Ask Jay!

Welcome to the first episode of my regularly occurring advice column. People ask me for advice all the time. And usually I’m like “gahhhh enough with the questions, people!” but today I will address some out of the kindness of my heart. You may thank me later. Or not at all. Whatever, let’s get it over with.

Jay, I’ve been invited to my cousins’ wedding and I don’t have much money left over for a gift after the plane ticket and hotel and all that. How much is ok to give? – Tim, IL

Wait, hang on. Is cousins’ a typo or are two of your cousins getting married? To each other?? If you meant cousin’s then fine, that’s one thing. Or even cousins without the apostrophe, while grammatically incorrect it is at least socially acceptable. Sorry, far bigger questions regarding your potentially messed up family must be answered before I can proceed. Next.

Dear Jay, my mother calls me like literally a million times a day. How can I get her to stop? Thanks! – Tonja, MA

Where do I begin with this one. There’s no way she calls you a million times a day. I calculated that she would have to call about every .08 seconds for the entire day. Oh yes, I see that you put like before literally but still, it doesn’t mean you can give the antonym for figurative a figurative meaning. And if you don’t understand that, then I’m literally not going to give you advice since you probably won’t grasp said advice in the first place.

Hey, me and my brother recently found out that our parents are considering a divorce. I know its there decision but is their anything we can say to change they’re minds? – Carl, CA

I’m like literally going to shoot myself. My brother and I, it’s not its, their not there, there not their, and their not they’re. This question however, which may surprise you, I am compelled to answer: encourage them to split up, find different partners, and try for smarter kids. Clearly there’s some bad genetic mojo going on.

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Ok, well that was fun. Thanks again and if I’ve helped even one person, then nobody is more surprised than me. Or I, rather. God, you idiots are rubbing off on me. I need a drink.

A Blues Man In Therapy

therapy-Flickr

“Can you remember the first time you felt you were ‘born under a bad sign’, as you put it?”

Ramblin’ Hambone stroked his chin, grizzled and covered with grey stubble, and stared unblinking at the community college certificates on Debbie’s wall. The room was furnished like a living room, with three chairs in the center facing together, and multi-cultural artwork, seemingly picked out without any attempt at cohesion, decorated the walls and bookcases.

“Yuhh….I’ve been down since I began to crawl,” he croaked, and began to turn up the volume knob on the battered Gibson Firebird electric guitar on his knee.

“Mr. Hambone? Maybe no guitar during the sessions, so we concentrate on just talking please?” Debbie patiently asked, her long, straight, salt and pepper hair pulled back. She wore a Sanskrit “Om” pendant around her skinny neck. “Thank you. Now, tell me more about your childhood please.”

“I ain’t nothin’ but a country boy, driftin’ from town to town. Said I ain’t nothin’ but a country boy, driftin’ from town to town, have mercy.”

“Now, do you often repeat yourself? Do you feel that people are not listening to you?” she asked in response.

“Now when I was a young boy, at the age of five. My mother said I was gonna be the greatest man alive. But now I’m a man, way past 21. Want you to believe me baby, I had lots of fun.”

Debbie jotted down a note on the notepad on her knee with a pencil. “The expectations of others can be a trigger for depression, and it’s not uncommon for people to cope by self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity,” she confirmed. “Oh, and please call me Deborah or Debbie. ‘Baby’ is not appropriate for a therapeutic relationship.”

“I got a little red rooster, too lazy to crow for day. Oh, I got a little red rooster too lazy to crow for day. Keep everything in the barnyard upset in every way.”

“Ok, so sometimes you have difficulty getting out of bed? Depression can have a serious impact on our productivity. And do you ever have any feelings of hopelessness?”

“The thrill is gone away. The thrill is gone away for good” Ramblin’ stated bleakly.

“Well you woke up one morning to learn that your girlfriend left you, you have no money or job, and it’s flooding where you live. Those are some major life events,” said Debbie with genuine empathy, nodding her head gently and grimacing at RH. “Why, it’s no wonder you have ‘the blues’!” She added air quotes to that last phrase.

“Next week we can pick up where we left off and maybe go over some coping strategies that don’t involve whiskey, cigarettes, or shooting your woman down? Ooh I almost forgot! There’s the matter of the copay. Who is your insurance provider?”

“Yaw…mmm…lessee what I got down heauh,” muttered Ramblin’ Hambone as he slowly fished through the pockets of his worn-out trousers, finding a flask, a few guitar picks, loose change, and a hound’s tooth in a small flannel bag– apparently a hoodoo talisman – before coming upon a bent plastic card.

He squinted at the card for a moment. “It’s Blues Cross of Alabama.”

“BLUE Cross,” she corrected him, “but that’s fine. I take that.”

Frog the Mountie Punter

I was watching this show about a couple who ran a bail bonds business. They were really smart about it: they dressed like, acted like, and really nailed the personae  of the low-life, tweaker, trash they were trying to apprehend. Then I realized it wasn’t just a clever disguise, it’s how Dog and Beth are all the time.

Aisle 16: Chips, Snacks, Frustration

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Alright, I just have a few things to get here at the food store before I go home. First up is yogurt but it seems to be that a portly fellow with a creepy mustache is blocking the ones I want. No matter, I can get – oh hello, cute girl in the yoga pants. Of course she’s here with some dude. He might be her bodyguard from the looks of him. Don’t get caught checkin’ out the merchandise if you know what I’m saying! Heh heh.

Jeez, I just want to get a few of those yogurts. What’s this guy’s deal? He smells like a box of old cheese that was in your attic for years. Come on buddy, it’s a nutrition label, not freakin’ Ulysses. And I’m pretty sure that one is going to be the same as the last one you put down.

Lord Jesus that girl is hot. Yup, just got caught looking by her boyfriend. Aaand he’s still staring at me. Backwards hat, tank top, pretty sure he just crushed a can of Red Bull against his forehead. Not good. Ok, let’s try the – damn, that guy is still picking out yogurts?

Fine, there’s plenty on the ole list here in the meantime. Now if I could just get past this old lady with her cart sideways.

”’Scuse me…uh, pardon me…(cough)…(AHEM)…”

Ok, scratch that. This aisle isn’t an option. Maybe I can finally get those yogurts. Seriously dude?! Those things are gonna be expired before he’s done with them.

I don’t even need anything in the laundry aisle but I’ll shoot down there to get away from the – oh that’s just great. Hot girl and meathead are here now. I guess you need to do a lot of laundry if you live in a weight room. Too bad yogurt guy isn’t familiar with this stuff. Ok here she comes, don’t look don’t look don’t FUCK! I looked. How can you not?? It’s like going to the Louvre and not looking at any of the paintings. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get my ass kicked by the time we get to frozen foods if this keeps up.

Now the old lady is at the yogurts. Of course. Screw it, there’s nobody in produce. I can get by on salads and potatoes for the week.

An Open Letter To Paco Fiandacoulos

Dear Paco Fiandacoulos,

Assuming that IS your real name. Look, I don’t know who you think you are. No, really. I don’t even know WHO you are. So any assumptions on my part about your thoughts and feelings on who you are would be totally baseless. I’ll do my best not to go there.

You could be a great guy. Then again, you might be a gutless rat bastard. Perhaps your mother loved goats, you pathetic bag of filth – wait, sorry. That’s not fair of me to say that. I got carried away and like I said, I don’t even know you!

Let’s be frank. – No, I don’t mean we should be Frank Kang. – What’s that? – Ha! Good one, Paco!- Yeah, the guy who works at the deli. No, I know who you’re talking about.

Sorry, I was just imagining how our conversation might go. Some witty banter, no doubt! Sorry, there I go again being assumptive. As I was saying, I’m writing to you because I was hoping by this point in the letter I would have thought of where this was going. Like a larger point or even just some more rambling. But, ah…yeah. That’s all I got.

Fondly,

J. Q. S.

PS: Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Paco, I’m talking about you, Paco.

Tornadoes & Tigers & Floods, Oh #*@%!

“It could be worse,” some people are wont to say.  But it doesn’t always feel like it’s true on those really bad days.  But keep this in mind:

This past Wednesday, several tornadoes touched down in the fair state of Oklahoma.  Homes were demolished, there were injuries and even deaths.  The storms were accompanied by flash flooding as well.  And in the town of Tuttle, OK a tornado damaged The Tiger Safari, allowing several exotic animals to escape temporarily.

Authorities warned the public of the situation and advise them to stay indoors.  So imagine, you survive a catastrophic weather event, only to face the challenge of making it through a night of being stalked by 500 lb. carnivores that can pretty much see in the dark.  And what was that about staying “indoors?”  Oh you must mean my house which no longer exists!  Very helpful, those authorities.

So you see, it CAN get worse.  If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got a roof over your head, are experiencing non-leathal wind speeds (if any), and have a negligible chance of death by tiger.  I bet having just one of those is sounding pretty good for a resident of Tuttle, OK.  Stay safe you guys!