Aren’t baby monitors just an invasion of privacy?
If you’re a baby, then yes, they are an invasion of privacy. Find a baby-lawyer and sue your parents for everything they’re worth. The damages will probably wind up being equal to your college tuition minus the baby-lawyer’s fee, which means you’ll have to find another way to afford to go to Europe for the summer after graduation.
If you’re not a baby, that’s a creepy question, and perhaps babies should avoid you.
Is there really a trick to learning a new language fast? I’ve gotten dozens of emails promising that there is, and I’m starting to believe them, but I’m looking for a second opinion.
Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.
Dear Martha, Two things:
(1)Do not believe everything you read in emails. Speciﬁcally emails offering to teach you tricks, because what you usually learn is that you got tricked, most likely out of your credit-card information. Do not believe emails from Nigerian princes, only Nigerian kings. A prince would have access to wealth only once he became a king. Until then he’s just a rich man’s son. And never believe Evites. That party is not going to be as fun as your friend claims it will be.
(2)The easiest way to learn a new language is by forgetting the language you currently speak. Once you’ve freed up all that storage space in your brain, it will be easy to ﬁll it up with a new language. Just make sure you don’t reﬁll it with the same language you worked so hard to forget.
With all the modern advances in blinds and shades, are drapes still necessary?
Quebec City, Quebec
If you were sneaking into an ofﬁce of a well-respected captain of industry to take photos of top-secret plans of some nefarious project with the name of a Greek god, only to be interrupted in the middle of your snooping, do you think you’d be safe hiding behind the shades?
I’m starting to suspect I need a new city. Any suggestions?
Dear Miss or Mr. J. Rancek of Cleveland, Ohio,
It sounds like you may be suffering from a case of LeBronchitis. While Cleveland is a lovely city with a rich history, you feel the compulsion to take your somewhat-overrated talents else-where. Some might suggest a warm, tropical destination where coworkers can help you hide your inability to produce in the fourth quarter (assuming you work in sales). No need to go that far south. How about Akron, Ohio? Once in Akron, you might ﬁnd that Cleveland was actually a pretty nice place, and had you spent less time focused on selling—let’s say, sneakers—and more time working on defense and your low-post game, you might not have been so quick to leave.
I’m not from here, so Southern hospitality intimidates me. Do I have to be that cheerful back to them?
Southern hospitality can be intimidating, but don’t feel pressure to be any more cheerful than you normally would. Feel free to be as rude or cranky as you like, because the truth is they already think you’re rude and cranky. You’re not from the South. And no matter how cheerful you act, it will never be enough. Southern hospitality is a dangerous game of disingenuously polite one-upmanship. They don’t want to be cheerful; it’s a neurotic need to counteract all the awful things they say and think behind your back. The simple act of opening a door for someone at the store can be seen as an act of aggression. You opened a door, proving that you are nice de-spite the fact that on the inside they laughed at your haircut. So now they quietly hate you for it as they spend all night making you a peach cobbler. And it will be delicious, because it was made with the focus and rage of a person whose sole mission is to make you feel guilty for even thinking you and your dumb haircut were so much better that you could open a door. People in the South don’t make their own preserves because they enjoy it. That’s ammunition for a never-ending battle of passive-aggressiveness.
Arbitrarily looking into things has lead me to notice that I know almost nothing about everything. Other than a library and maybe Wikipedia, is there a reliable place for me to learn about everything?
A grammar correction: the word you were looking for was led, not lead. Unless you meant the element lead (Pb), and you were suggesting that you have become some kind of living statue. If that is the case, then while arbitrarily looking for knowledge, you may have stumbled across the head of a Medusa relative. Medusa obviously would have turned you to stone, but it sounds like you may be some sort of walking, talking bullet-woman who is impervious to X-rays. Use this power for good. The city of Sonoma needs you to protect it from vacationing villains drunk on power and wine. Lots of wine.
If that’s not what you meant, then you may have been spending your time using Wikipedia in the library improperly.