Hop-Frog, the Ourangoutangs and the Tower of Babel: An Allegory about Jumpers

(I hope Edgar Allan Poe forgives me for pinching his story title.)

Hop-Frog (the amphibian, not the dwarf) was happily riding along in the turnip truck with 77 other itinerant  farm-hands from Frog Hollow. But the driver wasn’t paying attention and hit a pothole. Hop-Frog was bounced out into the middle of the road. He quickly frog-hopped his way to the ditch at one side, where he landed in the company of a band of ourangoutangs who were busily engaged in building a replica of the Tower of Babel out of Lego blocks.  Hop-Frog wanted to lend a hand but the ourangoutang wrangler (who was brother to the clumsy truck-driver) could plainly see that Hop-Frog  was a foreigner who had arrived there by purest chance, and didn’t quite fit in (something about “no opposable thumbs”).  He bought Hop-Frog a one-way ticket back to Frog Hollow and was rid of him.

I never understood what the big deal is about “jumper” cards – those that fall out of the deck while shuffling.   Overhand shuffling of a deck of cards is an imprecise science; sometimes a card overshoots the “catcher’s mitt” and lands on the table or floor (or in the cappuccino).   Unless it needs wiping, I simply stuff it back into the deck and keep right on shuffling.  Most of the time I don’t even look at it. Yoav Ben-Doav, in his excellent Tarot de Marseille book, The Open Reading, said “Everything is a sign,” but I’m not prepared to consider my clumsiness a sign of anything other than declining manual dexterity. I read the cards that ultimately appear in the spread, not those that leap out of my fingers in some kind of precocious frenzy. I suppose I could master riffle-shuffling and never have another jumper; on the other hand, I sometimes launch the entire deck into the air while riffling, which means that rather than avoiding jumpers, I wind up with a whole frog-pond of them.

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