Once a tapeworm readied itself for the latest stop on its motivational speaking tour. Out in the hall could be heard the murmur of the standing-room-only crowd, those hundreds who were clutching copies of the tapeworm’s inspirational books and videos and preparing to open themselves tonight to the power of its “Dare to Live From the Center” message. Having been at this for some time, the tapeworm knew just how long to let the anticipation of its appearance on stage build, just how long that yearning would take to reach a hunger pitch and the moment came to thrust aside the curtain and reveal itself in all its hale vigor. “Ahhhh . . .” the audience would always gasp, leaning forward together at the waist in a single response to the pull of what a leading news weekly called the tapeworm’s “irresistible charisma.” “Why can’t I be like that?” would be on the tip of every tongue. So sure of this question was the tapeworm that its response of “You are like me already but you just don’t realize it” rang in every ear at once, as though by telepathic mass suggestion. “Image yourself at the center of all being” was another call that could bring a communal lump to the throat of any audience. “Repeat to yourself every morning and every night and while listening to my latest interactive tapes for 10 minutes a day, ‘I am the focal point of the universe! I am at one with the movements of being! I will gain, not lose! I will be colossal, not puny! I will nurture my needs at the very center of the vital force!’ If you just follow that advice faithfully, I guarantee you’ll begin to feel a swelling empowerment like nothing you’ve ever felt before! There are no limits to the full you!” “Ahhhh . . . ” rippled again through the hall as the tapeworm delivered these and many other encouragements. It was itself the most convincing exhibit for what you could become through the power of seizing all that life brought your way. “Find the center and never let go! Never!” “Ahhhh . . .” “There was a time when I was consumed myself with debilitating negativity, just as you were when you came in here tonight. My self-esteem was on empty, just as I’m sure yours is now. Am I right?” “Ahhh . . .” came soulful sighs from around the hall and a look of teary thanks in many an eye for “understanding me so perfectly!” “I used to look at myself,” the tapeworm continued, “the same way you look at yourselves this very moment. As the most miserable creature ever, am I right? I’d have given anything to be told, as I’m telling you, ‘You’re worth a million bucks and you don’t even realize it.’ Well, that was then. Take a look at me now!” The tapeworm certainly did look like a million. Maybe ten or twenty. The audience had never seen a motivational speaker so vigorous, confident, and exuding success on such a scale. Something must be going right for it. If only they could move beyond their own inhibitions and anxieties like that. “Going for the center,” they now had it straight from the tapeworm’s mouth, was just a matter of letting nothing come between you and “your fundamental being.” In the meantime it wasn’t too late, they were assured, to sign up for those private sessions with the tapeworm advertised for later tonight.
Copyright © 2003-2004 by Geoffrey Grosshans