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Istock column — Silly signs from the stars

By Tim Istock
For the Clemmons Courier

Top of the morning, one and all. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful I feel today — so relaxed, so secure, so brimming with confidence. No, I didn’t just win the lottery or the Publishers Clearing House giveaway, although that would have been sweet also. But what I did stumble across is ultimately no less dramatic in terms of its potentially far reaching impact on my life. You see, up to this point in my rather mundane existence, I’ve been like a fish out of water, flailing and floundering but ultimately getting nowhere fast, my sorry life a textbook lesson in futility and uncertainty. But now, thanks to a discovery I made on page 10, section B of my local newspaper, I’ve suddenly found myself afforded the incredible opportunity to catch a glimpse of my own future and thus plan for it accordingly. And what, you ask, is this revelation, this prophecy, this miracle of condensed wisdom capable of providing me the guidance and direction to turn my life around and get back on the road to happiness and tranquility? Why, my horoscope, of course. Just check out this sampling of priceless nuggets from today’s celestial message:

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)

Keep close tabs on spending if you want to stay within your budget. Observe all safety rules if traveling by car. Regular exercise will keep you in top shape.

Okay, so if you’ve gathered by now that I probably don’t invest a lot of my precious free time perusing my daily horoscope, you would be right. And, you would also be correct if you suspect that on a credibility scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing things like gravity, death, and the likelihood that the Cleveland Browns will fail to win the Super Bowl this year, and 1 representing Big Time Wrestling, I would more than likely rate astrology at around a 2, along with the Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy.

Let’s consider the first sage piece of advice: Keep close tabs on spending if you want to stay within your budget. Uh, no kidding, Sherlock. Regulating expenditures is kind of why folks plan a budget in the first place, isn’t it, or is it done differently in the stars? Or how about this pearl of wisdom: Observe all safety rules if traveling by car. Holy Moly, I hardly need the moon of Saturn to be in the seventh heaven to figure this one out. What I’m curious about, though, is just what I’m supposed to do if traveling by anything other than a car, like maybe a motorcycle or RV for instance. Should I assume in these cases it is simply okey dokey to ignore any and all safety rules and just do my own thing? And if so, what do I say to the police officer who pulls me over for cruising my Harley on a downtown sidewalk or for doing 180s in the snow in the parking lot of my local Walmart with my 40-foot Winnebago. “Uh, sorry officer, I figured it would be OK since I wasn’t driving the car today.” And then there’s my personal favorite: Regular exercise will keep you in top shape. Man o man, who knew, and here I’ve been thinking all along that parking my duff on the couch and binging on Cheetos, Twinkies, and tequila while catching up on re-runs of the Jerry Springer Show was the ticket to a finely tuned body.

Listen folks, if you want to go on consulting with the high priestess of the lunar module or whoever it is that’s supposed to have the crib sheet for handling life’s tough decisions, by all means have at it, enjoy the ride, and send me a postcard from a celestial convenience store on Jupiter along the way. But as for me, I believe I’ll keep my feet firmly planted on the ground and maybe just write my own horoscope.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Having more birthdays will promote a longer life. Avoid stepping out in front of speeding cement trucks on rain slickened streets. Pay all utility bills if you live north of the Arctic Circle. A surprise visit from the IRS could make you edgy. A dog will bark today. Do more listening than talking if you’re being held up by an anxious drug-crazed prison escapee packing a .357 Magnum. Avoid calling a starting defensive tackle for the Chicago bears a big dumb jock unless you’re in a fast-moving car with no license plates. Try a subtle approach with stubborn business clients, like a 40-ounce Louisville Slugger. Putting gas in your car when the gauge reads empty will help you reach your destination and prevent long walks alongside the freeway.