This is a simple column by a complex woman.  
Dumb-asses need not apply.
If you flatter yourself to be
a bright spot in the universe
and aren't offended by "psychotic breaks,"
If you're a little frightened, well, all the better.
We kinda like you like that... with hot sauce.

“on the cusp”


Until my parents (thankfully) divorced, I never heard the end of it. 

November 22!

No, November 23!

I was there, you weren’t!

It’s the next day after midnight for Pete’s sake!

I gave birth, I am her mother, I should know!

And the day begins officially across the world as we know it when the clock strikes midnight! 

My mother and father always argued over when I was born. The story changes constantly, depending on their mood; well, now that my dad’s dead, since 1982, her mood. 

My mother, a Cancer, contends that a) it’s still November 22 a few minutes after midnight in Korea, because the backward buttheads over there don’t call it a day until they see the sun coming over the horizon (suspect at best, stupid at worst), b) she was the only one of the two to actually be in the hospital room squatting over the floor pushing me out, and c) she says so, so that’s that. 

My father, a Sagittarius, used to contend that a) it’s November 23, because I was born after midnight, b) in the free world known as common sense and logic, anything after midnight is the next day, and c) your mother isn’t exactly a rocket scientist. 

You’d think the benefit would be my celebrating two birthdays but no such luck. Like most parents of the 60s/70s, mine were slackers, content to go to work, fight amongst themselves, host the occasional fondue/cocktail party and ignore their kids until said kids got into trouble, usual cursing or talking back, then it was beating them until they couldn’t sit down for a week. To avoid further contentious arguing, my mother gave in and let my father give me the birthday parties (about two) throughout my short-lived youth on November 23. 

That would make me a Sagittarius, and that would be about right. I’m not outgoing and boisterous, but I used to be as a kid, and I still put my foot in my mouth. The clumsy, impulsive, wanderlust, religious streaks sound about right as well. I generally mean nobody any harm, but I can’t keep my generalizing opinions to myself, I require an audience for my tremendous ego, and – unlike the Scorpio – never feel a need to hide that fact, or any other flaw. 

But when I left home in the middle of my senior year in high school to live with my mom, her November 22nd took over and I became more of a Scorpio, vengeful, passionate, sexualized, intense, secretive, mysterious, obsessive, stop me when it gets to something good. 

I guess I can hold a grudge, but honestly, the second my enemy extends any sort of kindness toward me, I forget and forgive. I can blow up just as easily, especially when people mistakenly assume I’m irresponsible, disingenuous, hypocritical and stupid, but I make up even faster. A lot of my writing sounds like a fire and brimstone, immovable object known as the Scorpio. But upon closer inspection, between the lines, my opinions can change, I give a lot, and softie doesn’t even begin to cover it (see my weakening toward AMC’s Krystal and Babe for a soap example). 

Being born on the cusp leaves me in the unenviable position of not knowing even more who I am. 

I could dismiss astrology – and her New Age sisters – as a bunch of malarkey designed to boost humankind’s ego to that of a god. But I really believe in it, not necessarily the horoscopes predicting this or that fortune in the coming weeks, but more the personality-scopes. I always have, ever since I first learned how to read. 

There was something comforting in Linda Goodman telling me I was special because of a planet, using analogies from the classics, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan. Sounded magical, destined, meant just for me. Sure beat my brother’s “Hey, blimp!,” my mom’s “Nobody goin’ love you dressed like that!,” my dad’s “You’re useless, a complete failure.” 

Keeping in mind the ascendants and planetary influences of a particular sun sign – based on the time, date and place of birth – astrology can neatly and quickly categorize the crowd into archetypes with a fair amount of accuracy. It’s rarely been wrong. 

That is, if a person’s born outside a cusp, or on a cusp, knows exactly when and where he was born. I don’t even know where, it could be Sonyuri or Seoul, Korea, it could be on an eagle’s nest in Iraq. My mom’s story keeps changing. Now, she’s even hedging her bets on the November 22nd thing, thinking maybe it’s more like November 21st, 1963 instead of 1964. Birth certificates can be made, you know. 

Every astrology book lists a different category for November cusp people. Some say November 22nd is the cut-off for Scorpios. Others, November 21st. A couple suggest I simply compare myself to both Scorpio and Sagittarius, split the difference, side on the traits most like me. 

The problem is, I could easily be both. Both are passionate about things, religious, honest to a fault, loyal, intelligent. Scorpios, however, are all of the above to a fault, to a brooding, pouting, obsessive extreme. They hate crowds, any violation of their privacy, and frequently exercise the judicious use of certain truths couched to open interpretation, to avoid complete detection of their ulterior motives. They can be intentionally cruel. Then, there’s the holding a grudge, oftentimes for decades, before payback. 

Sagittarians, on the other hand – I have Venus in Libra – don’t mean any harm. They just wanna be free, happy, involved, worshipped, the center of attention. The only ulterior motive they ever have is to live, let live and be first at the all-you-can-eat buffet table. 

My younger brother James – the hippie living off his girlfriend in San Francisco, no job, no bank account, no showers, but he thinks he’s the tattooed, long-haired king of the world and his faults are your problem – is an Aries, which steeled me against them for life. It’s a knee-jerk reflex. The second I hear that you’re born between mid-March up to mid-April, I’m out the door. Except for Kathleen, a church friend who can sing soprano and alto in a clutch and exhibits the patience, compassion and tolerance of Mother Teresa, I’ve never been proven wrong either. Aries produces self-important, immature, selfish children incapable of empathy. 

My husband Eddie is a Libra, through and through. He’s not drop-dead gorgeous, but when he gets going and he really really wants something, he can turn on the charm, the logic and then that 1,000-watt smile, and I’m history. He won me over within two dates. Actually, he had me at, “Nice camera.” He can engage anyone in conversation, and has. Most people in elevators look the other way, read a book, stare at the buttons, but my Eddie has to look people in the eye, with that inscrutable but infectious smile, “How’s it goin’?” “What’s goin’ on?” People meet him for two seconds, 23 years later, they still remember him. He has more friends per capita than my Cancer mom. So wherever we go, we run into someone who knows him or knows someone else who’s heard of him. 

His one fatal flaw, besides always being right, always out-debating me on everything with as little effort and as few lines uttered as possible (Libras are the only sign who can say so much on so little), using his charm to get out of doing what he doesn’t want to instead of coming right out and saying he doesn’t want to... is that infamous indecision. 

It drives me crazy that this guy can’t even settle on where to eat for dinner. I’ll offer up several suggestions. He’ll turn each one down. And then, when I ask if he has a better idea, he simply says, “I don’t know. You decide.” 

I have an online boss at another site who’s also a Libra, and that’s probably why I’m so loyal, to a fault. It’s hilarious how often he resembles my husband, except for the gay thing and the height. Like Eddie, Jeff hates to write a letter much less a News & Gossip item at the last minute from breaking news (but they’re both better at it than me). Also like Eddie, I can always come to him for the best advice, very well-thought-out, and again, in as few words as possible. Except for a Virgo, no other sign can revitalize my sagging ego with such generous grace and dry wit. 

My fatal flaw is this never-ending fascination for Scorpio men. The British movie star of my dreams, Damian Lewis, alas, is an Aries, if you can believe it, but I’d rather believe he’s a November-born heat-seeking missile. I am such a sucker for dark, tortured souls, the lone figure staring forlornly at the crashing seas, back drenched in rain storm, oblivious to the cold and the wet, lost in his own warring emotion and will. 

I almost ran off with one, David, and am still holding a torch for another, Robb, however benign, however much we’ve settled as online buddies. 

Bringing up signs on a message board is a sure sign of a crowd. People love talking about themselves, aligning themselves with others of like signs, like a club. All the Virgos here, puffing themselves up about their penchant for neat, tidy boxes, at a loss when asked about shopping sprees, unheard of in their frugal camp, able to see the details of a problem, the solutions and the goals faster than any other sign, still hung up on the intro. All the Leos there, bragging about their sunny, welcoming dispositions, leadership abilities, courage under battle (can you tell I know little about this sign?). 

I feel a kinship with Libras, Taureans and Aquarians, though. I know plenty of Scorpios and Sagittarians, but I don’t like hanging out with them much. Too much, perhaps. 

Libras entertain me. Taureans teach me. Aquarians intrigue me. They’re fun to be around. I can confide in them, they’re like Fort Knox. I can argue with them, trusting that they can tell the difference between an argument and the deal breaker. 

A lot is filtered through the categorical, mystical eye of astrology. I try not to, but I will react accordingly the second I’m aware of someone’s sun sign. 

Cancer? Watch it, anything I say might set ‘em off. 

Gemini? It could go either way. They could be a complete idiot, duplicitous, manipulative, annoying to the bitter end, full of themselves and their deep, intense, knowledgeable affectation, ooh, look at me, I’m so different and original and cutting edge! Or, they could be the genuine article, poetic, slapstick, the second-cousin to unpredictable, wacky Aquarian. 

Capricorn? Nice, friendly enough, but way too practical for my liking. Don’t talk about ethereal, complicated New Age stuff I have to explain ad infinitum like the meaning of Yeats. 

Pisces? Flaky but will always be there for me in a pinch. 

Libra? They can fix my computer. Probably in a jazz band. Knows their oral sex from a snoozefest. 

Virgo? Do I have a booger on my nose? Did I remember to comb my hair and shower this morning? 

Aries? Prick. Shut. Up. 

Taurus? Pretty. Popular. Money in the bank. Missionary position, lights out. 

Leo? Compliment at any cost. Really likes having their nipples licked. 

Scorpio? Up against the wall for days and days. I wonder how big their dick is. 

Sagittarius? Let’s see how long it takes for them to piss somebody off tonight. Looks like they’re tankin’ back a few too many. 

Aquarius? ... Where’d they go? 

This is fun and all, but I still don’t know who I am. 

It doesn’t help that I grew up most of my life believing I was half-Irish/American, half-Korean. Only in college did my mother break it to me that my father was not my biological father, that somewhere in Korea was the real deal, a handsome, tall, flat-faced, slanty-eyed womanizing loser. 

I never had parents who married because they loved each other, had dated, courted, been engaged, planned for children after the minister had them say “I do.” 

I never had a sister (that I know of) or a brother I could play with, share secrets with, believe in and trust. My brother cares more for his next hand-out than for me or his little nephew. 

My family took extra care to list all of my faults and setbacks, never once taking pains to counter those with achievements, attributes, respect. So I always felt inadequate, inept, retarded, emotionally and mentally bankrupt, a crippled defect of an orphan left on the boat with no one to claim her. 

Hell, they can’t even claim the day I was born. 

I’ll take a guess and call myself a Sagittarius. Barkeep, I’ll have a round of virgin strawberry daiquiris.


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