If you've ever had your pocket picked, then you're very likely familiar with the technique they use. It's the same technique used by magicians in every circle. The idea is to draw your attention away from what they're doing with one hand, while the other hand pulls the trick, or pulls your wallet.

A magician we watch closely because we know he's up to something devious. We know to watch the hand that we're not supposed to watch, yet we get fooled anyway, and we're always amazed.

A pickpocket, on the other hand comes out of nowhere and performs some little common everyday thing like bumping into you, and you don't realize a "trick" has been pulled until you get to the next place you have to reach for your wallet.

It does not surprise us to learn that a trick has been pulled when we encounter a magician or a pickpocket; but there are many other situations where the same technique is used, and with the same result, that we are unaware of even after we have been "taken." And since we don't associate these situations or the people using the technique with pickpockets, we're not ready for the next such pickpocket who comes along.

What kind of pickpockets might we encounter in our daily living.

One such pickpocket I call the emotional pickpocket. There are many different styles this pickpocket may use, but the end result is the same: you're left hurting.

For instance, there's the one who promises the moon to get you emotionally (or sexually) involved with him or her, then you find yourself left on the doorstep as that one you trusted passes by with another "mark" hanging on his or her arm.

Usually the one who's hurt in this way will not, or at least not easily, open up their emotional wallet again.

Then we have the horse salesman (or car salesman, or whatever product you're eyeballing) who has you feel the strength of three of the horse's legs, and doesn't bother to mention the broken fourth leg because he's got you scooted to another part of the horse.

Or how about the financial genius who has you looking at how well your stocks (or whatever) are doing, keeping your attention on the golden pot at the end of the rainbow, while in the meantime he's shifting your money to his account and buying tickets for he and his gal for Acapulco.

Organizations have their little magicians sitting in the back pews as well. It matters not at all if it be an AA meeting or a PTA meeting or a church assembly, there is always a pickpocket in the midst of the crowd. These subtle dandies "innocently" bring up a possible flaw in the leadership, and when they have the fires of suspicion burning brightly, they stand back and profess: "I didn't say anything."

Technology has it's pickpockets as well. Of course here, as with all the other categories, there are many more means utilized than just the ones I mention. In this case I am referring to what is called: "Zombies." It's very likely you've never heard of a zombie, even though you may be one at this moment. A zombie is a computer that's left on, attached to the Internet most of the time. Someone in Timbuktu can be using your computer as the home base to send out illegal information or SPAM. That way, when the authorities track down the person at fault, it is not the pickpocket who is discovered holding the empty wallet.

And here, I'm sure, I needn't even mention identity theft and phoney baloney Internet rackets.

On the high end of the spectrum we have the CEO who reports that his firm is doing great guns in order to increase the stock sales, where in fact he's either pulling a slight of an empty hand, or shoring up the business with his own funds while getting ready to pull his plush carpeted rug out from all his investors.

A few years back we had another kind of slight of hand pulled right before our media eyes. It was called the O.J. Simpson trial. For a year and millions of dollars we watched the police, one in particular, set up false clues and misleading trails in order to win their case.

But this was not the first such devious ploy by any means. One of the first to really hit the Old Roman TV stations was the Nero escapade. In order to draw attention away from himself, his having been accused of being the one who burnt such a goodly portion of the city, he began to point a crooked staff at the Christians, who had to face the consequences of his misdirection.

Paul the Apostle was another who faced the fiery darts of accusation that were cast at him to draw attention away from people's real purpose. Those craftsmen who resented Paul for preaching a God of whom they couldn't sell idols accused him of defaming their god of choice, bringing the wrath of the citizenry upon his head.

Hitler proved that subtle pointing of the finger at others is a very successful means of getting what you want while causing others to suffer the consequences.

One of my favorites, that always seemed to work (not so much so now that gas is so high and the economy is so low) is the "Temporary Tax" ploy. Now mind you, the tax is always temporary - at the level it is voted in, because the next thing we know the tax is a permanent fixture, and being raised.

Yet somehow the government can't understand why the people don't fall all over themselves to vote in the huge number of extra taxes they "need" to keep the many government agencies going.

Politics is another of my favorite slights of hand. I think there are more pickpockets and amateur magicians (not very good ones, thankfully) in every form of government than anywhere else. When I think of a politician I think of Guanyin, the eight-armed Buddhist goddess of compassion. So many fingers to point at someone, or something else while they perform their little coop de force.

Whichever way we turn, there is someone looking to pick our pocket. And no matter how cautious we are, our wallet is going to get skimmed.

And if it isn't bad enough that just about everyone is out to get whatever they can, from whoever they can, and by whatever means they can, we have to face the fact that we are part of that "everybody," wishing we were the pickpocket, instead of the pickpocketed.


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