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Karma Cleanser 

Dear Karma Cleanser: My mother, who turns 60 this fall, has visited palm readers on and off again for quite a few years. Recently she began seeing a new psychic, and after the first visit she raved that this new woman is the best one yet, that she has "a real connection to the spirit world." My sister and I decided to go check the psychic out ourselves. She was a smooth talker, but she didn't tell either of us anything all that astounding. Just to test her, we offered her $100 to tell our mother on her next visit that she had better be kinder to her children or that one of them would die soon. The psychic said it was unethical to try and bribe her and also dangerous to tamper with the spirits. But she took our money regardless. It's been several weeks since this happened, and our mother has very much changed the way she acts toward me and my sister, giving us money, baking us pies and offering to baby-sit for both of us. I'm feeling a little guilty for doing this, but I'm enjoying the free food and free baby-sitting. My sister says we should have done this a long time ago. How bad is all that?

Here's a prediction that didn't come from a psychic friend: This underhanded arrangement will eventually slap you both on your lazy, spiteful asses. When the truth comes out (and it always does), your poor old mom will realize she's being duped not only by a money-grubbing charlatan but, worse yet, by her own ungrateful children. Tell her the truth now, and leave the spirit world out of it.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

My new roommate and I are fighting like animals. We share a small apartment with only one phone line, and she manages to stay on the phone for hours at a time, from the time she gets home from school until after midnight sometimes. We live in a very old building that won't allow us to add a second phone line to the apartment. I've found that if I pick up the receiver very calmly in my bedroom, I can listen in on her conversations. I'm not really interested in what she has to say, but it's my own little attempt at getting revenge for her hogging the phone and for not getting off the line when I ask her to. Am I risking bad karma for being so nosey?

No, you're risking bad karma for being so stupid. Accept that your roommate is an inconsiderate phone hog and quit your own squealing on the matter. It's called a cell phone. Look into it.

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