I’ve learned my lesson about poking fun at astrology

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article basically making fun of something called “Mercury retrograde,” which is when the planet Mercury appears to be going backward in the sky. It’s an optical illusion, but folks who believe in astrology and such think this is a bad thing and can throw off all kinds of communication, including causing issues with technology and computers and such.

My snarky implication was that it was all a bunch of ridiculous bunk. The morning that article appeared, my website went down. Then another website I run for a nonprofit went down. Then planes across America were grounded. Others bumped into each other. Another day, I went to my local Chick-fil-A and Publix, and neither were able to process debit cards. Things like that kept happening, again and again. By Jan. 18, I was thankful my toaster and garage door opener still functioned.

Mercury’s retrograde ended on Jan. 19, when it slammed on the brakes and went back into plain ol’ ordinary grade. I was safely able to use the computer and buy chicken sandwiches without cash. I rarely carry cash on me because debit cards are just so convenient and I don’t trust dead presidents, especially Andrew Jackson, who was a bad, bad man.

Now, I’m committed to learning more about astrology and especially my Zodiac sign, Gemini. I plan to check out my horoscope every day before I make any kinds of decisions.

Unfortunately, I’ve found most horoscopes to be quite vague. Too many of them are like the fortunes in fortune cookies that say things like “Your imagination has the power to change your reality” or “Good things come to those who wait.” During my research for this article, I ate an entire box of fortune cookies, and they all said vague stuff like that. I ate so many that my lucky numbers are every one between 1 and 99. Well, except for 37.

I’ve found that daily horoscopes sound more like good advice, such as when my Grandma always used to say, “Don’t take no wooden nickels.” She said that a lot when I’d leave. I don’t know if there was a genuine concern about wooden nickels floating around or if it was like the Bitcoin of the 1980s, but I’ve actually yet to be presented with the opportunity to receive a wooden nickel. Still, if you’re thinking of giving me one, you should know I still don’t take no wooden nickels.

Many times when I was a copy editor at newspapers, I found myself laying out the horoscopes, along with the comics, bridge and such. I once mixed up some daily bridge entries and figured it didn’t matter since I was pretty sure no humans outside of “The Golden Girls” on TV actually played the game. Um, I was wrong, and a very angry real golden girl called me up and blessed me out with language that would make even Bea Arthur blush. (Yes, Maude had quite the potty mouth.)

When I laid out the horoscopes, sometimes they were a few lines too long for the available space. Sometimes I could adjust the kerning and squeeze some words together to save a line or two. I could just lop off the Capricorns and fit it, but I was scared that Bea Arthur clone might be a Capricorn and would call and make me cry again. So I had to be judicious and maybe cut out a few words here and a sentence there. But the only sign I truly paid attention to was my own, Gemini.

Now that I’m paying attention once again, all I ask of astrologers is to be more specific and helpful. I don’t need general advice on making goals and reflecting upon my blessings. I need stuff like …

“You will pull your quadricep if you move too much today.”

“Your truck is almost out of gas, and the Quickie Mart on Highway 12 has the lowest price on unleaded today.”

“Earl is going to ask you to let him hold ten dollars today. Don’t do it — he’s just gonna spend it on liquor.”

You know, stuff like that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see my new financial advisor, Sister Ruby.

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