Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This is shaping up as a week of quotations. Today's comes from Magical Thinking, part memoir and part book of instructions by Augusten Burroughs.

Perhaps my supernatural abilities come from my solid spiritual beliefs. I believe in the baby Jesus. And I believe he is handsome and lives in the sky with his pet cow. I believe that it is essential the cow like you. And if you pet the cow with your mind, it will lick your hand and give you cash. But if you make the cow angry, it will turn away from you, forget you exist, and your life will fall into shambles. I believe that as long as the cow likes you, you can get what you want.

In order to keep in the cow's favor, you need to "let go and let God," meaning, you can't obsess about controlling every little thing. You have to let things unfold naturally and not try to change things you cannot change. On the other hand, I believe that if you've made the cow happy by living this way, you're allowed to ask for favors.

I tell people my theory and they think I am either kidding or insane. But think this as they may, I have cow saliva on my hands, and many of them do not.

My friend Larry complains constantly about his career. And it's true that he has suffered a series of career setbacks that are stunning in their coincidence. Larry has had a string of such unfortunate luck it can by only one of two things.

"Either you've made the baby Jesus mad or his pet cow hates you," I tell him. "You need to conjure images of a cow in a field of green, munching on grass. Then you need to reach out and scratch between his ears."

Larry tells me to go away.