Evil Eye 

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Earlier today one of my houseguests, a one-year-old boy, mumbled the sort of cryptic complaints little children make when the morning sneaks up on them far too early.

His Romanian-Italian-Canadian mother, demonstrating that the Romanian part of her dominated, said he'd been cursed with the evil eye. "It was the bank teller yesterday," she said. "That woman gave him the evil eye - she kept ogling him and telling us what a cutie he was."

To be de-evil-eyed, you need matches. The mother lit one above a glass of water. When most of the match burned, she plucked off the blackened wood sliver, dropped it into the glass, and, with the edge of her palm, delicately karate-chopped a cross on the rim. She did this with three matches while saying Our Father in her mind.

Each match end represents woman, man or child, all possible culprits in deploying the evil eye, and when a match end drops to the bottom of the glass, this signals that the victim is cured of the evil eye from one of those possible culprits.

The one-year-old boy refused to drink from the glass so the mother dipped a finger into the water, dabbed the boy's lips, then made crosses with her wet finger on his forehead, his cheeks and his hand.

"See?" she said. "He's cured. He's not whiny anymore."

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