When it appears in a spread, this enigmatic card heralds unexpected events and sudden inspirations. He may foretell breathtaking coincidences which have the power to upturn an ordinary life. He represents, above all, the transformational spirit of anarchy and the impersonal forces of destiny. We are foolish to believe we can totally control our own or other people’s lives, he says.
The school calendar tells me that this is the last day of summer. These ten weeks have been a riot, and not necessarily a laugh riot. But something tells me all that is about to change. I feel a take-off rumbling; I feel a buzz. This kind of a turning point calls for a little review. This was the summer that:
We traveled cross-country to witness the rocket launch that wasn’t.
The household plumbing pooped out and required emergency neurosurgery.
The new pipes caused a pressure surge that broke the washing machine.
The repairman mixed up the hot for the cold and I shrunk my new cotton cargoes.
Our new neighbor turned out to be a dastardly developer who built a menacing addition overlooking our century-old garden, then put the property on the market where it remains empty, overpriced, unkempt and unsold. (Wanted: rich new neighbors with a friendly 8-year-old girl.)
Posthaste we put in a fifty-foot stretch of exotic bamboo, a stash of cash and a fountain of tears into this old patch of dirt to vainly recapture what used to be.
Last night, in the thick of concocting a casserole for this morning’s teacher appreciation breakfast, the oven died. (I’m broken up over this one.)
And within the last 10 days I have found, on two separate and creepy occasions, a Joker card mysteriously placed under my bedroom rug by an unknown interloper. Two cards from a deck we do not own. The police have been called and precautions taken.
All of this culminates just as I have resolved to stop all my bellyaching. There are many out there who are much better at it than me (the bellyaching) and drop-dead (funny) to boot. With my next post I will go back to the basics, my own calling card, and make a practice of demystifying the enigmatic Zen teachings that eternally perplex us in plain sight, tricking us, surprising us, upturning and illuminating our deluded view of ordinary life. Who else but me can do that? Who else ever would? No, the world will never notice. And so it will ever be.
And just for the record, should something else untoward happen – should the Joker reappear for one last laugh – here’s a clue: Colonel Mustard, with the candlestick, in the Conservatory.