Donald Rumsfeld, Bored and Unable to Get Other Work, Takes a Job as a Teen Advice Columnist

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Q: I’m a late bloomer and it’s really hurting my social life. None of the boys will talk to me! How can I make them bigger? — Ashley, 13.

A: Ashley –- As you know, you go to junior high with the boobs you have, not the boobs you might want or wish to have at a later time. Now stop complaining and get out there and show everyone that a light, mobile, rapid-response pair of breasts is the best strategy.

Q: Hi Donald! My friend Kaitlin has been spreading rumors about me. But I don’t know what she’s been saying! All the girls have been looking at me like I’m psycho but I know it’s her. What should I do? — Monica, 14.

A: Monica –- Let me explain how the world works. There are known knowns. Kaitlin is a lying skank. This is a thing we know we know. But we also know there are unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we don’t know. Like Kaitlin’s whereabouts tomorrow around 3 p.m. And then there are the unknown unknowns. This would be Kaitlin’s ability to withstand a continuous stream of water pouring over her face before finally breaking. So get a bucket and go know some unknowns.

Q: Mr. Rumsfeld, I’m being pressured by my boyfriend to go all the way but I don’t think I’m ready yet. How can I tell him that without losing him? — Leslie, 15.

A: Let me tell you a story, Leslie. One time I was with my friend, let’s call her, oh, I don’t know…”Kindalisa.” And she was pressuring me, BIG TIME, to follow something called the Geneva Convention rules. And she kept nagging me, and nagging me, and I thought, “Should I give in? Everyone’s doing it, right?” Well, no, I didn’t give in. I held out for what I believed in. That’s called integrity, Leslie. And it’s the most precious gift of all.

Q: I don’t have a prom date! I totally hate my life. If I have to go with my brother, I’ll just die. What can I do? — Tania, 17.

A: Tania — You are being extremely narrow-minded. My sister and I had a lovely time.

Q: I hate my science teacher! He’s so mean. I was totally not talking in class but he made me stand in the corner facing everyone all period!! He’s totally picking on me!! What can I do about this? — Becky, 14.

A: That’s it? You stood in front of a room for 40 minutes? Trust me, sweetheart, you got off easy.

Q: I’m so mad!!! I think my boyfriend’s cheating on me! He always says he’ll text me and then he doesn’t. What’s up with that???? And my friends say they saw him with that slut Joanne at Taco Bell last night. How can I be sure if he’s sneaking around? — Angela, 16.

A: Angela, do you own a 12 volt battery and some electrode wires? Do you know what a scrotum is? I think I’ve said enough.

Q: I’ve been fighting with my best friend over a boy! And now I’m totally miserable. I want my best friend back! 🙁 Is there a way to know how long this fight will last? — Jessie, 16.

A: No, Jessie, I can’t tell you if the fight will last five days, or five weeks, or even five months. But it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.

Q: Who do you think is more awesome, Zak Efron or Cody Linley? My friend Janet says Zak but I think Cody is so much cuter!!! — Savannah, 15.

A: What are you, retarded? Zak. His callow looks, lithe physique and piercing blue eyes render obsolete all heartthrob rivals. Cody Linley? You might as well just tack up a poster of Osama Bin Laden on your wall.

Q: Hey! I wrote you earlier about my science teacher. Your advice was horrible! Where do you get off giving advice to anyone? — Becky, 14.

A: Where are you going to be around 3 p.m. tomorrow, Becky? I think my new friends Monica and Angela can help answer any questions you might have about my credentials.

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News Items I Expected To See When I Was Eight Years Old

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Man’s Death Ruled Accidental

Services were held yesterday for Terrence “Terry” Bly-Oldman, a well-known figure in the local community, who died suddenly last Thursday. He was 45. The county medical examiner’s office has given the cause of death as postprandial aquatosis. “We were all sitting out on the deck,” his wife told investigators. “He ate an apple, and then 59 minutes later — with only 60 seconds to go! — he dangled his foot in the swimming pool. He was killed instantly.”

“I begged him to be careful,” said his grieving but not tearful son, “but he wouldn’t listen to me.”

Although Bly-Oldman had been in frail health for many years due to a lifelong habit of only perfunctorily rinsing, instead of really washing, his hands after going to the bathroom, his death has been ruled an accidental suicide. An autopsy revealed a potentially life-threatening stomach blockage due to multiple wads of bubble gum he had apparently swallowed decades ago, but this condition did not seem to be a contributing factor in his sudden demise.

At his funeral Bly-Oldman was remembered by all for his success in business, his service to the community, his devotion to his family, and for throwing up all over the pianist during the school choral concert when he was in second grade.

Lottery Winner Reveals Secret Of Good Luck

A winner of not one, not two, but three super-mega-jackpots in the tristate Googolball Lottery has revealed the secret of her success. After winning her third multimillion-dollar prize on Thursday, Annette Fortsch of Yip, PA, explained to reporters that she has lived all her life in houses with black and white checkerboard floors in every room and has never once, in all her 23 years, stepped on a black square. Fortsch’s winnings total $945,320,450 — so far!

President Reviews Issues Of National Importance In State Of The Union Address

In his annual State of the Union speech yesterday, the president discussed the key problems of pressing, vital concern to every US citizen. Since the vice president was unavailable, the chief executive was introduced by the next most important, powerful person in the country, Mr. Ernest Stern, principal of Warren Harding Elementary School in Lughaven, Pennsylvania.

In his opening remarks, the president revealed that a new kid would be joining Mrs. Dorriger’s third grade class at Warren Harding next week. His name is Eric. It is not known yet whether he seems destined to be popular or not. Our nation’s leader then expressed his condolences to the Weinbergen family, whose dog Mister Bows was recently run over by a car, and to the Leforge twins, Noel and Pascale, whose parents are getting a divorce.

In the second part of his speech, the president outlined his plan to introduce urgent, strongly-worded federal legislation that would extend and redefine the concept of personal property. The proposed bill would guarantee and protect the exclusive inviolable property rights of every US resident, including minors, to playthings, board games, puzzles, sports equipment, recordings of popular music, plastic assembly models, food items (in particular confectionery), sides of the back seats of vehicles, certain chairs and spots on the floor in front of the TV, and even television viewing times. The Supreme Court has agreed to grant an exemption to the “ex post facto” clause of the Constitution, making the new law retroactive to Saturday of last week, when the Holiday on Ice Special was scheduled right in the middle of the Star Trek marathon.

Christmas Delayed Again This Year

The National Time Service in Washington D.C. has announced that in all likelihood Christmas will once again arrive late this year. It has been noted that for the past six or seven years the much-anticipated holiday seems to come later and later, often appearing to be impossibly distant in the dimly perceptible future. Now scientific proof has been offered for the phenomenon.

Astronomers have discovered that abnormalities in the Earth’s shape and weight distribution are causing its rotation to slow down for part of its 24-hour cycle. When the landmass of North America, weighed down by skyscrapers, is facing the sun, the Earth actually spins more slowly, causing time to advance at one-half or even one-third its normal pace. Even more remarkably, the extraordinary celestial event doesn’t occur every day. According to NTS researcher Tim Tallier, “It only happens on non-holiday weekday mornings during the school year, between 9:45 am and recess, right about the time the kids in Mrs. Dorriger’s third grade class at Warren Harding Elementary are having their math lesson.” Tallier added that the time lag seems to be intensifying. “We’ve been recording weekly increases in day length of about 4.5% for the past five months. At this rate,” he said, “It’s quite possible that Christmas will never get here at all.”

New Discovery Sheds Light On Dinosaur Extinction

For many years paleontologists have known that giant reptiles dominated the biosphere starting in about 200 million BC and then suddenly became extinct approximately 60 million years ago. Many theories as to the cause of their abrupt disappearance have been forwarded — an asteroid impact, the eruption of a “supervolcano”, etc. — but now Prof. P.O. Parrish of the University of Pennsylvania has come up with a new explanation that the scientific community is hailing as the most plausible hypothesis yet. Parrish, a paleobotanist, had been comparing the gene structure of modern vegetables with fossilized plants from the Mesozoic Era when he came to a stunning conclusion. “I was trying to determine exactly when the plants we know today evolved into their present forms,” he told reporters, “and by tracing genetic changes back many generations and comparing that information with fossils, I have been able to prove that broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach and brussels sprouts all came into being just before the great dinosaur extinction.”

Much as the fearsome reptiles dominated the animal kingdom, Parrish found that these vegetables dominated the plant kingdom, to the point that eventually there was virtually nothing else for the herbivorous creatures to eat. Of course the fossils that are found today are all skeletons, but this new evidence suggests that most of the dinosaurs were already nearly skeletons when they died.

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My Written Responses To A Typical Thursday’s Postal Mail

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To Jeremy F. Steinberg, Senior VP Marketing, Citicorp Trust Bank

Dear Jer,

First off, let me apologize for not writing back sooner. I assure you, the fact that you sent the same exact letter twice in as many weeks (even down to the nuances of your signature, you fiend for details, you!) is a hint not wasted on the likes of me. That being said, I feel I must mention that most people — those not so in tune with our unique brand of instant camaraderie and fraternal ribbing — might find such an act to be a bit pushy and impersonal. Not that you have to worry about me, my good new friend. No, sir! I naturally got the gist and chortled until I could find a pen!

Well, where to begin? This is usually the part where I tell you all about myself, but that seems pointless in our case; between your mystery sources and your instincts, you seem to have me well pegged already! For example, I do have bills that I need to pay every month, I do like having cash on hand, and I certainly do despise variable interest rates! But at the same time, I’d like at least 24-72 months to pay, the ability to consolidate my bills, and, hell, what person in their right mind WOULDN’T jump at a fixed 16.99% APR? It’s like you read my mind!

At the moment, however, I’m in no need of financial aid. Considering how well you know me and appreciate my friendship (16.99%?! Is it Christmas or something?), I’m sure you know this already and are simply too proud to ask for help. Already I feel I can read between the lines with you, and though we’ve only just begun our pen-pal relationship, I’m comfortable extending a helping hand.

How about $40 at 14.99% APR? Fixed, of course, and I wouldn’t even expect a payment before January of next year. Don’t be too proud to write back, okay?

Your Brother for Life,

“Dan The Pre-Approved Man” Shea

To My Local Community College Continuing Education Program

Dear South Bluff College,

Look, I’m gonna be honest with you: I got drunk one night last fall, I was a little lonely, one thing led to another, and before I knew it I was enrolled in a creative writing class. I showed up the first week, but I could tell it was a mistake and never returned.

I thought you took the hint, but today I find this course catalog from you in the mail. I don’t want to lead you on, so know that I won’t be there this spring either. Just please accept that it’s not you — it’s me. Corny, I know, but this relationship has failed twice already, and we both know that I’m simply not alumnus material.

Just Your Friend Forever,

Dan

P.S. I know you have my Social Security number, so I’m begging you not to be vengeful. Let’s just stay friends, okay? Maybe we can do an online thing next semester? I’ll call you around July-ish, I promise!

To The City Police, Parking Enforcement Department

Dear S.O.B.s,

For the fourth time, I KNOW MY VEHICLE IS ILLEGALLY PARKED DOWNTOWN — you’ve sent me the same letter about it every day this week! As I stated in my first response to you back on Monday, THAT’S WHERE IT BROKE DOWN! I was hoping our little dialog this week would be a foundation for open discussion on the subject, but today you’ve forced my hand with your cryptic “Final Notice.”

Since you don’t seem to understand the concept of a car that won’t move, I’m going to considerable lengths to illustrate it for you: when you arrive tomorrow with your tow truck, you’ll find a broken-down late-model Corolla filled to the roof with beach sand and chained through the axles and frame to every single parking meter and bike rack on the west side of 10th Ave. I’m sorry it came to this.

All Out of Patience,

The Thirteen-Ton Toyota on Tenth

To My Local Cable TV Company

Dear WavyCast Collections Dept.,

I truly appreciate your diverse and entertaining array of stations, but I’m afraid you continue to overvalue your service. Instead of me paying the $300 that you’ve vehemently requested, perhaps we can find some middle ground? I mean, I really enjoy Cartoon Network and Comedy Central, but these days VH1 and MSNBC are simply too juvenile for me, and when you consider that the Home Shopping Network no longer accepts my calls and SNL is in a long-term slump…

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s time for us to meet face-to-face and finally hammer out a realistic channel lineup for a price we can both live with. Call me; I’m free every single day of the week.

Optimistically,

Account #44786003-50

To The New “Cirque du Soleil” Flyer

Dear Cirque,

While I continue to be flattered by your personal attention, I’m afraid I must insist that you stop sending me all these flyers every time you come to town. I’ve been to two of your performances already, and even though you claim to be an “unconventional” circus, I find that you employ the most frightening clowns of all: European mimes.

Beyond their overall creepiness, I am haunted by the increasing possibility that they might randomly choose me from the audience to be the butt of your many elaborate performance antics. I warn you that you’ve been extremely lucky in your selections here so far, as many Americans tend not to be such good sports and VERY rarely walk around wearing their own high-wire harnesses.

Respectfully,

Dan Shea

To My Mom

Mater,

I skimmed through your letter regarding your first trip through Europe and Asia and Africa and it bored me. Please limit correspondence like that to emergency-only situations in the future. My mailbox space is precious and I am a very very busy man.

Signed,

Daniel Laurence Shea

P.S. I don’t suppose you brought several tons of that really fine South African beach sand home with you as a souvenir? Also I may need $300 for cable plus some parking ticket and impound fees this weekend. Oh, and my new buddy Jeremy needs to borrow forty bucks.

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One Hundred Years of Suburbia

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I

I remember the day Uncle Rámon took us down to see the mall. “People say the mall is infinite,” he explained as he led us children toward the atrium. “And that a man could spend a lifetime there going from store to store, and still not find the one having the thing he wanted, and also in his size. Even shopping for ten lifetimes,” my uncle continued, “a man might never acquaint himself with more than a fraction of the merchandise on offer: The only certainty is that when the man finally leaves the mall, regardless of how many purchases he’s made, he still won’t have with him the thing he originally came for.”

“Are all things, then, for sale at the mall?” I asked Uncle Rámon.

“Everything the human mind can conceive. Today, for example, I’ll be shopping for some unicorn food, a Jimmy Carter, two square circles and a perpetual-motion machine. Also, I’d like to get one of those new T-shirts they have that say, ‘I’m With Estupido’…”

Of course, there were many in Paidup Mácondo, our village, who considered Uncle Rámon somewhat strange. His equilibrium had been shaken by a life that had seen its share of tragedy: early on, he’d lost his children in a particularly large restaurant coatroom; later, his wife, Mercedes 300SL, had perished in the Great Famine of ’97, when for two weeks all the boroughs’ caterers and deli counters had been directed closed by a city health-ordinance. Since that time, the colonel lived at the villa in the company of his half-wit half-brother, Enriqué Pokémon, who shared with the old soldier a passion for landscaping. (In his youth, Enriqué Pokémon had been a member of the horticultural brigade that had helped transform the Sequoia National Park into the Sequoia National Golf Course.)

The great love of Uncle Rámon’s later life was a girl named Clarita, who worked at a video store in the Infinite Mall. Alas, my uncle was sufficiently put off by the war of the sexes to be hardly capable of speech in the presence of a beautiful woman. In the case of the comely counter-girl, the man was reduced to communicating exclusively by means of a small, portable tape recorder, into which he’d enter such locutions as he projected to constitute his half of a day’s pending conversation. (One evening, Clarita brought her own machine, and leaving it behind to chat with that of the colonel, the two villagers were able to spend some quality time together at the local Aqua Slide.) My father, Miguel de Grand Vitara (no half-wit, half-brother he to Uncle Rámon, but a full-fledged, bona fide sibling, and mental case) used to tell the colonel:

“Rámon, why don’t you do like me and buy a satellite dish? Then you would have so much television you would forget about that video store and the girl there who makes you miserable.”

Indeed, so powerful was my father’s antenna (I mean the one on his roof, not his head) that it eliminated entirely the need for movie rentals. One could watch anything with it, from real-time Norwegian chuck-wagon races to classic sitcoms that had been dubbed into Comanche. (The only trouble with these was they always had the Indians winning on F Troop.)

But spending so much time on the couch watching TV, my uncle began to put on weight — with the result that his amorous hopes were dealt a further blow in the form of a doctor’s warning; that is to say, until the colonel’s LDL and HDL levels were better regulated, the man was advised to engage in no lovemaking. What could my poor Uncle Rámon do? He still visited the video store to play his tape recorder at Clarita, but both knew that between them there could now be no love — no Love in the Time of Cholesterol

II

Speaking of cholesterol, it wasn’t only Uncle Ramón among our villagers who could be said to be afflicted personally with urban sprawl. Most of our adults, in fact, had long since lost the ability to wear sizes of less than three digits’ magnitude, and almost all were incapable of entering the oversized cars and trucks — the so-called esyuvés — that had lately become popular. Then again, the esyuvés themselves in time grew larger, until it became common for owners having trouble finding their cars in parking lots to discover that this was because they were still inside them. (Finally, the cars and trucks became so big that they no longer needed to be used; in a paradox typical of life in our village, it was observed that a school-going child might simply enter the hatch of his family’s driveway-parked Pontiac Escalade LXT, and, merely by making his way inside it to the front passenger seat, exit the vehicle directly before the gates of his place of learning.)

Indeed, time and place generally were matters of confusion to the residents of our town (a saying in Paidup Macondo went, “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Wednesday”). The women found that if they were to reserve the best dates and locations for their social functions, it was necessary to send out any invitations to them some years in advance of the fact. (If it so happened that the wedding celebrations of two children yet unborn were booked into the same hall on the same day, the respective mothers could usually settle things amicably in an encounter known as a “cage match.”)

Place too was a matter of bemusement to the mothers of our town, for as soon as one “season” ended — be it at Palm Beach or St. Moritz — plans for the next were already well underway; and such was the absorption of the women in their preparations that they commonly thought themselves in Anguilla when they were really in Vail, in Bermuda when they were really in Newport and in the Hamptons when they were really on Long Island.

These children of Paidup Mácondo were no less subject than their parents to the peculiarities of life in the region. I remember, for example, how about the time Uncle Rámon took me to the Infinite Mall, there came upon the youth of our village a strange plague of incoherence. It began one afternoon when the Valdez twins, Juan and Two, could not make themselves understood to the clerk at one of the mall’s Frostee Freezes. (The twins, incidentally, were the sons of the famous Juan Valdez, the Colombian peasant who for years had handpicked each and every bean for the coffee of Europe and North America, until fired one day for asking to sit down.)

“Yo!” said Juan Jr. to the clerk on that afternoon. “Heezi-Wacheezi, bro! You’ve got to pedal-to-the-metal and word, man. Wassup! And incidentally, any of you guys happen to see my heckelphone?”

“Awesome, man,” added Two Herrera. “Lay us on with some of that most excellent sweet brown, rad sap, dude!”

The ice-cream man had no idea what the twins were talking about, so other youths tried to help:

“Ya hatchem yabloko, krasnya sabatchka!” said one.

“Cujus regio, Ejus religio…” offered another.

“Whether I shall be found to be the hero of my own biography,” began a third, “or whether that honor shall fall to someone else, it shall be the purpose of these pages to relate.”

It’s not entirely clear who added, “0111-011-0111-011-0000-110-000-01010-0001…”

Of course, it was all to no avail. By nightfall, the children of Paidup Mácondo could no longer understand even one another. The plague of incoherence raged in our town for months, infecting its adults as well, until one morning the lot of us woke to discover we’d elected as governor of the province an Austrian-born ex-bodybuilder who could not speak Spanish at all…

O, Paidup Mácondo! How dear to me are my memories of your manicured lawns and eight-lane sidewalks, your byzantine Voting Propositions and dog-leash bylaws…I would have thought your blandness was forever! For who could have foreseen the whirlwind that would pitch one day to peel away your façade of affluence? Who could have predicted it would be found, in the end, that your story was never one of wealth but of insolvency, never of capital but of overdrafts, never of dividends but of liability? No man, certainly (and obviously not that jerk from Morgan Stanley). O, Century of tastelessness and conformity! O, Un-paid-up Paidup Mácondo! Who could have guessed at its conclusion your tale would be revealed as no more than, well — A Chronicle of a Debt Foretold!

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