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ERIC BERGESON: I have long been immune to things that promise to change my life

Friends Tom and LuAnne have been pushing me to attend a weekend retreat titled "Reigniting the Inner Fire," which has completely changed their life, at least according to LuAnne.

Friends Tom and LuAnne have been pushing me to attend a weekend retreat titled "Reigniting the Inner Fire," which has completely changed their life, at least according to LuAnne.

At times, such when I plop in front of the TV with a bag of chips for three hours to only to watch the Twins blow it in the ninth, you wonder if something like that might help. No inner fire at all.

According to LuAnne, you can get the basic two-day seminar for $249, but she highly suggests adding the "Afterburner Plus" option for $399, which includes five sessions with a life coach who will call you every week for a month to make sure you are fulfilling your life's vision.

LuAnne should know. She's sort of an expert on the menu of seminars, products and hobbies which can change your life.

A few years ago, she dragged Tom to some marriage retreat where they rubbed each other's feet to soft music. It went well. Tom liked the foot massages, which made up for the misery of having to say, "LuAnne, you are as beautiful as the day we met," in front of 17 other couples.


That buzz lasted about a month before LuAnne discovered Simplex W, an organic liquid made from cactus sap, which improves liver function, works as a laundry detergent, and can reduce engine wear by 43 percent.

LuAnne became a dealer and her own best customer. I finally bought a gallon just to get her off my case. It sits unused deep beneath the kitchen sink, one of the best investments of $34.99 a person could ever make.

Simplex W got pushed aside to be forever forgotten when LuAnne took a yoga class and started hanging around the house twisted up like a pretzel.

Tom's a little beefy to twist himself into different shapes, but he supported LuAnne by shutting off the TV and going out to the garage for a beer during yoga hour.

The yoga thing lasted about three months. Although it gave her peace of mind, LuAnne couldn't get anybody else to join her. Without the recruiting aspect, yoga lost its luster.

So now we have "Reigniting the Inner Fire." I have to admit I was sort of tempted to give it a try -- at least until LuAnne uttered the phrase, "It will change your life."

That's a big red flag. I have long been immune to things that promise to change my life. When others find their lives set ablaze by a seminar or wonder product, I sit there like a lump, waiting to get back to normal life.

I attended a retreat back in college that was supposed to change my life, but when the time came for me to break into tears and collapse on the floor and tell about my awful childhood and confess to various debaucheries, I just couldn't pull it off. The tear ducts came up dry.


Then I ended up at a training session for a stupid job and instead of actually training us to do anything specific, they had us stand on the table and fall into the arms of our fellow workers.

During the debriefing, they said it was to build trust. I snidely remarked that they could have done that without risking broken bones. No wonder I lasted only five weeks.

I guess the biggest life-changing experience I can remember is when Jeff Reardon got the last out against the Detroit Tigers in the playoffs in 1987 and I realized that for the first time in my living memory, the Twins were going to the World Series. I was utterly overwhelmed.

But whenever I get roped into one of these seminars, or when somebody sells me the latest wonder juice and promises to let me be a dealer after it works its magic, the project falls utterly flat. The magic doesn't happen.

So, although LuAnne was disappointed, I decided not to get my inner fire reignited.

"You're locked in your comfort zone!" she said with disgust.

Yes, I am. And if the Twins would just reel off six in a row, it would get even more comfortable.

Contact Bergeson at ericberg@gvtel.com or visit his Web site at www.countryscribe.com .

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