Back when I was publishing newspapers in the 1700s, I used to write all sorts of stories, from news items to tall tales, to letters to the editor. Now that I’m here in the 21st century, I thought I might try doing an advice column, since that seems to be all the rage. So here’s my first installment:
I have this on-again, off-again boyfriend, whose name is Justin, who is so into himself that he just doesn’t get it that I have my own life. Sometimes it feels like he’s stalking me or something, especially when he mentions me in songs he’s written. How can I get him to see the light? –Selena in Studio City
Sometimes we men never quite get the message, unless you hit us over the head with a Liberty Bell. Try to ignore him. And if that doesn’t work, you could always go into the Stalk-less Protection Program.
My girlfriend left me for another guy, a football player. What should I do? –Dumped in Denver
It happens to everybody. Back in Philadelphia in the 1700s, I was dumped by a young lady, whose parents didn’t want to pay the dowry* I had in mind (*a fee the girl’s family used to pay to the boy’s family, back in those days, for the privilege of having their daughter get married). You could do a couple of things: (1) Get a new girlfriend, which could lead to your old girlfriend getting jealous and wanting you back; (2) Make lemons out of lemonade, and swear off girls (you could enlist a couple of your friends to join with you in an anti-girls club); or (3) Put on some weight, buy some shoulder, knee, elbow, and you-know-what pads, and try out for the football team. What do you have to lose, besides some vital organs?
I’m a country music superstar whose career has just caught fire again—almost like the Second Coming! I’m worried, though, that it won’t last, and my fans will move on to the next pretty face. How can I make sure this isn’t a fluke, and that I can look forward to many more years of sold-out concerts, hit albums, long nails, glam gowns, and life in the bosom of luxury? (PS: I also have my philanthropic pursuits, too, like helping poor children learn to read through my Imagination Library.)—Dolly from Pigeon Forge
I think you’re doing everything right. A good heart will always win out over good lungs or good p.r. Don’t fret (I’m referring to the “worry” frets, and not the guitar kind), you’ll still be a legend long after other average artists have come and gone.
My father wants me to go into the family business, but I want to travel and see the world. What’s your advice? –Footloose in Farmingdale
I faced the exact same situation when I was young! My father wanted me to work for his candle-making business, but I thought becoming a sailor and traveling around the globe sounded like more fun. I wound up running away, living homeless for a time on the streets of Philadelphia, and then finally landing a job as a printer for a small firm. Ironically, after making a lot of money in the printing business (when I started my own company), I did do a lot of traveling, to England and France, to get money for the American Revolution. So you never know how your life will turn out. You might start out working for your father now, but later, your dream of travel might ultimately come true. My advice: Be patient, be careful (homelessness wasn’t that much fun, I can assure you), and be on the lookout for cheap airfare deals so you can try out your travel plans in a less-risky way.
Need help? Want advice? Write to Ben: firstname.lastname@example.org