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    Once a tapeworm readied itself for the latest stop on its motivational speaking tour.
    Out in the hall could be heard the murmur of a standing-room-only crowd, those hundreds who were clutching the popular tapeworm’s inspirational books or videos and preparing to experience the power of its “Go With Your Gut” message.
    Having been at this for some time, the tapeworm knew exactly how long to let the anticipation of its appearance on stage build, exactly how long that yearning would take to reach a hunger pitch and the moment came to thrust aside the curtain and reveal itself in all its hale vigor.
    “Ahhhh . . .” the audience would always gasp, leaning forward together at the waist in a single response to the pull of what a leading weekly called the tapeworm’s “dominating presence.” “Why can’t I be like that?” would be on the tip of every tongue among the tapeworm faithful. So sure of this question was the tapeworm that its response of “All of you out there are like me already, but you just don’t realize it” rang in every ear without being directly stated, as if reaching the spell-bound audience by telepathic mass suggestion.
    “Imagine yourself at the center of all being” was another of the tapeworm’s fail-proof encouragements. “Repeat to yourself every morning and every night and while listening to my latest interactive lessons for just 10 minutes a day, ‘I am the center of the universe! I am at one with the movements of being! I will gain, not lose! I will be colossal, not puny! I will nurture my needs at the altar of vital forces!’ If you just follow those sayings faithfully, I guarantee you’ll begin to feel a swelling inner power like nothing you’ve ever felt before! There are no limits to the full you! Find the center and never let go! Never!” 
    “Ahhhhhhh . . .” 
    “There was a time when I myself was consumed with doubt and negativity, just as you may have been when you came in here tonight,” the tapeworm continued. “My self-esteem was on empty, just as I’m sure yours is now. Am I right?” 
    “Ahhhhhhhhhh . . .” came a new wave of soulful sighs from all parts of the hall and a look of teary thanks in many an eye for “understanding me so deeply!”
    “I used to look at myself,” the tapeworm continued, “the same way you may look at yourselves this very moment: as the most insignificant creature ever. Am I right?”
    “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .” 
    “I’d have given anything to be told, as I’m telling you now, ‘You’re worth a million bucks and you don’t even realize it.’ Well, that was then. Take a look at me now!”
    The tapeworm certainly did look like a million. Maybe even a billion or two. The audience had never seen a motivational speaker so vigorous, confident, and exuding success on such a scale. Something had to be going right for it. If only they could move beyond their own inhibitions and anxieties like that. “Go With Your Gut,” they now had it straight from the tapeworm’s mouth, was the command that would sustain them forever.
    In the meantime it wasn’t too late, the entire audience was assured over the hall’s audio system after the tapeworm had withdrawn offstage, to purchase a boxed set of its most popular seminars on Blue Ray.
    “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .”