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
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
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
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
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
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