Code Vs. Truth in Advertising

LANTANA, FL — This is the story of the psychic who set up shop in this last vestige of old Florida, just when the town was closing in on its goal of joining new Florida.

The pschic’s saga began apparently, shortly after she opened her first storefront on Dixie Highway, on a stretch where a woman seen walking is assumed to be available in 15 minute increments, and on a corner where no business in the last decade has survived for more than a few months. Due apparently to fears that her true venture, most truthfully described as palm-reading and fortune-telling would not be welcome there, the window bore this mysterious sign:

Anyone who could figure out what that meant probably didn’t need her services. She pointed that out as she appeared before the Lantana Town Council, to ask for a more explicit sign for her new place on the town’s main drag.

She says she never foresaw resistance to the request, in spite of reservations that had prompted her earlier sign, in spite of the town’s aspirations to becoming home to a “world class” complex of health and science endeavors on the campus of the 50-year-old tuberculosis sanitarium that stands across the street from the planned palm-reading shop.

Still, after one council member pointed out that no good neighborhood boasts a storefront decorated with a palm and offering psychic readings, she said she would settle for another “New Age Center” with “readings available” in much smaller letters. She could have predicted that with the question of “much smaller than what” left unanswered, the council would be seeing her again, but if she saw this in the stars she didn’t mention it.

But she did come back to the council this month, and the stars lined up in her favor.

The result was this:

Which is closer to truth in advertising, however shaky her powers may be.

And that is a good thing. We have enough trouble understanding each other and making our way through the double talk and fallacies of advertising, that it seems the council was dictating a dangerous path, that could have strewn the street with misleading signs, calling this, just a few stores down:

“Financial Advisor.”

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