Saturday, February 12, 2005

Dear Courtney,
What do you think about the smart water? Should I try it?


Dear Coward
Its funny that you should ask. Courtney tried it today, and for a brief while, she was BRILLIANT. (And this was after only 8 ounces.) People were coming by as if she were her own little freak show (this is nothing new, but today they were asking hard questions and Khortney didn’t miss a single one –93 million miles. Alternating current. Roosevelt [Teddy], and so on - you can imagine the questions.) But while she was way up there, lookin’ around, it occurred to her what a shitty and mundane job she had, and it wasn’t really that great to be so freakishly smart, AND have this job. About then, her boss came by and said, “ya know, trained monkeys could do your job,” and as usual, Kortknee said, “but they wouldn’t”.

Have you read Flowers for Algernon lately? That is so sad. I’m coming down off the water, thinking about that book, for some reason. What we really need is not Smart Water, but “Love the Rut You Live In” water. Wouldn’t that be great?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Dear N'3lvra,

How can I be sure that my son (just a baby now) grows up to be a left wing radical who will stand up and take action for what he believes in even in the face of threatening authority and potential punishment?


A popular canned meat

P.S. The Momma Penguins would sit on the friggin’ eggs until the iceberg melted or the little P’s moved out and got their own igloos.

Dear Pam in a Can, or something like that,

It's all a big crap-shoot, this parenting thing. My only advice, which I'm not particularly qualified to give, is forgive yourself for how your babies turn out. And be able to actually believe you did the best you could. And, if you feel compelled to grow organic peas, squash them by hand, freeze them in little ice cube trays, and carefully heat them for your little baby, well, I dunno. You can easily look back on that and wonder what the fuck the point was when you see what they're apt to do to their own body a bit later on.

It was lovely that you wrote, and especially that we agree on the penguins.

But perhaps Courtney sounds a little bitter today, and she's sorry for that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dear Courtney,

I am writing to you for advice. Some random, unknown advice columnist wrote to me a few weeks ago offering her advice column, for free, for my newspaper. I didn't write back, because her so-called column seemed kind of, well, if I may say so, too sarcastic, and well, I hate to say it, but kind of low-brow. I don't know if she gets it that we are running a Serious Newspaper. And, it didn't seem like a real advice column, like maybe she just made up the letters.

Our paper is sold by homeless vendors as a stepping stone back into the rat race, and we like to run Serious Articles that are very grown up and important. For example, we like rehashing the election results (still, if you can believe it!), interviewing people who unload dead soldiers from airplanes, and we also include poetry written by vendors about how you sometimes can't even keep a dog when you're homeless. My point is that our newspaper is sort of like The Atlantic Monthly for people without so many resources: serious, intellectual, and tending toward the grim.

But it's been a few weeks since she wrote, and I feel sort of sorry that I didn't even reply to her, because, well, I guess it was a nice offer. So my question is this: after all this time, should I write back, or should I just assume she forgot all about it?


Dear Adam,

Lighten up already. We all love your newspaper and all the good you're trying to do here on our tiny planet, but grim doesn't sell papers. Write back to her and tell her you'd love to run a trial column in your paper. Then get everyone you know to write in for advice about Very Grim Topics, so the column could get skewed in a Very Grim and Serious Direction right off the bat. Chances are she'd get bored and give up quickly, and you'd be off the hook, but you wouldn't have to feel more of that damned liberal guilt.

That's what I'd do, anyway.


Monday, December 20, 2004

Have you heard about those penguins in Antarctica who are stranded because of a huge iceburg blocking their path to the ocean?

In the penguin world, the girl penguins lay the eggs, after which the boy penguins say, "sure, sweetie, go grab yourself a bite to eat. I'll sit here for 6 days while you go for a snack with the other moms." But the problem is that this iceburg has made it a very long waddle out to the ocean for fish, and the girls aren't back in 6 days. So the boys just leave the eggs and start walking to the ocean themselves.

My question, dear reader, is this: If the roles were reversed, how long do you think the Momma Penguins would sit on the friggin eggs? Would they just say, "um, times up, he said he'd be back now, so whatever, I'm leaving. These little eggs can just sit on the ice by themselves"

Thursday, December 02, 2004

How's this? Cortnee was weary of that grim color scheme.

I've been trying to get an actual job, but alas, looks like the advice market is all tied up with insiders.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Dear courneyyy,

The last time I heard a co-worker say "eye-talin" was somewhere around the time when I heard a president say "nukquler", a candidate say "ider" and a co-worker say "bid-ness" as in "What is your line of work?"

Sharp Sally

Dear Sally,

Yes, you've got it. Here's the situation: I was at a cafe for homeless people, where individuals can work for 30 minutes to earn a meal. Not that things are going that badly for Cortnee. Yet. I was actually paying for my meal, and dining with other employed people, one of whom has a charming english accent. (Not a lot else charming about him, though, unfortunately, unless you find the fact of him weeping about the Henry the 8th movie sweet. I find it the tiniest bit freaky.) Not one, but two of the other men at our table of 4 (me, 1 englishman, two American men) ordered "Eye Talian" dressing on their salad. Courtnee ordered i-talian dressing. The second man made a HILARIOUS joke that caused me to want to crawl under the table: "We've got three Eye-talians and an Englishman here!"

Sheesh. Frying pan, Fire?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Dear Readers,
What would you do if your young and lovely daughter has declared that she will not wear shoes until there is a different president? The vice principal asked her twice to please put on shoes and she politely refused. He later became somewhat threatening, and she reluctantly donned paper shoes. Bear in mind that this young lady lives in a chilly, wet, northern climate.

Would you be proud, confused, or annoyed?

What if this same child spray-painted slogans like "Who Would Jesus Bomb", and "Where's the Love", and "Too Many Bushes, Not Enough Trees" all over the elementary school grounds? What then?
This just in from Molly. Who knew she was reading?

Dear Cortknee,

Stop thinking about suicide or moving abroad. Want to feel better? Eat a sour grape and then do something immediately, now, today.

Figure out what you can do to help rescue the country -- join something, send a little money to some group, call somewhere and offer to volunteer, find a politician you like at the local level and start helping him or her move up.

Don't mourn -- organize. Want to feel better? Eat a sour grape, then do something immediately, now, today. Figure out what you can do to help rescue the country — join something, send a little money to some group, call somewhere and offer to volunteer, find a politician you like at the local level and start helping him or her to move up. . . . Don't mourn, organize.
-- Molly Ivins

Dear Molly,
I'm not eating the sour grapes, but the rest sounds good. Persimmons. That's what I'm eating, and I've been thirsty since last week. I'm glad we read each other's columns.
Your Fan,