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Capricorn Boss

capricornI know a Capricorn boss who’s just about as typical of the Sun sign as you can get. He’s the majordom of the world of a famous male singer from Hoboken. Few people know it. There are no neon signs spelling his name, and columnists don’t print juicy tidbits about his activities. You’ll never see his face on the cover of Time, but you may have to pass his inspection before you get the chance to try to sell any glamorous ideas to the Idol.

This goat sits firmly behind his desk, efficiently tying up all the loose ends and dangling strings in the amazingly intricate life of the famous personality. This can range from meeting the singer’s relatives at the airport to buying a yacht or renting the floodlights for a premiere. He calmly handles hot potatoes like law suits and tax problems by delegating the right potato into the right accountant’s or attorney’s oven for baking, making sure it neither stays raw nor gets burned. His phone rings constantly with S.O.S. calls from other members of the widespread entourage; and he knows just who is where and why and when they’re coming back. He keeps four million statistics in his head, including top secret information reporters would give an eye tooth to learn, the opening scene of a twenty-year-old movie, the box office figures of a current film, and the fastest source of catered hot spaghetti with Italian cheese sauce.

His day never ends. It starts at dawn, and midnight finds him winding up the schedule of orders he’ll see are executed promptly the next morning. Often, he shaves, showers and dresses at the office. Anyone who really knows the score will tell you that certain bedlam would result if he ever disappeared from the frantic scene. He’d look grossly out of place in a discotheque, and he has a vaguely uncom­fortable look in nightclubs, where duty demands he show his poker face on occasion.

This particular executive goat has a strange base of operations on an entire floor of a Manhattan building. In addition to the outer rooms and reception hall, there’s a huge space for his private den. In one comer is a large circular desk for the mountain of papers that require his daily attention. The rest of his private domain is furnished with two big couches, several over-stuffed chairs, coffee tables, heavy draperies, lamps, book cases and mossy, cushioned carpeting. He even has a dining room, with a table big enough to seat the Mets for lunch, china closets, mirrors, dishes, silver and glasses. The walls are covered with patterned paper, and there are several tanks of ex­pensive tropical fish lining the room. You would think you were in somone’s home instead of in the busy office of an important executive.

That’s exactly where you are. Since he must spend so many hours away from his home, this Capricorn boss simply brought it with him. Other bosses may enjoy the commercial world, and be glad to get away from home, but not the goat. Home is sacred. At almost any hour, youll find this particular Capricorn’s relatives around. Family life is never neglected for business.

Since he’s such a typical Saturn boss his habits tell a lot about all Capricorn executives. He’s a kindly father image to those who work for him-stern, but fair. He insists on obedience to duty, and woe betide the employee who for­gets to feed his velvet-tailed guppies. He seldom raises his voice to give orders. His tone is gruff, but normally quiet, except on rare occasions when stupidity or careless mis­takes cause him to bellow. At these times, he resembles a glaring Monty Woolley. Visitors are sometimes intimidated by his serious, formal manner, but the staff has discovered his soft heart, and they’ll brook no criticism of him from outsiders-though they may swear a little under their breath, among themselves, when he cracks the whip. He bums their ears off when they goof, but he comes up with an extra fifty when it’s needed, and he’ll send his secretary’s mother flowers in the hospital. He seldom goes in for com­pliments or flattery. A mumbled “Yeah, that’s good,” is about as close as he comes to extravagant praise. But he’s a sympathetic listener to his employees’ personal troubles, and he makes sure they eat right and wear their boots when it’s raining. The staff is like a family, with the Capricorn boss unquestionably the head of the house.

He doesn’t hand out Christmas bonuses like Santa Claus, but he’s not stingy when an employee gets stuck in Las Vegas on a vacation without the plane fare home, or when the guy Friday he keeps hopping like a jack rabbit has a doctor’s bill that can’t be paid on his salary. (In the Vegas instance, he’ll wire the return trip ticket, rather than the cash, and it will be tourist class. Wastefulness is not one of his hobbies.)

Although he’s gruff, he can also be gentle and timid. A compliment will turn his ears pink, though he’ll seldom acknowledge that he even heard it. Charity solicitors can always get a check from him, and if the charity is con­nected with children or the old folks, he’ll add an extra zero. He has to be reminded to rest and eat his lunch, since responsibility causes him to neglect his personal needs. Now and then he goes into a black, melancholy mood of Saturnine depression, closes his door, stares out the window on Central Park, and no one dares disturb his privacy. Phone calls are held and office problems kept on ice until the depression lifts. He dresses in conservative, dark colors and subdued styles, and he has a sort of grandfatherly-looking pocket watch he frequently consults. He really looks more as though he’s connected with a staid bank than with the leading swinger of these swingin’ times. Most of the bric-a-brac around his desk are antiques, and there’s a generous sprinkling of faded photos of his wife, children and various, assorted relatives.

That’s a simon pure picture of a Capricorn boss. If you keep the image in your mind, you’ll have a pretty good idea what to expect from any Saturn executive including your own. If he has any spare time, he won’t waste it. He’ll expect you to imitate him. Is the switchboard quiet? Good. You’ll have time to file those letters. Is the schedule light today? Pine. You can move those cartons in the stock room. Don’t spend office time polishing your nails, if you’re his secretary-and don’t hang on the phone in the back office, talking with your girl, if you’re a male employee. Your Saturn boss will materialize out of thin air, like a frowning, avengeful genie. It wouldn’t be wise to have your beatnik brother with the beard and guitar visit you at the office. Even the goat’s religious devotion to family ties-his own and yours-won’t keep him from raising a conservative eyebrow of disapproval. Female employees who reek of perfume and male employees who practice putting in the conference room won’t find the office of a Capricorn executive a happy home. As far as he’s con­cerned, the place for heavy perfume is in the bottle, and the place for putting is on the golf course (preferably at the best country club).

He’s always impressed with the status of those who have inched a few toeholds above him on the mountain of success, so you’ll make a hit if you’re familiar with the social register. If you didn’t graduate from Vassar or Harvard, then for goodness sakes at least have an aunt or uncle who did.

Make sure he knows you take your mother to lunch every Wednesday, or that you pay your younger brother’s tuition at prep school, and you’re sure to get promoted. Clean fingernails, courteous manners and perfect gram­mar are necessities, and efficient work without whining or complaints will be a requirement. Never call him by his first name in front of strangers, and never breathe a word of criticism about his family in front of anybody. For Christmas, give him a chipped and faded oil painting of Thomas Jefferson you picked up in an antique shop, or a rock you snitched last summer from the back door of Nancy Hanks’ birthplace. Capricorns revere history and the past. Just don’t tell him you snitched the rock. They also revere scrupulous honesty. Polishing apples won’t get you ten cents extra in your pay envelope. But understand­ing his lonely heart will gain you his confidence. Others may see him as a firm, tough disciplinarian with a heart of stone. Let him know you see him for what he really is:

a shy and sensitive soul, who secretly longs to be free and casual, but knows he’s chained by Saturn’s demands of obedience to order, system and authority. He’ll treat you like a son or daughter. You’ll get spanked when you’re bad and rewarded when you’re good. But he won’t let you down when you’re in trouble or lock the door when you need help. Just don’t forget to feed those velvet-tailed guppies.

Linda Goodman

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