There’s an old saying that he who keeps his eyes on the stars is at the mercy of the puddles in the road. As one who continually walks with a muddied shirtfront, ripped knees, and pockets full of watery leaves, I can attest to the truth of these wise words.
My rolling orbs are always on the stars, either of the celestial variety or the ones I see after pitching headlong into the muck in the middle of the main thoroughfare. But I have been hobbling down the Muddy Road of Life with the aid of a nifty little early-warning system: Astrology.
Astrology is the ancient proposition that the whirling spheres of rock, steam, and malodorous gas that make up our solar system actually influence our personalities, thoughts, feelings and actions.
At first blush, this notion is enough to make any rational homo sapien chuckle his corn chowder through his nostrils, but according to a cover story in LIFE magazine that I read at the genesis of my interest in the subject, a whopping 48 percent of our fellow citizens believe astrology is “probably or definitely valid.”
I’ve fallen headlong into this group — thanks to a series of uncanny events.
Before I dispatch you to the gentle arms of Morpheus with the tale of how I came to be A TRUE BELIEVER, permit me to lay some important mortarwork:
Astrologically speaking, I am a Scorpio.
According to AdZe Mixie’s Tour of the Planets — an online warehouse of spellbinding astrological information — Scorpio’s ruling planets are Mars, which governs the making of war and chocolate bars, and Pluto, the distant, dark, mysterious cartoon dog that explains plenty about my usual behavior. This cosmic two-planet tag team makes a Scorpio “violently passionate, bluntly sarcastic, egotistical, controlling, manipulative, extremely sensitive, willful, and secretive.”
Not only that, Scorpios are overly salacious.
“People whisper about your sex life,” AdZe MiXXe warns.
And they fear the look in our eyes.
“Your eyes,” AdZe MiXXe gasps. “We could write a whole book about the looks that you give. We’d have a chapter on staring. No doubt, people say things about your eyes — if looks could kill … “
Given their unstable nature, Scorpios are most likely to meet their “type” in “hospitals, prisons, chemical labs, gas stations, and shoe stores.”
Naturally, Scorpio is symbolized by the scorpion, an utterly nasty little creature that poisons its enemies. But on the positive side of the ledger, Scorpios are blessed with “keen insight.”
So, to sum up, I’m essentially a hotheaded, duplicitous, venomous, salacious but keenly insightful creature with wild, staring eyes.
Pretty dang close to the pin of this old grenade, I must admit.
It is also worth noting that Scorpio is a sign associated with “transformation” and “psychological death” and “Hell on Earth stories.”
Now that I have bared my very soul, I will explain how I found myself on the Stairway to the Stars. It all began one March morning in 1997 when my wife took to her bed with a debilitating virus and left me in charge of our three tender crazed urchins, then six, four and two years old.
The darling little trio soon went on a pillaging spree and, unable to enact an effective policy of containment, I fell on a sofa and covered my face with that day’s edition of Newsday, “the Long Island Newspaper.”
The paper just happened to open on the page where Sydney Omarr’s horoscope column resides. This is what I read:
I sniggered in skeptical derision until the EMS units, Suffolk County Police, and North Babylon Fire Department arrived to quell the tots’ insurrection. When the authorities departed, my embarrassed wife threatened me with divorce. (Her lawyer, it turns out, is a Gemini.)
It all seems like an eerie coincidence, but the following Sunday I couldn’t help but feel a bit, well, salacious after reading Mr. Omarr’s glowing prediction:
Hey, Salacious Scorpio or not, you gotta love your chances after reading something like that, eh? So, clad only in my tattered BVDs, I strode into the kitchen and presented my forecast to my lovely spouse as she sat reading a magazine at the breakfast table.
“Oh yeah. I can barely keep my hands off you,” she replied, shoving the paper back at me with one paw while she fed her sneering maw a muffin with the other. “Now move, will ya? Your fat gut is blocking my light.”
Well, you can bet your last moist zloty that I spent my cold shower and the rest of the day denouncing Mr. Omarr as nothing but a foul charlatan. But the next morning — St. Patrick’s Day to be exact — I was bumping along on the Long Island Railroad’s 7:26 to Penn Station when, while reading the funnies, I looked down the page and read:
Looking up, I noticed I was surrounded by boisterous teens on their way to the St. Patty’s Day Parade. They were briskly importing lager from quart bottles and, in some besotted cases, exporting it onto their shoes — and mine — as I explored my way through the activity and out of the car.
“What goes around comes around,” I mused, thinking back to my daze as a surly, pickled teen who used to annoy the living hell out of God-fearing commuters with my own malted hijinks.
As for the greater audience that awaits my product and talent, the uncanny predictions continued. Take, for example, June 18 of that year. Twas a humdrum day like any other humdrum day except that a copy of Mr. Omarr’s column was unavailable. Overcome with curiosity about the next ditch that awaited my bones, I resorted to Joyce Jillson’s prognostications in the New York Daily News:
Bingo! That afternoon, SI For Kids’ Assistant Managing Editor Stephen Malley grimly hauled me into the office of Managing Editor Neil Cohen, who wrapped a blindfold around my noggin, stuck a gasper between my trembling lips, and announced, “Surprise! You’re our new Senior Editor!”
I nearly fainted in a heap and am told my co-workers helped me out.
Still not convinced that our fate is written in the stars? Well, fast-forward 20 years to Sunday, March 5, 2017 and this prognostication by Zodiac-Signs.com:
“You won’t even realize how lucky you are to be a Scorpio today. Even if you choose to make dangerous choices, there seems to be an angel sitting on your shoulder, watching your every move. Still, be careful of the consequences your actions will have in the future and be sure not to endanger anyone else along the way. Free and motivated, you have to keep your impulses in check if other people are depending on you. Keep in mind that your mission is not their own.”
Well, it turns out that I returned home from an errand to find my lovely spouse on the phone with a friend, animatedly discussing a girl’s night out. When my lovely spouse mentioned that they should go see Barry Manilow at Nassau Coliseum, her friend immediately told her husband, who happens to be the biggest Manilow fan on the planet. Before my lovely spouse could insist that she meant the evening should be girls-only, her friend said, “Dan wants to know if John is coming.”
Now let me pause to emphasize that I would have been more than happy to go my grave without ever seeing Barry Manilow in concert. I respect his status as an artiste and his legion of devoted fans, but his music is not my cup of schmaltz. For that I look to the likes of Ozzy Osbourne. But luck being a lady for this old Scorpio that day, I found myself on an unavoidable date with destiny.
My initial impulses flirted with reckless endangerment in an attempt to wriggle out of it, but my better angel convinced me that my lovely spouse and our friends were counting on me to behave, which I did through “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs” and many other timeless hits that raised my blood sugar to dangerous levels.
As you can plainly see, we are all just Slaves to the Spheres, so always keep your eyes on the road.