Tag Archives: advice columns

My living room is literally a sea of paper clips

Dear Mindy,

I have so many paperclips, I don’t know what to do with them. I mean, my house is FULL of paperclips. Literally. When I walk in the front door, I have to wade through a sea of paperclips just to get to the living room. Then I go to pick up the remote on the end table, and I can’t find the TV. Most people dust; I paperclip. I can’t even eat my cereal in the morning without ingesting paperclips, so I think it’s starting to get a little out of hand. What can I do?

—Rhonda Canner
Raleigh, NC

Mindy Torbett hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her sleeping bag and a backpack full of paperclips.

Mindy Torbett hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her sleeping bag and a backpack full of paperclips.

Every issue, readers from all over write in to ask our featured advice columnist pressing questions about a very specialized field. Whether they hope to resolve a dilemma or find a way out of their quandaries and quagmires, they get their answers here.

Today we are proud to feature Mindy Torbett, a Bozeman, Montana, resident specializing in paperclips.

Dear Rhonda,

I can identify with your situation, because as you may have guessed, I too own a ton of paperclips. What I’ve done, however, is taken all my paperclips and thrown them into my backyard swimming pool. Swimming in paperclips might be a little rough on the skin, but not only does it save me from constantly checking chlorine levels, it frees me up from the hassles of getting buried in a flood of paperclips every time I open the refrigerator.

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Dear Mindy,

Sitting at my cubicle desk yesterday, I suddenly ran out of paperclips. For half an hour I had been paperclipping things so helter-skelter and willy-nilly that I didn’t even notice I was running out. I needed another paperclip, so I took one off of my co-worker’s desk. He caught me, and got all bent out of shape about this one little paperclip. How can I smooth things over with him?

—Carla Flemmer
Long Island, NY

Dear Carla,

Some people, like your co-worker, don’t understand the frustration of running out of paperclips without any warning. But if you really want to smooth things over with your colleague, present him with a paperclip collage. Gather several dozen paperclips (of varying sizes, of course) and paste them all on a piece of poster board. Underneath your collage, write him a poem like “You have a beard / And you’re a little weird / But you’re my friend / And I don’t want it to end / So hopefully we can skip / This fight over a paperclip.” Then sit back and watch the hostility melt away.

The Teaspoon Times e-book: pick up a copy today!This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!
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Should I poison my boyfriend with gasoline?

Dear Mark,

I got a cup of hot chocolate at the gas station yesterday, and when I went to savor its aroma, I noticed it smelled a lot like gasoline. Of course, normally, I like the smell of gas, but not in my hot chocolate. Even worse, it also tasted like gas. Was there really gas in it? What’s the deal?

-Chris Lawrence
Orlando, FL

Mark Klein takes his wife, Laura, out for a cup of hot chocolate.

Mark Klein takes his wife, Laura, out for a cup of hot chocolate.

Every issue, readers from all over write in to ask our featured advice columnist pressing questions about a very specialized field. Whether they hope to resolve a dilemma or find a way out of their quandaries and quagmires, they get their answers here.

Today we are proud to feature Mark Klein, a Boston, Massachusetts, resident specializing in hot chocolate.

Dear Chris,

There’s an old saying that goes, “If it smells like gas, and tastes like gas, it must be gas.” Sometimes, especially at the larger gas stations, the gas pump lines overflow into the hot chocolate machine lines, and vice versa. That’s why so many people are driving around these days with high concentrations of hot chocolate in their gas tanks. But don’t go fretting about all the hot chocolate that’s getting into your engine—after all, your engine will probably long outlive you, especially after you’ve ingested all that gasoline.

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Dear Mark,

Every morning at breakfast, my boyfriend slurps the hell out of his hot chocolate. I’m not kidding when I say he slurps it loud enough to wake the dead. One time, his hot chocolate slurping actually did rouse our next door neighbors from their pre-dawn slumber, much to their extreme dissatisfaction. What steps should I take to get him to “can it?”

-Helen Pendleton
Edina, MN

Dear Helen,

A few drops of gasoline ought to do the trick.

The Teaspoon Times e-book: pick up a copy today!This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!
http://www.teaspoontimes.com

Aluminum cans make great house pets

Dear Jackie,

I am a little concerned about my dog, Rolex. Yesterday, he drank an entire can of cream soda—then proceeded to eat the can. Funny thing is, he actually seemed to enjoy it, and last night he didn’t bark nearly as much as he usually does. Do you think he’s okay?

-Jose Carmen
Tampa, FL

Jackie Hardy finishes a scuba diving expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, where she was searching for long-lost aluminum cans.

Jackie Hardy finishes a scuba diving expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, where she was searching for long-lost aluminum cans.

Dear Jose,

Dogs are resilient creatures, and your little Rolex will probably be just fine, but be careful. Sometimes after ingesting that much aluminum, dogs can become restless. Keep an eye on him—if he does anything unusual, like hyperventilates, develops a craving for fresh-baked blueberry muffins, or tries to run for local office, call a vet.

Every issue, readers from all over write in to ask our featured advice columnist pressing questions about a very specialized field. Whether they hope to resolve a dilemma or find a way out of their quandaries and quagmires, they get their answers here.

Today we are proud to feature Jackie Hardy, a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, resident specializing in aluminum cans.

Dear Jackie,

I have kept a can of RC Cola as a house pet for the last four years, because that’s the only kind of pet my father would let me have. I named him “RC Cola Can.” Anyway, just last week, my mother accidentally recycled him. How can I get over this loss?

-James Claybourne
Davis, CA

Dear James,

Sometimes the best way to overcome the grief that accompanies the loss of a pet is to replace the pet. In this case, just head on down to your local supermarket and pick up a twelve-pack of RC Cola. Although “RC Cola Can 2” may not exhibit the same personality traits as “RC Cola Can 1,” you may find yourself growing quite fond of him in very little time indeed.

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Dear Jackie,

My best friend calls the aluminum can “the best invention since sliced bread.” However, I argue that it is the best invention since peanut butter and jelly. Who’s right?

-Kate Madison
Traverse City, MI

Dear Kate,

Neither of you is right. I’ve done extensive research on the subject and found that the aluminum can is actually the best invention since pourable concrete.

The Teaspoon Times e-book: pick up a copy today!This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!
http://www.teaspoontimes.com

Help! My grandmother looks like a cotton swab

Every issue, readers from all over write in to ask our featured advice columnist pressing questions about a very specialized field. Whether they hope to resolve a dilemma or find a way out of their quandaries and quagmires, they get their answers here.

Today we are proud to feature Tori Langston, a Spokane, Washington, resident specializing in cotton swabs.

Dear Tori,

I’m a little worried about my mother. She used to be a great decorator and have a high appreciation for beautiful floral arrangements in her home. The last time I visited her, however, the centerpiece for her dining room table consisted of a small pot of soil with a cotton swab sticking up out of it. Then I really started to worry when in the middle of dinner, she got up and actually watered it. Am I overreacting, or could it be that her porch light’s on, but nobody’s home?

-Brian Burell
Oak Park, MI

Tori Langston gives a lecture about cotton swabs at Harvard last month.

Tori Langston gives a lecture about cotton swabs at Harvard last month.

Dear Brian,

I don’t know your mother, so she very well could be a few notes short of a symphony, but the centerpiece you described sounds very attractive indeed. Guests are usually impressed with originality, and when I have dinner parties, I am overwhelmed with compliments on my cotton swab soup. And during the Christmas season, my friends gush about my Nativity scene, where the three wise men are bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and cotton swabs.

Dear Tori,

My grandmother looks like a cotton swab. She has this huge head of white hair, a skinny body, and these gargantuan fluffy white slippers she wears around the house. How do I tell her this without hurting her feelings?

-Makenzie McGillivray
Cave Creek, AZ

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Dear Makenzie,

This is a trick I’ve learned over the years for dealing with people who look like cotton swabs. Someday soon, take a picture of a cotton swab. Print it out, then discreetly mix it in with another set of pictures, say, of one of her vacations. Then, one night after dinner, go through the pictures with her, and when you come across the photo of the cotton swab, comment on how good she looks. You can then say, “Oh, I’m sorry, that’s a cotton swab. I thought it was you.” I have never hurt anyone’s feelings using this subtle method, so I am confident it will work for you.

Dear Tori,

I wrote a term paper decrying social injustice and proposing a plan to help people by giving the world a cotton swab. My professor told me that the world’s problems will never be solved with cotton swabs. Please tell me that there is some merit to my argument.

-Julie Patchett
Orland Hills, IL

Your prof is right. The world’s problems cannot be solved with cotton swabs alone. You’ll also need some rubbing alcohol.

The Teaspoon Times e-book: pick up a copy today!This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!
http://www.teaspoontimes.com

Ask a specialist…about chewing gum

Every week, readers from all over write in to ask our featured advice columnist pressing questions about a very specialized field. Whether they hope to resolve a dilemma or find a way out of their quandaries and quagmires, they get their answers here.

Today we are proud to feature Glen Johanssen, a Modesto, California, resident specializing in chewing gum.

Dear Glen,

I love my husband, Evan, but not when he chews gum. He chomps, he slobbers, and he always spits in my face when he talks. Wrigley’s, Bubbalicious, Hubba Bubba—it’s all the same. I’ve tried telling him, “chew softly, my love,” and, “say it…don’t spray it,” as well as, “quit slobbering, for the love of God.” Divorce is my next step. What can I do?

-Emily J. Higgins
Albany, NY

About our specialist: Glen Johanssen, gum specialist, is also an avid pumpkin grower.

About our specialist: Glen Johanssen, gum specialist, is also an avid pumpkin grower.

Dear Emily,

Loud gum chewing and slobbering is something that annoys us all—my best friend used to do it. Fortunately for us, the odious habit of gum slobbering is just a phase, and this abhorrent behavior usually passes quickly. If not, most definitely file for divorce.

Dear Glen,

My boyfriend says that gum originated in China during the Ming Dynasty. I think that’s a load of horse pucky. I say it was invented right here in Texas in the seventies. Can you settle this once and for all?

-Darla Hill
Arlington, TX

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Dear Darla,

Your boyfriend is close, except that instead of China, gum originated in what is now Germany, and instead of during the Ming Dynasty, it was about sixty-eight thousand years earlier when a Neanderthal man (whom we in the gum field have nicknamed “Jimmy”), stepped in a puddle of tree sap. Wanting to give something special to his mate, “Annabel,” Jimmy collected a handful of the sap, mixed in some dirt (for texture), wadded it up around a flower petal (for flavor), stuck a hair in it (we still don’t know why), and gave it to Annabel. Although Annabel’s jaw was permanently sealed shut when she chewed it, it was still a thoughtful gift, and the discovery paved the way for many improvements in the production process over the years. Today, many flavors of gum are sold the world over, even in Texas.

Dear Glen,

Hi. You know that quote, “If gum be the food of love, play on?” Well, what exactly did Shakespeare mean by that? And could you elaborate on the metaphorical meaning and symbolic intricacies of that phrase?

-Jessica R.
Holyoke, OH

Dear Jessica,

I believe it’s “music,” not “gum.”

The Teaspoon Times e-book: pick up a copy today!This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!
http://www.teaspoontimes.com