Dear Abby, Dear Abby, You Won't Believe This...Unlike our Dear Leader, I read newspapers every day. I am, after all, a media mogul - and I also have a brain, but that's beside the point. One of my daily "must reads" is the advice column Dear Abby (musician John Prine sums it up best in this song). Each issue, I try to take in the sheer Darwinian depth and breadth of the people who ask advice, the shadowy woman who gives it to them and the people who write in to complain or compliment said advice.
There's always a steady procession of broken romances, failed dinner parties and people who got drunk at the office Christmas party while hitting on the owner's wife and copying their naked ass on the holly-bedecked Xerox. At best, they unfailingly show abysmal judgment. At worst, they should probably be euthanized. I sometimes question the veracity of these letters. They sound suspiciously like cleaner, Midwest versions of Letters to Penthouse. However, I always encounter a similarly warped person in real life and I'm depressed to find out that they actually do exist.
If Abby's correspondents ask questions that are as predictable as the tides, her answers to them are equally predictable. Almost every problem - regardless of what it is - is cause to "seek counseling". The boyfriend won't divorce his wife to be with you? Get some counseling. You ran over your cat with a steam roller? Get some counseling. Living with a crazed, plastic surgery-addicted pedophile (oh my, how do these references to Michael Jackson keep slipping in)? Get some counseling.
I should say up front that I'm a believer in counseling when appropriate. It helps many people and keeps them from creeping over the hairy edge into the void. However, if you have to ask a stranger what to do when your girlfriend cheats on you with your father for the 28th time, "counseling" is a bit of a cop out. At this point it seems to me that Abby owes the human race a greater debt than that owed to the correspondent. She should take action to deepen our collective gene pool and get this person off the street. Permanently. Perhaps some advice to take very strong anti-psychotics or throw oneself under a train would be more appropriate.
Sometimes Abby seems to be blissfully unaware of the physical laws that govern us all. Take the passage of time for example:
I'm really, REALLY depressed. I mean I'm so depressed that I am perched on the ledge of my office building as I write you this note. I want to fling myself off, but I'm really concerned about damaging the BMW parked in front of the building. It's such a beautiful car. My cheating boyfriend has one just like it.
Abby, should I indulge my impulse to fly or get some counseling?
On the Edgeeee
Take a look at the beautiful blue sky. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Stop and smell the roses. Take your time before you make any big decisions. Perhaps you should call the National Suicide Hotline, but no hurry, think about it first. You wouldn't want to make any rash decisions. Please write back next month and let me know how things work out. I'm a little concerned that you might be depressed.
By the way, what color is that BMW anyway?
But the most amazing thing about Abby is how much I envy her. I'm looking for a job. I want a well-paid gig where I don't have to work very hard. Do you think she needs any help answering the letters?
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, June 15, 2005