Friday, July 11, 2008

"Since You Asked:" The Return!

Now that life has simmered down just a tiny bit, I now have some time to trawl through the advice columns and read the insipid responses to the clueless whackos who write in.

Which begs the question: can you do any better, smartass?

Well, yes. Yes, I think I can. And since I'm not beholden to United Features Syndicate or some other such organization, I can answer these loonies the way I think they should be answered.

So without further ado, I bring you the comeback edition of what I expect to be my regular Friday feature--now titled "Since You Asked." Enjoy!


DEAR MARGO: Two girlfriends of mine have married, and each had her first child this past year. The babies are 9 months and 12 months. Both friends have asked if I'd baby-sit. I'm in my mid-40s, happily married, with no children (by choice), and frankly, I'm not interested in taking on the task of child care. How do I tell them no without hurting their feelings?



Tell them you’ll be happy to babysit their kids – if they’ll walk your dog and clean up after him for a week. Then feed him some Hormel Chili and hand him over. I guarantee you’ll not be asked again.


DEAR MARGO: I am 28 and have been happily married to my wife for a little more than five years. I am currently away on an extended business trip and received an e-mail from my wife stating that she is considering going with her younger sister to get a tattoo. One of the things I have always found feminine and attractive about my wife is that she'd never marked her body with tattoos. While I understand that they are more popular and socially acceptable these days, that doesn't change the way I feel about them on my wife. Please dispense any helpful advice you may have.



*chuckles softly*

Oh, Skippy…delusional, delusional Skippy. What disappointment you’re destined to experience.

But that’s for later--you asked for advice, and I’m always glad to help. So here goes: if you don’t like tattoos, don’t get one. I doubt that we’ll miss the lost opportunity to see an anchor, a rose or a butterfly stamped on your pasty ass cheek. However, it’s your wife’s body and if she wants a tattoo, she’s an adult (I assume—otherwise, you’ve got bigger problems, buddy) and can do as she likes. If you don’t like it, don’t lick it while you’re having sex.

See how easy that was? I aim to please.

DEAR ELLIE: I'm getting married, but my sister-in-law doesn't get along with the general population. My brother asked me to have her in my bridal party as a show of reaching out. It took her four months to accept, but she's resentful because the wedding date was inconvenient for her.

She's delayed getting a dress (and demanded a style change); she says she'll get things done when she wants to, and I shouldn't worry.

I don't want her in my party, but by kicking her out, I risk damaging my relationship with my brother. Is it worth speaking my mind?



Normally, I can’t stand brides. In my observation, the brides who write in asking for advice are usually shallow, bitchy, self-centered, obsessed over how fat their relatives are because they’ll spoil the pictures, and are generally looking for some recognized authority to validate their pettiness.

But lo and behold! This time, the bride isn’t the problem. Just because you were nice enough to confound my expectations, I’m going to give you the benefit of my wisdom.

The sad fact is, you’ve already invited this crazy bitch to be in your wedding party. If you uninvite her now, you will piss off your brother. And that’ll really fuck up Thanksgiving. Don’t do it.

What you can do is hope she drops out on her own—and I have a feeling she will, if everything is as inconvenient for her as you say she makes it sound. Another thing you can do is let her know that the dress is non-negotiable. You say that she demanded a style change—I’m assuming you caved on that once. Don’t cave again. Tell her that the dresses chosen are the ones being worn, and she’ll either wear it or be excluded from the photos. Period. El Fin. End of story.

Your brother may not like it, but you can tell him you’ve accommodated her once and that he’s pressing his luck to keep trespassing on your generosity. If she doesn’t like it, tough shit—you’ve held up your end. It’s OK to keep the peace, but letting this whack-ass steamroll over you will set a bad precedent. Be prepared that she won’t wear the dress you want. In that case, follow through on the photo threat—for once, you girls are right: it’s your wedding.

DEAR AMY: I read the letter from "Frustrated," who didn't like neighborhood children retrieving balls from the lawn and didn't want kids playing in the street.

Many of my grown friends remember the cranks from their own neighborhoods who yelled at kids playing on the street.
I think that if someone doesn't want people in his yard, he should put a low fence up, and if he wants to be the curmudgeon, be prepared to always be remembered that way.

Having children occasionally in your yard is a part of living in a neighborhood. If you dislike it, you should move to a retirement community where you and your other curmudgeon friends can sit in the grass and yell "get off of my lawn" at random passersby.



There’s nothing wrong with “occasionally having children in your yard,” if their ball happens to come over into your yard, occasionally, and they are simply retrieving it. Occasionally.

However, when it happens constantly, or if (which is likely) the little shits always take shortcuts through other people’s yards, it’s a nuisance, and you’d be surprised at just how “curmudgeonly” anyone can be if they’re constantly disturbed by uninvited “guests.” One of the legal rights of home ownership is called “quiet enjoyment.” You can look it up. This doesn’t usually extend to noise you make on your own property which can be overheard by others (within reason). If you want to eat burritos, hang your ass out the window and toot “Ain’t She Sweet” on the manure flute, you’re legally free to do so. On your own property. (I suspect, however, that this would introduce a host of other problems, legal and not.)
You’re right about one thing: he should put a fence up. You’re wrong, however, that it should be a low one. If I were this guy, I’d make that bitch the fucking Great Wall. And I’d make it electric, too. Try climbing THAT mother.

As far as playing in the street goes, it’s a dumb-ass thing to do. (I did it once or twice when I was a kid, and it was just as dumb-ass then.) I don’t know how long ago you grew up, but I assume there were cars, although they may have been pulled by horses or had crank starters. If you strain really hard, you might remember that the drivers of these cars don’t always drive carefully or slowly, despite any signage. They may also not expect to see kids in the street, since that’s not, in fact (and this may come as a shock to you), what streets are for. When he yells at them, your “neighborhood crank” might genuinely be concerned about the kids’ well-being. It’s a damned good thing he is, because you and their parents don’t seem to be.

If you think playing in the street is so wonderful, why don’t you do it again? During rush hour.

I promise you the rest of us won’t make a peep.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

SYA should be syndicated! All great answers but I really got off on the last one. Here in Podunkville many of the city streets ahve ben transformd into...wait for it...Basketball Courts! They actually have basketball goals set up facing the streets and a gang of brats I mean children out in the street. When I drive down one of these streets they move out of the way...eventually. They stand and stare as I drive by as if to say, "How dare you disturb our game who's street is this anyway?" I say, "Who's indeed?" I try to avoid these streets but like ants at a picnic they are popping up all over. I wonder if I could take a chain and my truck and pull the basketball goals down during the night. The little shits would probably throw a tantrum.
Glad you're back in advice mode, Aaron, welcome back. Ed

8:46 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

The basketball set up is about the dumbest thing I ever heard of...but it doesn't surprise me. And the attitude is classic--kids always think the grown-ups are "squares" who are out to ruin their fun, instead of people driving to and from jobs so they can pay the taxes that actually maintain the roads. Maybe they should try playing on cracked concrete or in the mud sometime and see how much "spring" the court has...

12:58 PM  

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