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"What harm could it possibly do?"

I might get myself into BIG trouble with this posting. I will very likely expose the depth of my gullibility before I'm through, and might incite some flashing backlash of anger, perhaps rage from one or more of my loyal readers. I have previously freely admitted just what an idiot I can be, and the more generous among you have demurred, insisting that I might possess a compensating decency somehow justifying my continuing existence. All those conditions taken into consideration, I intend to write today about Feng Sui, a subject about which I fear I can only demonstrate my complete ignorance.

The Muse insists that attending to the tenets of Feng Shui influences the quality of our experience.
She long ago catalogued the corners of our Blue Street house, the so-called Villa Vatta Schmaltz, according to the precepts of this curious practice. The little bathroom adjacent to the kitchen lies in what she refers to as either the Fame and Reputation Corner or the Prosperity Corner of the place. This distinction apparently means that if that corner of the house became shabby, as it most certainly had before we began the current massive tear-out of the room, taking the weary exterior down to original bead board then down to studs, discarding and repurposing over a hundred years of accumulated schmutz, our life will resonate that shabbiness. Yesterday, we began replacing the curiously squishy floorboards with strong, tight, recycled old ones, reinforcing the throne base and newly-installed heating duct, producing a floor with the underfoot feel of solid stone.

Later that day, I had the first real client call I'd had in ages, prompted by some previously unrecognized reputation I'd apparently left lurking around the site of some previous work. Coincidence? I don't know. I can testify that when we shored up that sagging archway between the main kitchen and the dining area, I could feel myself standing a little straighter and taller, too. The Muse insists that when we cleaned up some other cluttered corner, good fortune resulted. When we left a rotting railing in place, our fortunes headed Southward.

I'm in no particular position to argue against such belief systems. I'm OCD enough to readily accept the necessity of almost any otherwise obviously meaningless practice, for I maintain little secret rituals for about half of the activities I engage in, the rough equivalents of lucky underwear blessing me with success. (Do not try to argue that you don't maintain a few of these, either, because I believe that these little superstitions distinguish us as fully rational humans, regardless of how irrational they might seem to anyone unfamiliar with the power a decent pair of lucky underwear can bestow.) I can feel the difference our thoughtful reconstructions make, so I don't really care that the causation might seem spurious to anyone else.

The Muse has moved mirrors and hung little yellow jobs from this or that, seeking to properly direct some mysterious forces she refers to as energy, though no known voltmeter could ever register its presence. The depth of her caring exhibited in these contributions cannot be properly gauged by any tangible product or predicted to lead to any specific outcome. Later, upon reflection, some correlation might seem obvious, but only to those willing to suspend some well-justified disbelief and accept the resulting sense of well-being and good fortune. This amounts to a small ask and requires no humiliating shaving of the head or adoption of terms with the preface trans- glued onto the front of them. No evangelizing required. Even skepticism seems to thrive under the supposed influence of Feng Shui. It seems to be one of those completely benign yet sometimes beneficent beliefs. What harm could it possibly do?

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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