2004 – The Year of The Monkey – Disaster or Heavenly Delight?

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Have
you ever felt like your life is just one big set of ups and downs?
You have no control over your future and you are at the whims and
wishes of those around you? You just can't seem to get your sights
on your goals on what you really want because you, yourself, don't
know exactly what it is that would make you happy? You feel as though
your entire existence is but like a leaf on the ocean being blown
to and fro'?

I
have felt this way many times too. This is one of the reasons I
moved to the Far-East in the first place, so that I may someday
gain the wisdom of the true masters. So that I may someday hold
in my hand the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of the
soul. You know, kind of like that "Grasshopper" guy in
Kung-Fu.

Not
only have I been worried about the 2004 presidential elections,
I have been fretting about my life and what's going to happen to
me in the future. My Japanese wife on the other hand, is always
very calm and collected – it's like she already knows what's going
to happen before it actually does. She doesn't seem to get worried
or upset over anything.

As
I was gazing out of my apartment window over the landscape as the
falcon surveys the field, my wife said: "What
are you doing?"

"I
am worried about the future!" I replied. She smirked: "Look
if you are just going to mope around the house all day doing nothing,
why don't you go downtown and have your fortune told?"

"That
superstitious stuff is all nonsense!" I said.

"Oh
really? What about the time the Chinese man read your palm and
told you that you would get that job you were sure you weren't
going to get? What about that?"

"He
just got lucky!" I countered.

"Aren't
you the one who is always complaining about Western cultural imperialism?
Well the Chinese have been around for a very long time and it looks
like they are going to still be here for a very long time to come.
Maybe they know something that you don't?"

"Ah!
Wise words from one so young!" I said. But in my mind I actually
thought:

"Shut
up, woman!" So I headed out the door and down to the train
station… I hate it when my wife is always right.

I
stopped by a bookstore to grab a book on the Chinese Zodiac so I
could go and talk to the fortune teller and not sound like a rank
amateur and wind up with him charging me extra for nothing. I read
the book on the subway train. The year 2004 is the Year of the Monkey
on the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The Chinese calendar is broken up
into twelve parts, much like the Zodiac we use in the West. Each
part of the Chinese Zodiac is named for a certain animal. Your fortune
can be told by matching what your birth year animal is and whether
or not it is compatible with the animal of the current year.

Okay.
2004, the Year of the Monkey…. People born in the Year of the
Monkey are always alert, creative and playful. They are very sociable
and have an active outside life. Monkeys are sympathetic. They forgive,
but never forget. They wait their turn and once they decide to do
something, nothing can stop them from achieving a goal….

Wait
a minute! Then it dawned on me; the Year of the Monkey? I have heard
people dissin' George W. Bush by calling him a chimpanzee! Could
2004 be the year for George W. Bush? Could we be headed for total
disaster in 2004? A cold sweat began to run down my forehead. I
read on;

Monkeys
never make a move without a plan. They are great strategists. Monkeys
are intellectual, and they have incredible memories. Monkeys are
good at making people comfortable. They are the ultimate diplomats.
Inherently brainy, they never fail….

"Hey
this doesn't sound like George W. Bush at all!…. I knew this was
nonsense!" But then I remembered; the important part of the
Chinese Zodiac is a person’s birthdate matched up with the current
year! I found that George W. Bush was born in 1946….Howard Dean
in 1948, …Wesley Clark in 1944. I wondered how these would all
match up with the Year of the Monkey?

I
got off the train and headed for a place on the street where many
old Chinese people do fortune telling. Like I said, I don't put
too much faith in this stuff, but I always go to the same guy cause
he's batting something like 1.000%. I walked into his booth and
bowed my head in reverence. The smell of Jasmine incense wafted
through the air.

"Ah,
you worry about the future?" He smiled.

"How…How
did you know, oh great master?" I asked.

"Why
else would you be here?" He had me there. Not only was the
guy clairvoyant, he had some common sense too.

"How
may I pass some wisdom onto you, my son?" He wistfully sang.

"I
have the birthdates of some friends and I wanted to know if you
could tell me what the new year brings for them, master."

"What
are the dates?"

"Well,
first off, 1946. What will the new year bring for those born in
that year?"

"1946?
The Year of The Dog." He replied as he reached down to pour
tea. "And would your friend's name happen to be George?"
He smiled. I was speechless. He paused then continued: "The
person born in the Year of the Dog will have a very bad year. For
the dog and the monkey do not get along together well. Even though
the monkey is more intelligent than the dog, the dog will keep his
loyalty and will fight with the monkey to the very end. People born
in the Year of the Dog are selfish, terribly stubborn, and often
eccentric. They are cold emotionally and often distant. As monkeys
are very friendly and open, a dog will not do well at a party held
by a monkey."

"Wow!
Then George W. Bush is u2018toast'." I thought. "But wait
a minute. Someone still has to beat Bush." I asked: "How
about my other friend, his name is Howard. He was born in 1948.
How will this new year shine fortune upon him like the sun shimmers
upon a lake, master?" I started really getting into this.

"1948?
The Year of The Rat. Those born in the Year of the Rat will fare
quite well during the party of the monkey. Those born during the
Year of The Rat are quite charming and attractive to the opposite
sex. They are basically thrifty with money. Their ambitions are
big and they are usually successful. As the monkey entertains guests,
the rat will scurry around, picking up bits of food and keeping
the monkey's house clean. The rat will not compete with the monkey
for the attention of the guests. Hence they will compliment each
other quite well. People born in the Year of the Rat are most compatible
with people born in the Years of the Dragon, the Ox, and the Monkey…."
I felt like jumping for joy! I interrupted the master and asked,
"And
what of the year 1944?"

The
master frowned at me and said, "Why do you tip the vessel of
knowledge as it fills your cup?"

"I'm
sorry, master….forgive me. I have another friend, his name is
Wesley. And I was just wondering…"

"1944?
I have already told you what it is you need to know. For 1944 is
the Year of the Monkey also. Do you think that monkeys are not compatible
with each other?"

I
felt stupid. Of course, all I had to do was look it up in the book.

That's
it folks. It's as good as decided! Next year is the Year of the
Monkey! George Bush is a dog. Dogs and monkeys don't mix. Dean,
a rat, is sitting pretty. Clark, another monkey, is already waiting
at the party. My problems were solved!

I
paid the old guy a couple thousand yen and as I was walking out
I said, "Oh yeah, I almost forgot to ask you about me! What
about a person born in the Year of the Rooster for the Year of the
Monkey? How's is the year 2004 going to be for me, oh great wise
one?"

The
old man carefully folded the money and put it into his cash box.
Then he looked at up me, put out his open hand and said:

"The
Rooster and the Monkey?… Hmmm, who knows?" As he smiled that
knowing grin.

December
31, 2003

Mike
(in Tokyo) Rogers [send
him mail
] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan
in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality
in the mass media for nearly 30 years.


        
        

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