I might still be a bit confused. It is possible that my face wasn't the amazing part of this story. It could have been Mac Fulfer. I encountered Mr. Fulfer at the recent workers' compensation educational conference in Mississippi. He was an exhibitor at the conference, and sat in a sparsely decorated booth in front of a sign that said "Amazing Face Reader". I was not sure if he was an "Amazing" face reader, or an "Amazing Face" reader. In other words, I didn't know if he was an amazing man who read faces, or a man who simply read amazing faces.
At any rate, his booth seemed quite popular, as people were constantly lined up patiently waiting their turn to sit across the table from him and have him describe their personality and personal traits based simply on the shape and features of their faces, amazing or otherwise. He was selling a book on reading faces, and also had a series of what appeared to be flash cards designed to teach the art of face reading. Skeptical does not describe the feeling I had about this. And being a relatively tech savvy skeptic, I googled Mac while standing right in front of his table, and quickly found his website, not surprisingly www.amazingfacereading.com. I quickly scanned the site for information on what I was certain was sheer quackery; Who was this charlatan, this gypsy in a tie, who was obviously embarked on some as yet to be identified nefarious scheme to defraud and deceive?
That's when I saw something I did not anticipate. It was appended to his name. It read, "Mac Fulfer, JD". I'll be damned. The face whisperer was a lawyer. The plot thickened.
Over the next day I learned that Mr. Fulfer built a long and successful legal career, and became interested in face reading for use in jury selection. His developed skill? Why that would be successfully predicting the personality and voting proclivities of potential jurors based on the features of their face.
According to Fulfer's website; "Face reading is an inherent part of our nature. Before there was a spoken language, groups of early humans had to rely on non-verbal communication. For primitive man, survival depended on the ability to read the meaning in the faces, gestures, and body language of his fellow man. Today we still read faces even if it is just to recognize each other, and most of us also have an immediate impression of each person we meet." Face reading, or physiognomy, has a long and ancient history, dating back as early as the ancient greeks. It is apparently strongly followed in Chinese culture and used widely in eastern medicine.
After hearing people rave about how good he was for more than a day, I decided to give Mac a whirl. At this point I was still highly suspicious that he was reading more from peoples reactions to what he said than actual features of their faces. With that in mind I resolved to maintain an expressionless face. I wasn't going to feed this guy a thing. I arrived at his table as he was returning from lunch, and a group of several people from the same office arrived at the same time. I let them all go before me, and listened intently to what he said to them while their amused (and apparently agreeing) co-workers looked on. The line continued to grow behind us. Finally, it was my turn.
He wasted no time. With no more than an initial glance he was off and running. My extremely dominant jawline meant I was tenacious; "like a bulldog". I carefully analyze situations, decide a course of action or make a decision, and do not sway from it. My strong chin meant that I can often get the last word. My extremely large iris' "draw people in" and make me approachable, which can temper the dominant perception my jawline conveys. I am particular about how things should be done and insist that they be done right. I am brilliant. A genius. The"Einstein Lines" on my forehead indicate I have an extremely high intellect that has absorbed a tremendous amount of life experience that is the equivalent of a graduate degree or greater.
Ok, I might have been wrong about this guy. Sounds reasonable thus far.
I had always assumed that what he referred to as "Einstein Lines" were formed from a constant scowl of general confusion and befuddlement. However, upon hearing of my intellectual brilliance I did momentarily break my blank face commitment when I interrupted him to ask, "Can you sit here for a bit while I go back to Florida and get my wife? She needs to hear this".
He continued. Sweeping his gaze from one side of my head to the other, he told me that I am fairly well balanced in both my personal and professional life. He also told me that I was well balanced in situations of intimacy. I have no idea what that meant, but I suspected the trip to Florida to retrieve my wife was now off the table.
He filled in a few more details from the various elements of my face, and then did something that surprised me. It was something I had not seen him do with any other person. Perhaps it was the lack of visual feedback; he finished his summation by saying, "Now, tell me what I missed with you".
He did it so smoothly that I at first did not realize it was a request requiring response. When I did grasp that, I struggled with what to say. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I am not brilliant. After all, I am the person for which the phrase "dumbecile" was coined. Instead, I told him the part about the 'careful and thoughtful analysis' would bring fits of laughter to my associates. I am known in the office for the snap decision and a propensity to shoot from the hip - I often proudly boast that we can reach a boneheaded decision much faster than most other companies. The tenacious tendencies, along with my insistence in doing things the right way, however, would likely make them laugh as well, only because they have lived it. Set up a conference exhibit with me sometime and you'll see what I mean.
Fulfer countered that such decisions are still based on enough information that allows my tenacious nature to commit and pursue on those decisions.
Enough said. I bought his book, and look forward to learning more about this unique and unfamiliar territory. There were many people who went through this exercise that were no doubt surprised by what they heard, not because they heard something new, but because they heard something familiar. Allegations of brilliance aside, he was very close to my personality in many critical areas. I must say I was a bit surprised.
Of course the skeptic in me still wonders how our personality can be influenced or otherwise inextricably connected to our facial features. Still, I must acknowledge that we cannot know what we do not know, and his demonstrations were impressively convincing. If indeed this method has merit, and is learnable as Fulfer asserts, it has significant potential in the workers' compensation industry. In fact, I imagine claims professionals, human resources, risk managers and others could benefit from a better understanding of physiognomy and it's underlying principles.
You can take that to the bank. After all, I may not have an amazing face, but gosh darn it, I'm brilliant.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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