Friday, May 1, 2020

Consider This




Recently I was approached to be an Advice Columnist for an area publication, which was something I'd never done in my professional writing career. Nonetheless, I responded with some off the cuff answers to some queries they had included with their request that I consider their offer. I wasn't foul mouthed, but a bit obnoxious with the answers, but to my surprise, they loved the responses! So here are some excerpts from a couple of the new columns that I have done.

I love going to the movies, and my new boyfriend does, too. But the problem is, he’s a talker. He’ll ask me questions all the time, and it ruins the show for me. Is he just trying to connect with me, or is this an actual problem?

When's the last time he visited an ophthalmologist? Have you made him aware of that big screen at the front of the theater? Can he see it or does he only have eyes for you? You could always ignore him and let the others in the audience tell him to shut the blank up. Or you could get an usher to come armed with a large club-like flashlight if they still have ushers these days, and have him removed. Lastly, and this one has my vote, he's figured out a clever way to thoroughly annoy you thinking you won't make a scene in a public place. Disabuse him of that plan at once.

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I have a bit of a confession: I (accidentally, I swear!) ate a coworker’s homemade sesame noodle salad from the fridge for lunch. When I found out whose it was, I apologized and offered to buy her lunch to make up for it, and she just laughed and said it was fine. Still, I feel awkward about it. How can I make it up to her?

Personally I'd start by no longer pretending you "accidentally" ate someone's sesame noodle salad. I mean who would accidentally or even purposefully eat that? It's not exactly your typical brown bag lunch, am i right? You could probably sling the “accidentally” bunkum if you scarfed down someone’s PB&J, but sesame noodle salad? Nice try. And, "make it up to her?" you're kidding. You got busted, she knows it, she laughed and said it was fine because she's now officially afraid of you. I know I'd be.

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Every day, I take my keys, purse, and phone to work. And every day, the next morning, I find I’d misplaced my keys the night before. Each time I find them in a different place around the house or in coat pockets. I’m getting tired of looking for my keys for fifteen minutes every morning. Help!

Have yourself medically examined immediately for a possible nightly alien abduction. But first, somehow make certain the doctor isn't one of them.

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I do drawings and illustrations on commission, as a freelancer. My friends have found out, and now several of them are trying to get some of my work, at a “friend discount.” I need to earn money! How can I let them know that they’re going to have to pay full price?

Ummmm--by saying so?

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And from another date for this Questionable Advice:

Do you think that close, committed couples should have separate or joint checking accounts, or some combination of the two? My husband and I have tried it both ways, with the goal of minimizing friction and conflict, but I’m never able to get a clear fix on which path has the most upsides and fewest downsides.

That's because in all of life and especially where money is concerned, downsides and upsides frequently cancel each other out, often accompanied with a little bloodshed. Consider consulting with financial advisors if you can understand what they are actually saying. My advice is to stick with joint checking accounts. This way if one of you suddenly conks, the other is not left holding the (empty) bag and hearing bankers sorrowfully saying "gee, sorry, your money is frozen until you go on welfare" while handing you six stapled pages of applications for food stamps.

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After work, I like to talk about my day, just to unwind and process whatever has occurred—good, bad, or in between. My roommate has indicated that she finds this kind of talk annoying and boring, an occasion for tuning out. I have mostly stopped doing it, but then I feel silenced. What are some workarounds to this problem?

Go to Amazon and order, used, 2 books called "how to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie. You and your roommate read every word, highlighting and underlining. Put on each other's pillows, discuss. Make promises you know neither of you will keep. Throw the books into the hall. Make whoopee.

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My husband keeps comparing me to his stepsister and stepmother, who are, without doubt, flawed and troubled individuals. I am not saying I am perfect, but I want my flaws to be my own flaws, not his relatives' flaws. To short circuit these unfair (and to me, inaccurate) comparisons, what are ways to be assertive but not sound shrill and defensive.

Remind him that comparisons are odious and so is he, and in your softest, sweetest, sexiest and most gentle voice, assertively advise him to knock it the hail off or he’ll quickly find himself the recipient of the iron skillet application. Demonstrate.

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I love to read, but my reading time is limited. In choosing books to read, do you think it is better to go more towards the classics or to read from among the many new "bestseller" books?

There are book snobs breeding out there who think all best sellers are poorly written, stupid and belong only in recycle bins. There are those out there who think ditto about the Greek and any kind of classics and who can't even define "classic" anyway. So---what's your fave genre? Books on building locomotives? History? Biography? (never read "auto" biography--those are all packs of lies. I mean would you tell the reading public the whole truth about yourself? Neither would i.) How about books on newly invented cuss words and phrases? How-to books? Every book ever written "for dummies"? Hoarding; yes or no? Donkeys; yes or no? Children; yes or no? Whatever your favorites, go to that section of the library or bookstore. If there is a curtain pulled across certain sections, be proud and walk through it if that’s what rocks your boat, but maybe work the slouch hat and big sunglasses thing. Who cares if you choose one and only one genre and stay with it forever? Do it. You own your own preferences.

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Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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