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Posted Mon Nov 5th, 2007 12:41am Post subject: Chicken or Egg and Birthday
This is going to be a response to your blessay on addiction and its (chicken or egg?) relation to manic-depression. But first, I must say, I’m mad about you. It’s a love that trotted along nicely for years and then suddenly broke into a full gallop. Actually, my fascination could be an addiction, although not fiendish, in that any mention of you, read or seen or heard, triggers a bout of Googling. I’d never forgotten youin all those unironic years after Jeeves and Wooster left PBS. Where were you? Not on PBS, not on BBCAmerica nor anywhere on cable. It wasn’t fair. Then the movies came along. Peter’s Friends quenched, V for Vendetta ignited. I wanted more. It was only a few weeks ago that, through sheer luck and determination, and not entirely legally, I was able to binge-watch all episodes of Fry & Laurie and QI, none of which I’d seen before, as well as Jeeves and Wooster again, followed by 50 and Not Out and the 2-night program on manic-depression. You do a good job, by the way, of repairing gaps between hard science and human realities. At last, I found your blog. And now I read that you’ve leapt to this side of the pond, touring in a London cab. You are truly a national treasure. This just keeps getting better.
After my total-immersion-in-televised-you experience, I began to wonder what your cards might be, so I looked you up in Wikipedia and found your birthday. The cards to which I refer are the Magi Cards, aka The Cards of Destiny or Gypsy Cards. (Perhaps your friend Alan Moore is familiar with them. I’m assuming you haven’t bothered.) The Cards are ordinary playing cards imbued with meaning by an arcane system derived from astrology and numerology. It is claimed that they originated in ancient Egypt, their secret wisdom handed down through the ages in the mystical traditions of the Masons. However, those doing the claiming date back to the 1920s and the era of the Theosophical Society. The cheesy story of The Cards, and the system itself, complicated but not complex, seem a style match for the scientific thought of the era. Imagine Pharaoh having his fortune told by the same cards with which we play gin rummy. The myth needs revision. My personal belief is that the Science of The Cards is some sort of message from Doctor Who.
Anyhow, when I learned of the cards in a book left on a table at a public library, I found the character description spot on for an all but forgotten version of me. It was like looking at myself in the oddly angled mirrors of a dressing room and seeing unconventional views.
As for you, not that you asked, August 24 has a Two of Clubs for the Birth Card, which is equivalent to the Sun sign in astrology or the core self, and a King of Clubs for a Planetary Ruling Card, equivalent to the Rising Sign, the self seen by the world. (This dichotomy assumes that the self is built like an M&M: a soft, dark, rich center covered by a colorful, hard, yet easily crushable shell.) There are more cards—a full hand at birth and a new hand dealt with each birthday—but these two about identity are good for starters. The suit of Clubs signifies the mind, writing and all forms of communications. The Two, union and partnerships. The King is a king— mastery, authority, royalty, privilege, grandeur, power and the like.
My first thoughts upon seeing your cards were of the obvious: the successful career built on your brilliant mind (Clubs); the long-lasting, witty Fry/Laurie partnership (Two of Clubs); and your current Kingdom series (needless to say.) I can only imagine the personal challenge, especially in childhood and adolescence, to reconcile a humble, cooperating partner archetype with a kickass King who knows no bounds. But also, the middle years can be rough. In this system one’s lifespan is 44 years, age 45 is the year of rebirth, and the years around them can be as dramatic as life and death. In the end, this has nothing to do with the chicken/egg conundrum in the hen house of brain chemistry. I suppose that’s my point—not to abandon the science story of manic-depression, but to add a bit. It will either ring true or sound like total bollocks.

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