I know it's the hallmark of a true narcissist, but I can't help it: I'm nearly paralyzed by superstitions. I believe the world revolves around me, apparently, because I honestly think that if I walk under a scaffolding, I will cause a skilled workman to drop a power tool on my melon. I know that this paranoia was instilled in me by my devoutly Catholic mother, who, every time I said something nasty and then immediately stubbed my toe or barked a shin on the coffee table, would calmly say, "See, God punished you." When you're a natural-born smartass who also happens to be debilitatingly accident-prone, that shit sticks.

I gave up Catholicism, but then became obsessed with astrology. Non-cuspy Geminis are smartassed chatterboxes with short attention spans, so it was in the stars that I would become the author of It's My Party. We're built for printed gossip and short, fiery relationships. However, I live in perpetual fear of God's punishment.

I subscribe to a daily online horoscope service, which, since Tuesday, August 15, has been dictating--and disabling--my life. "Snap judgments and actions may do irreversible damage. Monitor your words with an effort to do no harm. A verbal joust may impale a tender heart. He who dished dirt loses ground." The week prior, I reminded myself, I'd made a snap judgment about a music fan, and ended up in the emergency room a few days later. The next day's horoscope again came in the form of a warning: "As many times as you've paid for your audacious communications, you should know to keep your mouth closed when you're in doubt. If you feel compelled to share certain information, deliver it free of your particular spin." This chilled my bones because--Hello!--that's my job, which meant that I couldn't heed the advice. I was toddling into the world on my own accord, knowing full well that God was going to punish me.

Thursday August 17 brought the cold sweat from rivulet to waterfall: "Now is the time to compensate for a mistake. There's no time for regret, so don't even go there. A habit of going too far or not knowing when to quit is already diminished by the wisdom you've gained along the way. Sharpen your wits to meet the next challenge." My mind shrieked to itself that it was my wit that got me into this bloody mess in the first place. The weekend's advice came like a speeding locomotive disguised as a pedal car: "Timing and placement are everything. A friendship or romance that seemed to have real potential does, so distinguish yourself. On Sunday, focus on a long-deferred goal. Getting some privacy may create conflict, but you need to work in relative isolation." There's no privacy in Seattle! The week's warnings spun like newspaper headlines: "A situation in need of correction will reach a critical mass as you experience direct or collateral damage." "Consider the big picture to put trivia in its place." "Communication is key across the board. Help others to comprehend the depth of your stress." "It doesn't really matter whose idea it is if it's a good one. Be alert enough to recognize a golden opportunity."

Then, this week's network of news bloomed like a migraine: "Don't underestimate the power of privileged information... finesse and aggressive action conspire with a little knowledge for a sublime outcome...." What the? And then it dawned on me. BUMBERSHOOT.

To be continued....