I was speaking to a doctor the other day and he told me the worst thing about his job was that as soon as he told people what he did they start asking him about their health problems.
It's even worse for me. The second I tell people I'm a mind reader around half of them either start to visibly sweat as they worry I'm going to know all about that thing they do with next door's dog and Marmite or worse still all ask me the same glaringly obvious questions.
Normally at parties I side step the issue by telling people I'm a vivisectionist instead - That usually ensures I'm left alone for the rest of the evening (though it's always worth checking your host isn't a member of the Animal Liberation Front first. There's a small corner of Dalston where I'm no longer welcome)
However, during a month at the Edinburgh Fringe I'm going to meet an awful lot of people and there'll be no denying my actual occupation.
Now, you guys all seem lovely (after all you're reading this, you must be) and I'd hate you to experience the gut-wrenching embarrassment of realising you've just asked something mind stultifying obvious so I've prepared a list, with answers, to save time when we meet.
Question one: (In response to me asking literally ANY question) "You're the mind reader, you tell me"
Mine may be the only profession on the planet where I'm assumed to be on duty 24/7.
What's more it presupposes they know how what I do works - You wouldn't do it with any other job would you?
You wouldn't expect your Doctor to diagnose your burst appendix without telling him where it hurts or to just silently open the door and have your plumber find his way unerringly to the problem like some kind of tooth sucking, overcharging, bum cleavage-showing, water dowser.
Oh, I realise it's meant to be a joke but it's like your dad's jokes isn't it? - Like saying 'enjoy your trip?' every time someone slightly stumbles. Now you don't want people thinking you have the same witless repartee as your dad do you? Thought not.
Question two: "If I wear a tin foil hat will that stop you?"
I used to answer 'no' to this but I quite like the idea of large swathes of my audience sitting there with the light gleaming off their shiny, aluminium wrapped heads so: Yes, yes it totally does. I am now also buying shares in Bacofoil.
Question three: "Can you use it to pick up women?"
First look at how stunning my girlfriend is. Now look at me. What do you think? Mind control people...mind control...
Speaking of my girl friend, the first question she invariably gets from other women when they find out what I do is...
Question four: "God that must be really hard to live with? How could you ever have an affair?"
If that's the very first thing they think about, before say 'oh that's great, he must be able to anticipate your moods and cheer you up when you're feeling down', then you don't need to be a mind reader to know everything you need to about them do you?
Question five: "I looked up Doug Segal on YouTube... and there was a different bloke."
I actually don't mind this one so much as the answer is 'I lost eight stone in a year'. Yeah, I know. Expect the diet book soon. The problem is most of my TV appearances now look like they feature my fatter, older brother. There is another theory that I killed the fat bloke and assumed his identity. No comment...
Question six: "Can you teach me how to do it?'
Now again I don't mind this one because the answer is yes, that's basically what I do in my show. I teach the audience how to detect lies, implant suggestions, read minds and EVERYONE goes away with a mind trick they can do with their friends. But you must promise to only use your new powers for good, not evil. And wear a tin foil hat...Always...
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