Thanks to StefanR for prompting this reaction to his post:
Here are the two stories:
1. The Classic
A college freshman wanted to have a car that would attract young women...can you believe, when I first heard this story, that was the Camaro IROC Z-28? Anyway he listened to a guru who told him to visualize the car as vividly as he could, and he would have it. So he visualized vividly for a week, and he was still riding the bus to school. He stuck pictures of the car he wanted on the walls, and he was still riding the bus to school. He chanted to himself "I am having a ton of fun in my new red car," and he was still riding the bus to school. He bought a model of the car. He let the landlord's children help him put it together and roll it around a little model track while he visualized having a ton of fun in his new red car. They built other model cars, built a model town, and had little road races...and he was still riding the bus to school. At the end of the term the student complained to the guru, and the guru said, "Well, it sounds to me as if you and those younger boys are having a lot of fun with your new red car!"
(This little red car was posted by Danielito at Morguefile.)
2. The Personal Weird
Around age thirty, I'd just become very clear in my own mind that although I would always love the fellow I'd been dating for a few years, and wish him well wherever he might be, I did not want to be married to him.
"So whom do you want to be married to?"
"I don't know that I want to be married to anybody."
"Well you must at least want to like one man in particular."
So I thought about it, and visualized an Official Significant Other who would at least meet society's expectations for what an attractive, popular, successful thirty-year-old woman was supposed to want. Not too tall, but dark and handsome would be all right. Popular, successful, charming, but without having reached such a pinnacle of success that the only way left for him to go would be down, like Michael Jackson or Diana Spencer. Comfortable about being a Bright Young Thing in Washington, but not attached to it. A Christian, but not fanatical. And so on. Anyway, apparently I had described a young man who had just been hailed as the brightest of the Bright Young Things...let's just say that he was not John Kennedy.
A few months later, having met the brightest of the Bright Young Things, I realized that one thing I did in fact like about him was that he seemed to take it for granted that I had a crush on John Kennedy; didn't everyone? (Well, no.) He was accustomed to being rich and didn't seem at all spoiled by having become famous. But no sparks flew. He could almost have been a relative, although he wasn't one. I later learned that while the trashier mass media were maundering about how "sexy" this guy had become (by becoming a celebrity), he was actually having health problems and wasn't feeling sexy at all.
I met the Bright Young Thing during a holiday weekend I spent flat-sitting for an old, sick patient. The patient had a brother who was a lot younger than he was and a lot older than I was. The patient's brother might have been considered a catch for some women, and several women had recognized him as such and were trailing after him, but obviously the idea of him even asking me for a date was out of the question...so we were strictly good friends, and partners in helping his poor old sick brother. And then we got to be partners in odd jobs. And then he told me that, under the deplorably liberal interpretation of common-law marriage Washington had at the time, he and I were now married: we'd been using the same address (for business purposes) in D.C. for a year or two, and (when a particularly alarming admirer was stalking him) I'd let myself be described as his wife without objection, and neither of us was legally married to anyone else. So if he hadn't already been a U.S. citizen and had wanted to become one, I might have had to get a divorce from him in order to marry anyone else, if I'd wanted to do that. But since he was already a citizen he didn't want to give me any trouble, so I could forget that he was my common-law husband if I wanted to do that. He only wanted me to know how outrageous the law could be, and had in fact been for some other people at that time. (Local government was trying to make common-law marriage seem outrageous in order to stop recognizing it altogether.)
And we were already best friends and partners. We already knew the worst things about each other. We'd already sat up with each other's sick relatives, and worked together on memorably horrible jobs, and moved furniture together. It occurred to me that this marriage just might actually work for both of us.
It did, too...except that an operation that "would have removed it if there'd been any cancer" had not removed it, and it had been cancer. But, out of almost ten years of common-law marriage, we had almost seven years together before either of us realized that.