Brick Heck, character name for the youngest child on the show The Middle (played by actor Atticus Shaffer), is a character we’re seeing more often in television. Brick is a quirky intellectual who prefers interactions with books to interactions with people.
In a Halloween episode Brick dresses as Sergeant Charles MacKenzie, a Scottish World War I hero. In frustration at being mistaken for a host of other characters, he laments “Doesn’t anyone on this block read?”
Does this remind you of another TV intellectual who prefers ideas to people?
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, character Sheldon dresses for Halloween as the Doppler Effect, his sound-wave stripes being mistaken for a zebra.
As with Sheldon, those around Brick desire that he learn to “socialize.” Clearly Halloween is an important socializing event.
In a brilliant episode of The Middle, we see the difference between Brick’s character and the socialized character. Brick and his small band of misfits (one who can’t get his socks dirty, one who imitates cat behavior) are banned from the library and forced onto the playground at recess to “have fun.”
Brick and his eccentric cohorts hide under a slide until Brick comes up with a plan of escape that proves that while he doesn’t care to socialize, he does understand how it works.
The first foil is to interrupt the ball game of his peers. That disturbance creates some discord, but not enough to move the door guard from his post. Brick then, in a demonstration that he understands the social order even if he doesn’t follow it, throws candy at the group of ball players who then in a frenzy dive for the candy on the ground creating mayhem. The playground monitor must now intervene while Brick and his cohorts escape.
What sign is Brick Heck?
Those going against the grain bring to mind, for me, the sign of Aquarius. While Aquarius is known for its rebelliousness, it actually is the sign of group and group ideals. The rebel, then, is quite aware of the crowd, too aware actually. Dysfunctional rebelliousness is then an extreme reaction.
Aquarius is an air sign and air signs need to know what’s going on around them. That could explain Brick’s curiosity, but not his lack of desire to communicate with others, communicate all those ideas he reads in books.
Brick does, however, communicate with himself. One of his eccentric quirks is to whisper to himself words from the end of his sentence. If he says “I like crackers,” he may then look down at his chest and whisper “crackers” or “I like crackers.”
What’s that about?
My Internet search indicated this habit is known, is called palilalia and is considered a nervous tic indicating anxiety.
Brick does openly display nervousness regarding social situations such as when he and his cohorts stranded on the playground fear the dodge ball game (who wouldn’t?).
The nervous tick and anxiety bring to mind three signs, two of them water and one earth: Cancer (water), Pisces (water) and Virgo (earth).
Virgo is associated with health and worry. When extreme, nervousness erupts in “symptoms.” Brick rarely complains of illness so we’ll kick that sign out.
Virgo’s opposite is Pisces. While Pisces is highly empathetic, its high sensitivity can create high introversion like Brick’s due to the need to re-charge lost energy from social interaction. While air and fire signs might jump out into the playground filled with energy and leave filled with even more, it’s the water signs that discharge energy and feel drained from the experience.
That doesn’t mean the water signs Pisces and Cancer don’t care for social situations. The type of social situation that feeds water energy is specific – for Pisces, shared beliefs feed its hungry soul and for Cancer, family or shared community events that create warmth inside.
Neither Pisces nor Cancer in pure form may fare well in the rough and tumble of the playground, but put clerical robes on Pisces or put Cancer at the head of the Thanksgiving table and you will see the social aspect of these sensitive signs.
So is Brick a Pisces or Cancer?
I’m leaning toward Cancer because of Brick’s favorite item – his backpack. Backpacks carry things that provide comfort, much like the crab carrying his home around on his back. We also know that Brick has read Moby Dick more than once, a tale of water and sea creatures.
I still think Brick may have a little Aquarius hanging around or at least Uranus (which rules Aquarius) in a prominent position in his chart. Brick is not openly rebellious but can defend his own as when the school librarian (complements of actress Betty White) tells Brick he can’t go to third grade unless he returns all those missing library books.
Brick’s repartee with Betty White earns him an Ohio Astrology Emmy Award as our brilliant little eccentric outsmarts the librarian, who, we discover, also has a little quirk of her own.
Why so many Brick Hecks?
While Brick Heck has more social skills than Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang Theory, the brilliant but socially awkward character is arising more frequently in entertainment.
Monk, the OCD detective and House, the brilliant socially inept doctor, seem to fall within the range of some of the new anxiety or social disorder labels.
It’s difficult to tell if there is a rise in anxiety disorders or if we’re simply more aware of anxiety disorders. Or, ironically, does increased awareness of anxiety disorders lead to increased anxiety?
The reign of the Baby Boomers, born with Pluto in Leo, are giving way to the Pluto in Virgo generation who seem to have collectively decided to tackle the Virgo issue of anxiety as well as other Virgo concerns such as diet, health and work.
It’s the Pluto in Virgo generation’s children that are receiving the plethora of anxiety labels. Some of the children from this generation were born during a conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn. For a couple years, Saturn was also involved.
Uranus, Neptune and Saturn all in Capricorn indicates that technological, spiritual and material concerns all focus on the social order. I’ve wondered for years if this conjunction of outer planets in Capricorn (and then Aquarius) doesn’t represent a different way of perceiving. How this group perceives the three-dimensional world is different and so they receive labels.
The drive to “socialize” these individuals is Capricorn talking. The abundance of Capricorn puts socializing above other values (such as unique self-expression) and suggests that these individuals might be collectively working toward finding the balance of social and personal expression.
Following that generation is one born with Uranus and Neptune transiting Aquarius. This is Atticus Shaffer’s generation and reflects the movement from Capricorn social order to Aquarius shared ideals which create spontaneous and organically-developed communities.
Transiting Pluto is currently in the sign of Capricorn until 2024 then it moves to Aquarius for 20 years. As Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, a few structures of the social order collapsed including government and banking. As they are their own controls, they remain.
Brick Heck and his band of eccentric individuals with their odd ways and strange habits are the generation that will create a new social order. While not all of these Uranus/Neptune in Capricorn and Uranus/Neptune in Aquarius individuals are receiving anxiety labels, to those of us in the Pluto in Leo-Scorpio generations, the increased use of technology appears to create cyber connectedness but physical disconnectedness.
To older folks on the planet now, even those younger folks considered socially normal are odd to us because of their intense use of technology and frequent disregard of physical environment. The most obvious case is texting while driving which is a time when your physical sensations are extremely important.
Each generation evolves us forward in some way while older generations long for the way things once were. Brick Heck is the new generation.
Brick, my hero, Semper Fi, Semper Fi.