Sunday, January 23, 2011

Zodiac Do-Over

The new dates for astrological signs have shaken the fundamental precepts of the star-creed community. The most restrained among them are calling this a "discommodious upset." According to astronomers, the whole astrological deal was established five thousand years ago and, through the years, the heavens have shifted. Fellows with access to expensive telescopes have re-established the dates based on the current alignment of the planets and assigned everyone new astrological signs, and added a new one to boot. Now there are thirteen signs: the old ones, plus the ancient sneeze-inspired Ophiuchus.

It's heartbreaking for people to discover they have been living an astrological lie. My lovely wife, the former Aquarius, the most heralded of the astrological signs, has been sashaying around the house for years, humming the Fifth Dimension song, "The Age of Aquarius," wrongly believing that an accident of birth made her, and others in the same time slot, members of an exalted league. And now that she's a common Capricorn, she locks herself in the bathroom and refuses to come out for hours at a time. My makeshift policy is to let her stew in there. Quite frankly, listening to "The Age of Aquarius" every day for thirty years was beginning to wear on me.

Gaylene Pelky, the neighborhood astrologer, has a sign on her door that says "closed for re-thinking." I called her nephew, and he said the astrological discombobulation upset Gaylene greatly, resulting in a three-day crying-jag and salty accusations directed towards the night sky. She is recovering at her New Mexico retreat, a hut made entirely of recycled wine bottles, the contents of which she reportedly consumed herself. The property is surrounded with a variety of brightly colored bowling ball bushes (bowling balls perched on top of rusty lengths of re-bar), in honor of Gaylene's favorite pastime.

Never one to be left behind, I'm good to go with this new trend, and am delighted to be a Gemini (formerly a Cancer, the sea-floor roaming crab). This is a great relief to me, as I have always felt a little out of place with my former moniker, and besides, it was not very flattering to be under the astrological spell of a bottom-feeding crustacean. Honestly, since this revelation, I feel ten pounds lighter and have already noticed a slight skip to my step. Some say I'm decidedly more effervescent.

At her nephew's urging I called to check on Gaylene at her New Mexico bottle-hut:

--Me: Hi Gaylene. Are you alright?
--Gaylene: My whole world is upside down.
--Me: People still care about you.
--Gaylene: Every piece of advice I've ever given is wrong.
--Me: You didn't know. What's the worst that could happen?
--Gaylene: Well, you for instance. According to the new calculations, you and your wife are totally incompatible. That happy marriage of yours is destined for doom.
--Me: Really?
--Gaylene: It's called synastry; I've studied this for years. And you are not the only ones living in marital delusion destined for the toilet.
--Me: But I'm supposed to be laid-back, loyal, and domestic, like the family dog, every woman's dream.
--Gaylene: Not anymore, buster. You're a Gemini now, a woman's worst nightmare. You're quirky, restless, fidgety, and unpredictable.
--Me: Yes, but things have been going along so well.
--Gaylene: That was the past. Hang on tight because the shit is destined to hit the fan around your place.
--Me: Well, my wife did lock herself in the bathroom.
--Gaylene: That's only the beginning.
(some brief sobbing)
--Gaylene: I can't make a living any more.
--Me: Yes you can. Think of all the people who will need to update their bumper stickers, key chains, and medallions with their new astrological signs. This is a golden opportunity.
--Gaylene: You think so?
--Me: If I were you, I'd get back to your shop and begin ordering merchandise. The fates have handed you a gift.
--Gaylene: I never thought of that. I'll start ordering first thing in the morning.
--Me: I'll be your first customer when you return.
--Gaylene: Really sorry about your marriage.
--Me: Make sure you stock up on Capricorn stuff; a generous gift, such as a tasteful key chain, could pave the way to an intoxicating sense of connubial bliss.