I have finally gotten to the age where politics is something I pay closer attention to. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s because so many people in our circle of friends are into politics or maybe it’s because we are in an election year, nonetheless I can’t spend a day without politics being shoved in my face in some shape or form. When I think about politics and the different beliefs people have concerning politics I think about Yuma, Arizona in the mid 80’s and a large bar with a big dance floor and a billboard out front that said “The Buzz Fink Hypnotist Show” tonight only! Yea buddy, I expected a night of drinking, dancing and shenanigans with about a dozen or so of my closest Navy buddies while we were in Yuma for a few weeks playing with the Marine Corps and as a bonus we were all going to be treated to a hypnotist show. How about that! I had never been to anything like that in the past but a $20 cover charge paid for old Buzz Finks night in town and my entertainment. I’m going to leave out a few names here because I’m friends with a shipmate that was hypnotized by Mr. Fink and our friend provided us with some much needed entertainment after a long week of work. Let’s just call him “Bill” for the sake of anonymity and questions that could arise if I used his real name. I don’t have any solid proof of this happening other than my word and maybe a few witnesses willing to talk as cameras were not allowed during the show and taking photographs in a nightclub in the 80’s was a little different than it is today. It didn’t happen a lot.
We arrived at the club a little early and as we were paying the cover charge the doorman asked if any of us were interested in being in the show. I thought that was kind of odd but one of the guys in our group piped up and volunteered for the show. His name was Bill and he was no different than the rest of us, a beer drinking Navy guy looking for a good time and a place to hang out for the evening. We made our way in and found a few tables to pull together for all of us. I don’t recall the name of the bar but they had a few pool tables in a different area of the club so I wandered into the billiard area to see if anyone was a decent player that I could hustle for a beer or a few dollars while waiting on the show to start. One thing that was pretty cool about hustling pool while at the club was that I usually had a few friends within shouting distance if I needed backup but 99% of the time everything was fine. I remembered that the 9 foot tables in the billiard area were all covered in black felt vs the typical green felt which took me some getting used to. I shot pool with some of the locals and a few Navy friends before we went back into the dance floor area for the show. When we all sat down for the show to began the lights dimmed and there were about 25 chairs lined up on the dance floor facing the opposite direction as the tables and where we were located. On the wall in the direction the line of chairs were facing was a large screen tv mounted on the wall which really wasn’t very big for the size of tv’s in the late 80’s. The only thing playing on the tv was a round black and white rotating swirl. As the show began Buzz Fink introduced himself and rattled off some credentials before calling all of his volunteers to the dance floor to be seated. Our buddy Bill from our group made his way to the floor and his seat facing the swirling tv screen. We were all laughing at the fact that Bill was going to be hypnotized right before our very eyes. Old Buzz started talking fast and telling the group of volunteers that they were going to relax and let all of their thoughts fade away clearing your mind of every distraction. Buzz continued to relax the group and then said that the group was getting very tired and sleepy. Very relaxed and very sleepy..very sleepy now as you doze off to sleep. At that point most of the group had fallen into some kind of deep sleep with heads down and eyes closed. Not everyone was hypnotized though. There were a few that were wide awake and excused themselves from the group as Buzz had instructed them. This was the small group that didn’t get hypnotized. Out of 25 people, probably 5 got up and returned to their seat in the audience. At that point Buzz had the group that was hypnotized do all sorts of crazy things. They were acting like farm animals, making funny sounds and sitting on each others laps. Our buddy Bill was the highlight of the show as Buzz had Bill doing all kinds of stuff, from acting like a chicken to acting like a male stripper. It was very very entertaining to say the least. Bill was the topic of discussion for weeks to come in the squadron. It was very interesting to see these individuals under complete control of ole Buzz. I asked Bill what he remembered after it was over and he said it was like being in a dream where everything was kind of hazy and cloudy and he didn’t remember a lot about what he had done.
When I see politics on tv and I think of our differences in opinions when it comes to politics and our beliefs, I think of ole Buzz and the show. It’s like this; some folks believe whole heartedly that their political beliefs are righteous and the true path for our nation while others see it completely differently to the point of violence and aggression. They have been conditioned to believe this by what they see and hear in the media. The media is able to hit those buttons by continuous disinformation or skewed information to form your political opinions. I have friends that have completely different views from me and my beliefs and sometimes I wonder how they could possibly be in favor of something I don’t believe in but just like in the hypnotist show they were conditioned into their beliefs. It’s not like I blame them, I’m just as guilty at times because I have been conditioned by my media. Basically, you don’t need a swirling screen on a tv to put into some kind of trance so you can form a solid political opinion, you just need to turn on a news outlet and continue to watch that one news outlet.
Now, there’s one thing old Buzz told us folks in the audience when the show started, he said that if you didn’t want to be hypnotized like the folks in the chairs, look away from the tv screen….and that has been my choice. I rely on my faith to guide me through the tough times and I don’t get caught up in all the shenanigans of politics on that swirling tv screen.