Last week, Patricia Snope had a decent life as a secretary. She's a mother of two and plays the lottery. She was a curious woman, exploring new things. She was gentle, caring, nurturing and contemplative, because these were the characteristics of her star sign, Cancer.

However, this week the zodiac signs changed, and Patricia became a Gemini. This change shifted the world beneath her. Her employer noticed the change and promptly fired her due to Patricia's new personality. Just because a scientist, who has no training in astrology, has changed the zodiac calendar. 

"It feels like my world is spinning," explained Patricia. "If I can't count on horoscopes, how do I know who I am? How do I know what lottery numbers to choose? And now I've lost my job, what will I do?"

Patricia tried to file a complaint with human resources, but they said that they could do nothing. There are laws against discrimination because of your race, gender, religion and sexuality, but it's still legal and socially acceptable to judge people based on their star sign, so Patricia does not have a case.

When asked about the incident, Patricia's boss, 43-year-old Bryson Hubbard didn't hesitate to explain his actions.

"I can't have her Gemini type around here," he said. "They're too chatty; she might divulge company secrets. I never did trust them Geminiggers." 

People throughout the world are having to change their zodiac signs, from Scorpio to Libra, Virgo to Leo, Taurus to Aries, Pisces to Aquarius, and Saggitarius to Ophiuchus, which is the new one, and it appears to be in the shape of a guy fighting with a giant snake. Many December births have expressed concerns about becoming chronic masturbaters.

Some refuse to believe that the calendar changed at all. Reports from newsfeeds indicate that this technique is working.

Dr. Gunter Ladder from Metastudies University suggests denial. 
"I fear that, if you believe this scientist that your astrological sign has changed, many people will immediately become incompatible with their spouses," explained Dr. Ladder. "It'll be a cold day in hell when I admit that my wife has become one of those raving Saggitards."

Where are they now?
If you missed the last post, this story is detailing the paths of a high school student, "Mike," who got poor grades and his prodigal sister, "Amanda." As is the course of nature, the excelling student is expected to achieve some vague concept of success, and Mike should end up enduring some vague concept of failure. Survival of the fittest, or, smartest.

On to the update. Amanda graduated with a degree from a private school close to home. She didn't know where to go or what to study, so her mother chose for her. She maintained her grades while trudging through undergrad and visited her parents on the weekends. 

Mike went to one of the easier state schools, and he's in his third year now.
"It's great here," said Mike. "I can't believe I'm getting all these eye-opening experiences, and at the same time I'm learning practical skills for my career." Mike also has a job, and his grades have, slightly, improved.

I once asked Amanda what she wanted. 
"A perfect, steady box life," she insisted. I thought this very odd, but if that's what she wants then she should go for it. I kind of forgot that there is no such animal.

Amanda's mother decided that Amanda should attend a medical school after undergrad. It made some sense; since Amanda isn't interested in anything, so why not just go for the job that makes the most money? So, just over a year ago, Amanda packed her bags and headed across the country to start a new adventure.

Mike is getting along better than I thought he would. He's taken leadership training at school and sometimes lectures me on the job market, business practices, communication and networking. He loves his major and is still considered a wild, curious and energetic guy by his peers. I think he'll survive when he graduates.

Amanda continued going through the motions to please her mother at her new school. I thought medicine would be a bad career choice, since Amanda fainted several times in anatomy class and whenever she saw blood, but perhaps she could grow out of it. I didn't hear from her until a few months ago, and what I'd heard second hand until then was that she was doing fine.

Several months ago Amanda came back from school, spectral and with nothing to say.

Summer was only supposed to last a few weeks for her before she was to do observation hours for study. However, she never went back. Eventually Amanda explained. A steady stream of tears building up, she told us how much she hated school, because it's too hard, the concepts are too gross, and she misses her family. Although the school granted her the option of taking a year off for mental health reasons before returning to study, she's sure she'll probably never go back. 

"I was just so lonely," she said between stifled sobs. "I felt like I wanted to kill myself."

Now Amanda lives with her parents again. Some of her friends from high school have moved away, and she is too shy and scared to try and contact any of the ones who might still be around. Her major in undergrad was studying a language--not very useful for finding employment--and she is too shy and scared for any employer to hire her on personality. She has no passions, so she can't hold onto a hobby. She's in therapy now and on several anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. The one year of education left her $65,000 in debt.

I remind you, this prodigy was once assumed to have the brightest future. When I asked her what she's trying to do with her life now, she would only respond, "Just let me have my pills."

Not healthy, nor happy, nor wealthy or employed. In no parameters can I call Amanda's situation a form of success, while Mike's current life wide-eyed dreams are becoming more and more satisfying.

Take what you want from this story, whatever you want to learn, the story's all true. The reason I found this worth sharing was to illustrate what characteristics might effect your success. Amanda illustrates someone who could work hard and diligently, but has not a drop of music in her soul. Mike is fun and colorful, and although he does not work quite as hard to stay the straight and narrow, (to be specific, he's making B's at a state school) it looks like his diverse interests and multi-dimensional personality are leaving him a satisfying life. The overall moral I garnered from this story was that perhaps we put too much weight and faith on parental gratification, the reputation of your school, and grades.

Is there a movie that has ever freaked you out because of its semblance to your own life?
On a road trip from Los Angeles to a suburb of San Francisco, I tried to make conversation with my father. As usual, I had to ensure that we stayed off of certain topics, such as my choice to pursue a career in journalism. My dad went to school to become an engineer, a much safer and seemingly tougher career choice, so like many, he assumed that journalism would be loser career, if you could find a job in it at all.
I instead asked Dad what his favorite film is, and he told me the plot of A River Runs Through It, a film eerily similar to the life of my dad. Both him and the main character grew up in a beautiful, natural setting, exploring with their respective brothers. They both ended up going off to University, and both their brothers were particularly bold, fun people.
I decided to record and watch the movie when we got to my parents' house. Soon after I started it, my dad came in to watch. I don't think he had seen it in a long time.
Dad sometimes says that I remind him of his brother, Dan: risky, curious, energetic. Dan has explored many topics and climbed many mountains: a true fencehopper, and all. Dan is also like the character in A River Runs Through It, the younger brother named Paul, who tries new things, gambles, and becomes a successful journalist. Paul's colorful personality and open mind make his writing shine, and his words immortal.
There is one more similarity between my dad's life and that of Norman, the older brother in the film. Their brothers, Paul and Dan, lived very exciting lives, and their antics both worried and amused their families. Ultimately, through their dangerous lifestyles and a whole lot of bad luck, they were both killed in their prime.

Later, as always, we got back onto the subject of journalism as my career. This time, my dad said something different than usual.

"Actually, I think you'd make a good journalist." I was surprised to hear this, of course. "You've got an inquisitive mind, like Dan. He could have been a journalist too."
I don't think anyone in my family believes in reincarnation; I know I don't. I just happen to be similar to my uncle Dan, and Dan just happens to be similar to Paul. And Paul was a journalist. So now, because I saw a movie and reminded my dad of the kind of person his brother was, I have Dad's blessing and the chance that Dan lost.