David Sedaris in The New Yorker:
My mother became interested in astrology in the nineteen-eighties. She wasn’t a kook about it; she simply started reading the horoscopes in the Raleigh News & Observer. “Things are going to improve for you financially on the seventeenth,” she’d say over the phone, early in the morning if the prediction was sunny and she thought it might brighten my day. “A good deal of money is coming your way, but with a slight hitch.”
“Oh, no!” I’d say. “Are you dying?” I thought it was hooey, but in the back of my mind a little light would always go on. I guess what I felt was hope—my life would change, and for the better! The seventeenth would come and go, and, although I’d be disappointed, I would also feel vindicated: “I told you I wouldn’t find happiness.”
She never had her chart done, my mother, but she did branch out and start reading the horoscopes in Redbook, and in Ladies’ Home Journal, a magazine that had come to our home for as long as I could remember. The only column in it that interested me, the only one I regularly read, was called “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” You could have taken everything I knew about long-term relationships back then and fitted it into an acorn cap. I thought that, in order to last, you and your wife or boyfriend or whatever had to have a number of mutual interests. They didn’t need to be profound. Camping would qualify, or découpaging old milk cans. The surprise is that sometimes all it takes is a mutual aversion to overhead lights, or to turning the TV on before 11 p.m. You like to be on time and keep things tidy, the other person’s the same, and the next thing you know thirty years have passed and people are begging you to share your great wisdom. “First off,” I say, “never, under any circumstances, look under the hood of your relationship. It can only lead to trouble.” Counselling, I counsel, is the first step to divorce.
I’ve thought of that Ladies’ Home Journal column a lot lately, wondering if marital problems in the seventies and eighties weren’t all fairly basic: She’s an alcoholic. He’s been sleeping with his sister-in-law. She’s a spendthrift and a racist, he’s a control freak, etc.