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Matty’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 30 Aug 2007

Location: Berlin, Germany

MapI thought I'd mention my encounter with the Scientologists in Berlin before I get too far ahead of myself.

I was walking towards Postdamer Platz to go check out some of the buildings, when I see a group of people wearing red golf shirts handing out pamphlets. Not knowing what it is, I say no thank you.

As I continue walking for a couple seconds, I see a table with a bunch of books are some machinery that looks like a heart rate monitor. No way. This kind of stuff doesn't actually happen, I think to myself. I must have died and gone to funny story heaven.

Let me tell you, there's not many things funnier than a German Scientologist. As I stare at the equipment, I'm approached again by a cult member and asked if I want to take a test. "A test for what?" I coyly ask. "A test of your happiness" is the reply. Sweet. I expected as much. Messing with this girl was going to be fun.

I sit down, and she places in my lap some equipment with two metal cylinders I have to grab and hold with each hand. I ask how it works, and she points to a meter on the console that waives back and forth depending on some unknown stimulus. She certainly didn't know what caused it to move, but told me that my anxiety was the key. More stress, the needle moves up. Less, it moves down.

I'm sitting there in the middle of a group of bystanders, giggling to myself about the absurdity of this situation. "Why are you laughing?" she asks me.
"No reason at all. You must be a very strong person to be so grounded by your faith." I reply, straight-faced.

The needle is already bouncing back and forth before any questions are asked. I must be a messed up individual.

Girl - Do you have much stress in your life?
Me - Nope.
Girl - What about your job? How's that?
Me - I'm a snowboarder. I don't get stress. (The needle hasn't stopped bouncing back and forth.)
Girl - What about your family? Do you get along?
Me - I can't remember the last fight we had. We're like the Cleavers.
Girl - Who?
Me - Haha.
Girl - What if your family died? Would that make you unhappy?
Me - More than likely.
Girl - AHA! So you are apprehensive about that?
Me - Wait a second...because I don't want my family to die, you think I need Dianetics? Is that the best question you've got?

Ok then. I have no stress. She is stumped, and it's becoming clear I got the special needs interviewer asking me questions. Any good salesperson would try to create value for this product, make it into something that I would need. Any person not half retarded could do it, at least...

Me - Let me ask you some questions then. What's the deal with Tom Cruise?
Girl - There's no deal with him. He's a good ambassador.
Me - He's insane. You don't see that?
Girl - He's just in love.
Me (whispering) - You're twisted.
Girl - What?
Me - I said, I like your religion. *cough
Girl - Uh huh...

I am still holding the sensors. Because the needles hasn't stopped jumping, she takes it as proof that I need to give her money to buy her book. She assures me it will help with my stress and happiness.

Girl - Dianetics can give you all the answers you seek.
Me - Did Tom Cruise put you up to this?
Girl - No...
Me - I can get you out of here. Give me your hand and we'll run away.
Girl - I don't understand you.
Me - I can't help you unless you're willing to help yourself.

For thirty bucks, I can buy a book teaching me the wonders of Scientology. Oh boy! Plus, all the proceeds go to keeping free testing available in cities around the world. What a noble cause. For brevity's sake, I get up to leave. As I'm hounded by a couple more culters to sit back down and take the test again, I start laughing out loud. What a ridiculous sham. I really will have to explain this better when I get home, because it's absurd to get it all into writing.

L Ron can sit on it and rotate.