“‘Dear Jimmy’ – A New Advice Column” By Jim Bennett

            One of the benefits of writing this column is the mail I receive from readers.  I’ve been surprised, however, by a recent spate of missives from folks seeking my counsel in their personal affairs.  After all, I’m not an advice columnist.
            Or am I?  
            As I see it, there are really just three requirements for an advice column:  (1) Space in a newspaper.  Check!  (2) Questions from people seeking guidance.  Check!  (3) A self-righteous, didactic crackpot to answer those questions.  Check and double check!  Let’s light this candle!
 
            Dear Jimmy,
            I’m a 38-year-old man.  While I was at the SciFi Expo last year, I met the Padmé to my Anakin.  But recently, she made the jump to hyperspace and is hinting hard about marriage.  The thought of moving out of the Jedi Temple (Mom’s basement) gives me tummy bubbles.  The walls of this relationship are closing in like the garbage compactor in a Death Star detention block.  Help!  –Jittery Jedi
 
            Dear Jittery,
            Help you I can, yes.  A sewing room in her basement your mother desires, but in her way your bed with Ewok sheets is.  Always in motion is the future.  Of doing your laundry, tired is she.  Adulthood and marriage, fear them not, and a momma’s boy, be no longer.  Choice of you by girl I will understand never, but die alone you will, with action figures as only companions, if this one chance you miss.
                    
Dear Jimmy,
            Please settle an ongoing dispute my wife and I are having over the upbringing of our only child.   We both love our son “Roger” very much, but we have vastly differing ideas about how he should be raised.  I want him to try out for football and engage in other manly pursuits like mixed martial arts cage matches, ding-dong-ditch, the Sun Dance ritual, and belching the alphabet.  My wife, however, is adamant that Roger must spend all his free time doing nothing but scherenschnitte, collecting Hummel figurines, and perfecting his Trout Almondine recipe for the state fair.  He recently refused to watch “True Grit” with me because the Bravo Network was airing a “Project Runway” marathon.  His classmates have started calling him “Baron Dainty Von Prancengiggle.”  Now, I don’t know what that means, but I’m certain it’s not a compliment.  I’m scared.  Am I too late to raise him into swarthy, high-fiving, NASCAR manhood?  Is there anything I can do?   –Desperate Dad
 
Dear Desperate,
            You’re too late.  There’s nothing you can do.  Sorry.
 
Dear Jimmy,
            After a whirlwind courtship, I recently became engaged to the man of my dreams.  The problem is that my parents despise him.  Whenever I try to emphasize my fiancé’s good qualities, they only point out his flaws.  For example, when I describe him as a courageous man of action, Dad mocks him for his fear of flying.  When I praise him for serving our country as a member of a crack commando unit, my mother condemns him for being sent to prison by a military court.  “But it was for a crime he didn’t commit!” I’ll say, only to have Daddy immediately remind me, for the millionth time, how my future husband and his three friends promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground, how they’re still wanted by the government, how they survive as soldiers of fortune, blah, blah, blah… 
            All the conflict is stressing me out, and my fiancé is growing tired of all this jibba-jabba.  How can I persuade my folks to give this marriage their blessing? –Wanna-Be Mrs. T
 
Dear Wanna-Be,
            Simply arrange to have your parents abducted by a band of ruthless Bolivian drug smugglers (check Craigslist.com) or a bizarre mind-control cult (check Scientology.org) and instruct the kidnappers to hold Mom and Dad hostage in a heavily-guarded desert bunker.  Then have your fiancé and his friends infiltrate the compound by posing as renegade arms dealers with military-grade weaponry for sale.  After the enigmatic, sinister leader of the cult/cartel sees through the ruse, his army of henchmen will chase your Mr. Right and his three confederates to an abandoned mine nearby.  Once barricaded inside, they can use a rusted mining cart, some pipes, and a crate full of discarded dynamite to construct a crude tank.  Blasting their way back into the villains’ lair, they free your parents and bring them home.  Having won your parents’ blessing, you and their now-beloved son-in-law-to-be jump in the van and go get on the bridal registry at Pier 1 Imports.  Your mother prepares a baked custard with a layer of caramelized sugar on the bottom to give to her rescuers as a thank you gift.  This is sure to delight their cigar-chomping leader; he loves it when a flan comes together.
            Next week’s column:  Jim’s Graceland diary!

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