E S S A Y
Living With It
By "Guido Veloce"
Over the past several months, Americans received an enormous
amount of free advice, much of it not worth the price. I
especially liked the suggestion that buying a handgun is the
best protection against terrorist attacks. Since hearing
that I haven't been able to get out of my mind the image of
whipping out a six-shooter (I'm a traditionalist) and
blasting suspicious-looking envelopes. That gem set me
thinking about all the bad advice I've heard, given, and
taken over the years, beginning with everything that ever
followed "Girls really go for guys who...." Most of all, I
wondered about people who give advice for a living--radio
and TV "experts," Dr. Whatevers, and the Dear Abbys of the
world. They have the luxury of never having to live with
their own advice. They go on, year after year, suggesting
how to fix problems like a feud between aging twin sisters
in the same line of work. From time to time, good advisers
like Dear Abby and Ann Landers do admit having made mistakes
with their advice, and they accept correction in good
spirit. But these are always cordial exchanges with readers
and no lives appear ruined in the process.
There have to be cases where either the advice was bad or
there were unforseen consequences. There has to be a dark,
alternative universe to professional punditry. To see it,
let's imagine an advice-giver--we'll call him Dear Guido
because the name has a nice ring to it--and look at letters
he won't be printing.
You might explain to your readers the difference between
"taking ownership" and a "confession"....
Jailed in Jacksonville
I followed your advice and told my fiancˇe about my past.
You didn't tell me not to play the videotapes....
Single in Seattle
I got in touch with my "inner child," who turned out to be
whiny, selfish, and a bed-wetter. How can I go back to being
boring, uptight, and repressed?
Damp in Danville
Like millions of Americans, I was inspired by your column
explaining why spending money is a patriotic duty.
Unfortunately, my bank was pretty un-American about it, so I
think I should share with your readers some little-known and
very important information about extradition
Creditless in the Caymans
My wife took your advice and sought treatment for her lack
of interest in sex. From all reports it was
Abandoned in Akron
While tough love may be effective in some situations, when
your son's hobby is arson....
Homeless in Houston
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! As you suggested, I sat down with my
sister-in-law and had a heart-to-heart talk about why we
weren't getting along. IT WORKED! I never realized that
another woman could be so warm, loving, and understanding.
The problem now is getting rid of my brother....
Fulfilled in Fullerton
It's true that "participating in activities" increased my
daughter's popularity, but....
New Granny in New Goshen
Now, Mr. Know-It-All, please explain to Shy in Sioux City
the distinction between "striking up a conversation" and
Indignant in Iowa
You said that I should tell my girlfriend that I'm ready to
work on taking responsibility for my child. She said "your
Cuckolded in Cleveland
I'm writing to let you know that Unfaithful in Urbana
followed your advice, by confessing his multiple
infidelities, seeking professional help, and owning up to
the "health problems" he caused. As his widow....
Incarcerated in Illinois
"Guido Veloce" is a Johns Hopkins University
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