It's happening again. And by 'it', I mean proponents of Woo and pseudoscience nonsense are on the recruiting drive again.
The mysterious forces of Twitter have revealed that there is a vacancy for Psychic readers being advertised via the Directgov Jobcentre website. This isn't very encouraging. Apart from being an obvious shout out for anyone who wants to make easy money from the ignorant, gullible and/or desperate, this potentially risks the jobseekers allowance or other support measures provided for people who are looking for work but don't actively pursue this vacancy. I've never claimed jobseekers allowance myself (yet), but I'm reliably informed that you have to be demonstrably seeking out all possible opportunities for employment in order to count as a 'jobseeker'. Makes sense.
But is that a hard and fast rule for everyone. Would an unemployed devout Hindu lose benefits for not applying to work in a Butchers? Would a reformed alcoholic lose benefits for refusing to apply for a job in a pub or club? Would a Scientologist lose benefits refusing to work in a position which requires the use of rational thought? That last one's a trick question of course. Scientologists don't need money, they're powered by internal aliens and get their nutrition by eating DVDs of Battlefield Earth that were never purchased (i.e. all of them).
One assumes that provisions for beliefs/circumstances are in place, but I can't be certain. So concern has been raised about how a refusal to apply for this job would affect an unemployed person's benefits.
I personally think it should be OK on the grounds that the vacancy asks for 'natural psychic talent', meaning nobody on Earth is qualified. And for that matter, what's the alternative? What would qualify as 'unnatural' psychic talent? The ad requires you have Internet and a land line, is that what passes for unnatural psychic talent? The ability to communicate with people at a distance but via technological means? Or would you possibly need to have access to your own neuroimaging scanner, in order to 'read minds' unnaturally? People are overly impressed by brain scans, as I've pointed out before.
So I have no interest in this position. But then David Allen Green, alias Jack of Kent, casually suggested that I should apply. And when one of the big dons of the skeptic community tells you to do something, you jump to it!
Well, I do, you probably shouldn't, unless your starved for attention and the crumbs of leftover kudos generated by genuine achievers like JoK. In which case, feel free.
Sadly, the advert only provides contact details that allow you to apply by phone. I don't have the capacity/inclination to record a phone conversation, so if I'll write out my arguments for being awarded the job here. Hopefully, if enough people read it then the recruiting psychics will pick up the focused thoughts of almost a dozen people like some bargain basement Jedis and award me the position.
Statement in support of Application
Dear sir/madam/life form/disembodied spirit
I am writing/projecting to you in order to apply for the vacancy I discovered on the Jobseekers direct website for Psychic Readers (Ref. HAJ/40528).
I would very much like to earn money from the comfort of my own home, this has long been an ambition of mine. I have attempted to do this several times, but thus far it has not proved possible. It turns out meth labs are 'illegal' for some reason, Despite my being a trained and qualified scientist , and, unfortunately, nobody responded to my flyers offering massage/escort services (it was subsequently pointed out that if I was going to give out documents featuring pictures of myself in nothing but a posing pouch, I should have done something about my excessive body hair beforehand, or at the very least, showered).
However, despite these previous setbacks, I feel I am ready and suitably qualified for the role of Psychic Reader. For starters, I can read. The fact that I read the vacancy notice and was able to respond in this manner clearly supports this assertion. However, should you require further evidence of my reading ability, I can send you a list of all the words that I know and can comprehend when presented in a text format. The majority of these words can be found in any dictionary, and range from very short words like 'con', to long and complex words like 'gullibility'.
However, I also have some experience as a psychic. I have studied at the feet of the greatest psychic of all time, Bob Ramsey, so have impeccable references should you require them (although I note that you don't ask for them in the vacancy notice, so assume you don't want to leave a trail I mean incur too much paperwork). I have much experience with brains and the workings of the mind, having qualified as a doctor of Neuroscience. Admittedly, I saw no evidence of anything resembling psychic abilities or any systems that would support them during my research, but that's probably because I wasn't looking for them; they were probably there all along, yeah? But as a result of my research, it can be said that I have a detailed understanding of how people think. Admittedly, I have no idea WHAT they think, but with a bit of practice I'm sure I could get the hang of it.
To establish my suitability for the role of psychic reader, I have detailed my abilities in the main areas of psychic reading as I see them.
TELEPATHY: Many times during my previous experiences, I have found myself knowing what someone is thinking without them saying it out loud, and as such I believe I have a natural or 'sixth' sense (or possibly fifth; I don’t know what order senses are usually catalogued in, but a look through my Hawaiian shirt collection suggests that my sense of taste is completely shot so should be disregarded) for reading minds and detecting people's thoughts. Thoughts I have detected from others include "Why aren't you wearing trousers in the workplace?", "Despite the tightness of this garment, squeezing me there is not acceptable", "That joke was extremely unfunny as well as alarmingly offensive" and "you are a total stranger, get out of my house".
I realise that this is not a valid demonstration of telepathic abilities in and of itself, so to prove my worth, I shall now read your mind and describe exactly what you're thinking. Okay, here I go…
I'm getting… an image. Yes it's something…I see… a man… a man who's quite… buff? … buff… wearing very tight Lycra… very revealing… I think he's… yes, he's very shiny… oiled?... I think he is… ah, another man… he's just as big and muscular, but… yes, there's something different… this man, he's… darker? … yes, darker skinned… something… on his… ah, a turban! …and a suitcase…This second man is an immigrant to the UK perhaps? …yes, yes he is… and now… now the two men are… kissing!... yes, kissing… quite fiercely… and now they're undressing… and embracing each other… well, I say embracing, it's a lot more than that… Oh, dear, now there are thousands more men, all the same… all couples…all doing the same things. I sense you're feeling… deep… deep… very deep arousal! Almost unbearable sexual arousal… and now there's something in your hand… oh dear… it's… it's… … … a shovel? Yes, a razor sharp shovel! Oh, now… dear lord, now you're attacking the men! … dear God! The.. blood, the screams… the … carnage! Why? You're attacking them all, pausing only to smack the shovel extremely forcefully on your seriously engorged but still tiny member… and now… I'm getting a thought… it's… "This… will... make …a … good… column… for… the … … … Daily Mail?" ………..
Ah, sorry, I see what's happened there. I was picking up one of Richard Littlejohn's daydreams again. Very sorry. Still, shows I can do it, right?
CLAIRVOYANCE: I've always had a remarkable ability to see what's coming. Cars, buses, trains, angrily hurled fruit, you name it, I've seen it. Admittedly, all of these are physical objects and, in the case of buses and trains, can be anticipated with the aid of a basic time table. However, I have often had a sense of premonition and prediction of actual events and occurrences that would not normally occur. For example, after a recent night out with friends, whilst stood in a late-night fast food establishment attempting to consume something that can be called 'meat' until a more suitable term is coined, I had an unshakable premonition of intense stomach discomfort and vomiting. This premonition was proven correct in the end. My clairvoyance is not normally this clear, perhaps it requires excessive alcohol to suppress the distracting, rational areas of my brain, and therefore release my natural psychic talent?
Admittedly, this is not a completely reliable skill. Despite the fact that I do often have visions of the future, a lot of the time they don't pan out as I see them. Whenever I am on a date, I always envision the woman in question being impressed and wooed by my charm and sense of humour as they claim to like such things. Despite this, my use of the term 'sugartits' and my repertoire of Roy Chubby Brown jokes often result in the opposite reaction to that which I anticipate. Similarly, I sometimes suffer when predicting the future when using the cards. Just the other day, I formed predictions of improvements in my financial situation after revealing an ace and a 9 of clubs. This prediction was only scuppered by the fact that Franky 'The Hustler' Thuggson was not being completely truthful about what the cards had told him, and yet he was the one who was upset by the fact that I couldn't afford to pay his winnings, despite the fact that he was the one who had lied to me.
Suffice to say that my clairvoyance is reliable as long as I'm intoxicated and people don't deceive me. If people were to refrain from misleading me with false information, no doubt by now my psychic powers would have resulted in me having a girlfriend, more money, all the fingers on my left hand and both my kneecaps.
NECROMANCY: Admittedly, this is one of the areas of psychic ability that I struggle with, but my conviction and determination to develop my skills make me confident that I will become a reasonably capable necromancer and that this will allow me to pursue a career as a psychic reader.
During my previous career as a cadaver embalmer, I spent much time talking to the dead, although I never noticed any of them talking back. Admittedly, one of them did once make a sort of belching/gassy sound which may have been them attempting to speak through lungs filled with formaldehyde, but I can't say for certain; partly because what they 'said' was obscured by their physical condition, and partly because before they'd finished 'saying' it the surge of psychic powers had overwhelmed me somewhat and I ran away screaming and hid in a cupboard for 5 hours.
However, since then I have dutifully attempted to contact and speak to the dead wherever possible. For a while I took to wandering around graveyards with a stethoscope/ear trumpet and yelling at gravestones, but had to give that up after being angrily chased out of too many funerals. I also regularly find myself sensing an unfamiliar, eerie presence in my home. It's either the souls of the restless dead crying out to be heard by someone blessed with psychic powers, or one of the semi-conscious derelicts that used to visit when I operated the aforementioned meth lab that lack the wherewithal to realise I don't do that anymore. Either way, communicating with them takes intense concentration and supernatural skills, which I like to think I have. That or a sachet of sugar that I just throw out the window, that usually does the trick. However, as I live on the 7th floor, this could also be viewed as 'communing with the dead', albeit with a degree of foresight.
So there you have it. I feel these skills and experiences make me an ideal candidate for the role of psychic reader. And I know a lot of people feel this sort of work is unethical, but rest assured I do not. I believe the desperate and the grieving clearly have too much money, and if we don't charge them for providing our reassuring services they'll only squander it on 'Missing' posters and wreaths.
I look forward to hearing from you. And I won't end with some pitiful 'I know you'll give me the job because I'm psychic' joke. I know you'd hate that. Because I'm psychic.
Email: Humourology (at) live.co.uk