Shots of Fate

I look at my horoscope in the newspaper sometimes, but not on good days. I wouldn't want to spoil a good day with a downer two - star comment. No, usually I take a peek, when things feel out of whack or I haven't slept, to hopefully confirm that it's the stars fault and not mine. I'm a Libra, which I only know has something to do with scales and balance and that seems to suit me ok, but It's hard to tell reading the fifty word blurbs. Here's today's four star example from the J-W:April 30 Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22) ** Break past your normal patterns and do something very different. You are in a position to instrument change and take the next step in warming up a relationship. Relax with others. Tonight: Take an overview.That one's not bad, and feels somewhat timely. I'm just not sure how to "instrument" as an action. Mostly, it seems horoscopes encourage us to: "do what you like," "stay in," " say yes," " make that important appearance," or " be with friends." I try. I have friends, however, who consult their horoscopes with more seriousness. For some it sets the tone of their day, regardless of how they actually feel, and I know others who wouldn't contemplate leaving the house without first knowing what their day's astrological forecast will be. But horoscopes aren't the only way to see into the future. My cousin Ann from Seattle reads Tarot cards, my friend Emma has her palm read, and a couple guys I heard about, depend on the swinging of a pendulum to find out what the fates have in store for them. My own practice for seeing into the future involves a large orange sphere and an twelve foot steel altar. I'll get to that in minute.Cookie Etiquette Of course, all of us get to unwrap our destinies and Pick 3 Lotto numbers whenever we feed at a Chinese restaurant, although the etiquette for dealing with fortune cookies varies. Last year I was eating at a friend's house when, after the meal the host, Jules, handed out fortune cookies to all the guests. We properly ate our cookies first and then read our fortunes and checked our lucky numbers, but Jules had a different approach. She gobbled up the cookie with the fortune inside, without ever reading it, thereby ingesting her luck, hopefully good. For me, the wisest fortunes are the ones that compel a reevaluation by being intentionally vague and cryptic, as with the single prophetic sentences I found at [][1] - To one who waits, a moment seems a year. - You are almost there. - Never wear your best pants when you fight for freedom. - Suppose you can get what you want... - Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother. - Trust your intuition. The universe is guiding your life.![][2]The Great Hoop** Being a borderline agnostic anarchist who relies on experience over faith, I knew my own fortune telling or divining practice had to come from day to day life. I found it at the schoolyard across from my house, where as a kid I went to ward off boredom and loneliness by shooting baskets for hours on end. I didn't play basketball, as in the game with other people. I was and am a terrible basketball player, but I can shoot pretty well especially if no one is looking. Divining the future began when I fell under the self-delusion that, since I didn't seem to have control any other way, I might be able to tweak my fate (especially with girls) if I posed mental questions to the basket before I took each shot. If I made the shot, my question would be answered in the affirmative. If I missed, negative. I always started with the more mundane questions, usually while shooting lay-ups. Then, after warming up, I'd move to the outside to address important matters. It makes sense that when I was younger, and could hardly make a free throw, most of my longings were answered with big clanging NO's. Later, as I got a little better and could make an occasional three pointer, the fates turned my way a bit and I began to see some improvements in my social life. This was proof enough for me that I better keep practicing, and so I have for at least twenty years now. In that time, the questions I've posed to the basket have remained fairly consistent, with only a few slight variations.In seventh grade, If I made a decent shot from the outside it meant that Rachel, the girl in my math class, liked me. In high school, If I made the shot it meant that Beth, the girl in my biology class, liked me - or - that my mom wouldn't notice that we replaced the vodka bottle. In college, if I made the shot it meant that Patty Ann, the chick in my painting class, liked me - or - that the itching wasn't anything bad and it would go away soon. And now if I make this shot it means that the gal who I can't stop thinking about likes me - or - that I will finally get a good night's sleep tonight.I showed a draft of this blog to a friend the other day. She thought it was nonsense and tried to debunk it. She said that I had too much control over the outcome of each shot and fate didn't work that way. Then she added that she really doubted my ability, without oversight, to not give myself do-overs or two out of threes when things didn't roll my way. But there is always oversight with a capital O when you're posing questions to the Fates. They know all the tricks and cannot be fooled by mere mortals. It's admittedly a self-centered practice. I don't ask questions about politics, the environment, or other people's lives. And I don't tabulate the results. Every new day there's a clean slate and an opportunity to revisit questions / shots that may have been pushed off course by the wind or misinterpreted by the Great Hoop in the sky. 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leslie 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm not much for spirituality, and meditation bores the bejeezus outta me. Shooting hoops may just be my thing.

So, if the Fates say the itching is nothing, do you just convince yourself it's dry skin until...until what?

Anyway, great piece. I really liked it.

Dave Loewenstein 11 years, 4 months ago

leslie, the Great Hoop was right. The itching ( on my legs) went away.

Kyle Carter 11 years, 4 months ago

I used to do the same thing growing up. I haven't done it nearly as much lately, probably because I don't have a driveway with a goal in it anymore to shoot in solitude, but I may have to give it another shot now that you've reminded me of the wisdom of the rim.

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