Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Last Known Survivor Stalks His Prey in the Night

Besides being Valentine's Day, the day when pre-Christian Europeans believed that the birds selected their mates for the spring, today begins the Chinese New Year, which will be the Year of the Tiger, specifically the Year of the Metal Tiger.

"A year of small but numerous irritations," warns my worn copy of Theodora Lau's The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, addressing those born in a Year of the Snake (e.g., me).  It looks like a year for me to be drawn into other people's conflicts.  As I recall, such was the case back in 1998, the last tiger year--the year I pulled up my stakes and moved to North Carolina on the expectation that a friend had found me a position in industry that would make my fortune, but then her 10+-year love relationship suddenly fell apart, which then became a focus for both her and me, dashing my hopes for the lucrative position, which, I suspect now, I never would have liked anyway--so, though I see myself as anything but superstitious, the prophecy rings true.

Lau sensibly advises me and my fellow snakes to hold on to our sense of humor and not be vengeful.  The trouble is ... we snakes rarely have years lucky enough that we do not need a good sense of humor ... a good year for us is lackluster, a good year is the one when not much is expected, thus not much disappoints.  What I like about Chinese astrology is that it does not blow a lot of smoke up one's ass.

We have just left the Year of the Ox, a year of drudgery and hard work.  The tiger year, by contrast, is "explosive."  "It usually begins with a bang and ends with a whimper," Lau tells us.  "A year earmarked for war, disagreement and disasters of all kinds."  Looks like we have had a good jump on the tiger year these past few years.

"But it will also be a big, bold year."  Now that's something ... because despite the grandiose scale of Haitian earthquakes and east coast blizzards, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the emergence of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck as political forces to be reckoned with, the disasters of the last several years have had a blandly bureaucratic air to them, the news delivered to us through our mass media in terms of debit columns and credit columns, the end of the world amortized over, well, actually, the last thirty years or so.

"Nothing will be done on a small, timid scale."  Hear that, Congressional Democrats?  "Everything, good and bad, can and will be carried to extremes."  Extreme good might be interesting, eh?  For a change?  What exactly would extreme good entail, anyway?  "[T]he forceful and vigorous Tiger year can also be used to inject new life and vitality into lost causes, sinking ventures and drab or failing industries."  Which means, as I see it, it may be a good year for health-care reform ... General Motors ... or the Republican Party.

"The fiery heat of the Tiger's year will no doubt touch everyone's life.  In spite of its negative aspects, we must realize that it could have a cleansing effect."  Great.  Just great.  The year of the kind of painful high colonic.  Can't wait.

The birds have it figured out.  The birds of Europe do, at any rate.  Instead of bracing themselves for the coming conflagration, they are busy picking out who'd they'd like to fuck in the next six weeks.  Spring will happen--perhaps a colder, more "silent" spring than in years before--but some nookie will be gotten, hearts will beat faster--then, next year, on February 14th, cock-robin gets to do it all over again with a brand new piece of tail.

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