I'm one of those people who likes to dabble in bubblegum voodoo. That's what I call popular cultural trends that determine your personality traits and life path. The word "voodoo" refers to mysticism and magical thinking, while "bubblegum" connotes childlike innocence and not taking things too seriously. Bubblegum voodoo is pink. Bubblegum voodoo is gooey. And before its approval by the FDA, bubblegum voodoo caused mad cow disease in laboratory rats.
One of the most well-known aspects of bubblegum voodoo is astrology, inspiring the famous pick-up line "What's your sign?" I'm a Taurus, which, according to the charts, proclaims that I'm a stubborn, bull-headed rose-sniffer who overeats and listens to Mozart.
Despite my affinity for flowers and Wolfgang, I wasn't too happy with this analysis, so I found out what the Chinese have to say. According to the Chinese Zodiac, I was born in the Year of the Rooster, which means I like to primp in front of mirrors, go shopping and tell everyone else what to do with their lives. That's more like it.
I also get a kick out of those personality quizzes in magazines and online. There's something intriguing about answering a few multiple choice questions and discovering that because you prefer mashed potatoes over French fries, you're a fiery extrovert with anal tendencies who would do equally well as a blackjack dealer or a marine biologist.
A few years back, color analysis was the big thing. To succeed in life you needed to know which "season" you were: Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter. According to the experts, each person looked best in the colors that matched his or her skin tone and hair. As a "Winter," my colors were, among others, red, white and blue. I couldn't wear an orange pant suit, but drape me in an American flag and I was good to go.
And let's not forget numerology. This ancient art determines your Life Path by assigning you a number between one and nine. By calculating the numbers in my birthday, I learned that I am a nine. This means I'm generous, artistic, passionate and spiritual. Cool. But it also means that I have the managerial skills of a cockroach.
As a psych major, I studied handwriting analysis. Loopy letters meant the writer was friendly and creative. Angular letters depicted someone who was methodical and exacting. My handwriting varied between perfect penmanship and psychotic scribbling. To this day I'm still trying to figure out whether I'm more like Martha Stewart or Britney Spears.
"To sleep, perchance to dream." The first time I read a book on dream analysis I was hooked. The interpretations were so correct it was eerie. My dream of a polar bear storming through my kitchen looking for scrambled eggs obviously meant that my purchase of plaid Bermuda shorts was a huge mistake. You better believe I took them back the next day for a full refund!
And just when you thought a coffee table was just a coffee table, along comes Feng Shui. Who would have guessed that the arrangement of the furniture in your home effects your success and well-being? According to followers of Feng Shui, your front door is the portal of positive energy, also known as "chi." The chi must be allowed to flow around your home unhindered. Mirrors will deflect the chi. A heavy sofa will stop the chi. A chipped plate will anger the chi. Best advice: hang wind chimes to soothe the chi. Afterward, make the chi a cup of hot cocoa and tell it a bedtime story.
Don't worry, the chi is polite. It won't stick its bubblegum on the bedpost before it goes to sleep.