DARE I WRITE THIS? I suppose I’d best: yesterday was my 66th birthday—I’ve made it this far! This is no big deal to those who have known the West Coast version of me: staid and rather predictably unadventurous. Boring, in fact. (But considerate, no matter what my ex says!)
But to those who know only the old East Coast version of me, and remember the wild and woolly ’70s when I was over-busy sewing my wild odes, may be surprised that I have made it to this stage.
I looked in the mirror and saw a beast with seven heads with ten horns looking back at me!
And I was predictably boring on my birthday, spending most of it farting around with a new look for my websites, working on writing on too many articles at once, puttering around the house (mostly assisting my neighbor Tom Fitzgerald diagnose the unwellness plaguing my air conditioning unit), and generally bitching and moaning about the weather!
So I woke up this morning and made my usual mug of coffee with two parts Cafe Bustello with one part Peet’s French Roast and laced it with a generous dollop of light brown sugar. Then I went to my computer and looked for some thinking music on YouTube.
Today it was the Attacca Quartet performing Joseph Haydn’s Quartet in C Major, Opus 76, Number 3—popularly referred to as the “Emperor Quartet.” (Give it a listen and you’ll know why.)
Then I visited Facebook. I had spent hours there yesterday thanking each friend who had extended a birthday greeting to me, but still had a few late arrivals. I typed in the final “thank you” and then noticed the number of birthday posts that I had received and there it was—666 birthdays notifications!
I’m not a believer, but that unnerved me. Then I opened Outlook to check my email and saw the number of unopened messages (highlighted in bold type) in the first three categories in the panel on the left side of Outlook.
Inbox total: 6
Clutter total: 6
Junk Email total: 6
Got that? 666 again.
It gets worse: right below those three numbers were Deleted Items. Guess how many . . .
Suddenly I was 12-years-old again and taking Catechism classes every Thursday afternoon, listening to hoary old nuns prattle on about this and that and dogma and God and Heaven and Jesus and Mary and Hell and Lucifer!
And so it was that on my birthday I finally knew my place in the great scheme of things and the work that entailed.
I could only come to one conclusion: the coincidental appearance—and I don’t believe in coincidences—of all these sixes was The Sign!
This made me remember the parents of all those girls I dated in the ’70s: most of them were Irish, Italian, and Polish—meaning most of them were Catholic. And their parents all thought I was the Devil! This had always confused me, but at that moment I accepted it.
I knew that everything was different: I had been transformed transfigured transmutated. I had been trans-ed this and trans-ed that.
Hell’s Belles—I had been transmogrified!
I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and for a split second thought, I saw a beast with seven heads with ten horns looking back at me. I was pretty hot stuff!
And so it was that on my 66th birthday it came to be that I finally knew my place in the great scheme of things and the work that entailed. Now, what part of that work should I do first?
I suppose I could start my labors by shaving off a part of my beard and keeping a pointed goatee, which tends to highlight my cheekbones.
Or I could start wearing all black, as it has such a slimming effect on my hips and waist.
Or I could finally cave into Edwin’s desire to cut my long hair “his way” and make me look “naked and sexy.”
Or I could start by giving up the brown sugar in my coffee, lest anyone get the notion that this Anti-Christ is anything less than a manly man . . .
FEATURED IMAGE: This is how Gustave Doré envisioned me in one of my earlier manifestations (illustration for Milton’s Paradise Lost, 1866). Here’s a little secret: I rarely sat down in those days, certainly not when posing for a major artist. Aside from how much more forebodingly impressive I looked standing on those cloven hoofs, sitting on my damn tail for too long played havoc with my sciatic nerve!