Advice From Margaritaville
Usually, this time of the month puts the fear of holy jumping Jesus in me. As the calendar rolls towards the end of the month, my moral arch-nemesis Jon Schwartz sharpens his knives, preparing to cut me to shreds in anticipation of my usual tardiness in regards to handing jambands.com a useable column. Ever vigilant, Midnite Johnny keeps a tight watch on the jambands.com in-box, waiting for me to turn in nothing, romancing my inevitable abdication of the well-publicized deadline requested by the fair, yet stern editor of these columns featured on our clique’s most exalted website.
Yes, I can feel the heat of responsibility enforced within the loving guidance of Mr. Schwartz. However, this month, I got his number. I’m ahead of the game: Preparing, theorizing, and finally revealing the insights of the human spirit in a timely fashion. It is after all, what I promised to deliver when I took up this noble assignment. And nothing less shall I deliver!
This is because I have retained an advantageous position for this month’s installment of "Real True Confessions". I’ve saved some truly curious queries asked of me via my advice column on the Wu website.
Unlike the "Best Of" installments of fatherly discourse I’ve regurgitated when time catches me with my pants down, I’m presenting fresh material for your perusal. Now both you and the troubled soul who sought my advice in the first place can share in the idiocy of my responses to the absolutely ridiculous issues asked.
So don’t get me wrong; I’m not resorting to this format because I came up blank when considering other topics. Great storytelling mandates the recognition of intriguingly dynamic crises, which I’m running short on. Instead, I’ll address other people’s problems. As of the time of me writing this, I’m drinking in the Florida keys. Thus, I have no "problems", (or "challenges", as the optimists among you would say.)
That being said, what more generous position can I take when analyzing the various predicaments of these beleaguered innocents? While I attempt to help maintain the precarious emotional balance of these folks in need of help, I’ll be smoothing out the bumps in my own life by drinking several freshly squeezed screwdrivers. And you’ll be, well, reading this.
Before I get to playing Dr. Phil, I’ll tell you why else I’m drinking, (besides the fact that it’s Monday morning). I just received confirmation from my manager that the Big Wu will be the house band on "Last Call With Carson Daly" for a week in March.
As I understand it, we’ll tape the week’s five episodes at the NBC studios in Manhattan. The only concerns the show’s producers had is that we’d play country and western music, whereas they would prefer "Kangaroo". Besides that, they wanted assurances that someone from the band would rap with Carson sidekick style. Not to worry, that can be done. I just hope he doesn’t want to pretend I’m a Canadian bandleader. It would be an insult to fine Canadians everywhere.
Since my waitress fulfilled my Total Request Live for a dozen oysters and a pitcher of beer, let’s get to issues…
Q: My dearest and most revered Padre-
Lately I have had a reoccurring fantasy involving two young lovers and a bottle of hot sauce. While this fantasy may seem harmless enough it has prevented me from fulfilling my marital duties and concentrating at work. I feel my life in an endless spiral while I daydream of hot summer nights and even hotter hot sauce. What should I do?
Hot in the Hot Sauce
A: Troubled Son-
First off, I can’t express how fortunate you are to have intimate fantasies that exist within the exciting hot sauce paradigm. Nothing says "I’ll try anything to get off" like the employment of caustic condiments. You’ll go down in my book a charter member of the Red Hot Chile Penis club. If nothing else, you are a true danger seeker, a modern-day sexual Evel Knevil.
For your information, the role of hot sauce as a sexual aid has been addressed on Larry David’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm" program on HBO. In a first-season episode, Larry and his wife attend a dinner party thrown by a retired porn star. During dinner conversation, the host recalls a situation where his manhood failed to stand erect during filming, so the director ordered the fluffer to apply a bit of Tabasco to the host’s prostate, via the rectal cavity. The storyteller concludes the tale by swearing that his member stood tall and firm for the rest of the shoot.
While this almost sounds desperate enough to be plausible, I get the feeling that out of the 280 million people living in the United States, somebody actually attempted this stratagem as a last-ditch effort to keep the good times rolling. However, this doesn’t require you to follow suit. In fact, your curiosity could lead to a trip to the emergency room, not to mention the shame you would most certainly endure when everybody, (including present jambands.com readers) find out what you’re up to. Incidents like this have a way of leaking out.
So, what are we to do about your obsession with hot sauce? Your career is suffering, and your love life has hit the proverbial wall, all because you’ve went off the deep end, imagining Tabasco as the lubricant of choice for sexual dynamos. While I would like to think that you’ll outgrow this fetish before you do any real damage, I also understand you’ll ultimately take it one squirt too far.
Don’t feel bad; it’s the only way people with bad ideas learn is to think before involving the dink. Thus, I would recommend preparing a safety net. In this case, what you need is a chemical neutralizer to counteract the effects of the highly acidic ingredients in hot sauce. And lucky you, the remedy is both cheap and easy to procure. Simply mix 2 cups of water with at least four tablespoons of sugar. I’ve seen hot sauce experts rate different brands on the Food Channel using a sugar water solution to neutralize the burn, so I would have to assume that you can achieve the same results at home. However, I would advise that you test the potency of the sugar water by dabbing the hot sauce on your tongue and sipping the solution and swishing it around your mouth. And for heaven sakes, do not swallow the water. Spit it out like a prom date.
In addition, I suggest try this alone. There are too many variables involved to risk disaster in front of someone else; they’ll never let you live it down. So treat yourself to a lesson in agony on your own time, before you make someone you love as sorry as you’ll be when you go for the jalapeold.
Drive safe, be nice to your Mother, and drink your milk,
Q: Dear Padre,
As of late I have found myself in a very touchy and possibly explosive situation. My cousin recently engaged a gentlemen who has a younger sister that is, shall we say, eye catching. Apparently this sister thinks the same of me. However, due to obvious family complications, I’m not quite sure if this is the proper thing to pursue.
There is one more issue: I’m 21 and she is a mere 18-year-old senior in high school. She’s coming to college at the same school I attend. (by chance.) But still… a high schooler? I think I could get thrown in jail for such things, no matter how groovy her curves are.
Please help me muddle through my confusion, so as I can come up with a plan to woo or not to woo her.
A: Troubled Son-
So, you wanna grow a woody branch on the family tree, huh? Well, you’re not the first one to entertain this notion. However, this kind of funny business is usually conducted during the wedding reception, when folks seem to be more open to getting plowed and hitting on the cousin’s husband’s cute younger sister.
But you’ve already scouted her out, and to me it sounds like you’ve already justified her not-really-but-kind-of-family status as a non-factor. So if you’re looking to me to give you the official thumbs-up, I can only cite a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine that concluded the offspring of first cousin parents are no more likely to exhibit cognitive or physical defects than children born to parents that didn’t confuse Thanksgiving dinner with a swingers club. To the joy of kissing cousins everywhere, since this study was published, family reunions held in Tennessee have reported a 17.3% increase in guilty pleasures…
Since you’ll only be related to this girl through marriage and not blood, unless you plan to spend your first several dates at your cousin’s husband’s house playing footsie with her, you should be solid. Beside, does anybody really care what their cousin thinks about them?
As for the age factor, I think this is really where we find out about your maturity. If she’s engaging as a person, charming in a crowd, and more fun to be with than the hot second cousin on your Mom’s side twice removed, then what’s the problem?
If you haven’t spent enough time with her to know whether she’s all there or just a tasty piece of eye candy
AND you don’t care, then go with the wedding plan.
However, you’re intrigued enough to find out where she’s planning her future (with you?) and you don’t seem too turned off by her plans. So here’s my advice: Stop pestering bass players on vacation and get on with getting it on.
Drive safe, be nice to your Mother, and drink your milk,
Q: Oh eminent sage and respected Padre, I have a terrible predicament that only you can help me with. I have a horribly shitty job that pays next to nothing, and it is all I can do to keep up with my car payments and pay for food. Therefore, I have no cash leftover to pay for alcoholic beverages, other intoxicating substances, or any assorted items I may want to purchase. I am afraid to quit my dead-end job because I doubt getting hired elsewhere. What should
A: Troubled Son-
First off, congratulations for realizing and admitting that you’re under-achieving. Most people hate to admit that their dissatisfaction and their hopes spring from the same well. To an extent, you embrace it as well; you see something better, but you only can see it looking though the eyes of disappointment.
The part that you’re missing is that your fear of leaving a shitty job and failing to earn the cash to pay for your car should be a motivation, not an excuse to stay put. You see, us humans have the amazing ability to surpass expectations- usually our own- but only when we say "fuck it" and seize the opportunities that sit right under our noses every day.
Secondly, you might want to rearrange your priorities. You listed, in order of importance: Your car payment, food, beer, drugs, and finally, "assorted items" almost like a laundry list of things to pursue every month. Motivational councilors call these "goals". However, nobody has ever been convinced that pursuit of happiness concludes upon the acquisition of "assorted items". You owe it to yourself to do better.
Far be it from me to tell you how to be happy, or at least satisfied. Nobody knows "how" to do it, because it’s different for everyone. But I can illustrate three simple points that will never backfire if you think them through. So let’s get it on:
"How To Get Your Dream Job In Three E-Z Steps (Or at least something you can live happily with)"
1. Think about what it really is you want to do.
Sounds easy, but it’s not. Let’s say you think you want to be Brad Pitt. And who wouldn’t? But do you really want to work eighteen-hour days for months on end, held under the expectation that you’ll deliver great artistic performances upon some asshole director’s command? No, nobody wants that. Herr Pitt the person is an actor, talented and committed to his craft. Brad Pitt the celebrity is the embodiment of all the fortunes bestowed upon him by other people’s envy. Therein lies the difference.
If you honestly think about what you want to do with your life, don’t bother speculating on the result. It’s a waste of time, no more engaging, nor rewarding than scanning the cover of People magazine in the check out lane. Instead, what do you think about when you’re not fantasizing about Brad Pitt’s charmed life? As for me, I’ve spent plenty of moments contemplating how much I hated high school, with all its petty rules and the countless hours I had to feign interest in learning from somebody who had long forgotten what it felt like to be a teenager. I may be getting on in years, but I still experience the reckless joy of losing control, surrendering it to whatever drives me. On the other hand, I often fear for the future of our country. Not because I’m terrified that President Bush’s foreign policy is setting the tone for an international relations fire sale, but because the average citizen has it so good that there’s nothing for them to do but pester lawmakers to sponsor legislation that regulates the most inane issues of our society. When I raise enough time and money, I’m positive that I jazz enough people and get elected to remove laws and regulations, not sponsor thirty new ones over a congressional session.
But as it turns out, I fell into performing with a rock band that only emphasizes individual freedom because there’s nothing sexy about being a prudish ninny. Either way we slice it, I’m just geared towards parlaying my taste for disobedience into a leadership role. In layman’s term, that means I would probably just as happy teaching 10th Grade English as I would be wasting taxpayer’s money in the House of Representatives.
2. Learn that sacrifice is a root of happiness, not a precursor for misery.
If the dues you have to pay for your dream gig seem too steep to pay, but you go the extra mile anyways, you’ll find that the word "disappointment" becomes irrelevant. For me to get away with doing the things I do for a living, I make sizable sacrifices all the time. I don’t sleep in my bed. I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time eating terrible food. I shuffle an ungodly amount of paperwork for the Big Wu, something I never envisioned myself doing when I was sixteen. And if you can believe this, I’ve had to pay taxi drivers out of my own pocket to deliver me to unfamiliar bars in strange cities just so I can grab a seat and a beer before the kickoff on Viking’s football Sundays. The horror!
When it’s all said and done, including the continual struggle that is commonly known as "The Big Wu Office", I find myself taking pride in our accomplishments and seldom lamenting the lost effort given towards opportunities that didn’t pan out.
3. Stop fucking around. Start fucking it up.
We all talk a good game when we wax philosophic over a few beers. If the world ran the way people envision it when they’re drinking and rapping at four-thirty in the morning, we might all be at peace, and rich to boot. But alas, talking passionately for hours about grand designs is so much easier than taking the smallest five-minute step towards accomplishing any goal. And that, my friend, is the heart of the jig: The reason why beginning the work towards any goal is so much harder than yakking about it is because we never understood a thing about what we were discussing in the first place.
Since I just typed out the most obvious point in the world, let me give you your money’s worth by adding something that just occurred to me. Being on vacation in Florida as I write this, I’ve been drinking beer and slurping oysters for the last hour. As a result, I reached the conclusion that if I don’t go pee soon, I’ll do something regrettable at the table. However, going to the potty isn’t so easy- I’m out of beer and I don’t want to miss the waitress as she seems to be scarce this afternoon. Come to think of it, I can’t remember where the men’s room is, not to mention that I ought to order another dozen oysters. If that isn’t enough, is my Macintosh going to be safe if I run to bathroom? Will somebody steal it?
Well, now I’ve really got to pee, and it’s starting to get painful. If I stopped asking myself all those stupid questions and just got on with the task at hand, I’d be right back here where I’m sitting, except with a relieved bladder,
The same principle applies to your situation. Justifying inaction by worrying about the consequences won’t get you a better job anymore than it’ll get me to the bathroom, which I really need to find…
There. Thanks for waiting. I feel much better now. Now take my Dear Abby grade lip service and make your life blossom. Really, you can trust me.
Drive safe, be nice to your Mother and drink your milk!
The Old Style Zealot of the month should go to my Uncle Ed, who gifted me with a 30-pack of that remarkable brew that he drove down from Minnesota. But he’s not here right now, and I need to take a photo of somebody, really anybody. Which leaves me. So folks, from the kayak I rented to paddle around the waterways of West Florida- Cheers!