“Well, Mercury Is In Retrograde,” she said.

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I was supposed to have a face-to-face meeting in the city yesterday afternoon. I went to the subway with plenty of time to spare and then just sat there seeing “6 minutes” on the screen for more than six minutes. And then it changed to “delay.” So I decided to just do the meeting as a conference call from home. When I reached my colleague and apologized, she said, “Well, Mercury is in retrograde, you know.” No, I didn’t know. And I also had no idea what she was talking about.

I have become more spiritual as I’ve gotten older, but that’s not saying too much as I wasn’t very spiritual to begin with. Yet I do feel the calming effects of yoga, I’ve gone so far as to download a meditation app even if I’ve not yet opened it, I’ve been known to appeal to God in extreme times of pain, like when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. But astrology? Nope. That said, this is kind of interesting if you let yourself be indulged for a moment. Or maybe you know all of this and I’ve just been living under a rock. Anyway, from astrologyzone.com (who knew such a site existed?):

Because Mercury is the planet situated closest to the Sun, its orbit is much shorter than Earth’s. About three or four times a year, Mercury speeds past Earth, and that is when we experience a Mercury retrograde period… As Mercury speeds by, it is like a train flying past, creating a powerful, turbulent gust of “wind” in its wake. The turbulence and disruption Mercury creates when it retrogrades can affect what we feel on Earth in our everyday lives… Included under this planet’s domain are all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control.

So that last bit (on transportation specifically) explains my colleague’s point about the subway not working properly. But more interesting is the broader scope of its supposed effects: Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements. The list goes on. Astrologers recommend that you make no big decisions during a Mercury Retrograde period, you launch no new company or even an ad campaign (eek!), you sign no contracts, you don’t buy a home. And this happens three to four times a year for three to four weeks at a time! It makes you wonder how many terrible decisions you’ve unknowingly made in your lifetime. I’m tempted to look back at the Mercury Retrograde calendar over the past ten years to see how much blame I can place on it for unfortunate outcomes.

Almost.

To me, this sounds like a big fabricated excuse for shit going wrong… “Wasn’t me! It was that distant planet up to its old antics again.” But what do I know? Maybe there is indeed some truth to it – every so often I think about human beings and what we do and how we live and my mind is simply blown… it’s all just so bizarre. So why couldn’t a distant planet have power over my ability to to make a wise decision? And frankly, work stuff hasn’t really been going my way over the past couple of weeks. Damn you, Mercury! (Well that feels kind of good… who doesn’t love a scapegoat?)

My biggest question is why no marketers have, to my knowledge, ever taken advantage of this semi-ridiculous premise and had some fun with it?! There has to be some social media idea here for some brand. How about this for a kernel? “Any decision you make from April 9 to May 3 is bound to be a terrible one you’ll regret forever. So just sit back, relax and sip. The message brought to you by the Planet Mercury and Corona. #mercuryretrograde” Get to it, AB InBev!

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