I’m contemplating making the switch from calling my adopted father by his first name, Gerald, to the more affectionate Dad. The problem is, Gerald and Winona (my mother) have always subscribed to the alternative family practice of having their kids address them by their first names. How do I show that I’ve finally accepted my adopted father as family without offending his New Age sensibilities?
Santa Fe, N.M.
Here is what I suggest. First, go into your room, dim the incandescents, and light some candles. Next, scatter some crystals about as a source of healing and energy. Put something soft and ambient on the phonograph, like a tranquility sampler or indigenous music with light chanting. Oh yeah, that’s nice. Get out the tarot cards and give yourself a quick reading. OK, you’re ready. Invite your mom and fake dad into the room and shout, in a Jim Morrison baritone rumble, “Father, I want to kill you! Mother, I want to fuck you!” Do you see what I’m getting at? Why would one explore an Oedipus complex with an adoptive parent? He will have to think you mean it. Yeah, it’s a long shot, but file it under “so crazy it just might work.”
Why isn’t anyone worried about me?
An Inquiring Mom
P. S.: I asked this question of my daughter just minutes ago, and she suggested your column as a place to air my concerns about myself.
This is a tough one. I wish I could say that nobody is worried about you because you are so well grounded and capable, but we both know deep in our hearts that that is a lie. It’s pretty clear that you are a train on the verge of derailment. You are a speeding vehicle and the wheels have come off. So why doesn’t anybody care? Could it be that your existence barely registers as a blip on the human awareness scale? As Occam’s Razor states, the simplest explanation is the preferred one. I suppose a better question to consider than “Why isn’t anyone worried about me?” might be “How can I exact a horrible revenge on my thoughtless offspring?” There’s a question I can sink my fangs into.
Recently I noticed a few hairs on the lower part of my wrist that resemble those of a werewolf. I want to ask my parents a few questions about this, but I don’t know how to do it. Do I consult the family tree first, or do I just confront them outright and ask, “Are we were-wolves?” I’m afraid my family may be embarrassed. Am I freaking over nothing?
No, I don’t think you are “freaking over nothing.” My god, Mitch, you have the hairs as proof. What more do you need? Who cares that a werewolf is a mythical beast? I mean, would you wait until the horn on your forehead is completely developed into a point before you accepted that you were a unicorn? Unfortunately, unicorns are imagined to be noble and gentle creatures, often showing up in black-light art or as objets d’art in a lonely lesbian’s apartment, whereas a werewolf is a heartless, cold-blooded killing machine. There is only one responsible course of action. You must take your own life. And I don’t mean in a “mythical” way. Yes, Mitch, suicide is the answer, if only to get you to stop bothering me with these ridiculous letters.
I’m having a moral quandary regarding my father. In his later years, greatly reduced in hearing, sight, and com-mon sense, he requires constant attention from others to prevent harm to himself. Example: While recently helping him assemble a vehicle lift I realized that, left alone, he would have likely found himself crushed under the weight of a vehicle. In short, I fear that my intervention is not only delaying a sizable inheritance but perhaps interfering with the necessary course of natural selection. What should I do?
If you’re looking for someone to condone the killing of your father, I suggest you find some other self-centered, underpaid advice columnist, because this one’s too busy fighting trumped-up drug charges to add accessory to murder. That’s right, Keenan, murder. Of course, it wouldn’t have been murder had you avoided putting in writing that you could benefit handsomely from the death of your father and then sent it to a national publication. With just a little patience, it’s only a matter of time before your dad stumbles ass-backwards into a snowblower or charbroils himself during a cookout. But no, you just had to go and spill the beans about your twisted plot. Way to go, Keenan. Real nice.
My wife is always talking about having a baby, but I don’t feel ready for it. How will I know I’m ready?
Eric J. Fetterman
New York, N.Y.
When you enjoy the smell of urine, relish the idea of vomit-stained shirts, and crave to be awoken by soul-shattering, eardrum-piercing screams—screams so horrifying they couldn’t be matched by those dammed to languish forever in the eternal fires of Hell—then I’d say you’re ready.
My family is so stupid. Whenever I sneak out of the house and get drunk with my friends, I get grounded. It makes me really mad, so mad that I just want to sneak out and get drunk even more. Last time I was babysitting my little sister, my friend Jon called and asked me to go drinking with him. So I thought, “What is the responsible thing to do?” and brought my sister with me. Now I’m grounded for so long that I have no choice but to sneak out and drink every night. How do I get my family off my back?
The solution is right in front of your face, and you don’t even realize it. Your instinct toward excessive drinking is a step in the right direction. Now add driving, preferably at high speeds, and not only do you have the recipe to keep your family off your back, but don’t be surprised if they actually seem more manageable. Let me explain. I’m not suggesting you kill yourself in a car, as that would be pointless. But let’s say you are severely injured. Nothing elicits more sympathy from family members than head trauma, and that’s points for you. If and when you recover the ability to speak, you’ll be the one ordering them around.