True Story: Mind Reader

Jack Grisham
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This,True Story, column may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

I could tell you that I read minds, but that's not exactly true. It's not like you could think of a color, and I could tell you what that color is–I'm not a long-shot carny guesser. But let's say you were having problems with a color, that you had an emotional involvement with it, well, I could read that–and it wouldn't be by some X-Men-lifting-up-cars-and-throwing-them-down-the-street talent of psychokinesis; it would be that I read your body movements or lack thereof. All of us read people–maybe not consciously, but when we see someone grimace, smile or bite his or her lip, we infer certain emotions that are attached to those gestures. It's basic unspoken human communication, but you can go further.

We live in a very selfish society–a “me first” civilization of self-absorbed children. The vast majority of us are too wrapped up in our own lives to really watch one another. Is the person we're looking at leaning forward or back? Are they in a position of neutrality, or is there a tension built into their posture? Are their lips tight? Are the corners of their eyes pulled in? What about their brow–is it pinched and furrowed, relaxed, or Botox-stretched smooth? And what of their hands: Are they at rest? Is the skin around the knuckles flush, or is it white-gripped tight? The human body is a ticker tape of movements transferring emotional information and begging to be read. There are no secrets in a world of human connection. As long as you're willing to step out of yourself and actually be a partner in the transaction of communication.


I learned how to read people like a child learns to read a book. I started with a few small combinations–frown, forward posture, tight lips (which, by the way, translates to an unpleasant task ahead which will be met with aggressive fortitude)–and then piece by piece, I moved into the greater complexities of a body's movement. I expanded my human-posture vocabulary until I could read volumes in a gesture, and the more I studied, the clearer the communication flowed, until it seemed as if I were reading minds. Take this man:

“Good afternoon, sir.”

“Are you addressing me?” The man was wearing a very conservatively cut, charcoal-gray suit, but his body read like a straight-up wife-dodging creep.

“Yes,” I replied. “Are you still fucking that young girl?”

He reached toward his ring finger, lifted his eyes upward and to the left, constructing a lie.
“I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about,” he said.

“Sure you do.” His hands looked soft, manicured; I'm figuring he's fucking an Asian masseuse. I grab my crotch, squint my eyes and gyrate my hips at him. “Does she fuck you before she does your nails or after?” He pulls out his phone and dials 911; it's a nonverbal way of telling me he's done.

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