Stephen King relates a story in "Dance Macabre," about people saying "they should be writers." Mr. King opines that if you think you "should" be a writer, you probably aren't. Writers write because they're compelled to. And, so here I am
Witness To Tragedy
What would you think of a man who was present and yet not at all involved in 3/4 of the in-office assassinations of United States' Presidents. His proximity to untimely death made him feel "cursed." We might think this was a particularly unlucky person. Yet he was born as the closest thing we have to a royal family in the United States. Robert Todd Lincoln was born to President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln on August 1, 1843. He winessed death early and often as he was the only Lincoln child of his parents' four children to live to adulthood. Although, even then, he might have died an untimely death in his youth were it not for the sudden actions of a stranger whose surname would eventually be infamous.
What we don't know about the universe would easily eclipse what we do. It's not even a contest. The unknown is much more prevalent than the known. So, when I say that I do not believe in astrology, I probably mean that I don't understand how stars and planets being aligned on your day of birth would impact your personality. I was appropriately named "Thomas" as in the biblical precursor, "Doubting Thomas." So, when people say things like "typical Aries...you're such a Leo...I knew you were a Virgo..." and so on, I think, yeah, sure. A group called "Imperial Drag" has a great song called "Zodiac Sign" where the singer says, "I'm unoriginal, it's fine/I wanna know about your Zodiac Sign." Sorry, people, grouping people in these large swaths of personality traits based upon their birthdays seems too random. I believe in nature and nurture. We are born into our circumstances to those who bore us and we develop our personalities, our drives, our sense of humor, our proclivities and eventually find our way to whatever vocations, avocations, intellectual pursuits, kinks, etc from our lives hence. To this very point, my mother was prone to note that both her brother, a Vietnam Veteran and erstwhile ne'er do well, and Adolf Hitler, a notorious, evil, murderous dictator, were both born on April 20th. Their similarities? They both liked dogs.
Debt Worth It started innocently enough, as I suppose all addictions do. Karen’s concern over her bills had caused her to start writing down her outstanding debts, the money she had on hand, her incoming wages and expected or even unexpected purchases. It was a haphazard personal balance sheet for herself that she updated regularly. These were written first on the backs of parking, or ATM or even grocery store receipts after moderate purchases, updating to the minute, her net worth. Periodic, ad hoc calculations kept in a bundle of receipts did not sate her for long. Soon, it became every day. Twice a day. Three times a day. She made a homemade “book” out of paper stapled down the middle and folded. To anyone else, it was a bramble of meaningless numbers. When her ex-boyfriend, Kevin, had given Karen the beautiful, slick, black bound Moleskine notebook, she was beyond thankful. It may have been the most thoughtful gift she had ever received. Kevin had seen her chaotic accounting system and gave her a way to make those notations gracefully, on lined, sturdy pages, with a place at the top to put the date and time. When he gave her the book, he jokingly had labeled it the “captain’s log” as an homage to their mutual love of the kitsch “Star Trek” series of the 1960s. Although Captain Kirk was the one who made notations in the “captain’s log” each week, Karen was much more the logical, restrained, precise, less emotional Mr. Spock, drafting her updated net worth any time she made a significant transaction. Her thoughts, concerns, anxieties and even dreams were reduced to numbers on a page.