As so often occurs in the dark of winter, Mr. Answer Clown scans his in-box for interesting questions from devoted readers with problems. To say, “devoted readers” and “(readers) with problems” is redundant. Anyway, while there are many letters from the lovelorn, the confused, the irritated the ignorant and the merely stupid, Mr. Answer Clown prefers to concentrate on the latter two categories because that is where all the fun stuff is located. So, let’s get to it.
Q. My husband an I have lost our motivation to clean and keep up the house. Even folding clothes seems like too much. He works at home and it’s very tight with his office, the two of us and an 85 pound retriever. Our motivation is so bad that we don’t even walk the dog twice a day anymore.We have all, dog included, gained weight. Do you have any suggestions?* Arlene, 42, Aberdeen, SD
A. Your situation sounds horrid: your dinky house is filthy, your clothes are wrinkled, the dog is likely doing some of his business indoors for lack of outdoors opportunities and you, your husband and the dog are become giant tubs of lard. You are the very sort of people that Mr. Answer Clown crosses the street to avoid. Send your disgusting question to Miss Manners, Dear Prudence or anyone else who might care about helping you losers turn your wretched lives around. Enjoy!
Q. My name is Steve and I have a question regarding men’s hairstyles. I am balding and decided four years ago to shave my head completely bald for a cleaner look. I received a lot of positive attention from women at the time. However, over the past year or so I have noticed more men with longer hair and women paying less attention to bald-headed men. Are bald-headed men out and long haired guys in?* Steve, 37, Victoria, TX
A. First off, Steve, “bald” is not a “hairstyle”, it’s a head style. Anyway, been there, done that buddy. Several years ago I noticed that my hairstyle (thinning on top, poofy on the sides) made me resemble Slobodan Milosevic. Therefore, I shaved my head believing that I was adopting the Mr. Clean or Patrick Stewart look and that a smooth, shiny pate would be a chick magnet. This turned out to be incorrect. Actually, I looked like Gollum but chubbier. Not surprisingly, this had no discernible positive impact on my relationship with women. More recently, I have let my mane grow. My flowing locks of exquisite silver hair have now given me the aging hippie look. Not surprisingly, this has had no discernible positive impact on my relationship with women. I realize that this was not an answer, Steve, but I do like the opportunity to talk about myself whenever possible. Thanks for the opening. Enjoy!
Q. My father and mother just asked me to take care of their dog, again. Toodles is a nasty, yappy, nippy small dog who I cannot stand. They even call this dog my “baby sister”. How can I get out of caring for Toodles?* Barbara, 24, Santa Monica, CA
A. By your description, Toodles is the classic “nuisance” dog because the dog can’t protect you from a psychotic rapist, its yippy bark only makes burglars snigger, it won’t keep you warm on a three dog night, it demands to sit in mummy’s lap when she’s driving the Caddy in order to glare at other drivers dismissively, it won’t catch a Frisbee in mid-air nor retrieve a downed game bird. In fact, Toodles is probably a cat with a larynx problem. So what to do? Well, there are three options: (1) nuisance dogs make great kindling for one of those three dog nights, (2) take Toodles on an educational outing to the Grand Canyon and toss his? her? (Toodles is a gender neutral and completely obnoxious name) favorite chew toy over any precipice after getting the dog all excited about getting the toy back or (3) tell your parents that they can “pound sand, it’s either me or the stupid dog and if you refer to that cur as my ‘baby sister’ once more I’m going to stuff Toodles into the Vitamix Pro and turn it to high”. Regardless of which option you choose, Barb, I look forward to your next letter regarding how to patch things up with your mom an ’em. Enjoy!
Q. I run a child care business from my home and am much disturbed by my next door neighbor who sunbathes in her backyard with nothing on but a skimpy bikini. There is not much room between our houses and parents have even mentioned her. I am embarrassed to say anything because it is her property. Who am I to ask that she be more modest around all of these children and parents?* Bobbi, 49, Tucson, AZ
A. This is a thorny issue indeed. It’s just a guess, but I imagine that the parents who have “mentioned her” are virtually all mommies. Daddies tend to be more sanguine about these sorts of problems. You should do nothing in the immediate future. Nothing. This will give us time to consult face to face. Trying to solve this problem via e-mails isn’t practical. If you will send me your exact address I will book a flight today and then evaluate the issue personally. I shall need a private room in your house, one that overlooks the neighbor’s yard. These sorts of difficult problems cause Mr. Answer Clown to get more and more excited until he finally loses interest, smokes a Marlboro and dozes off. Enjoy!
Q. A few days ago I announced my retirement from a very cushy and high profile job. Virtually everyone was taken by surprise. Although I will leave behind some very attractive perks including infallibility, a cool car, over-the-top living quarters, a collection of valuable hats and robes plus the ability to cover up sexual crimes against children worldwide, the thrill of leadership has waned. My question is simple and one that many soon-to-be-retirees have faced: what will I do now? Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI (a.k.a. The Pope), 81, Vatican City, Italy
A. Well, Ben, to start with, you will have to give up the pretentious name and go back to being plain old Joseph “I used to be in the Nazi Youth Corps” Ratzinger. Other than that, the world is your oyster. You have the look of a WalMart greeter, but I doubt that you would find that fulfilling. Given your extensive religious background there is always the option of raising some serious capital and founding a mega-church, following in the path of Creflo Dollar. The money is not as big as you have been used to, but the satisfaction of building something new instead of officiating over the decline of a creaking institution could be exciting. Then again, with your knowledge of Vatican City, becoming a docent there would land you in a spot where very little training would be necessary. Plus, you could occasionally pop into the Holy Offices once in awhile, compare notes with the resident Cardinals and talk some trash about the new Pope. Or, you could get married. Enjoy!
If you have a question for Mr. Answer Clown, please put it in the “Comments” section of this post. Mr. Answer Clown will either get to it right away or at some unspecified time in the future when things get really, really slow.
*This question actually sent to advice columnists or on-line advice site during the past two years.
Observoid of the Day: Based on scriptural evidence, Saints Peter, Paul and Mary never sang “Tom Dooley”.