Last night was the company party for my section of NABABNA. There will be pictures to come shortly.

Keem had bought fabric to make a dress similar to the one that Bette Midler wore in Hocus Pocus. She had spent a lot of time cutting out the fabric (and fighting off Eddy who thought this was an elaborate game created just to amuse him) and got ready to sew it when she discovered that she could not get the thread to hold. She’s not sure if it is because of the thread she was using, that her sewing machine isn’t working well or if the fabric was too thick. She was disappointed but fortunately has a costume that she made years ago.

I went as the Queen of the Universe (of course). I did not buy a tiara this year or even make one out of construction paper. Recently, because my hair is driving me crazy, I have taken to wearing it in a ponytail on top of my head at work. Yes, I have been referred to as Pebbles a few times. So I took two small jingle bell wreaths I had made several years ago and threaded my ponytail through them.

Keem and I had a good time talking to people when we got to the party. There were some very interesting costumes. Rachel’s mom, Cindy, was there with her twin sister. Her sister dressed up as the bride of Chucky and Cindy was her bridesmaid. Keem’s boss, Heather, was dressed up as a cheerleader and her husband was the coach. What made it really fun was that Heather is rather pregnant.

There were a few hippies, some people dressed up like Santa Claus, a bowling ball and two bowling pins. There was Forrest Gump, my boss Matt was dressed like a hillbilly, Jessica R was a cat, her boyfriend was a doctor and Shane was Harry Potter. Jeff (not my roommate Jeff) was dressed up like an employee from Wal-Mart (so you know I got his picture so I can show it to James (I am so evil sometimes)), Orrie powdered his hair (the theme was What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up so he came as old) and Jessica B dressed normally but had a angel’s halo that she put on occasionally.

There was free pop and we received drink tickets for alcohol (two apiece). Both Keem and I gave our tickets to Shane and Jessica B because we weren’t planning on drinking. Dinner was quite possibly the worst food I’ve ever had that was prepared by a catering service (the roast beef was very tough, the mashed potatoes were bland, the chicken was, well, it’s hard to mess up chicken but they managed) but it was free so what the hell, right?

There were door prizes (Keem and I did not win, that we know of, we left at about 9:30 since Keem’s back was really bothering her) but a lot of people in our department did win which was cool. We had fun taking pictures and chatting with our friends.

The highlight of the evening was a hypnotist. I have always wanted to be hypnotized so I did volunteer. I thought it would be fun to see if I could be put under. There were a group of us that volunteered.

I don’t know if it was that I have a hard time keeping outside distractions out or what the deal was but I didn’t fall under his spell. However, I didn’t want to just say “Hey, Dude, it didn’t work” so I stayed on stage. Plus, as you may recall, I do have a background in Drama and an overactive imagination, so I thought it would be fun to see if I could convince this guy that I was under the power of suggestion.

One of the things keeping me from completely relaxing is that he had us sit up straight and put our feet firmly on the ground. This is not how I usually sit because my knees have a tendency to start aching. When we first started, I thought for sure I was going to have to leave because I was in a lot of pain from the way I was sitting. But then he started talking about how we were going to be relaxed and be loose like heavy rag dolls and there would be no tension and any tension and pain would melt into the chair. And you know what, that did really work. My knees stopped hurting. Weird. Keem and I talked about it on the way home and she thinks that I might have been in stage 1 (apparently there are 4 stages).

The first thing he did was put our hands out in front of us with our fists clenched. Then he had us imagine that there was a pail in our left hand and our right hand was holding onto a string. Then he would count to five and would tell us he was putting a rock in the pail. This continued for awhile and I did feel like my left arm was getting heavier. The string was attached to a balloon and our right arms were supposed to be getting lighter. This is where I started having problems. My right arm did start rising but, instead of the left arm feeling like it was so heavy and I was about to drop the pail any minute, the right arm started aching from holding it up. This kind of detracts from the experience and made it hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying.

We had to imagine we were on an airplane. The temperature started getting colder (according to our hypnotist) and we were supposed to start trying to warm ourselves up by rubbing our arms, etc. Fine. I rubbed my hands together. Not a big deal. Was I cold? No, not really. Then the air was supposed to start warming up. Okay. I fanned myself a few times. Was I hot? No.

The next thing I had fun with was when he told us we were in a canoe. Okay. I can row a boat with the best of them. The women on stage were told that there was a group of cute men off to the left of us. We were supposed to flirt with them. Cool. I waved and smiled. Did I believe that there were cute men in a boat to the left of us? No.

We were then supposed to bait a fishing hook. Those of you who have read my blog for awhile are aware of that fact that fishing is not something I’m overly fond of and may remember the Fish Hook Saga (I told James this story on Thursday when Beth brought it up and he had no clue what we were talking about. He now thinks I’m weird. Well, weirder) so, when the hypnotist told us to bait the hook, I could not help but making a face. My imagination is overactive and I just knew that the worm was going to squish all over the place and I just didn’t want to deal with. The hypnotist, alerted by the laughter from the audience at the expression on my face, then asked if there was anyone who had problems with baiting the hook to raise their hands and he would take care of it for them.

We then caught a fish. He asked a few people what type their fish was and how big it was. One girl said she caught a bass and it weighed 70 pounds. I am not much on the whole fish thing but I’m pretty sure that they don’t weigh that much. After a little while, asking random people questions about their fish, he moved on to the next topic.

The hypnotist went around and tapped various people on the shoulders. He was telling us that we would do certain things when he asked us a question. One woman was supposed to forget the number 8 and, when asked to count to 10, would skip over the number. A man was told that he was from Mars and only spoke Martian. There was a woman who was a Martian translator. I, along with the woman next to me, was told that I would forget my last name and where I was from and would find it absolutely hysterical when someone else had the same problem.

Now it is not unusual for me to forget important facts. And, on more than one occasion, I have forgotten my last name. This was during a time of great stress in my life (I was working the Mall during Christmas, at 3 different jobs (It was horrible. I pretty much hate shopping at Malls now, especially during Christmas)) and it wasn’t for very long, it was just that someone asked me my last name and I drew a complete blank. When the hypnotist told me that I would forget my last name and where I was from, I immediately started thinking “Dana Vittum from Saint Paul” over and over again so I wouldn’t forget.

The woman who was supposed to forget the number 8 was told to count her fingers. She paused on the number 8 and said it with less conviction than the other numbers but she did remember to say it. He quickly moved on to the next person.

This was the Martian translator. We’ll call her MT for short.

H (hypnotist): MT, how long have you been a Martian translator?
MT: Just recently.
H: Did you study the different Martian languages?
MT: No. I just knew it.
H: Okay. Well, right next to you is an actual Martian and I was wondering if you could ask him a question for me.
MT: Sure!

The hypnotist asked her to ask the Martian where he was from, how far did it take him to get here and some other questions I don’t remember. MT turned to M (our Martian) and started speaking in complete gibberish. He responded in kind with some gibberish of his own. The audience found it hilarious and it was very hard for me to not laugh because MT’s face was so sincere.

Then the hypnotist came to me and asked me my first name. He asked me to remove my name tag so I wouldn’t be tempted to look at it.

H: What is your first name?
DM: Dana.
H: Thank you, Dana. What is your last name?

Part of me wanted to say Vittum so badly but I did not. I just looked blankly back at him. The woman next to me, Nancy, burst out into hysterical laughter.

H: What is so funny?
N (Nancy): She doesn’t know her last name.
H: What is your name?
N: Nancy.
H: Nice to meet you, Nancy. Nancy what?

Nancy looked blankly at him. I, remembering my cue, started laughing at her.

He went back to the Martian translator for a little bit and came back to me.

H: Now it was Dana, right?
DM: Yes.
H: Dana what?

I pause, obviously concentrating (well, no, not really but everyone thought I was). Nancy starts laughing again. I turn to her and glare. The audience gets a big kick out of this. The hypnotist decides this is funny and goes to Nancy and asked her name. She responds again. Then he asked her where she was from and she doesn’t know. I respond with a loud “HA!”

He comes back to me.

H: Dana, correct?
DM: Yes.
H: And Dana, where are you from?

I stare back at him, not answering. Nancy starts laughing again. I turn very slowly to her and give her the look. You know the one. The “You are messing with the Queen of the Universe, mere peasant child. Watch out” look (okay, maybe you don’t know that look but it is quite frightening. I’m sure she was terrified that I was going to smote her any moment).

H: Dana.
DM: Yes.
H: What is your last name?
DM: My middle name is Marie.

I could see the hypnotist trying not to laugh while the audience chuckled to my response.

After a little bit of this back and forth between Nancy and myself, he finally moved on to the next skit, as he called it.

We were all supposed to imagine that we were at a race track. We were all given a number that corresponded with our horse and we were told that one of us was going to win 10,000 dollars. Cool.

He then told us that we were in the balcony but not to worry, we had high powered binoculars. We just happened to be wearing them on our feet. So we all ended up taking our shoes off. I was a little ticked off about this because I was wearing boots and I hate having to take my boots off but, again, to not play along might embarrass the hypnotist. I couldn’t have that on my conscience.

The hypnotist asked us to raise our hands if we thought our horse was going to win. I did not raise my hand.

H: Dana. You did not raise your hand. You don’t think your horse is going to win?
DM: No.
H: Why not?
DM: He looks very sick.

Laughter from the audience. The hypnotist starts the race. My horse, of course, is in last place. Stupid horse.

Nancy’s horse, number 4, is doing very well. She is bouncing in her seat, looking excited, smiling at the fact that her horse is going to win. It’s a sure thing! And then the hypnotist says that the jockey fell of the horse. I wish you could have seen Nancy’s face. It just fell completely. I felt really bad for her and reached over and patted her on the shoulder in condolence.

Number 5 started picking up speed. There was a chance that I was going to win. I was very excited (well, I was acting like I was very excited). Nancy leaned over and took my hand in support. The hypnotist noticed this and came over.

H: Nancy, are you rooting for Dana?
N: Yes.
H: Why?
N: Well, her horse looks really sick.

My horse, by the way, did not win. MT won. She was very excited about this.

The hypnotist asked me a question about why I thought I didn’t win.

DM: I think someone drugged my horse.

No one agreed with me which obviously means that there is a conspiracy to keep me from winning the (imaginary) millions of dollars. I didn’t win the Powerball either.

When I got back to my table, I was immediately greeted by a ton of people who wanted to know if I remembered anything. They were all somewhat surprised when I told them that I remembered everything.

I then explained about how I didn’t want to embarrass the hypnotist and that I love making people laugh. I’m sure a psychologist would find that it feels some deep need inside of me for approval but I don’t care. My biggest joy is to make people laugh and this is why I will do stuff like this. That’s why I love reading blogs that make me laugh.

Speaking of blogs that make me laugh, Beth, here is the Geese Aplenty post (okay, stupid blogger is not letting me to the link right now so here you go – http://www.greghoward.net/index.php/weblog/show_of_shows/) that I was talking about. It is much funnier than my pathetic way of describing it.

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