The Fool In You – Garbage Pail Kids Tarot series, Vol. 1

I got a Garbage Pail Kids tarot deck for Christmas this year – one, because I love anything having to do with tarot, and two, Garbage Pail Kids rocked my childhood. Except for the movie. That was beyond creepy, but in a weird way, gloriously pointless.

Anyway, I had this tarot deck on my wishlist for the pure joy of having it, but it wasn’t until I opened the package that I realized it could be so much more than an addition to my excessive tarot deck collection. Not everyone can get behind the practice of reading tarot cards, but there are few people who can’t embrace the nostalgia of Art Speigelman’s gang of gross misfits. So here we will explore the first card of the deck- the one who we follow through the Major Arcana (more on that later) – The Fool. Or in Garbage Pail Kid tarot universe, he is Rob Slob.

In a traditional tarot reading, The Fool has two possible representations attached to it. When right side up, there is a new endeavor, adventure, or opportunity awaiting you, even when you may feel like you’re wandering aimlessly into what should be a new chapter. If The Fool is upside down, then you’re probably getting ready to doing a swan dive and you have no idea if the water is deep enough.

Rob Slob is exactly that – a walking, slobbering fungal infection covered in flies who’s a half a step away from falling over a cliff. The thing is we have no idea how long Rob will fall before he hits the bottom. We know he’ll fall fast and hard because he’s one fat bastard, but we don’t know how badly he’ll hurt himself. Regardless, he’s not without a loyal canine companion at his heels which makes sense because a dog will always stick by your side no matter how much of an idiot you can be. Additionally, the sun radiates behind him, and he walks holding an enormous flower and a moderately-sized bindle. He has a smile on his face even though he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing or what’s going on.

In a traditional tarot deck, The Fool is often represented by a clownish, jester-like character who’s about to reach an end of an era, physically and mentally. He teaches us to move forward until we reach where we need to be – take risks when doing so, but at the same time use caution. How many times have we taken risks to only have the results shoot us right in the face? On the other hand, how many times have we moved slowly, methodically, then watched golden opportunities skate by us like Tony Hawk on acid? Unfortunately (or in some cases, luckily) it takes only one wrong move to alter the trajectory of our lives forever.

As I write this, my mother’s old attache case is sitting on the floor beside me in my living room. It’s one of those hard leather cases you’d never be able to find except in an antique store or an estate sale – and the dead person would have to be pretty damn old.

There were two events connected to this attache case that landed me in the realm of Rob Slob (aka. The Fool). When my father handed me this case a few years after Mom’s passing, it was covered in a layer of dust that seemed to be permanently set into the leather, adding to its vintage charm. A brass combination lock in the center and a brass latch on both ends completed the old school look of this cumbersome box once used by my Dad. This was back when he had to wear suits and look like a 50’s sitcom Dad for work.

Dad warned me not to move the dials on the lock because he had no idea what the combination was. Since my short-term memory is that of a brain damaged goldfish, I forgot this warning and proceeded to turn the gears anyway. This led to him prying the thing open with a hammer and screwdriver.

I’m not sure why, but this devastated me because I felt like I caused the destruction of a priceless relic found in an Egyptian tomb. This thing has to be at least 50 years old, and now it looks like a shark bit it. But what I discovered inside was awe-inspiring but also unsettling.

I knew my mother liked to write on occasion, and she shared a poem or two with me in her lifetime. However, this destroyed briefcase held stacks of my mother’s letters, poems, and stories that nobody knew existed. I spent a straight 24-hour period reading through most of her work, and every day after that, I’ve been nothing short of a fool – The Fool in the journey through the Major Arcana. I knew my life would never be the same. This life became one of redemption and productivity – a cliff Mom knew I could climb and conquer no matter how recklessly I danced on the edge. I just wish I wasn’t so wrapped up in all the other silly, slovenly, gluttonous bullshit that kept me away from knowing her Muses – from knowing her.

So if Rob Slob is drawn you may be close to a dramatic change in direction whether you know it or not. It’s up to The Fool in you to find a comfortable medium between going balls-to-the-wall and making an ass out of yourself. Don’t do stupid, absent-minded things that could result in the irreparable damage of family heirlooms. Also, don’t fail to truly get to know a loved one because tomorrow is too often too late. Sometimes you have to look at yourself the way your dog and the people who matter see you. Then it won’t matter how far you climb or how hard you may fall.

Oh yeah, and don’t be a slob.

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