Some weeks, I wish I had an advice column. No more wracking my brain for fresh ideas or fetching old columns out of the recycle bin and hoping nobody will notice.
Remember the time I did that? No? Well, just forget I said anything about it, then.
Yup, an advice column would be just the thing. You people write in with your problems — Oh, my God, do you people have problems — and I write back with solutions so vague and timeworn, they cannot fail.
Agnus writes that she and her husband seem to be drifting apart. And by drifting apart, she means that he went out to buy milk four years ago and never came back.
I got this.
Dear Agnus: The key to any strong relationship is communication. Communication and honesty, although I'm willing to bend on the honesty thing as long as you're actively communicating. Are you communicating with your husband, Agnus? Is he communicating with you? Have you made communication the sutures that hold together the gaping wound of your love? It's vital that you communicate with your husband, Agnus. Although, if he's been gone that long with a carton of sour milk, he probably smells pretty rank by now. Communicate with him about that. Clamp a clothespin on your nose and tell him how you feel. Communicate.
Bob writes in with fears that his wife is no longer attracted to him. Which is probably true, I mean, look at him!
As a professional advice columnist (starting five minutes ago) my job is to encourage Bob, not to deride him over the fact that he's short, bald, bow-legged, ugly, boring and sexually inept. Bob needs help. And by help, I mean the same insipid advice that's been handed down to losers like Bob since advice was invented in 1612.
Dear Bob: Never mind how your wife feels about you. How do you feel about you? Are you getting enough exercise? Do you have exciting hobbies and a safe circle of friends? Join a gym, Bob. Take some courses at a community college. Not enough to lift that flaccid esteem? Try knocking over a corner store. I think you'll find that the adrenaline rush that comes with committing a major felony will make you forget all about that cheating wife of yours. Did I say she was cheating? Whoops! My bad. I have no way of knowing if she is or isn't. By the way, it would be real convenient if you were to knock over a store between 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday night. Good luck, Bob. Learn to love yourself, especially if you end up in prison.
Sally writes in that she's fed up with her deadbeat husband, who does nothing but sit on the couch drinking beer and watching baseball, day after day. She misses the days when they used to take long walks on the beach and share their love of origami. She misses being treated like a queen.
Dear Sally: With all due respect, Your Highness, have you seen the wildcard race this year? I mean, holy crap! It's mid-September and there are still a half dozen teams in the American League alone fighting for a playoff spot! We finally have a chance to see some new faces in the postseason, including the Orioles and the Kansas City Royals! The Pittsburgh Pirates are contenders, for crying out loud, so if your hubby wants to watch a little history in the making, maybe you should just leave him alone. You could take a class at a local community college or join a gym. Or, heck, look up Bob and see if he's looking for a partner in crime. Just, please, don't walk in front of the TV and block your husband's view of an exciting squeeze play. You can be so selfish, Sally.
Write in with fears that your son may be a serial killer, and I'll suggest taking classes at a local community college. Seek advice on your best friend's addiction to Sharpie sniffing and we're right back to communication. Complain that your sister borrowed money and never paid you back, and I'll unleash some platitude that may or may not address your problem. The longest mile, Gertrude, is the last mile home.
You sit there and think about that for a while.
An advice column, is all I'm saying, would be a terrific chance for me to help people. More importantly — I mean, way, way more importantly — it'd be a terrific chance for me to help myself. No more scouring the streets, the dumpsters or the animal shelters for inspiration. No more paying junior high kids ten bucks to write my columns for me.
Remember the time I did that? No?
Forget I said anything.