Time again for my weekly court-ordered anger management class in which I answer advice column letters with the advice morons should have gotten the first time but did not. Unlike some more popular advice columnists, I’m the rabbit who tells it like it is, no BS, no punches pulled. Nope, I’m the guy who points out idiocy when I see it, which is staring you in the face every time you look in the mirror. And away we go…
Dear Unqualified Advice Columnist: Today is my 50th birthday. I'm a person with a few close friends, but I'm not widely social. The members of my book club knew it was my birthday when we met a few days ago. I had mentioned it before our meeting but nothing was said when we met. My best friend is going on vacation and hasn't remembered. My husband asked me what plans I had made for us to do today. My sister, bless her, has been wonderful and feels responsible to try to make this day special for me. Is it really my job to plan a celebration and remind everyone I'm close to dying? [She’s not that close to dying; I just threw that in there.] I have talked enough about how important this particular birthday is to me. I'm hurt that no one feels I'm worth the effort. Am I making too big a deal out of this? – Signed, 50 going on 2
Dear Fiddy: Are you making a big deal out of your fiftieth birthday? Considering no one’s ever lived past 50 before, why yes, it is a big deal. I mean, 50 is so special; you’ve gone around the Sun 50 times, whoa nelly! And you got there by reading books. No, no dangerous activities for you. Why, you might have accidentally killed yourself with a knitting needle by now, but you’ve been so careful that now you want people to give a damn. Do you know why your friend going on vacation hasn’t remembered your birthday? Because she’s taking the time to actually enjoy life for five friggin’ minutes. Meanwhile the best you can do is hope everyone around you acknowledges your special achievement. 50 might have been impressive 100 years ago lady but these days everyone’s doing it. It’s not that you’re not worth the effort, it’s that being 50 isn’t the big deal it used to be. (Or, you really aren’t worth the effort and I’m just being nice because someone spiked my carrot juice with Prozac.) But if you think this is a big deal, then you’ve got to take matters into your own hands. You know what they say, if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. If you haven’t learned that by now, well, you may be 50 but you sure haven’t done a whole lot of living.
Dear Unqualified Advice Columnist #2: My 4-year-old is in love with pink, princesses, fairies, things that sparkle, accessories, nail polish, sassy shoes — all of it. I assumed she was just drawn to those things because she found them fun and aesthetically pleasing (I too love a good ruffle or sparkle), but now she’s becoming preoccupied with “pretty.” After she gets dressed or I brush her hair, she asks, “Am I pretty now?” My wife and I have tried to limit talking about things like flowers or butterflies as being “pretty,” though we do slip and tell my daughter she is pretty at times (because, come on — she’s my gorgeous little girl). We try to emphasize things she can control, like trying to learn her letters, hit a ball, etc., but only “pretty” seems to be registering with her at the moment. I don’t know how to respond when she asks me if she’s pretty. I end up saying something lame, like, “You’re always pretty, sweetie” but that response is not resonating with her. I think she knows I’m trying to avoid telling her she’s pretty, but she backs me into a corner and asks me point-blank! Help! – Signed, Pretty Stupid
Dear Pretty Stupid: Whoa, whoa, whoa. A four-year old is backing you into a corner? To start with, you need to grow a pair and tell your precious little girl “No one puts baby in a corner! Be-otch.” Now, it would probably be easiest to dismiss this behavior as a phase and just tell your daughter what she wants to hear, but what fun would that be? I mean, if it’s not a phase, the crafty little devil questionably sprung from your loins recognizes the value of beauty in manipulating people, case in point being yourself. The downside of her reliance on beauty is that she’s going to wind up pregnant by the time she’s 14 and on welfare with 3 kids by the time she’s 21. My advice is to start curbing this fascination with prettiness stat, which can be done in several ways. First, when she asks you if she’s pretty, ask her if she means pretty on the outside or pretty on the inside. This will start making her think and you can tell her that if she if only concerned with being pretty on the outside, no one will ever really love her because she doesn’t really love herself, or some crap like that. If this sounds like psychological warfare, well, it is. After all, you are dealing with a 4 year old which is twice the terror of a 2 year old. Or, you can tell her no, she’s not pretty, and she needs to start developing some life skills unless she plans to move to Brazil, the plastic surgery capitol of the world where she’ll probably wind up in a drug lord’s brothel. Or, you can start using the word ‘pretty’ in a different context, as is “You learned your letters, that’s pretty good,” or, “You hit the ball, that’s pretty special.” But I’m sure all of this has occurred to you since you stopped a minute to think about any of this. Oh, that’s right, you didn’t, because of you don’t think. You were distracted by how pretty your wife is and that resulted in a child. You know what? Let the kid do what she wants. I can’t wait for her letter 20 years from now asking me whether she should put her mentally ill father in a home or have him euthanized. Oh, the fun we’re going to have with you, pops.
If you’d like some advice from me, That Angry Rabbit, send your letters via email to email@example.com. Letters/Pathetic Sob Stories that I respond to will have the privilege of being lampooned by yours truly. Hasta la vista, baby.