Hor(r)o(r)scopic Contemplations

Frankly, anything I say to you is useless and probably more deceiving than revealing. I tell so much truth in my poetry that I’m a fool if I say more. To really get at the truth of something is the poem, not the poet.

Anne Sexton (1928-1974; American poet known for her confessional verse. “Interview with Patricia Marx,” The Hudson Review, Winter, 1965-66, Vol. 18, No. 4)

Ask my siblings what they think of first when they think of me, and they will probably say, “Turkey.” Mind you: they don’t think that I’m a turkey as in inept, stupid, or naïve. In fact, they are proud of their baby brother. (When you’re the youngest in any family, you’re always the baby, even when you are a Septuagenarian.) And my oldest sister Audrey, an Octogenarian, is especially proud of my blog. She’s patient enough to let me read my post to her by phone each week, the night before I publish. It’s become part of our cherished routine.

But here’s why my five siblings think of turkey first when they think of me.

They were born at home. I, on the other hand, was born in a hospital on November 20. By the time my mother and I made the trip back home–via an ambulance, no less! What an auspicious beginning, especially for a coal-camp baby!–she was not up to preparing the usual dinner for the occasion. It’s a Thanksgiving they will never forget. I won’t either. They won’t let me. The horror of it all.

Obviously, since I celebrated my 75th birthday yesterday and since Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, the connection between the two events is nearly as strong as it was the year that I was born and knocked my family out of a turkey.

Somehow that connection has set me to thinking about other major world, national, state or local events that took place the year that I was born. Maybe everything was majorly horrific.

Indeed, some say that things are rather horrific these days. Just last week I heard someone talking about how high grocery prices are and that it’s getting harder and harder to bring home the bacon and eggs.

I don’t eat a lot of bacon, so I haven’t paid close attention to those prices, rising or otherwise.

But I’m always interested in what things cost. So I did some quick-and-dirty research. Right now, bacon costs about $7.22 per pound.

I know more about eggs than I do bacon. I bake a lot, and I buy lots and lots of eggs. Believe me: they are pricey at $3.95 a dozen.

Just for the sake of comparison, when I was born in 1947, bacon was 64 cents per pound. But don’t start salivating for the olden days. Adjusted for inflation, that pound of bacon comes to $7.76. As for the eggs, in 1947, you’d pay 70 cents for a dozen. Adjusted for inflation $8.16.

But since it’s Thanksgiving week, what about the turkey dinner? This year, it seems that a traditional, classic Thanksgiving feast is more expensive not only because of inflation but also because of supply chain interruptions and the avian flu. But just how horrific is it? The average cost of this year’s holiday meal for 10 is $64.05.

In 1947, the same meal for a family of ten cost $5.68. Again, don’t start drooling over the olden days. Adjusted for inflation, it would be $48.16.

Viewed from those inflation-adjusted perspectives, maybe it’s not that much harder to bring home the Thanksgiving dinner, the bacon, and the eggs than it was 75 years ago.

But I have to share something else with you. (Thanksgiving, after all, is all about sharing.) While I was researching my birth-year food prices, I stumbled upon my horroroscope for 1947. Oops! I meant horoscope. Somehow mine always seem so horrible that the misspelling comes naturally.

Yet let me share something utterly amazing. Even when they seem horrible–and sometimes downright insulting–I still enjoy reading them. But, hey. Don’t worry. I’m a savvy horrorscope reader. Here’s the trick that I use to always end up with the best scopes! I keep browsing until I find the one that I like. Then I grab hold and refuse to let go. Be forewarned. I am Scorpio. I never let go. Proceed at your own risk.

Still with me? You are a Brave Soul, Dear Reader! Read on.

When I stumbled upon my 1947 horrorscope, I was so intrigued that I saved it in my virtual Horrorscope Folder, along with the thousands upon thousands of others that I have saved. Do the math. Start with the age of accountability. (For me, that was four; I was remarkably precocious and precociously remarkable. And, let me assure you: I was as modest then as I am now.) Continue from that age forward with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly horrorscopes. I am appalled not by the numbers–I just did my own math–but by the fact that I just revealed so much to the entire world. Trying to cover it up now, though, will do no good whatsoever.

So I’ll just keep right on with my reveal, picking right up with my 1947 horrorscope.

“Fierce, Intense, Ambitious, and Loyal. Scorpios question everything, and work hard to understand all things. Are very intense, loyal and kind. Jovial, Honest, Perfectionist, Protective, Inventive.”

OMG! That is so me. I’ll put this one in my Virtual Folder. KEEP.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll UNKEEP it, especially the next part that I just now saw:

“But do not take their easy going attitude for weakness. This element is known to be one of the most ferocious and powerful of them all. Be extensively cautious when they’re in an off mood and don’t force them into an unfavorable situation they don’t want to be in.”

Hmpff. I don’t like that at all. It’s not me. Well, I have an easy fix. UNKEEP. Better still, I’ll just redact it. There. I did it. You’ll probably forget the horrific assassination upon my character. I hope so. Sadly, I won’t. The insult will linger, long. And I will hang on to it, long. And I will get even.

Well, that ended up being an unexpected downer. Maybe I will recover by reviewing what my horoscope happened to be at the start of this year. I kept it, so it must have captured my fancy in one way or three:

“A brand-new Scorpio is emerging!  Welcome reinvention vibes. The year ahead evokes an important process that only happens a few times in your life. But first, you must shed layers of yourself that are no longer ‘you,’ parts of your identity that were constructed from pain or past experiences rather than forged from an authentic sense of ‘This is who I am.’ [ … ] A heart-fluttering new romance to artistic projects to buzzworthy fame […]  drawn to someone wildly different than your usual ‘type’  […] Take charge of your erotic desires, even if that exploration takes you off the beaten path.”

OMG. This is so good. Now I remember why I kept it. Thirst. KEEP. Yes. KEEP.

And what about November 19, the last day of my 74th year?

“You’ve experienced a tragic ending or two, and it’s made you distrustful of the world. But, the truth is, things are happening for and not to you. […] Embrace the transformation process […]  You’re going to meet a new version of you on the other side of this storm!”

Bring it on! I am ready! KEEP.

Better still, what about my horoscope yesterday when I turned 75?

“You’ve breathed new life into romance today […]  You […] get into an esteemed institution. […] You’ll be starting a daily connection with a new romantic interest who may actually live far away from you. Despite the practical difficulties, you are curious as to what this might develop into.”

Damms. Romance? Far away? Be still, my beating heart. That’s so good that I’m tempted to call it quits right here and now. And I’m about to wrap things up, but first things first. KEEP.

Since I started this post with food–turkey and Thanksgiving and such–I suppose it would be fitting and seemly for me to stuff a little more food into the post. Horrorscopic food, that is.

“Scorpios tend to love extremes, and they can get bored with some of the typical tastes of the Thanksgiving table, since it’s the same year after year. But with its bright flavor and candy-colored appearance, cranberry sauce keeps things interesting. From its blood-red color to its intensely sweet and tangy flavor, it adds a complex yet satisfying zing to a Thanksgiving meal. No canned cranberry sauce on Scorpio’s Thanksgiving menu, please!”


UNKEEP because my good friend Fr–k and his good wife B–b and their good friend J—s are joining me for Thanksgiving dinner, and Fr–k specifically requested canned, jellied cranberry sauce. And he shall have it. (And he shall never know that when I reached for the canned, jellied cranberry sauce, I had to use my smelling salts to keep from passing out right there in the grocery store.)

But to be faithful to my wild and exotic Scorpionic side, I will also offer up a second cranberry sauce, with fresh cranberries popping in Grand Marnier, along with orange zest, and ground ginger. I will add candied ginger after it’s cooked, just to take it over the top. When I’m complex, I’m complex. When I take it up a notch or five, I’m better. (Thank you, Mae West.)

Maybe our hor(r)o(r)scopic contemplations aren’t so horrible after all. Maybe we can control our narratives by making inflationary adjustments, literally and metaphorically. Maybe we can make judicious decisions about our narratives: what to put in (and what to leave out). Then, with a little luck and a smidgen of stardust, maybe our narratives–our self-fulfilling prophecies–won’t be horrific after all.