Is it my imagination or have there been an unusual
number of natural disasters in the last year? Is God mad? And
if so, what should we do?
Dear Mr. Man,
I'll assume for the record that you refer to
the recent tsunami, the Iranian earthquake roughly 12 months
back and everything in between (earthquakes in Japan and Morocco,
Floridian hurricanes and Mount St. Helens, to name but a few).
Indeed, this sweet planet seems to be fighting
back. A recent essay in the New York Times swears that Old Faithful
spurted more frequently and furiously following some distant
Alaskan temblors in 2002. And that 1906, the year of the Great
San Francisco Earthquake, was similarly rife with natural disasters.
Whether or not you believe it's all connected,
the Times essay concluded, there will be a next time.
Is God mad? If so, she's probably mostly upset
at the hubris of humans to assign her with such time-wasting
What to do? Same as ever: Live and love as
though everything ends tomorrow.
Dear Dr. Jones,
I wanted to write while the memory is still fresh.
Every year it's the same thing I travel a long distance
to hook up with my family for the holidays and then there's nonstop
strife. We just don't get along. I'm not interested in affixing
blame, just looking for solutions.
Same ol', Same ol'
Dear So So,
A few obvious solutions come to mind. For one,
you could do a seasonal shift and change your annual sojourn to
summer, when there's far less commotion. For another, you could
move to Brazil and just phone home.
Or, you could glean some advice from a blue-collar
friend of mine who checked in last week with an interesting yarn.
Seems he was shooting the bull with a pair of workmates on this
very same (and very popular) topic.
Apparently, coworker No. 1 was lamenting the
annual gatherings of his own clan they, too, fight like
Arabs and Jews. On and on he went, describing at great length
the years of unholy wars. When this fellow was finally done kvetching,
my buddy asked the other workmate if he dreaded the holidays for
the selfsame reasons.
"No," said a reflective worker No.
2. "We all smoke pot, so everybody gets along."
OK, I'm not necessarily saying that grandma should
sprinkle her hydroponic harvest into the razzleberry dressing.
Or that you should slip one-hitters and nickel bags into the Christmas
stockings of all those hyperactive nieces and nephews you see
but once a year.
But what I am suggesting is this: Find as extreme
a collective activity as your fam can stand, then dive in!
I'm a 34-year-old guy who's never been wed. I've
been dating this girl for several months now and, while I like
her a lot, she's been pushing to have a three-way with a yet-to-be-determined
woman. She's also been pushing to get married. I'm into the second
but not the first. Is there something wrong with me? Any thoughts?
Man Oh Man
Contrary to popular belief, not all guys are
into the fabled ménage à trois. In fact, I'm guessing
that the popularity of the three-way scene is vastly overrated.
So, for starters, there's nothing wrong with you.
But the problem, my friend, is this: Your gal
will never forget about her unrequited hankering. If you deny
her curiosity, it's bound to bubble up somewhere down the road.
And if you take her up on the offer, you risk repulsing (or surprising)
Nevertheless, I suspect that she really does
already have someone else in mind. So the first thing I'd do is
find out. If she does, you're flirting with the double trouble.
And you're probably best off headed back to the drawing board,
the personals, your own right hand or whatever else it is that
newly single guys are doing these days.
Yet if she really is interested in finding a
total stranger as a willing one-time third party, well, maybe
(just maybe) you should bite the bullet and take one for the team.
See if it gets the carnal craving out of her system.
My honest hunch, however, is that you and your
gal aren't likely to see 2006 (much less February) together. But
if you do, you'll have built a solid, honest (albeit unlikely)
relationship. Which is no small accomplishment.
At the moment, though, I'm afraid you're facing
a most interesting dilemma a ménage à trois
to save the relationship. I say just grin and bare it.