Thursday, September 27, 2007

Smarter than the Average Yogi ?

Yogesh " Yogi" Patel, convenience store cashier, was hypnotized by a turbaned patron of "Doody's General Store" in New Hampshire yesterday, and, while under the spell, handed over about $1,000 to the Svenjolly who put him under. This story would be somewhat hard to swallow if the store did not have a security camera which recorded the whole event.The tape of the robbery shows a turbaned man and two accomplices entering the store and coming up to the counter to talk to Yogi.They ask him various questions, everything is very calm and pleasant, then Yogi hands over $1,000 to Hoodini and the trio leave the store. Huh ?

Yogi claims, and the store owner and the Police are buying it, that he was the victim of a scam used often in India, but not heretofore unveiled here in the west.Apparently, Yogi not only handed over the money, but gave the Swamies quite a bit of personal information about himself and his unnamed girlfriend (I note here for trivia lovers that Yogi Bear's girl friend was named Cindy Bear and that Yogi Berra's wife is named Carmine). What are we to make of all of this ?

Does it not strike you as peculiar that everyone in New Hampshire is suddenly from India. I was just in New Hampshire last year and did not notice this demographic change. I saw no one relaxing on a bed of nails or charming snakes out of a basket.I ate no Samozas, I met no one named Yogi. Does it not also strike you as strange that Yogi was aware ofthis scam taking place in India and yet he fell for it over here hook line and turban ? If Yogi can get robbed, what chance is there for my favorite teller ,Linda, over at the Washington Mutual ? She will be handing out thousands.

Another thing that seemed odd to me was that Yogi seemed to be scammed by "a Yogi". Isn't that what they call mystery men from the east like Karanak the Mgnificent ? I looked up Yogi on the internet and found a fully online book called, and I swear this is true, "How to Be a Yogi", written in 1902 by Swami Abhendana (look it up). Well there was nothing in the table of contents about the robbery/hypnotist scam, so I did not spend much time with the book. I did find out that, according to the Swami, a Yogi is someone who was reached an exalted state in Yoga. The sixth stage, or "the spiritual eye". Normally, I would have thought that maybe our convenience store robber was a Yogi, but no, no Yogi would do anything that evil. The Swami says that they are on a different "Soul Plane"than we are. A Soul Plane ? That was one bad movie. Not the kind of thing you'd expect a Yogi, or a Swami for that matter, to be renting.

Well, as far as I'm concerned, Yogi Patel has still got some splainin' to do about all of this. It reminded me of how much the United States has changed over the last 40 years. There was a Sihk that lived in my neighborhood when I was growing up, beard, turban, everything but the sword. I considered him the most exotic person on God's planet. My friends Jeff Franks, Dan Harrison and I were stopped(indirectly) by him in our quest to illegally procure beer from a 7/11 one time. We turned a corner in the store and ran into him. The surprise and the guilt combined to give us all the giggles and made it impossible to try to bluff our way past the red neck 7/11 cashier (who today might well be an Indian, the job, not the red neck, I'm pretty sure that the red neck is dead). Three 17 year olds just could not approach a 7/11 cashier ,with two six packs, in a state of falling down euphoria.

These days, a day never goes by when I don't see a turbaned or robed person of some kind or another.All here, deep in the heart of Texas.It is a cosmopolitan society we live in, and we are all the better for it. Or we were until the hypnotic robberies started anyway. "Look into my eyes, hand over that picanik basket Boo-Boo."


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