On Oct. 9, the human race celebrated. Friday marked World Post Day — I hope you sent some mail. And, perhaps most excitingly, Friday marked Leif Erikson Day. I can literally hear Spongebob still quivering with excitement.
However, the actual relevance of both everyone’s celebration and this article is that on Friday, Mercury ended its retrograde period.
Cue the sighs of relief!
Cue the imminent confusion!
For anyone whose horoscope obsession has not yet led them to venture into other studies of the astrological arts, I shall explain. Three to four times a year, Mercury goes retrograde; essentially, the planet’s orbit slows down, which gives the appearance that it is moving backwards. This happens for about three weeks at a time. Mercury is said to be the planet of communication (thank you, Roman mythology!). As such, when Mercury is in retrograde, there is a widely held belief that things go haywire for us humans. Technology goes out of whack, we have difficulty being articulate, which causes a plethora of misunderstandings and we will likely end up with a coffee stain (or five) on our clothes. Flights may be delayed, napkins are substituted for toilet paper out of unfortunate necessity and politicians have been famously stupid. So, you can see why I am skeptical: politicians are nearly always famously stupid.
Essentially, Mercury retrogrades several times a year, and every time, the entirety of the Internet gets their panties in a wad and braces themselves for not only an onslaught of articles about Mercury retrograding, but an onslaught of miscommunication and general life dysfunction.
Now, my inherent cynicism leads me to be doubtful of anyone who extrapolates that Mercury in retrograde is the root cause of their issues. But, then again, I do not tend to believe in horoscopes, love at first sight or the Easter Bunny, either. Call me a doomsayer.
Admittedly, I did witness some weird happenings these past three weeks: I attended a dress rehearsal where literally every technological mistake possible came to fruition, my friend tripped down the stairs on five separate occasions and the Republican debate was an excellent and uncomfortable night of miscommunication and people making odd statements (to say the least). However, none of this proves that Mercury in retrograde is the root cause of this dysfunction. Even when the planets are perfectly in sync, dress rehearsals often go terribly, my friend is clumsy literally every week of the year and half of the GOP’s debate time would still smell eerily like a pre-written “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
Regardless of whether or not you believe in the power of Mercury retrograde over your life, it is a useful scapegoat for your mistakes. Forget to call your mom? Mercury retrograde. Get in a fight with Dean Elmore? Mercury retrograde. Accidentally shave your roommate’s eyebrows in your sleep? You got it: Mercury retrograde. The next incident of planetary misalignment begins on Jan. 5, 2016, and it ends on the 26. Since retrograde is said to affect that month’s corresponding horoscopes the worst, Capricorns (me! that’s me!) better be wary. Winter is coming, and so is Mercury Retrograde.
End Note: One of my friends challenged me to use the words “uncomfortable,” “napkin” and “extrapolate” in this article. Go forth and find them.