7/8/97 -- 7:51 PM

BAYVIEW: Oh stress! it can be a real killer
By DANIEL RUTH/Tampa Tribune Columnist

If you should happen to be strolling the grand bistros of Ybor City and some kindly person approaches you with a simply spiffy, boffo offer to make your life easier, well consider this your lucky day.

Of course, it will be even luckier if you run away faster than an Iraqi Revolutionary Guard battalion confronted by a Brownie troop.

The Scientologists have begun recruiting Ybor City revelers. Let's put it this way: Being recruited for service as a bellhop by Leona Helmsley would be more rewarding.

The L. Ron Hubbardians are flitting about Seventh Avenue offering free - FREE - stress tests to the area's nightclub patrons.

What? No Bud?

And - you'll never believe this - the Scientologists are discovering people are indeed actually under stress, thus requiring addition therapy sessions costing a small fortune!

Wow! Young people just getting started out in their lives and careers are experiencing stress? It's simply amazing the stuff you learn these days.

Oddly enough, when one of the recruiters for the church, or cult, or whatever the hell it is, invites an unsuspecting mark to experience a free - FREE - stress test, the poor soul is not told the offer is coming from the Church of SCIENTOLOGY.

Perhaps, that might be too stressful.

To determine all that stress, the Hubbardwardians finagle the Ybor City party animal into a bare room off 16th Street where they are hooked up to a contraption called an E-meter, which looks like a couple of wired up soup cans and is supposed to measure how anxiety-ridden the poor dolt is.

Now, you would think if you persuaded an Ybor City habitue to come in off the street and handed him or her two cans, the stress level would go through the roof when the subject of the test discovered the containers were not filled with Budweiser.

It's understandable the Ybor SCIENTOLOGISTS go to such great pains to hide the name SCIENTOLOGY from the Seventh Avenue suckers it is trying to draw to its bosom.

Take this freebie and . . .

After all, when it comes to recognizing and appreciating stress, the SCIENTOLOGISTS would seem to fall somewhere between Vlad the Impaler and Pol Pot.

Just how wanting are the SCIENTOLOGISTS when it comes to deducing stress?

Well, you could ask Lisa McPherson. Or, perhaps not. Make that the late Lisa McPherson, who died of a blood clot brought on by dehydration and bed rest while under the tender loving care of the SCIENTOLOGISTS while she was laid up at the group's Clearwater headquarters.

By the ``church's'' own admission McPherson, a SCIENTOLOGIST, spent two weeks in isolation in a room at the Fort Harrison hotel dehydrated and beating on the walls.

Indeed, SCIENTOLOGY officials have admitted McPherson was psychotic and represented a threat to herself and others - and yet they did nothing to provide professional help for the woman, of whom it might be suggested was experiencing - stress.

Imagine the stress McPherson felt (if she was still alive) when the SCIENTOLOGISTS finally figured out - after 17 days - that their disciple was in dire need of medical care and drove her a half hour away to a New Port Richey Hospital where she was dead on arrival instead of Morton Plant Hospital only minutes away.

So perhaps, if you're approached by one of the Hubbardphile high pressure experts in Ybor City, you might want to ask them if they intend to alleviate your stress they same way SCIENTOLOGY helped out Lisa McPherson.

Or you could just tell them to take their ``free'' stress test - and can it.

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