Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How Can I Help You?

It is a good thing I am not an advice columnist. As much as I try I just don't have a lot of patience for stupidity.

I often wonder what kind of person writes to an advice columnist. I understand that some things are extremely personal, and God know therapy ain't cheap, but come on? Are we really so disconnected that the only way to find impartial practical advice to life's problems is to seek guidance from the newspaper? Sure newspaper advice is great for settling a bet or instructing us as to the proper placement of a second salad fork but some of the questions people ask are beyond comprehension. In fact some stories are so ridiculous it's hard to believe they're real.

Take for example this letter to the Advice Diva, which recently appeared in the local paper.

Dear Advice Diva:
Now that my girlfriend and I moved in together, I am starting to notice her wretched TV habits. Her favorite shows are those bad celebrity reality ones - "Dancing With The Stars," "Skating With The Stars" - you name it and she watches it.
Why is she so interested in the lives of celebrities? Is she unhappy with her life?
Signed - Sick of Celebs

In a misguided attempt to be helpful, The Advice Diva spews some ridiculous pablum about balance and boredom. My answer would have been along these lines:

Dear Sick:
WHY THE HELL DON'T YOU ASK HER YOURSELF, YOU IDIOT! Good God. Is that really all you can find to complain about? You must be a petty little man. How long has this been bothering you? How long did it take you to finally write to me? How long have you waited for my reply? Do you mean to tell me that you made the decision to live with this women but you don't have the balls to ask why she likes to watch celebrities on TV? Buddy you've got problems much bigger than I can solve. Someday soon you will be a perfect candidate for this service.
Signed: Crabby-Ass Advice Columnist

Sometimes people write in with these far-fetched scenarios that SCREAM for immediate intervention. And yet they feel the best solution is to bare their soul to the whole world through the newspaper. Yesterday, a woman wrote to Dear Abby asking what she should do about the 60-year old married man for whom she is house sitting. Her dilemma went like this:

This morning, I awoke at 6:15 to my door opening. The husband came into my room, said he was cold, and jumped into my bed. He was naked! I told him he was a freak, jumped out of bed, rushed into my bathroom, locked the door and got ready to leave for work. I didn't see him before I left.
Should I call the wife and tell her what happened? I am staying at a friend's tonight because I don't want to run into him again. I no longer feel safe with him there. Should I find a new place to live? I'm 31 and he is in his 60s. Yuck!
Signed: Grossed Out in California

Let me get this straight, a married man, twice your age, sneaks into your bedroom naked, jumps into your bed claiming he is cold, leaving you in fear for your safety, and your first thought is to write a letter to and advice columnist? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? Do you really need to wait for my permission to tell his wife, and then GET THE HELL OUT? Good God woman, I'm surprised you didn't castrate him.

Maybe I'm not a good counselor.


Sophia said...

I think you're on to something good here, Sven. I'd like to hear more from Crabby-Ass Advice Columnist.

In fact, can we send in questions?

gitsul said...

Three easy numbers to remember for this situation...9-1-1!

frankengirl said...

Hilarious - I love your (crabby-ass) responses!!!

Personally, I don't understand the advice-column phenomenon. Are these people out in the boondocks where common sense has wholly abandoned them and no living soul can offer a dose of guidance?

Ah, but wouldn't it be wickedly fun to be a *really* Crabby-Ass Advice Columnist! I wouldn't mind dishing out a bit of crabby-ass-ness myself! And I suspect an audience would find it refreshing to read a bit of flat-out frankness.

The Boy said...

I have to believe that these idiotic questions are set-ups, like the ones I "answer" in my "column".

Based on your tips for good counseling, I know that you are an EXCELLENT counselor--perhaps the best in the biz. I think you should commence writing treatment plans for these losers.

Dear Charlie

The Boy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sven said...

Sophia: Send all the questions you'd like. Whether I answer them depends on my mood.

Gitsul: That is exactly what I'm talking about.

FrankenGirl: The only thing that keeps these people from appearing on the Jerry Springer show is the fact that they can write. The closest thing I've found to a "flat-out frank" advice columnist is Dan Savage.

Charlie: What do you mean they're not real? Next your gonna tell that pro rasslin' is fake.

frankengirl said...

"The only thing that keeps these people from appearing on the Jerry Springer show is the fact that they can write."

I’d like to believe this is a sign of intelligence, but, as gitsul has noted, the immediacy of the naked-man situation should really suggest a call, rather than a letter. Imagine waiting in anticipation for the column to come out so you may resolve your issue!!!

Sven said...

You may be right about that.

Attila The Mom said...

Well I have to say that your answers make a lot more sense than in another blog I found recently---called "Ask A Pothead". LOL