The Boar

One of the saddest facts I know (and the numbers may have changed) is that 85 percent of Americans can’t remember whether Astrology or Astronomy is the science.

Plenty of people read their horoscope for fun – and I have no problem with that. They’re having fun with it, not basing decisions on it.

Others use it to screen out potential mates and to make decisions about whether or not to act on something today.

Other cultures have their own version of this.

Many Chinese restaurants in America have paper placemats with the “Chinese Zodiac” printed on it.

It’s fun and it passes the time but it is no more scientific than the fortune we get at the end of the meal in the definitely- not-from-China tradition of fortune cookies.

That said, I’m the year of the boar.

This is my year.

Next year is Kim’s year. She’s the year of the rat.

I never looked to see if boars and rats are compatible any more than I checked for Libras and Virgos are.

No matter what they say – we were.


After Kim died, Maggie and I went to meet with the stone cutters. We wanted a stone in the same style as Elena.

Elena was a Rabbit.

Maggie was clear that the rat on Kim’s stone had to be rat-like. It couldn’t be cute and mouse-like. It had to say “rat”.

And so it does.

When Maggie was in kindergarten, one of her best friends was a Japanese girl whose mother was here to study at Case.

The girl was a little older than Maggie and she had a younger brother a little younger than Elena. Kim would sometimes watch the four kids after school and she got quite fond of the mother.

“She’s a rat too,” Kim said one day, happily.

And then she paused and her face fell.

“Oh,” she said.

“What?” I asked.

“She’s not my age,” Kim said, “so she must be twelve years younger.”

And she was.

They remained friends and we visited them in Japan shortly before Kim died. We had a wonderful time with them.

Knowing what year someone is tells you their age to a multiple of twelve.

Twelve animals.

Twelve years.

This is my year. The year of the boar.

You can probably look at me and tell I’m not twelve, twenty-four, thirty-six, or forty-eight.

You can probably see I’m not seventy-two, eighty-four, or ninety-six.

No. This year I turn sixty.

This is my year.

And so I decided that for this year I would say “yes” to any conference that invited me to speak.

It’s August and I have one-hundred thousand air miles already.

I’ve only said “no” to conferences where I was already committed that week and one that had a military theme.

I’ve said a lot of “yes”es.

I may continue to say “yes” next year too.

During Kim’s year.

The year of the rat.

I may keep going til my year pops up again.

Published in: on August 4, 2019 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment