Really. Brainwashed?!

You don’t know me, I know. But let’s just establish, quickly, that I am bossy, usually the loudest one in the room and the first person you’d pick if you were choosing an all-star team for charades.

So, imagine my surprise when one day a “concerned family member” called me up to ask me if I was brainwashed. Not to out him or anything, but it was my dad. To truly understand my reaction you’d need to know that. (Sorry, Pops.)

My mind raced to try to figure out what that even meant. The Manchurian Candidate came to mind. Are you asking me if I am hypnotized? Or drugged? In some sort of captivity? You are calling me on a phone after all. What are you talking about?! My poor dad, a believer in corporal punishment, who kept me grounded at least 50 percent of my high school years but still couldn’t tame his wild colt, was seriously asking me if I was brainwashed?

None of that came out of my mouth, mind you, because I was (for once) speechless. I didn’t want to be flippant either. This was my dad asking. He is a very smart man and certainly knows me. Obviously, he loves me. I simply couldn’t process the question.

Then he said he had read an article in a magazine and was afraid I had been brainwashed by Scientology.

Oh.

It was finally settling in. That old saw. Now the image conjured was more like the hysterical girls in The Crucible shrieking in unison at imaginary spirits. Also so not me.

“Really. Brainwashed?! ME?” And I laughed heartily.

I think he laughed a little then too.

He would have brainwashed me if he could! To save me from the consequences of poor choices. To keep me on the safe and proven path he envisioned for me. Anything so I would be happy and achieve my full potential. What parent wouldn’t?

But what is brainwashing anyway? Doesn’t it include pain? Restraint? Force? I doubt there is some foolproof method, because I can only assume that one of “the powers that be” somewhere would be all over it, if so. But for crying out loud, people blow themselves up in crowds of strangers in the name of a cause, and that action against personal and public interest must be manufactured in some strange, painful and unnatural way.

You might not know anything about Scientology and I am not even going to ask you to find out about it for yourself to prove it. Just use your head.

But me? No.

And by Scientology? That’s pretty silly too.

You might not know anything about Scientology, and I am not even going to ask you to find out about it for yourself to prove it. Just use your head. You probably have noticed you can buy the books at Barnes and Noble or online. The doors to Scientology Churches are open seven days a week and wide open to the general public. They actually invite people to come in.

There are no bars on the windows. You can do a lot of courses over the internet for free… in the comfort of your own home… in your pajamas.

Brainwashing?

It isn’t about someone choosing some path you don’t understand. Let’s not level that charge lightly.

Deal?

Author

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