we have a "safety stand down", which is oddly reminiscent of some kind of high school assembly, only with grown-ups who are paid to be there. We have to leave our desks, turn off our Blackberries, and sit in an auditorium - where the air conditioning often seems to fail - to be reminded Not To Die. Not to die from drinking too much alcohol, not to die on a boat, not to die in a car (I'd turn this into a Doctor Seuss poem if I were even less irreverent or more poetic -- either one). With Memorial Day and 4th of July coming up, it was time for another lesson on How Not To Be Completely Stupid And Waste Your Life.
The Powers Who Be do their best to make this experience entertaining, though, and so today's presentation included a hypnotist.
And whoa. I believed that hypnosis was real, to some extent; I think our brains can be manipulated. Otherwise, no one would buy iPads or Tiffany engagement rings. But it's one thing to appreciate a technical possibility and another thing to see it in real life.
The hypnotist pulled about sixteen people from the audience, hypnotized them, and then put them to sleep by saying "Sleep" or shaking their hands, either way.
Then things got crazy. First, he told them all to think back to when they were four years old, drawing them back through high school, middle school, fifth grade, fourth grade... to age four. He said that when they woke up, they'd be four years old. And when they all sat up in their chairs, one 30-year-old guy was already rocking back and forth in the infamous pee-pee dance.
It wasn't the fact that they followed orders, donning costumes and trick-or-treating amongst the crowd, that surprised me. That seemed par for the course. What surprised me was the actual regression, like the boy - erm, man - who got up from his seat to go steal the Jason mask away from another subject, the adults skipping around and yelling "Trick or treat!" in high pitched voices, or the grown man and woman who bumped elbows while raising their hands and then began to catfight, swiping each other's hands.
One thing that I appreciated about the hypnotist's regression of those subjects, though, was that he told them, "You remember the toys you played with, the TV shows you liked, your bedroom. You remember all the happy things from being four years old, and only the happy things. You're four years old again, and you're happy." Because when he first started to take them back to childhood, I was nervous for them... some people don't have childhoods they need to return to.
Don't you wish that every child could just be four years old with only happy things to remember?
6 hours ago