The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…

Recently one of my Facebook “friends” asked me what my birthday was since she said, “I fiddle in astrology.” I answered, cryptically, that it was the same day as Argentina’s Independence Day (look it up for yourselves) of 1942. Now, I have to say that I believe in astrology about as much as I believe in the six day creation story. But tens of millions of people actually DO believe in it. Heck, foreign and domestic policy in the United States was influenced by astrologers during the eight years of Saint Ronnie of the Ray Gun’s administration.

My friend’s request got me to thinking about an old high school classmate or mine, Robert Hand.

Robbie Hand

We knew him as Robbie back then. Robbie was our class “nerd” though the term hadn’t yet been coined. He was the guy with the plastic pocket protector and slide rule. While he was our nerd, he was one of us. He played clarinet in the high school band and orchestra and was in the Town Band. a mixture of school-aged and adult musicians, as well.  We had some great parties at his house through our high school years. Nerd was just the position he held.

Robbie was a little strange, to say the least. His dad invented Arid antiperspirant and a mysterious but never marketed product referred to as “Fart Allure” which was supposed to make one’s flatulence smell like roses. His mom was a brilliant chemist in her own right, too. They lived in a big old house near Rock Harbor, and I remember one morning in the eighth grade when Robbie showed up at school looking as though someone had beaten him up. In a way that’s true. It seems  Robbie believed he knew the route from school to his home, about a mile or so away, so well that he could walk it with his eyes closed. He made it for about a block or so before doing a face plant into a phone pole.

When we were driving age our friend, Fran Higgins, Robbie and I used to take Rob’s mom’s car out on some of the deserted back roads in town where we’d get Rob to put the car in neutral, red line the engine and then drop it into gear to lay some rubber on the asphalt. It’s a wonder we never dropped the transmission during one of our outings.

Not surprisingly, Robbie was our class valedictorian. I don’t want to take anything away from that honor but I also have to point out that we had a graduating class of only sixty students. Bob left Nauset Regional High School to attend Brandeis University, and Brandeis doesn’t accept ordinary scholars.

Rob’s dad was a bit of an astrologer and passed his knowledge on to his son. Robbie became a professional astrologer himself and made a stellar (pun intended) name for himself in the field. He founded the Archive for the Retrieval of Historical Astrological Texts (ARHAT) in 1997, an archive that publishes translations of ancient and medieval texts pertaining to the ancient/classical/medieval study of astrology. In 2008 he received the Regulus Award for his life’s work at the “United Astrology Conference” in Denver.

Rob also worked a couple of summers at my family’s restaurant, Philbrick’s Snack Shack, at Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass.

Robbie Hand

Who knew back then what any of us would become?


Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…

  1. If you had an astrologer do a detailed chart on you, you would have known what you would have become 😀 Kidding – but who knows where truth lies. I find that stuff mildly interesting but I wouldn’t base any important decisions on it. Your friend sounds like a very interesting guy! I’ll take an intelligent, creative nerd over a jock any day.

  2. Morning Richard:

    I remember reading somewhere that Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan based their traveling decisions based on what an astrologer advised them. Weird to think that the most powerful man on the world would based his decisions based on astrology.

    Just my two cents on the subject of astrology and its strange followers.

    Take Care,


    You have to consider, Omar, that Saint Ronnie of the Ray Gun was probably in the early stages of Alzheimer’s when he was president, too, which makes one wonder what other decisions might have been based on the alignment of the planets in the heavens. And remember, too, Adolph Hitler was a firm believer in astrology.

  3. I do have a regular reader who’s a professional astrologer, and one of the things she finally has gotten through my head is that the “daily horoscope” stuff in the newspapers has about as much to do with astrology as a Big Mac has to do with fine dining.

    In any event, I suspect she may have heard of your classmate, or at least be interested in him if she hasn’t. I’m sending her the link, so if Anne shows up, you’ll know where she came from. 😉

    Thanks…I’m sure that if she’s a professional astrologer she at least knows OF Rob.