I wonder, is there an expectation of honesty and balance in the obituary section of your local newspaper? I don’t mean that the writer should insert something along the lines of, “His neighbors, however, claim there is no evidence that he ever was kind to small children judging by his reactions to kids playing on his lawn.” But should an obituary state something like, “Harry was well-adjusted, considering his body harbored the soul of a dead Martian.”
My thoughts are inspired byÃ‚Â this obituary for Darrel Martinie published today in the Boston Globe. Darrel was an astrologer — the official state astrologer of Massachusetts, apparently — who was better known as the “Cosmic Muffin,” so named by a local rock station DJ. It’s an interesting — if brief and uncritical — look at the life of a fraud. A few key quotes:
“Let’s face it, when you’re talking to a client you don’t want to say, `In four years you’ll get a divorce,’ ” he told the Globe in 1978. “You say, `In four years you’ll come into a stressful period in your relationship.’ “
Unsaid: “Let’s face it, when you’re talking to a client, you don’t want to get into specifics because those may turn out to be wrong. You give them generalities and they fill in the blanks themselves.”
“Darrell every now and then took a little bit of the artist’s license,” Boesel [his wife] said. “He used to claim he was 38 years old, and this was after we had been together for 27 years.”
Unsaid: “Darrell was a liar.”
In the 1978 interview, he said his first meeting with an astrology group left him cold.
“I thought the people were absolutely stupid,” he said.
Unsaid: “Absolutely stupid, and ripe for the picking. So I decided to go ahead and scam the hell out of them.”
He added that “sun sign columns are garbage. . . . The idea that people fall into 12 categories and those categories can be interpreted as personal forecasts is ludicrous.”
“See, it’s more like there are a couple dozen categories, and THOSE categories can be interpreted as personal forecasts. Duh.”
Although Mr. Martinie’s broadcast persona could be playful and irreverent, the moments before he went on the air in radio or television could be brutal. He often was sick to his stomach.
Okay, I’m glad I got that out of my system. I just hope that when I die, no snarky blogger takes it upon herself to rebut my obit. I swear, I really do give four pints of blood every other Wednesday!