I love TLC’s Long Island Medium. Love it. When Theresa feels the spirit move through her and it delivers news that helps a grieving mother and father move on, I feel like I’m able to move on and forgive all the transgressions in my own life. I don’t know if I believe in mediums, and constant exposure to psychic Sylvia Browne on The Montel Williams’ Show throughout my formative years has done nothing to guide me one way or another, but I certainly like the idea of them.
When I was doing a vampire melodrama high in the mountains of Colorado (I was sober; the mountains were high), I was asked to spice up the pre-show drama by posing as a fortune teller. I had a booth set up in the back of the theater with a table, two chairs, a plastic skull, and a plastic jack-o-lantern bucket for tips. It was all in the name of the theatrical experience.
I decided the easiest way to tell fortunes would be through “palm reading”, since I have no discernible psychic powers and we didn’t have the budget for a crystal ball. I made absolutely no attempt to legitimize my fortune teller claim, except to come up with a loose set of rules for the three main lines on people’s hands. What I underestimated is how desperate some people are for answers about their lives.
I was clearly an actor in a wig with false eyelashes and a full face of stage make up. I’d already done one show. My picture was in the lobby. I was not trying to take advantage of anyone or fool anyone into thinking I know what I was talking about, but it didn’t matter. Most people appreciated the fun spirit of an actress telling their fortune, but I did get people who cried and thanked me for what I’d told them and how I’d helped their lives more than I could know. It was troubling, but those tips did help me pay my rent when I moved to New York a few short weeks later.
So it doesn’t matter if Theresa Caputo is full of spirits or not so much, people want her to tell them something. And she does; she always gives them closure, usually in the vaguest way possible. Though their money might be better spent on a therapist than a medium, we all battle grief in our own ways. As long as TLC is recording these people battling theirs, you can find me curled up in my bed covered in the tears that only third tier reality TV can elicit.