Saturday, July 09, 2005

Perplexed in Pittsburgh

If there is one thing I will never understand, besides Hilary Duff's success, it's the popularity of advice columns. It's fairly evident from reading the letters that make it to print that people who write in to the Dear Abbys of the world are well past needing any kind of help that doesn't require prescription drugs or a heavily padded room. What kind of person looks for serious advice from a stranger? Especially a stranger who is going to print the sorry affairs of your life for all the world to see and ridicule? The worst are the morons that don't even go to the most-respected advice columnists like Dear Abby and her sister, whats-her-name. They're perfectly content with asking Billy Bob from the Podunk Daily Tumbleweed which one of their boyfriends they should marry or whether they should spend their savings on a pool or that heart surgery. These are people who deserve bad advice. I'm almost rooting for them to do the wrong thing.

My biggest problem with these people is this - there is obviously a lapse in time between when they send their letter in to the paper or magazine and when it's actually answered...if it's even answered. I'm sure some questions aren't even worth the price of mailing them. Even if the advice guru gets the letter in a fairly short amount of time, depending on how often their column is printed there could be a wait of a month or more until it's finally sent to press. If you had a really urgent issue that needed to be resolved, would you rely on someone to help you who wasn't going to get back to you right away, if ever? If you answered "no," congratulations. You're a normal, functional member of society.

Let's take a look at some questions from some real imbeciles, shall we? And, to be nice, I will attempt to give them some advice myself.

Letter #1 (From the Dear Abby website)- DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are very worried about the safety of our two toddlers -- a 3-year-old boy and a 15-month-old girl. Their twin 7-year-old cousins have no manners, discipline or consequences in their lives. They have recently begun seeing a psychiatrist because they have been found with knives, or making stabbing motions toward themselves screaming, "Kill me now!" Every member of the family agrees they are out of control, but nobody does anything to correct their behavior. When we told my mother-in-law we didn't want our children around the twins without direct supervision, her response was she "couldn't watch them every minute." We said fine, we would bring the kids over and one of us would directly supervise them. This led to an uncomfortable silence that lasted a few days, until today when my wife took the kids to her parents' for a birthday party. The afternoon went by with the twins' usual defiance, rudeness and belittling of any adult in sight. After she returned from my in-laws', my wife proceeded to tell me their bay window had a hole in it because one of the twins had shot a loaded gun through it. I am stunned that while we have been discussing the safety of our children, her parents have been leaving a loaded gun lying around. My wife said her father yelled at the twins, although he had left his loaded gun in plain sight. How can I make it clear to my in-laws that they must step up their level of supervision, and that my sister-in-law's kids are headed for serious trouble? -- WORRIED DAD IN VERMONT

Here's a perfect example where time is of the essence. Are you seriously sitting around twiddling your thumbs, eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream, hoping for the best until Abby tells you what to do? Here's the best advice I can give you, "Dad". Go to your mother-in-law, who is obviously as irresponsible as you are dim-witted, and tell her that you will no longer allow your children to spend time in a household where guns are readily available and the twins from The Shining are allowed to run amok. She can give you the evil eye and the cold shoulder all she wants, but at least your kids will remain unscathed, you jackass.

Letter #2 (From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) - Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 31 fantastic years. Six years ago, "Shelley" was promoted, and her new job required her to do a lot of out-of-state business travel. Shelley is very efficient and keeps annual logbooks with the details of her business travel. While I was cleaning up the basement storage area a few weeks ago, I came across her old logbooks, dating back to 1998. Out of curiosity, I opened one, and it had details of a business meeting with a male client - their dinner and conversation, as well as the details of her activities with him in her hotel room. I was totally shocked to read the things they had done. Should I tell her that I know about her secret life or pretend I am still unaware of it? We are happily married, or so I thought. - Clueless in New York

"Clueless" may be a bit generous. Wow. This is actually the letter that prompted me to write this blog entry. Thank you, Clueless, for inspiring me with your idiocy. Actually, I don't know who is the bigger moron. Is it you, who can't seem to figure out for yourself if your wife's affair should have any effect on your "happy" marriage and is seriously considering not even calling her on it? (And hey, you only read one logbook, so really she could've been getting her freak on all over the country for's not out of the realm of possibility.) Or is it your wife, who is foolish enough to include a detailed account of her extramarital romp in her business logs? You know, you're probably better off staying quiet because you two are clearly made for each other. It's like Dumb and Dumber. Where else are you going to find that kind of blissful ignorance?

I hope all of you out there enjoyed this short trip through Crazy Town. And readers, if you have a burning question that you need answered, feel free to email me. If you have a burning sensation when you pee, see a doctor. If you are burning up because you're actually on fire, stop, drop and roll.


puranjaym said...

People seeking such advice of the said examples are in my view too morons or if you could think beyond , people who have exhausted all other avenues of hope and are looking for unbiased opinions.

The Everglades said...

Goddamnit, this is brilliant. I laughed out loud several times, and your analysis of these write-in turds is so observationally true it hurts.

The bit about the twins from The Shining running amock had Diet Dr. Pepper coming out of my nose. I am a sucker for offbeat pop culture references, and you always get me when it comes to that. You said everything I would have ever wanted to say about these douche advice gurus and more. And your pointed commentary on the assholes that actually take the time to lick an envelope and spend 37 cents on a belated bit of cliche advice is the stuff of legend.

Your humor kicks ass and I really enjoyed this.


FunaBashing said...

The father should do some time in jail for leaving the gun where a child could get ahold of it.

It's irresponsible people like him that make the majority of responsible gun owners look bad.

As for the advice columns, if people need advice that bad, they should try talking to someone with a brain. I'd recommend a teacher, a religious leader, or a military officer in that order.

Cincysundevil said...

Why doesn't someone worthwhile have an advice column ... say Dennis Leary or Carlos Mencia? These guys would lay it down like it is and we'd all get a laugh out of it at the same time! I'll be waiting for the question where the writer is noting that as he is writing this, his wife is coming at him with a butcher's knife and he's not sure what to do.

Rowan said...

The twins from The Shining, LOL! That cracked me up! I'm a big horror fan and not a lot of stuff really scares me much, but those twins have always creeped me out.

Come play with us, Danny, forever and ever and ever...

Clublint said...

Maybe you should take over from Dear Abby. People would get their answers quicker and we'd all get to laugh harder at their stupidity.


Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

The answers published aren't for the actual question askers, but for two types of people:

Readers such as yourself who chuckle and lampoon, and readers such as myself who keep a carefully indexed shelf of binders on various topics. My scissors are busy.

This prevents me from ever needing to think for myself. That way I can chug Jolt and maul Milky Way bars all day long between masturbation sessions and manage never get in trouble with my relatives.


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