The part where she discovers she dowses


Dowsing, the idea that two disparate objects can find one another based on mutual attraction, is much like the belief in love at first sight: one person holds his or her heart in hand, feels it bending toward another and discovers the person who will make one of two.


Practitioners of dowsing swear that by using a tree branch or rod, they can find water, minerals, or other objects buried in the earth. Love-at-first-sighters believe the heart needs only a glance to find true love.

Courtesy of Wikicommons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


I believe in dowsing as much as I believe in love at first sight, which is not at all. Dowsers have been subjected to testing and come up equal to chance. Love at first sight is the same. Chances are it will work out; chances are it won’t.


After I heard about dowsing when I was a child, I found a y-shaped tree branch and searched for water in the yard. Nothing happened. It turns out I didn’t need a stick to find the water that had already been discovered and conveniently came out of the outside faucet and through the garden hose into my thirsty mouth. I was as unlucky in dowsing as love at first sight. I did, however, later experience like at first sight, which led to love, but that is a different story.


I hadn’t thought of dowsing for decades until the other day when I realized I was a master dowser and had been for years. My dowsing is unique in that with my handy tool I find not things, but people; and not under the earth, but atop it.


The object used to find these people is a wheel with about a 15-inch diameter, and once it is in my hands, I achieve 100% accuracy in finding a particular kind of people: idiots.


The wheel I use is conveniently attached to my car, so I don’t have to carry it about. Once I pull out of the garage, the wheel instinctively leads me to idiots in other cars who don’t use their blinkers, who tailgate, who are clearly texting while driving, and who drive too much above or too far below the speed limit, or weave in and out of traffic curious to find out if everyone’s brakes still work. Unlike traditional dowsers who are looking for a desired object, I don’t seek these idiots out; my steering wheel finds them.


Unlike this steering wheel, mine is attached to a car. Courtesy of D-Kuru on Wikimedia Commons

Unlike this steering wheel, mine is attached to a car. Courtesy of D-Kuru on Wikimedia Commons

I don’t use the term idiot lightly. A person has to commit driving acts that jeopardize lives to fit the category. Drivers who take the parking spaces I want are not idiots, they are merely selfish.


Idiot dowsing is equal parts uncanny, unnerving, annoying, and disturbing (much like the extremely long sentence that follows). Idiocy here in northeastern Wisconsin is clearly on the rise based on the numbers I discover as I white-knuckle through traffic, using my blinkers; leaving space between me and the car ahead, which is immediately filled in by a speeding, lane-jumping lunatic, which causes me to create more space, leaving room for yet another lunatic, and so on until I am back to where I started even though I’ve been driving for half an hour – much like Wonderland Alice who was told by the Red Queen, “…here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place”); obeying (or practically obeying because what’s an extra 5 miles over) the speed limit; eschewing* phone use because I need both hands on the wheel to avoid the swervers; and identifying each nitwit by calling out loudly, “You idiot!”


I want, as is my wont, to remain positive and to avoid letting them figuratively and almost literally drive me crazy, so I have decided to keep a notebook like birders do. Yesterday I saw three red-hooded idiots, two Toyotan morons, a brown-headed blockhead, and a silver Cadillacan cretin. Imbeciles and muttonheads are almost too common to mention, but I intend to record them all. Mark my words (or at least my errors), future idiotologists will find my records valuable in tracking the increase of dunderheads in cars in Wisconsin.


*Each time the word eschew is used on this    blog, both the writer and reader are granted  one piece of dark chocolate. If you don’t likedark chocolate, please let me know and I will kindly eat your piece.




38 thoughts on “The part where she discovers she dowses

  1. My dowser also finds idiots for me, but I eschew commenting on all species, focusing my attention on the Golf-Hatted Little Old Man in Big Car. No sooner do I get on a two-lane local road in a hurry, but a signal goes out to all G-HLOMBCs to get in front of me, where they doggedly stay, eschewing all possible turn-offs, going 14 miles per hour. N.B.: this comment should be worth two chocolates, I believe!

      • I believe in other regions he might be called the Soft-Hatted Cadillac Geezer…. (S-HCG). In rural areas there is a kindred species called the Tractor Road Ambler, I’ve heard. But I will eschew certainty, not having personally observed one…. (more chocolate for US!)

  2. I don’t like dark chocolate but will gladly have a nice piece of milk chocolate instead. Feel free to scarf up my leftovers. As for idiots, we have our fair share in Pennsylvania too. Idiots are defined as anyone who doesn’t drive the way I do.

  3. You really are delightful and entertaining. Made me laugh.

    There’s a scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where the main character has had enough car abuse and simply decides to repeatedly ram the car that stole her parking spot. Her reasoning is that she is older and has better insurance than they do. Might as well get something out of all that money you’ve paid in. I am dangerously able to relate and empathize with her. I don’t have road rage at all, I have cold, calculated revenge fantasies, held in check by a very thin thread.

    As to love at first sight, I suspect I do believe in that, I just also believe in the human capacity to foul up even the most beautiful thing. Regardless, it’s a good subject for a blog post, so I’ll give it some thought.

  4. Mmm, chocolate! But you might take it away when I tell you I am an idiot in at least three ways you describe 🙂 Mostly the ways involving too much speed and passing any way I can. Fortunately for you, I have never been to Wisconsin.

  5. I believe that some of your Wisconsin Idiots have emigrated to the west to become Minnesotan Idiots. The numbers have been increasing here as well. I will eschew any further comment, as I plan that my mouth will be filled with chocolate. Thank you for providing some for me.

  6. I decided that I am going to start yelling “you nitwit!” Instead of using the I word. I work downtown…and the nitwits who aggravate me the most are those who cross the street with no apparent wish to live or escape injury.

  7. I believe it is reaching pandemic proportions, so please don’t consider yourself an idiot dowser, you are simply an idiot magnet. No effort at all is required on your part. Oh, and you can have my chocolate. (And now you think I’m an idiot too, don’t you?)

  8. I used to think it was idiots, but settled on my theory that we have many space aliens trying to pass for human. They’re used to maneuvering in four, five, or six dimensions and don’t do so well when limited to three.
    The steering wheel is one device for finding them, but many online tools have been invented for the purpose. Check out the “comments” on YouTube, for instance.

  9. Yes, I was one of those. No, not an idiot, although I’m sure there are some who would argue that point. I was one of those folks who proudly slapped an “eschew obfuscation” sticker on my automobile, and then giggled myself silly, constantly amused by the inside joke. My sister said I was a snob, because no one could understand the bumper sticker, so why put it on the car? Exactly. Still giggling.

  10. Dowsing is a new word for me… and what a pleasure to learn it. I have actually seen a paid dowser look for the right place to dig a water well. And it worked out all right. Now I know the word in English. As for love at first sight, I believe in it… no matter if I’ve been wrong a few times. It seems to me if revulsion at first sight is possible, than love too. And even if I’m wrong, I’m a happier person believing in it. Thanks for a very enjoyable post.

    • In one article I read, the writer said that due to the extreme drought, some people in California are turning to dowsers to find new wells. There’s no consensus where the English word “dowse” came from, but it has been in print since the 1600s.

  11. Yea verily, these same idiots seem to be attracted to mine own car. Doesn’t matter if I’m driving or riding, or even if I’m the honored guest in the back seat of someone else’s vehicle, I seem destined to collect stories of breathtaking idiocy from those on the roads around me. You have, as always, spelled out the problem so well.

    You also offer an excellent cure.* I agree with the treatment, but I might choose a different trigger than “eschew,” since when I repeat it, however hopefully, people just tell me “Gesundheit” and don’t realize that the proper medication is dark chocolate. Maybe I’ll just stick with raiding the chocolate supply myself, which will in turn keep me in the kitchen and off of the ever-dangerous roads.

    • Like beauty, idiocy is probably in the eye of the beholder. No doubt, some other drivers think I am an idiot. Chocolate prevent me from getting too upset about their opinions of me.

  12. My Dearest Yearstruck,
    (as who Else has the nomenclature of Yearstruck, thus Dearest) Although I adore your blogs, I must, in this case, eschew your opinion of there being no dowsers. I, myself, am not a dowser, but I have one daughter (out of five) who is. Dowsing is a genetic ability, passed from a parent of the opposite sex. Not everyone has this genetic ability, just as not everyone can see colors.
    My Dad also does not believe in dowsing, simply because He can’t do it. The ability in my daughter came from her father, and his mothers’ line. Every culture has stories of dowsing, whether it was called that or not. The Chinese nearly eradicated it in their culture as they didn’t want anyone to be able to find water independently. Their control came from who got the water the government supplied.
    The Mother Church was responsible for removing many of the dowsing lines in Europe.
    If people knew what they were doing, we would discover many dowsers among our populations now, as few people have been looking for them in a long while.
    Gee….. this could be a great subject for a blog, or something.

    • Clearly there are people who dowse, just as there are people who predict the future. Sometimes they are successful, but sometimes they aren’t. And we all have a tendency to remember the successes and forget the failures. I should know – I like to fish, and I tend to remember the ones I caught, not the ones that got away. 🙂

  13. Margie

    I have a friend who successfully dowsed for the well on their farm. She can also hold a needle on a string over the belly of a pregnant woman and successfully predict what sex the baby will be.
    Eschew is not a word I’ve ever used. It makes me think of caramel for some reason, maybe because I avoid caramel – too dangerous to chew when you have a bridge. Dark chocolate, however, I can chew just fine.

    • The world is full of mysteries – sometimes dowsers, psychics, and mind readers are successful.

      When I was younger, I liked chewy caramel, but now I don’t enjoy it at all. I much prefer melt-in-your-mouth chocolate – either with coffee or wine.

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