Not to be a downer, but Mercury is moving into retrograde on Nov. 24 and will hunker down like the big mean toad that he is when he’s not moving forward. He’ll gear up with those cunning winged ankles of his to take flight ahead of us again on Dec. 14.

Don’t believe me? Well, let me ask you this: Have you noticed electronic gear going all weird on you? Had a little trouble squeezing out those e-mail messages, with a rudely blank screen popping up to say “You are no longer connected to the Internet?”

Are you having really bad communication with people who normally bring out that sweetie-pie angel side of you but ... not right now? Right now you’re irritable, am I right? (Note: Recently I googled the term mania to see if I might suffer from it. The first two symptoms were euphoria and irritability. I found myself thinking, “Just my luck! I get irritable instead of euphoric!” This concept alone made me still more irritable.)

And how about your car? Your truck? Holding up okay? No? You see what’s happening here. It’s a slow build-up to a series of mechanical and communicative glitches as Mercury puts on the skids.

So what do we do to keep body and soul together during this coming crisis that bestrides Thanksgiving like the Colossus of Rhodes deciding to sit on the groaning board itself? Well, some of my friends have weighed in on how to cope with the imminent, invisible turn of the screw. Cycling advocate David Whitmon says to ride your bike. Fishing nut Ken Vanderlaske says to turn cartwheels. David Whitmon says don’t do cartwheels on your bike. YMCA staffer Kristin Henriksen recommends chai key lime pie, to which poet and artist David Walters says maybe trade chai tea for condensed milk in the usual holiday pie recipes?

Oh, and funny woman and writer Joyce Wagner, who moved to New Hampshire (but we’re trying to get her back), had this to say about Mercury: “Mercury’s course is retrograde. I’ve learned to suck it up and not trust technology. Mercury is seldom your friend. I think he’s bitter because it’s so hard for him to buy socks.”

Of course, laughter is the best, we know that. Recently I’ve come to see that even the most torturous events have a funny angle if you just give them a little time to biodegrade into something that starts to yield a green sprout, maybe even a humble flower. You know the Bernese mountain dog that attacked Huxley, my Boston terrier, last week? Well, Hux is almost totally recovered. In fact this past Tuesday I took him for a walk through the Pond Farm trails and, coming home, he tried to slime himself in the tidal marshes which, thank heaven, are less swampy and malodorous at this time of year.

So Huxley is fine but I’m still a wreck. I’m telling you, this post-traumatic stress stuff isn’t just for soldiers. The nice lady who owns the Berner has offered to reimburse me for the vet bills. In return, I’ve been asking, again and again, what she intends to do to 100 per cent effectively restrain her pet. (He escaped from the house when the door was left ajar.) Finally, after my 19th e-mail, she told me she’d dropped round the police station herself to report the incident. Do you see what happened here? I Bart Simpson-ed her (“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”) into turning herself in!

So that was funny, sort of, and it was also Mercury making things messier.

Moving on (even as we feel ourselves being held back), Featherstone Center for the Arts will be hosting its fifth annual Kites and Sundaes on Sunday festival on Nov. 19, starting at 12:30 p.m. on the Children’s Green.

The most excellent Betty Burton sends out best wishes and asks that you consider donating to the Family-to-Family program of Serving Hands Food Distribution, which will provide Thanksgiving meals for families in need. For $25 per family, you sponsor a full package of turkey, stuffing, tons of veggies and fruit and pie makings. Send a check of $25 for one family or $500 for 20 families. Checks go to the Vineyard Committee on Hunger, c/o Family-to-Family, P.O. Box 4685, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Okay, I’m off to do cartwheels.

And for heaven sakes, let’s buy Mercury some socks!