I feel about psychics the way I do about astrologers: the less contact I have with them the better off I am. Not so with my friend, Trish, who won't make any decision without first consulting Ramona, Psychic Guru to the Gullible.

Trish, who is presently working on her third husband-to-be, Ira, consults Ramona weekly.

"Ramona says my aura is stuck," Trish reported over our last lunch. "My psychic pathway is a bit disheveled. My future looks cloudy."

I studied Trish carefully. She looked tired and confused. She was also sporting an engagement ring the size of a small Volkswagen.

"Nice rock," I told her.

"Yes," she said, "Ira has excellent taste in jewelry. Unfortunately, he also has a wandering eye." She took a bite of her arugula and goat cheese salad, and sighed. "Ramona says that when it comes to men like Ira, what you see isn't always what you get. She recommends I keep an eye on his inner child."

"What about his inner child?" I asked.

"It's very naughty. Ramona says it needs to be leashed."

I imagined Ira's inner child being led around with a rope around its neck.

"Ira doesn't understand boundaries. He enjoys crossing over to the other side if you get what I'm saying?"

"Can you elaborate?"

"Occasionally, Ira finds the grass is greener on somebody else's lawn. His id is in conflict with his super-ego. His emotional compass is off-kilter."

"You mean he's geographically askew?" I asked, intrigued.

"The basic problem," Trish continued, "is that Ira's roving eye causes him to view the world through a distorted lens. His sense of right and wrong is blurry. He's high-maintenance, psychologically speaking. Objects in Ira's mental mirror appear larger than they really are -- women's anatomy, for example."

"Doesn't sound good," I tried being empathic.

"Ramona says that Ira is not altogether hopeless His ego just needs to be unclogged before he can move forward. But, that could take months."

"Is Ira worth the effort?" I dared ask. "There are plenty of other men out there"

Trish studied her ring. "There are definite perks in our relationship," she said. "Ira is also a spendthrift. Because of his excessive need to shop, I benefit. Ramona says he's sublimating his inability to be monogamous by plying me with expensive gifts. Last month, we went to Tiffany where he bought me a diamond and ruby pendant. Before that, it was the cruise on the QE 2 with Dom Perignon every night. A girl can get accustomed to that way of life."

"Where did Ira make all his money?" I asked.

"That's the thing," Trish said. "Ira has a gambling problem. He plays the horses and hangs out at the casinos. Ramona thinks his need to live on the edge is what excites me most."

"Does it?"

"I tend to gravitate toward men with a reckless streak," she admitted. "I even consulted an astrologer, who told me that the problem is that our stars have collided. Our moons are in the wrong house. That's why Ira is never home. He's in other women's houses looking for his misplaced moon."

"Sounds suspicious to me," I said.

"The other problem is that Ira is a Virgo It's the worst of all possible signs for a Pisces woman."

"So, what are you going to do?"

"I consulted a shrink. It took only two sessions for her to recognize that the real issue is not Ira at all, but the fact that I have a poor self-image. She recommends I dump him immediately and stay away from men who prey on women who are easily manipulated."

"Is there any truth to what she says?"

"Yes, that's why I went back to see Ramona. She checked her crystal ball and saw a moving vehicle coming toward me. It either symbolized my demise or possibly a new set of wheels that Ira had bought for me. She told me to hang in, and wait and see."

"But you could be dead by tomorrow." I said, anxiously.

"Or, "Trish said, "I could be driving a brand new 300 SL Mercedes."

"You're traveling a slippery slope, I warned.

Trish rubbed her diamond ring with the tip of her napkin. I was blinded by its brilliance. "That's the price a woman with low self-esteem is willing to pay," she said.

Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views every other Wednesday. She can be reached at joodth@snet.net.