Tuesday, January 28, 2003

fear of the goat

With only a few days left of the Year of the Horse, expectant mothers in China are rushing to deliver their babies (via normal delivery or c-section) before the dreaded Year of the Goat begins.

The reason for this fear is the belief that since the goat is born in winter and doesn't have enough to eat (as the fields are bereft), children born under its sign, especially females, will be condemned to a Marquezian-style existence of suffering and sorrow.

Sage, born last year, is a lucky Horse - which is because the Horse gets to eat slightly better, I guess. Which of course makes you think why the Goat can't just chew up something other grass, which it is perfectly capable of doing.

All these people are clamoring to give birth during a more auspicious time because they want to provide a better future for their children - and not get blamed for horrible uncaring selfishness when the children of the Goat grow up to be failures.

For those who are unfamiliar with all this, the Chinese birthsign system is a 12-year rotation that goes in this sequence: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Depending on your birthsign, your demeanor is fixed and immutable. And some say, your destiny as well.

Anyway, my stable at home is composed so three animals - the clever Monkey (me), the calm Ox (Nikki) and the trampling Horse (Sage).

Hmmm. I can see a story in this...

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