By WALLACE BAINE
I’m a different man today than I was last week. My spine’s a bit straighter. My smile’s a bit bigger. My outlook’s a bit sunnier, though my mood this month has been as gloomy as Eeyore’s funeral.
Why? Apparently, I am no longer a Cancer.
Having been born in the last week of June, I – and, presumbly, one of every 12 humans on earth – have had to live under the only sign of the Zodiac that shares a name with the deadliest plague known to modern humankind. On second dates, throughout my life, I’ve had to admit to some fetching, doe-eyed Pisces or Libra that I was a Cancer, and hope that I had not just reminded her that her baby brother died of leukemia when she was 9 years old.
For a while there, we Cancers had decided to call ourselves Moon Children, but I could never say such a thing with a straight face. That sounded like I was cosmically predestined to habitually expose my bare backside to passing cars – another visual you try to avoid on a second date.
But all that’s over now, because today, I am a Gemini.
This news comes courtesy of astronomers in Minnesota who are telling us that our Zodiac signs aren’t what we think they are. The original calculations of the Zodiac are about 3,000 years old. So a few wise guys in Minnesota decided to do a little recalibration and, because the Earth had tilted on its axis a bit since then, bam, a Cancer wakes up as a Gemini.
To be clear, all the Minnesota astronomers were doing was reorienting the Zodiac to constellations, instead of the seasons, which has always been the Western way to do it. But still, the Internet has been in full-on panic mode because it appears all our signs have changed.
Annoying? Yeah, a little bit. It’s like living your whole life as a cow until you catch your reflection in a pond and realize that you’re a horse.
For decades, I’ve been told that, as a Cancer, I’m quiet, reflective, romantically inclined and home-oriented. So, that’s how my personality evolved. I mean, c’mon, you can’t argue with the stars!
But now, as a Gemini, I’m supposed to be intellectually oriented, glib and logical with a weakness for sarcasm. Wait a sec – I’ve been play-acting Tom Hanks my whole life, when in fact I’m Bill Maher? Hey, I want a do-over! Just think of how much better all those second dates might have turned out if I only knew I was celestially ordained to be smart and funny.
What a can o’ worms these meddling scientists have opened. Why can’t science do what it’s supposed to do – create cool new gadgets and prescription drugs – and leave our self-justifying magical thinking alone? Do us a favor – don’t start applying your scientific reasoning to whether celebrity deaths come in threes. Please, let us keep something.
Even though it means I have to get new business cards and license plates, I am generally OK about my new designation. But millions are not. Couples that have been happily together for 20 years may suddenly find out they’re really incompatible. Sure, you can pretend this bombshell never happened. But let’s say you came to peace with the fact that he never rinses out his cereal bowl – meaning you have to get the sandblaster out a couple of hours later to get all those dried Mini-Wheats off your best pottery – because he’s a Virgo and that’s just how Virgos are. Now what are you thinking? “Hey, he’s not a Virgo, he’s just a jerk! I don’t have to live with this!”
Let’s say you’ve been in sales for 20 years and today, you learn you were actually destined to live the life of Paul Gauguin, painting nudes and sunsets in some post-colonial town of white stucco somewhere in the tropical latitudes. Feel good this morning struggling to get the coffee stain out of your best staff-meeting tie?
Just be kind to yourself and don’t ruminate on all those guys/gals you dumped or avoided because Linda Goodman’s “Love Signs” told you to. Don’t think about all those jobs you passed over, or moves you didn’t make. Don’t remember all those times you thought, “Y’know, I’d really like to go to Burning Man, paint myself Smurf blue and walk around naked all day, but I can’t, because I’m a Sagittarius and it would be a disaster. Think I’ll rent a movie instead.” That way only lies torment.
Hope you Minnesota stargazers sleep well at night – or day, whenever stargazers sleep. This is all on you. I guess you’re just too good to have ever based a life-altering decision on 3,000-year-old Babylonian mythology.
Now, thanks to you, I have to break the news to my lovely spouse, who has forever thought herself to be a Leo, and has developed a positively lion-esque power and dignity that I’ve always found to be the source of her considerable charisma.
Now, I have to sit down at the kitchen table and tell my lioness that she’s actually – I can’t believe it – a Cancer.
That’s right. I’m no longer a Cancer. Instead, I only have to live with a Cancer the rest of my days.
Very funny, Minnesota. Very funny.