Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who confuses ‘astronomy’ and ‘astrology’. I have to think really hard to remember which one involves planets and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and which one says that I’m a Virgo with Scorpio rising. Which BTW means the following (or so the internet just told me): “Scorpio rising – you come across as secretive, powerful, dominating, enduring, intuitive, assertive, charismatic, magnetic, willful, daring, clear-sighted, passionate, creative, independent, vigorous, generous, loyal, hard-working, persevering, indomitable, possessive, shrewd, stubborn, ambitious, instinctive, tenacious, sexual, sexy, proud, intense and competitive. But you may also be aggressive, destructive, stubborn, anxious, tyrannical, perverse, sadistic, violent, self-centered, complex, critical, cruel, nasty, jealous, calculating, vulnerable and dissembling.”
That’s a fuckload of adjectives but they still managed to leave out thin-haired, hedonistic, and pathologically unable to refill the ice-cube tray.
The Scorpio rising description was information overload so I couldn’t be bothered to look up my Moon sign. Here’s a nice photo of Moons Over My Hammy though. You can order this next time you’re at Denny’s.
During my tween years, I discovered astrologer Jeane Dixon, who is pictured below either receiving a divine signal or getting a migraine.
Jeane arrived on the scene in a big way when she told Franklin D. Roosevelt that he had less than six months to live. Shortly after this forecast was published in the papers, he unexpectedly died. People were like, WHA-AT? She suddenly had some cache. And then some cash, once she syndicated her daily horoscopes. Those horoscopes ran in our local small-town paper, and were so vague they could portend just about anything. “Today, you will encounter someone difficult.” Wow – you’re really going out on a limb with that one, Jeane. But what was I expecting? I wanted the stars to tell me whether Bruce Watkins would invite me to the 8th grade dinner-dance, but on this and every other burning question my 13-year-old self had, the Virgo horoscope was maddeningly silent.
The inability to differentiate astrology and astronomy has been with me my whole life. During college at the University of Illinois I took an astronomy class. You’d think this would have clarified the issue in my mind, but you’d be wrong. Possibly because I hated the boring-ass professor, skipped class a lot, and got a C.
Maybe part of my problem was that during the same time period, First Lady Nancy Reagan famously consulted an astrologer. She wanted help after John Hinckley (in an attempt to impress Jodie Foster) tried to assassinate the president. The media gave her a ton of shit so the White House tried to downplay the whole thing. But Ronnie’s former Chief of Staff later reported that the astrologer had advised about the best timing for just about everything: summit meetings, debates, Ronnie’s 1985 cancer surgery, and even departure times for Air Force One. Nancy reportedly paid the
astronomer astrologer $3000 a month. The semi-famous, semi-hidden woman later wrote a memoir:
Nancy also wrote a memoir. In it, she addressed the astrology controversy by saying that Ronnie had told her, “If it makes you feel better, go ahead and do it. But be careful. It might look a little odd if it ever came out.” I have to say, as much as I think Ronald Reagan was a complete asshat, that advice is actually helpful for EVERYTHING YOU EVER DO. Because it will come out. Everyone’s got video on their phone.