Virgo 0° (August 19)
Woops I just realized that I’ve gotten ahead of myself on the degrees. Meaning I forgot in this process to let some days go by. So now I will wait until we actually do enter Virgo, which is not for another four days, to resume this Blague. I’ll see you Sunday!
And of course, the next card I pick is Death. Typically, this would weird me out, but what with having just picked the Devil, which was remarkably accurate given the last two days’ events, we are now indeed in a new era, if an uncertain one, where the pseudo peace has gone out of this place and the year ahead, busy as it will be, shall now be marred by this incident. Yet it is probably the push we need to get the ef out of Dodge. I am living like a specter here in any case, no longer a part of the fabric, cancelled in the landscape of the town at the end of the road, pushed and priced out, quite frankly, lest I were to live in tiny digs for too much money. They can have it, I mean this sincerely. I want to go North. Nothing will happen until the Spring, in any case. The trick is to stay healthy and to throw away everything we do not need so that when it arrives we can pull up stakes and bugger the freak off.
The following blocks of text are exceprts from my first year of Blagues, nos. 726-730. I am reading through all of my Blagues, five per day, and posting some samples here. Now, in my sixth year of writing this Blague, by the time I get to my seventh, I will have journeyed through all the daily Blagues of my first five years. If that’s confusing I apologize. Year seven, I’ll only have to read through year six, once a day.
There was a Cadillac for father’s escape every morning before I awoke, weekdays, and to bring him back home again after I was asleep at night. There was a Buick for mother to go to Stop & Shop and Sealfons, a dress shop in neighboring Ridgewood, and to have a boozy lunch at the Steve Wartendyke Inn where she would meet her decorator, Fred, the spitting image of Joel Grey, who carpeted, draped, fabric paneled, Italian tiled, door knobbed, linoleumed, painted, papered, corniced, sconced and labricaned and furnished all the rooms except for the would-be woodsy suburbanite rich kid. The interior of the house was frankly so beautiful, when one stepped into the otherwise ordinary looking cedar-shingled and suttered split level one had the sense of being truly transported.
Sister didn’t like eating with her brother—he must have put her off her food—so mother would feed them separatey, in shifts, and just drink her drinks and maybe eat late with father if he hadn’t already dined gluttonously on Steak Diane or some such post work with clients or his team of worshipful underthings, the only kind of underlings he could have; most likely he was fucking some new hire as rubbers could be found in his attaché case. But we were going to touch only briefly on the rich kid and get back to the beach bum so let us do that.
In the summer he only saw father, who stayed up north, on the weekends and not always then. So you can imagine how beachy and ultimately bummy things could get. With no watchful eye, mother drank increasingly, her own gaze not only naturally turning inward, now, but also veering off in different directions. Mother and sister separately seeked to get away with their own brand of murder and in time the beach bum followed suit, first in the 1910 six bedroom they rented two blocks from the beach and ultimately one they bought, which had seven bedrooms, one block from it. The first house belonged to a Pennsylvania family called the Traces. They weren’t Amish but they seemed like they were, all the boys having haircuts that looked like their father placed a bowl on their heac and cut around. They were in fact Catholic because the house was left to them by a late Monsignor friend of the family. The furniture looked like it belonged in a church. Everything was heavy and dark and overly carved and ornate. The wood surfaces, due to the salt air, could be scraped with your fingernail and cabinet doors and draws all had old fashioned keys in them; and when opened they gave off a heady whiff of age and repression and fear. There were crucifixes everywhere which will factor into a story that will happen a bit later, when the beach bum is eleven and he’s made to swear on these gory wall-hangings that he’ll never tell another living soul what is “about to happen.”
But for now, in the years leading up to that pivotal event he would awake, summers, and fix himself some cereal and grab his raft and head to the beach to meet Steven. On rainy days they would play Monopoly or hit the arcade. Steven found two abandon pidgeon babies and raised them. His plan was to teach Hawkeye and Chopper to be homing and carrier pidgeons. One of them pooped on the beach bum’s bare thigh. There was always a time, during the course of the summer, when he would need a break from Steven who was given to bullying in one way or another. The summer would often start out great, the pair sharing tales from the previous school year. Both were in school musicals, typically, and if they knew some songs in common they’d walk out to the end of one of the beach’s long jettys, sing on it and sing loudly to the sea. They would be taken by the mother and her gaggle of friends, all of them, too, from Jersey City, to Seaside Heights to ride the rides, eat frozen custard and suqirt water into clown heads in hopes of winning an ugly stuffed animal they’d never end up taking home. And those endless days of rafting and body surfing and the recovery time from chafed nipples or chestcolds from the constant water logging. They might build some fish nets out of old window screens and rub them with wet bread to capture some of the introduced fish in the man-made lake Como near their houses, which were only two blocks away. But soon they would tire of each other or one or the other would have visiting friends or cousins and be happy for the excuse to take some time apart.
Steven’s cousin T.J. would visit and that was always a natural break because Steven was strangely covetous of his time alone with his cousin, never sharing the experience, when the boys reached teen age this would be especially obvious. Many years later, decades after Steven’s death at the age of twenty-six, he would learn from Steven’s brother Barry some tidbits of information that cast some sensical light on the situation. Steven, who you might say was “all boy” had two older brothers, Barry and Michael. It would have been obvious to anyone who wasn’t eight years old, probably, that Barry and Michael were gay. Barry was the same age as sad Lisa and they had similar caustic personalities it seemed to the beach bum. He saw Barry treat Steven the same way Lisa treated him. Like an annoying non entity. Both Michael and Barry were seriously skinny, Michael in particular; and both wore binkini swimsuits and were rather hairy. You wouldn’t say they wore Speedos because that would suggest an athleticism. Michael looked like you could touch your middle finger to your thumb if you wrapped it around his bicep. He was tiny and lisped. Barry was quite tall and lithe and had the kind of terrible posture that would make a great female model. His sunk his chest, hunched his shoulders forward and jutted out his hips always collapsing into one side or other.
The first time the beach bum saw an avocado was at Steven’s house. He thought Steven’s father was foreign, from Israel he figured, not realizing that he could have a think Yiddish accent and be American. Steven’s mother ran the office of the biggest synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where Steven’s funeral would be prematurely held. Later in life he might describe Steven’s home and family environment as kibbutz-y. The household smacked of communal living. There were always huge bowls of fruits and vegetables, some looking exotic like the avocado—mangos, papayas and such that you might sometime see at the supermarket but never buy. During the week it was Steven and his brothers and his mother and her sister who might have been unmarried or maybe had a husband one never saw. There was Steven’s grandmother and her sister Bessie. Aunt Bessie. The bum called her Aunt Bessie and Steven’s grandmother grandma. Every day he climbed the steps to their front portch where they all sat in chairs or rockers, Grandma or Aunt Bessie would ask him, “how’s your sister?” Sometimes other great aunts would visit
Steven tormented his grandmother and Aunt Bessie but they didn’t know it. He would say obscene things to them to which they’d reply, “What honey?” Then he would make something up.
“I need a blowjob Aunt Bessie.”
“What Stevie, Honey?”
“My bike needs work. It needs a blow job.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that I suffer from a sort of pee shyness when it comes to being funny. Actually I came to that conclusion fully in writing the previous Blague, which I did just moments ago because (in case you haven’t been tuning in) I’m behind about thirty-four days/blagues and when I say behind that’s a totally arbitrary perspective but I just dealt (not yesterday) in the previous Blague with my weirdness about not being able to not complete things and I don’t want my Blague themes to blur so…the theme of “today’s” Blague is absolutely my inability to whip out my funny and let it flow in a loud and heavy stream. I bet you’ve never used this metaphor for humor before and I’m sure I never will again.
All my life people have been telling me I’m funny. Oh my god you’re the funniest person. Well you know Quinn (or Bill or whatever the fuck you’re calling me) he’s the funniest person. You’re the funniest person. Thanks. The truth is it’s true. But it’s only truly true when I’m with people super close to me. Not to say I haven’t been funny in public. I do write funny things and perform them on a stage. And I tend to write a lot of dialogue because I often perform with Stella as a duo. She writes her own material which is fantastically amazing, but she generally does so for her solo shows or for her solo bits in shows. Sometimes I write monologues for her to say. I’ve written bits and monologues for a number of people. I get my best laughs when other people are delivering the material I created. Most people won’t have realized I’ve written it and I don’t tell them. And hardly anyone reads this so it’s not like suddenly it’s going to go out on the AP service that I write comedy to be performed. Most people think of me as a producer, not so much the talent. Or they think of me as a sort of Desi Arnaz of performing astrologers of which there are exactly two: Stella and myself. Stella has terrific stage presence and when we’re together all eyes tend to be on her anyway. She’s tall and pretty and it’s the way it should be. She’s also a natural born actress and comedian. By the time I’ve hit the stage, typically, I’ve worn fifty other hats from producer to writer to publicist to ticket taker to promoter to the voice you hear introducing us from backstage—something I tend to do in my best Tony Randall voice. You’ve heard my Tony Randall story, right? Where I was in an improv/sketch comedy class and I had this funny act where I played Tony Randall and then a couple of days later I met him and he cast me in his Broadway company? Ah, yes, sometimes the Cosmic Joke in life is not ha-ha funny but eerily so and spritually transcendent. But where was I … oh yeah…
Funny. This Cosmic Blague is meant to be funny dammit. Or at least amusing in its story telling. I know it can’t always ring true on the “cosmic joke” theme because not everything seems as if the Universe is playing pranks on us. But it does enough of the time, right? Enough of the time that we begin a lot of our sentences to one another “you wanna hear something weird?…or you wanna hear something funny?… weird and funny being often interchangable. I’ll leave that for the Deconstructionists to decide. All I know is that it’s hard to be funny on command. Which is the reason I started this Blague: I thought that if I had to try to write something, again, at least amusing everyday then maybe it would exercise my “instrument”, you know, get my juices flowing, my comic mojo working. It’s possible it will. As I said, the first year, I immediately abandoned the funny agenda in favor of musing on these Sabian Symbols which capture, in a phrase, the energy of every day/degree of the zodiac. It became a crutch. It is far easier for me to be metaphysical or philosophical on demand. But not funny. And I’ll tell you another thing:
It’s actually easier, now, for me to tap into my psychic powers at will than it is my comedic ones. How about that? And I bring this up because there are similarities between these two forces. They are forces more than talents. Sure I believe you’re born with a sense of humor or not; just like you’re born with some psychic ability or not. But in both cases they have to be worked because they will go dormant or be lost all together. I can’t believe what I’m about to say: I think my psychicness can be a metaphor for my humor. Okay maybe metaphor’s not exactly what I mean. I mean it is a metaphor for it. But that’s not the point right now. I think that what I mean more acurately is: I should model the fostering of my humor on the cultivation of my psychic power. Then again I suppose I have. But I can really turn up the volume here. I suppose I’m back to metaphor: The thing about the psychic ability is that you can’t second guess it you have to act on it and speak up when you get some kind of “flash” however that might happen for you. It’s the same with humor. We learn that in improv where s/he who hesitates is indeed lost.
Stella turned me onto the Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice, have you seen it. It’s great. And he’s great. It’s all about an improv comedy troupe so the title sort of says it all. I respect Mike Birbiglia because, like many “comedians” I connect with, he really is just a funny storyteller and he’s very clever and I jus think he’s tops. He has his tricks as all comedians do but his aren’t glaring and I feel he works against them which I like. Oh, you see, I’m also a great critic of others’ humor. I’m a great critic period. Which is why I think I’m a Virgo rising. I say I think because I don’t actually know because nobody really remembers when I was born except for that it was morning. And we know it was morning because my Pisces diva mother complained that it was too early. But too early would be like 3 or 4 am, right, not 7 am exactly but I’m not a Leo rising I’m a Virgo rising which means that she didn’t actually have to get up that early. Never mind the fact she wasn’t in labor long because, as she would famously say, I started coming out in the taxi. But you know they didn’t take a taxi to the hospital–my father drove her. But taxi sounds so much more like it happened in a movie, which is the way my mother interpreted all the scenes of her life, in hindsight, with her as the put-upon secretly wise waif, a part that could have easily gone to Sandy Dennis or even Shirley Maclaine.
I loved Sandy Dennis. She used to teach at H.B. studios when I was a student there. I studied with Uta Hagen. You’ve no doubt heard those stories. No? I know I wrote about them in the past. I suppose I’ll have to go back through old Blagues and repackage them into these new Blagues into a funnier way than when I first put them down triggered by some Sabian Symbol I was using as a crutch. Well, they were a crutch to get me writing what I hoped would be comedy; though they weren’t a crutch in and of themselves because some of my metaphysical musings on those symbols are pretty interesting in and of themselves. I have several aspects to my personality. I’d like to say I have seven distinct personalities because that would be a very literal way of describing the prismatic personality of a Libra. See, I think about things all too often in astrological terms. Which isn’t always funny—especially not on stage. But since my stage persona of Quinn Cox grew out of my penname Quinn Cox I thought it would be a grand idea to make astrology funny. To be, as a duo, the Sonny and Cher of astrology. It sort of worked. It still can. But I’m not sure I’ve ever got the balance right. The thing is I’ve now become Quinn Cox, not just in the sense that that is how you (yes you) know me; unless you’re a very dear and old friend who calls be Bill or the magazine crew I worked with in England that calls me William, but in the sense that I morphed into my own creation that originated on paper. Wouldn’t it be smart, I thought, if we took the authors (our pennames) of Sextrology and brought them life. Through these invented characters we could express ourselves. Through the artifice of their creation we could tell untold truths. Little did I know that I would be swallowed by that creature Quinn Cox and that my life would become his life and his talents would become my talents. For it wasn’t until I became Quinn Cox, a character I penned to have been brought up by Celtic mystics and who himself had strong, for lack of a better word, supernatural, powers only to discover it was all true. All true.
So there was a New Moon recently. And on the day of the New Moon we awoke to an energetic landscape that was buzzy and alive. You know the sort. Everyday, when you think about it, has a personality that greets you. And, most often in the Spring, there is a day that is eager to wake you like a dog licking your face. The morning of the New Moon was such a day. It felt like the last day of school or the day of the opening of your play or when you’re due to be given an award or something. Anyway it was a sanguine day, the opposite of gloomy, and we had two private clients that day by Skype to look forward to and we both felt fueled with insight and guidance.
Just after breakfast we heard a loud bang upstairs. We ignored it until later when we’d finished our work. And when we went upstairs we saw that one set of books that ad been safely and tightly tucked into a very deep cubby in one section of our bookshelf had flung out into the room in a splay, which we didn’t touch. (It was four days ago and we still haven’t moved them by the way.) The books each had very strong significance, some of them to the very conversation we had had downstairs around breakfast when the crash occured. It spooked out even us. But not in a scary way. The overall energetic sense was benign, just like the tone of the day. Still very potent. I think of Glinda’s description of the Wizard of Oz “oh, very good but very mysterious.” The other strange thing is that I had just that morning, for the first time in months, resumed reading this biography of Carl Jung that I began months ago—the book had been bedside in the Winter when I moved it into our guestroom and I had just brought it back bedside, the night before, to read that morning upon waking. As with all books I read I removed the cover and it had been ages since I even knew where that jacket was.
Well, besides the relevance of each of the books that were splayed out like runs upon the floor, the book jacket to the Jung book was standing up on the eye-level shelf from whence the books cascaded—standing up and facing out as if one had placed it there so to read the back jacket, hands-free, while facing the shelf. Now, I know I needed to not let that autobiography be put aside for long. I know that I am meant to know more about Carl Jung then I do. I know that I will encounter myriad points of connection as I continue through the biography, and I’ll be back here picking up that particular thread of this conversation but we’ll leave that for now, just as we left the books on the floor, yet ready to move them as we know it will require some ritualizing of the experience. Do you think we’re weird? Not that I care.
Though we had planned to work after our second client we decided (or rather it was decided) we needed to go for a drive. Now one of the topics of conversation twinkling in the air around us that day centered on our previous existence as thirty-something home owners in a quaint town up Cape Cod a bit. Over a decade ago we would go for walks most afternoons in the village of Chatham and, without giving it any thought, it struck us that we should go to Chatham and take our old walk through the village to the beach. Great. Off we went and soon we were there strolling in the crisp Spring late afternoon air. We traced our old steps and we discussed how the old houses on our path had changed, many being renovated and losing their lovely old spooky gothic feel. Except for one stretch where it seemed all the neighbors had made a pact to keep things exactly the way they were since the last time, over a decade, we strolled through the quiet secret roads of the village. Then all of a sudden we happened upon a house with a separate barn against whose doors were leaning a sign on its side on which were written in big letters New Moon, next to a portrait of a crescent one.
Now you see that would have been kismet enough to happen upon a New Moon sign on the New Moon while strolling down memory lane in real physical form, but there’s more to it: This was the very sign that hung outside the New Moon restaurant to which we would go every night in the other little quaint Cape Cod town in which we owned our house and where we wrote Sextrology every day for many years, often so intensely that we didn’t have the energy or bandwidth to also shop and cook and so we would go to the only decent open restaurant in our town for dinner, as I said, most nights, over the course of several years and one year in particular when we reconnected with a dear old friend from our Paris years some fifteen years before that, an important connection that has recently impacted the writing of what will be our next book and, some of you might have guessed this, the one person in the world most connected, energetically to the books that flew off our shelf just that morning.
When I was a junior in high school I was hit by a school bus. Well, more accurately the car in which I was riding to school was hit by a school bus. I often grabbed a ride with my neighbors, my dear friend Karen Siegel who was in my grade and with whom I was thick as thieves, and her brother Jeff, a senior, who had an open top Jeep with a roll bar. Karen had a long perm and flakey skin from a surplus of acne meds and she talked staggeringly and moved shiftily and apologetically, on purpose, in what was a total aping of Diane Keaton in any Woody Allen movie ever, but especially Annie Hall. Jeff tried to look cool but he was a geek and had floppy blond hair and wore some kind of granny glasses. He looked like a Jewish John Denver.
There was one main road that full school busses traveled up to reach the large circular drive in front of our “regional” high school, and down which the empty busses would depart. And there was a small road, just one, that ended at that larger road, that we would arrive at, to make a left onto the main drive, timing our turn correctly between the arriving and departing busses passing in either direction perpendicularly before us.
“I think we can make it” was the last thing I remembered Jeff saying before the collision was over. One bus, I’m not sure now whether it was a full arriving one or an empty departing one, slammed into us. No Jeff you cannot make it you stupid nerdy muppet. What happened was the school bus hit us and we flipped completely over rolling on that bar which was living up to its name—can you believe that roll bar actually got use?—such that we landed upright again, a total 360. It was barely the eighties so we weren’t wearing seatbelts of course; so I think Karen and Jeff “stayed” in the car by virtue of centrifugal force but I, loose as a goose in the back seat, with said roll bar available for my own flipping pleasure, apparently smashed my head and face against it as we did the roll which, while upside down, must have “pushed” me back into my upside-down seat and luckily it happened so fast that we were upright again in a flash and it wasn’t so slow a roll that I was crushed under the roll bar or otherwise flung from the Jeep, until the very last moment of impact which I can’t help but imagine was like when Dorothy’s house landed on the witch of the East. Anyway, I was on the pavement.
All I knew were bananas and Bruce Springsteen. I don’t know if you’ve ever had amnesia but when you do you don’t actually remember anything. You just know a couple of things. I knew the smell and taste of something called banana, and I knew the sound of a sound and that it had a name and that name was Bruce Springsteen. I couldn’t tell you what a banana looked like or what it was. I just knew banana. And I couldn’t describe Bruce Springsteen or even know Bruce Springsteen was a person let alone a singer I just knew he was what had been in my ears the last time I knew I had something called ears. I was messed up. And I was bleeding all over the place and Karen, who had absolutely nothing at all wrong with her, was pulling me to my feet. I don’t know if it was Jeff or the voices in my head but all I could hear was “don’t move him, you never move an accident victim.” But either Karen didn’t give a fuck what her fucked up brother, who would only sustained broken forearm, was saying OR she couldn’t hear the voices in my head so she walked me to the nurse’s office.
I wasn’t quite back in reality but bits and pieces were beginning to return in jigsaw fashion; but obviously I was not in my right mind because the first thing I did was reach into my pocket to dig out my black wooded bowl and cloudy, sticky baggy of what was left of some larger amount of not very good pot and hand it to the nurse who was probably sixty and slender with some Reagan era version of the 1940s hairdo she wore in her twenties, which was tucked under her white cap to match her pristine tight startk white polyester—school nurses actually looked like nurses once, remember—onto which i was somehow dripping blood.
“Oh dear,” she said. I remember that distinctly. Because I recall thinking she was more concerned about the blood I was getting on her dress than she was about the fact that my head was actually a blood fountain that was spurting all over her. Then again “oh dear” was probably due to the fact that she probably had never touched a bowl or a bag of pot before as this was something she only experienced heretorfore in the abstract via the propogandist anti-drug films they still trotted out since they first showed them to students in the 1960s for us to see in health class, in which, she made cameo appearances. Actually, i think it was a triple-layered “oh dear”; she was actually saying “oh dear” about the blood on her dress, the blood spurting out of my skull, and the bag and bowl I was simultaneously shoving into her hand, all at the same time. Three “oh dears” said all at once. And why would I give our lovely innocent, to me, then, rather elderly nurse my bag and bowl? Because somewhere I was aware that people in uniforms of some sort would be arriving and that I shouldn’t have that shit on me. It never occured to me I was giving it directly into the hands of a school official that would, of course, bring it to the principal who was not, and never would be, my pal.
I’m going to stop there. It’s a long story and I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow!
To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Cosmic Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree point of the Sabian Symbol may at times be one degree higher than the one listed here. The Blague portrays the starting degree of for this day ( 0°, for instance), as I typically post in the morning, while the Sabian number corresponds to the end point (1°) of that same 0°-1° period. There are 360 degrees spread over 365/6 days per year—so they nearly, but not exactly, correlate.
Typos happen. I don’t have a proofreader. And I like to just write, post and go!
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